Yamaha CS-50 Synths on the Market and sold

Below are Yamaha CS-50 synths that are either on the market or have sold. My purpose with this post is to follow the market and keep a registry of sorts. I’ll try and keep this post up to date as CS-50s are listed and then sell. Maybe someday I’ll get another!

July 22, 2021 CS-50 2707 Another nice CS-50 on Reverb – this one out of Austin Texas and serviced by Switched On. Asking price is $9000.

Groovy picture.
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CS-60 Synths on the market and sold

Below are Yamaha CS-60 synths that are either on the market or have sold. My purpose with this post is to follow the market and keep a registry of sorts. I’ll try and keep this post up to date as CS-60s are listed and then sell. Good to keep track of the value of your stuff.

Update July 21, 2021: appears 1827 has sold! Was a good deal and I will probably eventually regret not buying it and selling mine.

July 20, 2021 CS-60 1827 This one is fitted with a Kenton Midi kit and is listed on Reverb out of Tuscon Arizona for $9000. It would make a lot of sense for me to buy this and sell my CS-60 after, but I am probably not up to all the money-moving and travel that would require. It does have some rare accessories, and with pick up available in Santa Barbara really wouldn’t be too bad.

CS-60 in near mint condition, fully restored by Nick Montoya of Moog music with Kenton midi kit installed.  Comes with rare vinyl case for the legs, music stand and foot pedal.  Makes for a nice collectable and is computer studio ready.  Custom wood stand and upper shelf are available as well (sold separately)    Available for pickup in Tucson, AZ or Santa Barbara, CA.  

Looks good. Not sure I dig the placement of the control over there. If I fit the Midi I’d have found a control from a 1970s home organ that would fit and look the part.
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Yamaha YC Compact Organs

Yamaha’s first organ was the D-1 home organ introduced in 1959. It began development of a line of organs for the home, stage performance and portables that carries on to this day. The portable compact organs from Yamaha began with the A series in around 1965. These shared the Electone name with their home organ siblings, but they don’t seem to have been pushed as a product for professionals or outside of Japan.

The YC series followed the A series in 1969 with the launch of the YC-10. With the YC-10, Yamaha decided to take the compact organ seriously and built a line of durable, flexible musical instrument that would ultimately find their way into the hearts and hands of professional musicians across the world. Let’s explore each model chronologically and in depth.

The cover of a brochure from 1975. Model in foreground is a YC-45D, then a YC-25D and a YBA-100 amplifier.
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Yamaha CS-60 part 5.5: Intermission

It’s easy to get carried away collecting, repairing, tuning, organizing and generally hobbying on your vintage musical equipment. You can lose sight of what it’s all about: making music. With this sort of mindset I sat down at the CS-60 on Sunday and played it for about 2 hours. Stuff is currently a bit out of tune now that a lot of the capacitors are back to full participation, but it sounded good anyway. Someday I’ll figure out how to put together a youtube video with good sound, lighting and all that, but for now you can enjoy someone else’s playing and explanations of how it all works.

Market: Yamaha GX-1 EX-42 EX-1 EX-2 FX-1 Stage models

On this thread I will keep track of these neat creatures as they come to market.

A long time ago I house sat a place with a Yamaha EX-42. I remember seeing it in the corner of the music room the first time – I just stood and looked at it in awe. It didn’t work perfectly, but did work for the most part. It was awesome! I resolved to get one some day.

I am now aware there are five distinct Yamaha Stage models. Yes there are others that might be included, FX-3 or ELX-1 come to mind, but to me, these have little in relation to the models below.

  • EX-42 Electone Stage Organ introduced in 1970 for $31,994. To my eyes the best looking of the Organ Stage models. For the most part based on discrete components rather than difficult to obtain Yamaha ICs. Haven’t seen one on the market for years.
  • GX-1 Electone Stage Synthesizer introduced in 1975 for $67,867. The Holy Grail of the Yamaha stage models -or any other instrument they ever made. Come to think of it, I can’t think of a comparable instrument period. Based on potted Synth function modules shared with SY-1 and SY-2. They made a handful and in 20 years I’ve only head of a few come to market. Never actually seen one for sale with my own eyes.
  • EX-1 Electone Stage Organ introduced in 1977 for $34,903. The face panel of the EX-1 is a departure from the similar EX-42 and GX-1 efforts. Said to be based around the same difficult to source ICs as the CS-50, CS-60 and CS-80. These do come up for sale.
  • EX-2 Electone Stage Organ introduced in 1977 for $25,208. Similar styling and panel aesthetic to the GX-1 and EX-42. I’m not sure of the rationale for having the EX-2 and EX-2 in the line up at the same time. Maybe someday I’ll have both and can do a full report.
  • FX-1 FM Electone Stage Organ introduced in 1983 for $43,648. A whole bunch of FM synthesizers in one box. It’s a toss-up whether to include this with the others, but styling, cost and space program level of functionality led me to include it. I’d love to see a non-cheesy demo of one of these. More Vangelis less cruise ship elevator jazz.
  • Various Tone Cabinets were offered for the Stage models. These were finished in white to match and they usually packed a lot of power, many drivers and some interesting features. All models came with at least 1 tone cabinet.

EX-1 July 9, 2021

Hard to get a good picture of a large item in a small room! Power on at least.
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Yamaha CS-60 part 5: Power Supply Finish and Calibration

I received a big box of capacitors from Mouser and quickly set to work finishing up the power supply and PRA boards. Of course I failed to take any pictures of the finished power supply board before I reassembled the power supply, but you have seen new capacitors before. I had one trace get damaged in the rebuild so I bent the lead I would normally cut off over and soldered it to another solder pad/connection on the same trace.

