Yamaha SK10

This was my first polyphonic keyboard and combined with my Yamaha CS5 became the basis of my rig for a few years.

I remember this synth as being very solidly built with nice organ and strings, although lacking a wide variety of sounds and the chorus was almost permanently on to thicken the sound.

The SK10 was the first keyboard for which I made my own case. In this case I went a bit over the top and made the top and bottom with chipboard, resulting in the case weighing a ton, but at least the keyboard was well protected and when I came to sell it, it was in mint condition.

  • Purchased: 1983
  • Sold: 1986
  • Gigged with:
    • Egor's Funky Jumper

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Overview Specification Resources

Information from Vintage Synth Explorer

The Yamaha SK-series are combo-keyboards with synthesizer, organ, brass and string sections. The SK-10 was the first of the SK-series, released in 1979 - the SK-20, 30 and 50D followed in 1980, and the SK-15 in 1981, possibly as a replacement for the SK-10. The SK-10 is the only one in the series that does not incorporate a synth section, but has organ, brass and string sections that can all be played together for more interesting combinations. Very sturdy casing, 4-octave and fully polyphonic the features also include a leslie simulator, vibrato, attack and sustain rocker switches, a slider for 'brilliance' and a one-octave transpose switch. Not exactly feature-laden, but a lovely string synth sound. Interestingly, they are often referred to as 'analog', but in fact do have a digital section. Its organ has one of the early implementations of Yamaha's FM technology in a very limited form, concurrent with the GS-1/2 development platforms which eventually led to the DX series.

The ORGAN SECTION is available in all the SK series synthesizers. It offers a full range of stop levers from 1' to 16', percussion levers with adjustable decay, and controls for overall sustain, brilliance and decay. This gives you quite a lot to work with in the way of synthesis. The organ's sound is FM based and it sounds very B3 like. You can add a Vibrato and a noisy but good Tremolo to it. Its sound is all about the 70's era rock organ, especially with the Ensemble chorus effect in use. It also has a Leslie-speaker output around back.

The PRESET STRINGS section isn't very sophisticated and offers very limited editing capabilities. It is the string section though, that is worth aquiring this keyboard for. Very similar to the best of the string synths, (such as the Arp Solina/Omni or the Logan String Machine) it has a sound reminiscent of the opening of 'Oxygene' (J-M Jarre) or the lead line from 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' (Joy Division).

  • Polyphony: Polyphonic (Number of voices not specified)
  • Keyboard
    • 49 keys
  • Controls
    • Pitch: 438 - 452 Hz
    • Transpose: 1 Oct Up
    • Vibrato: Speed 5 - 7 Hz; Depth
    • Attack: Slow
    • Sustain: Short 0.5 Sec; Long: 1.0 Sec
    • Brilliance
    • Volume
  • Tone Levers
    • Organ: 8' 4' 2'
    • Strings: 8' 4'
    • Brass: 8' 4'
  • Ensemble: Organ; String; Brass; Speed
  • Jacks
    • Output
    • Volume
    • Phones (Stereo 8 Ohms)
  • Power Supply
    • Europe: AC110-120V/220-240V, 50/60Hz
    • USA & Canada: AC120V, 60Hz
  • Power Consumption
    • European Model: 13W
    • USA Model: 13W
    • Canadian Model: 13V A
  • Dimensions WxHxD:818 x 132 x 318mm (32 1/4" x 5 1/4" x 12 1/2")
  • Weight: 12 Kg (26lbs 7oz)