Jump to content

Yamaha GX-1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Yamaha GX1)
Yamaha GX-1
Yamaha GX-1
Dates1973/1975[1] - 1977
Technical specifications
Polyphony18 voices totally:
  • Upper and Lower poly sections - 2 per voice
  • Solo section - 1
  • Pedal section - 3
Synthesis typeAnalog Subtractive
  • voltage controlled 2-pole low-pass and high-pass filters per oscillator
  • static band-pass and high-pass filters on sawtooth and square waves only
Attenuator2 envelope generators
Effects2 x spring reverb
  • 1 x 61-key, horizontal aftertouch
  • 1 x 61 key
  • 37-key, velocity, vertical and horizontal aftertouch
  • 25 pedals
External controlNone

The Yamaha GX-1, first released as Electone GX-707,[a][3] is an analog polyphonic synthesizer organ developed by Yamaha as a test bed for later consumer synths and Electone series organs for stage and home use. The GX-1 has four synthesizer "ranks" or three manuals, called Solo, Upper, and Lower, plus Pedal, and an analog rhythm machine.[2] The GX-707 first appeared in 1973 as a "theatre model" for use on concert stages, before the GX-1 was publicly released in 1975.[1]


Yamaha GX-1 manuals

The Solo rank features a 3-octave keyboard with 37 keys[2] that are full width but shorter than standard. Directly above the Solo keyboard runs the Portamento keyboard[2] - a ribbon controller which can be used to play continuously variable pitches roughly corresponding to the Solo keyboard note below. The Portamento keyboard overrides the solo keyboard if used simultaneously. The Solo rank has only a single oscillator,[2] but has a dedicated low-frequency oscillator (LFO), pitch envelope generator and ring modulator.

The Upper and Lower ranks each have a full-sized 5-octave, 61-note keyboard. They are both 8-voice polyphonic, with two oscillators per voice.[2] Each poly rank has a dedicated LFO, and there is a common "random" modulation generator. The Upper rank also has horizontal aftertouch which can be assigned to pitch, volume or filter, and a polyphonic glide function.

The Pedal rank has a 25-note pedalboard. It is monophonic,[2] with three oscillators[citation needed] but no LFO. Performance controls include a "swell" pedal with footswitch, and a spring-loaded knee controller.

All four ranks use a common voice-card design (called a tone generator in Yamaha parlance) to produce their sounds. Each voice card features a voltage-controlled oscillator with multiple waveforms, 2-pole high-pass and low-pass voltage controlled filters, and two envelope generators for filter modulation and VCA control. There is also a variable band-pass filtered sawtooth wave, and high-pass filtered square wave on each card. There are a total of 36 voice cards in a GX-1, containing 36 oscillators, 72 envelope generators, and 144 filters. Due to the extensive use of epoxy-potted sub-modules, a complete set of GX-1 voice cards alone weighs more than a Polymoog.

Preset sounds are stored on "tone modules" - small cartridges which each contain 26 fixed value resistor-dividers. These produce voltages which drive the voice cards, each resistor controlling one parameter of the sound. The tone modules are installed in compartments on the top panel of the synth. An optional "tone board" programmer could be inserted in place of a tone module, providing a full set of knobs, switches and sliders to control the parameters of a tone manually. Tones created this way could then be "programmed" onto a variable tone module using the Tone Module Setting Box. The Upper, Lower and Pedal ranks all have a dual-voice structure, where a different tone is assigned to each of the two voice cards per note. A set of hidden "wave motion" controls allows the second tones of the Upper and Lower ranks to be de-tuned. In the Pedal rank, the second tone is doubled on two voice-cards, both of which have a separate de-tune control.

The GX-1 console weighs 300 kg.[2] The pedalboard and stand add 87 kg,[2] and each of its tube-powered[citation needed] speakers, four of which can be connected to the GX-1, weighs 141 kg[4] (Which together equals a total of 951 kg, or 2096 lb).

The GX-1 cost $60,000 (equivalent to $412,000 today)[5] and was premiered in the US in 1973 at the NAMM Convention. The exact production number is unknown, but thought to total fewer than 100. At least 13 GX-1s are known to exist outside Japan, the remainder are presumed to have stayed in Japan.

Notable users


A number of artists used the Yamaha GX-1 extensively in their recordings:

See also



  1. ^ "Model GX-707 Electone". Electone Zone.
    It's rumored that when Yamaha realized the model number shared the designation of Boeing 707 aircraft, they changed it to GX-1.[citation needed] Note the basic design of GX-1 followed the Electone EX-42 released in 1970.
  2. ^ Notable uses are the synth bass intro to "Does Your Mother Know" and the string sections of many songs from the "Super Trouper" and "The Visitors" albums such as the opening of "Lay All Your Love On Me".


  1. ^ a b "[Chapter 1] Origins of the Yamaha Synthesizer". History, Yamaha Synth 40th Anniversary. Yamaha Corporation. 2014. Archived from the original on 2015-07-11. ... Introduced in 1975, the GX-1 was ...", "Why digital technology in an analog synth? ... It was thus clear that new control technology would be required in order to use a limited number of circuits in a more effective manner. ... This type of device was known as a key assigner, and it can rightly be called the predecessor of today's dynamic voice allocation (DVA) technology. Back in the early seventies, when tone generators still relied on analog technology, digital circuitry was already being put to use in these key assigners.", "In 1973, Yamaha completed development work on a prototype codenamed the GX-707. Based on cluster voltage control, this instrument could be regarded as the predecessor of the Electone GX-1. ... As the flagship model in the Electone lineup, however, this prototype was conceived of as a theatre model for use on the concert stage. With a console weighing in excess of 300 kg and a separate board required for editing tones, it was not well suited for sale to the general public, and to this day is still considered a niche instrument.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Yamaha GX-1 Owner's Manual 1974, p. 24, Specifications
  3. ^ "Yamaha Electone GX-1". www.imoose.nl. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  4. ^ Yamaha GX-1 Owner's Manual 1974, p. 3, The GX-1's High Quality Speaker System—Model TX-II
  5. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  6. ^ a b c d Lundy, Zeth (2007). "III. Experience". Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 3-iii. ISBN 978-1-4411-7012-5. This confused tiem of transition also coincided with Wonder's privileged acceleration to the cutting edge of synthesizer technology. He was one of the lucky few (along with ELP's Keith Emerson, Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones and ABBA's Benny Andersson, among others) to obtain a Yamaha GX1, a test model synthesizer that had recently been issued in an extremely limited run.
  7. ^ Jenkins 2009, p. 136: At this time, Zimmer was combining analog synths, ...with digital modules such as ..., though his ... modular system remained a feature of his studio for many years, finally having a Yamaha GX1 triple keyboard as played by Keith Emerson posed in front of it.
  8. ^ a b Jenkins 2009, p. 148: Hans-Jurgen Fritz with Triumvirat learned very much towards Keith Emerson's pseudo-classical style, and after an ancertain start on albums such as Mediterranean Tales in 1972, produced some excellent performances, including some on the Yamaha GX1, which was also played by Rick Van Der Linden of the Dutch classical rock band Ekseption.
  9. ^ Jenkins 2019, p. 135: "... so it was something of a surprise when in 1975 the company launched the massive GX1. This headed the company's Electone organ series but was in fact an enormous polyphonic synthesizer. ... despite a launch price of perhaps US $60,000, quickly sold to top artists, such as Stevie Wonder, Abba, John Paul Jones with Led Zeppelin, Richard Wright with Pink Floyd, and less wellknown figures, such as Juergen Fritz with Triumvirat, and the late Rick Vand Der Linden with Ekseption."