GOLT! goes through the power supply theory of operation, safety precautions and adjustment better than I ever could in this video. Power Supply section begins at 17:22. Thanks to Emanuel for the link.

I realized in all my work I have not discussed safety at all. Safety for myself and safety for the custom ICs in this synth.

Protect yourself: You need to protect yourself from chemicals and shocks. To protect yourself from chemicals you want to solder with a fan blowing across your work and ideally out an open window. I’ve never seen a breakdown of the contents of solder smoke, but it can’t be good, even if it is just run of the mill smoke. Other chemical exposures come with cleaning fluids, fader lubes, adhesives and any other stuff you end up bringing to bear on your project. Read the warnings and follow the recommendations. You only get one set of lungs / liver etc. Protecting from shocks is as simple as making sure your synth is unplugged before you do any work.

Protect your synth: The Yamaha CS lines are in a class of their own with respect to hard to get ICs. There are no spares other than the very odd examples what show up on eBay or Reverb. A machine has to die for more to be sourced. I would be willing to bet CS-50 and CS-60 survivorship will turn out to be fairly low due to their being broken for parts. So how do you protect your precious ICs? Wear an antistatic wrist strap and connect properly to ground so you don’t zap your CS-60 when you touch it. This is especially important because a CS-60 has a wood chassis and the only dissipation path for static is into the circuit boards via the wiring.

Okay, now we and the synth are safe.

Power supply reinstalled. If you are not good at remembering where the screws go you should make a diagram. 6 same size screws hold the power supply chassis to the wood chassis, 1 nut and bolt secures the green ground to this chassis, 2 screws secure the power cord strain relief to the wood chassis and 1 holds the white power cord clip.
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Yamaha CS-80s synths on the market and sold

Below are Yamaha CS-80 synths and parts that are either on the market or have sold. My purpose with this post is to follow the market and keep a registry of sorts. I’ll try and keep this post up to date as CS-80s are listed and then sell. Maybe someday I’ll get one!

Update July 3, 2021: Right now on Reverb you can buy an original CS-80 workshop / service manual for $569.67. The odd asking price is probably because the listing is out of London UK and in British Pounds. Like the legs that sold a few days ago, I wonder if this is a lot of money for a manual, or a good deal for an item that helps complete a CS-80 package. I admit, I am the sort who buys original manuals for all my Synthesizers and doesn’t give them up when if I sell the synth.

Something to think about: they sold about 800 CS-80s. Each of them would have come with an Owners / Users Manual – and Yamaha probably printed off extras for owners who lost them or whatever. Service manuals on the other hand did not come with a synth when it was new. They were deployed to the global network of Yamaha service centers and techs. There could be thousands of CS-80 service manuals floating around for the handful of CS-80s ever made. To test this theory see how many GX-1 service manuals are out there for the 10 or so examples of that synth they ever made.

I have SY-1 and CS20M/40M manuals and they both have covers in this charming 1970s mustand yellow.

Update July 1, 2021: Someone spent $3000 on a stand and the rare leg carrying case for a CS-80! Seems strange, but if you have a CS-80 these days and your value is pushing whatever you are brave enough to ask, you probably need these if your example didn’t come with them.

Yep – someone paid more for a set of legs than a CS-60 went for a few years back.
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Yamaha CS-60 part 4: Power supply capacitor replacement

The power supply only has 9 capacitors. They are big for the most part and their replacement should have been easy. It was not. The capacitors are folded inside the power supply, so it has to come apart. Once I got it apart I found that four of the caps (2x 100uf & 2x 3300uf) are glued to the board. On top of this the power supply is heavy and awkward to move around while doing the work. I could have desoldered the 25 or so wires, but that didn’t seem like much fun. Anyway, this is how it went.

I didn’t get a picture form above before I removed it. I’ll add one when it’s complete at the end. This is the view from below. Those two upper screws mounting the heat sink have to be removed so the heat sink comes free.
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Yamaha CS-60 part 3: Capacitors on order

After coming up with yesterdays capacitor list I went through my stash of capacitors and found about 40% of the ones I needed. Even better, I have all the caps I need to do the Sample and Hold, Key Assigner, T61 and Sub boards. It sounds aggressive – but if I can do these boards and start the power supply board it should kick start my effort and keep me busy until my order from Mouser shows up on Wednesday or Thursday.

I upped the voltage a little bit on most of the caps and for the two 3300uf 35v ripple filter caps I am using some 4700uf 50v caps I bought for a Soundcraft CPS150 power supply that ended up not needing them.

Normally I move the projects out to the workshop, but this thing is damn heavy. Family was off camping so I set up in the living room and worked until midnight. Yes, that soldering iron is precarious, I ended up getting a little table to set it on when my cat kept insisting on inspecting my work.
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Yamaha CS-60 part 2: The capacitor list

Replacing capacitors in an old piece of electronics has become a somewhat frequent endeavor in my world. I am woefully behind on recapping all the stuff I have that should have it done for reliability and worry free service, so I do it as needed rather than because I want to. The CS-60 could probably soldier on for years with its old capacitors, but I would feel a lot better about using it regularly if I knew it was less likely to experience a failure, and there is always a chance that a failure would result in damage to nearly impossible to find ICs. You could say it is cheap but time consuming insurance to replace the caps.

What’s in the box? A lot of wires, circuit boards and very carefully tied little string loops and knots to keep the wiring harness organized.
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