The Yamaha GS-1 FM Synthesizer

This is a demo of the Yamaha GS-1 synthesizer.

The Yamaha GS-1 was Yamaha’s first digital FM synthesizer, released in 1981. It’s relatively rare 8-operator FM synthesizer (4 Carrier/4 Modulator/8 EG) that predates the DX-7 by two years.

Features of the keyboard include velocity sensitivity and polyphonic aftertouch, 16-note polyphony, a 3-band EQ and analog chorus.

The Yamaha GS-1 is pre-MIDI.

Sound On Sound’s Gordon Reid had this to say about the Yamaha GS-1:

Even today, the GS1 is a remarkable instrument, weighing 90kg (a hair under 200lbs) and designed like a miniature grand piano. It’s clear that Yamaha intended it for studio use.

But don’t let the 19th century looks deceive you. Its beautifully weighted 88-note keyboard is both velocity and poly-pressure sensitive, and — with the exception of on-board editing — it is everything you would expect from a top-of-the-range synth.

Yamaha GS-1 Specifications:

  • Digital FM dual 4 operator synthesizer
  • 16-note polyphony
  • Multi-timbral (number of parts): 2
  • 3 built in foot switches
  • 1 FC-3A expression pedal
  • Chorus effect
  • 88-key velocity sensitive keyboard
  • 16 presets

via AnalogSweden:

An improvised quick tour of the Yamaha GS-1. Sorry for all the blabbering 🙂 I also forgot to mention the EQ which is pretty basic bass/mid/treble.

The GS1 has eight operators per voice but these are arranged as four modulator/carrier pairs. The sound “strips” have settings for four operators on each side, so you can mix the different presets.

One thought on “The Yamaha GS-1 FM Synthesizer

  1. Hi, I

    would like to buy one Yamaha Gs1 Voice library, do you know where I can find this? Thank you,

    Best regards,


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