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Synth Spotting - Lyle Mays


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Does anyone know what gear Lyle Mays uses and what he used prior to

his current gear? I believe he currently uses a Yamaha grand piano and two Kurzweil synths on his left.


He used to have a white Oberheim SEM synth (on his left side, either

a four voice or eight voice), he also had a synth on his left hand

side that he used for pads, which I am trying to find out more about.

(It had a dark front panel with a white numerical keyboard. It looked

like a late 1970's synth, similar to the ppg wave but a dark burgundyish color.)


One time that I saw him play I believe he had a Yamaha VL1 on his

right-hand-side with which he played his harmonica-style solo on "Are

you going with me?" At other times, I have seen him use what looks

like a 1980s synth (like a Korg DW8000?) for that solo. I am curious as to

what that was?


Lastly he often has a synth on top of the piano with he plays

textural things (sweeps, glissandos, etc.) I would love to know what

that is also. I suspect from the timbre that it is a Korg,

(wavestation?) but I don't know.


I am very fond of his synthetic textures. And curious.








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I've seen him a few times, but the only time I was close enough to see equipment was about 10 years ago. At that time he had a Roland JX10 on top of his piano. He used that for pads and his standard square-wave lead.


As far as the harmonica sound, I could've sworn that in an old Keyboard article, he said it was on a Prophet 5 -- but I could be mistaken.




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Steve & Jonathan:


It would make sense that the gear would change over the years. Perhaps he used the prophet when he first cut that record.


The video I was watching is from 1992.


I was able to establish what the mystery keyboard on his left was (white keypad, dark panel). It was a Kurz 250. So it looks like a Obie 4 voice, Kurz 250, JX10, Korg DW8000 and grand piano at that point in time.


He was alternating the use the Kurz and the Obie with long, trailing release times to build out the pad sounds. So he'd stab a pad on obie, play the piano, stab a pad on kurz, play the piano, etc. I found that interesting.


Thanks again,






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