Saturday, 18 June 2011

Ebay of the Day II

This one didn't stay on the bay for long. I first saw it on matrixsynth, and then it mysteriously got pulled with no bids.....

The Yamaha GX1 is supposed to be one of the best synths of all time, even though it was originally sold as part of their home organ range! This one has had three careful owners (John-Paul Jones, Keith Emmerson and Hanz Zimmer) and had a starting price of $25k

From the seller: "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; 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; 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: 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).

Secure payment method negotiable with Buyer (Seller does not want to incur ANY credit card merchant/electronic payment fees, except possibly for a small negotiable deposit). Balance payable in advance or upon pick-up. Given size/weight, Buyer must arrange for pick-up & transportation (Seller won't ship); for example, Buyer may wish to use a professional music gear freight firm like SoundMoves (unit is presently in the San Francisco Bay Area).

Bona fide Buyers may Contact Seller with questions using eBay's Message feature. Seller will post relevant Q&A. SERIOUS BUYERS WITH ESTABLISHED, EXCELLENT EBAY FEEDBACK ONLY. (Unless you have the money to buy this item, then please don't inquire!)

Comprehensive information is available on the Web about the Yamaha GX-1, its features & technical specifications, etc. For example, Google "Yamaha GX-1 OR GX1" or "John Paul Jones GX-1 OR GX1"

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

Bid now! Seize this opportunity to acquire a piece of music history!"


  1. I sent the seller a message through the ebay console when the listing first appeared.
    "Do you have a BUY NOW price?"
    The response was NO, I am looking for multiply bids...I guess I should have bid instead of waiting for the last few seconds as I always do...The auction was ended in the morning of the day the auction was up. I immediately sent the seller a message and said; "I was going to bid to win, You said that you did not have a BUY NOW!!! What the hell" Never got a reply.

    I have to say this, I am still heart broken that I did not get this keyboard for my collection. Not a day goes by that I don't think about it...Maybe with time...
    Thanks for listening

  2. yes i wonder what happened to it. maybe the seller saw sense and kept hold of it!