Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Michael Jackson's Keyboards

Hey readers, hope you're all doing well.  Make sure you check back tomorrow (Thursday) for another big interview!

Have you ever been curious about what type of synths Michael Jackson used?  The King of Pop's sounds are incredibly famous and synonymous with the 80s.  Keyboard Magazine has put together an article on what types of sounds were used in Jackson's old records and have a comparison to what would have been used on his This Is It tour.  While it's always sad MJ is no longer rocking, talking his synths is a good way to pay tribute.  The article is here, but here are some of the cliff notes:

-The "Beat It" digital gong was created by the Synclavier, and was a factory patch.  If you went and bought this synth today (with the original patches) you could get the exact sound!

-"Human Nature"'s string part was a Yamaha CS-80.  "Billie Jean"'s main chord motif was also a CS-80, played live by Michael in one take for the record.

-The answer to the chorus in "P.Y.T." was a Roland Jupiter 6 doubled with a Sequential Circuits Prophet-5.

-The big synth parts on "Thriller" were done on a Roland Jupiter 8.

-The chord comping of "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" was a Rhodes.

-The most interesting bit of the article for me was this next fact: The pad on "P.Y.T." after "I'll take you there" is Michael Jackson's voice sampled into an E-mu Emulator 1.

-The basses on "Thriller," "P.Y.T.," and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" were all done on two Minimoogs.

Check out the whole article for the modern recreations, and more information.  Be sure to check back tomorrow for another great interview!


  1. What was the Synths used in Rock With You?.Always loved that performance!

    1. It's "Soft E.P." preset from Korg M1 that's playing the "whistle" part.

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