MATRIXSYNTH: John Paul Jones Yamaha GX-1 with Programmer Up for Auction?

Monday, June 13, 2011

John Paul Jones Yamaha GX-1 with Programmer Up for Auction?

via this auction

"Here's your once-in-a-lifetime chance to own one of the most famous keyboards in rock-'n'-roll history: the storied Yamaha GX-1 synthesizer owned by John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), then Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer/Powell [ELP]), then Hans Zimmer (film composer). Seller acquired it directly from Hans Zimmer in 2003 (authenticated). Yamaha's original retail/list price for the GX-1 was US$60,000.

Provenance: John Paul Jones acquired it circa 1977/78 and used it on Led Zeppelin's album "In Through The Out Door." It was featured on tracks "In The Evening," "All My Love," "Carouselambra" and "I'm Gonna Crawl." On "All My Love," Jones performs a nice string arrangement, and the horn solo demonstrates the GX-1's expressive vibrato capabilities. On the final Led Zeppelin tours, Jones used the GX-1 as his primary keyboard, performing string, organ, clavinet and bass/synth. parts (see photo #3: Jones performing on GX-1 at the Knebworth, UK shows in '79 [top pic in this post]; the last time the original foursome performed together before John Bonham's death). Jones called the GX-1 "a joy," which replaced his repair-prone Mellotron.

Keith Emerson acquired the GX-1 from Jones in the mid-'80s as a spare for Emerson's original GX-1 (used with ELP in the late '70s). Emerson cannibalized some of his original GX-1 for the benefit of this unit. He used this GX-1 most prominently on the "Emerson, Lake & Powell" album & tour in the late '80s, and in the music video of the title track of ELP's "Black Moon" reunion album in the early '90s (see photos #4 & #5 [2nd pic in this post]; keyboard on top of GX-1 not included). "Emerson, Lake & Powell" tracks featuring this GX-1 include "Touch & Go" and his synth. rendition of Holst's "Mars: Bringer Of War." Emerson sold the GX-1 to renowned film composer Hans Zimmer in the mid-'90s, who sampled various sounds on it (see photo #6 [3rd pic in this post]: GX-1 in Zimmer's studio; Moog modular not included). The GX-1 was also used for recording sessions by musicians including Erik Norlander on his "Threshold" album. (Note: Keith Emerson's Wikipedia entry is incorrect: his original GX-1 [painted black] was sold to a European collector, and this unit was sold to Zimmer, then to the Seller)

This auction is for the: keyboard/console (including programmable cartridges; see photo #9), separate ultra-rare Programmer Module (see photo #11), and original Anvil-style case (used by Jones, Emerson, Zimmer and the Seller). Sale does NOT include: the GX-1's bench/pedal section, two TX-II speakers, and the programmable cartridges for the Pedal section only (which were not included when Seller acquired it).

It works, but after playing it for a while, it sometimes makes a noise and must be turned off and then turned back on. Being sold "as is." Seller can refer Buyer to several qualified GX-1 technicians. [Minor] tuning/calibrating will probably be required after shipment. Copies of any manuals (User/Technical/Service/etc.), brochures and other GX-1 information Seller has will be included. Has balanced outputs (see labeled photo #12), which may be custom. John Paul Jones had the switches/LED panel added (over the Electone logo area), which may be disconnected (appear to have no effect anymore)...

Here's some miscellaneous information:
- only about 27-30 GX-1's were ever manufactured and/or sold (unit's Serial Number is 0076)
- the most powerful polyphonic synthesizer in history at the time
- 3 keyboards (2 standard manuals; 1 solo manual); volume pedal; retractable knee vibrato controller
- unheard of levels of touch control (touch/velocity-sensitive, polyphonic aftertouch, etc.)
- approx. outer dimensions of keyboard console 63"(L) x 31"(W) x 46"(H)
- top area (where other keyboards can be placed) is about 60"(L) x 10"(W)
- weight in Anvil-style road case is about/over 1,000 pounds
- was the basis for Yamaha's popular CS-80/etc. synthesizers"
SN 5076

via John

See this post for a close-up of the programmer.

1 comment:

  1. No, Zeppelin did an entire European tour in 1980 that were the last shows before Bonham's death. Knebworth were the last UK shows...


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