Vintage Synth Inspired Tatoos

Post date:

Wed, 11/14/2018 - 14:02


Naomi Bolton

People have different ways of showcasing the love and admiration that they have for their hobbies. For some, this means building up a collection and keeping everything in pristine condition. For others, it means using the items in their collection, instead of keeping everything locked behind a display case. Vintage synthesizers are no exception, but as with most other hobbies, fans of the hardware can also sometimes get carried away. While often this results in a purchase that you can't really afford or a new synth that you might never use, other times it could be something a little more permanent. Here are a couple of examples of vintage synth enthusiasts who felt passionate enough about the hobby to permanently ink something related to it on their bodies.


Waveforms are a popular choice for a tattoo design amongst synthesizer enthusiasts because the shapes are simple, but very recognizable. There are a couple of different variations amongst synth enthusiasts who favor this kind of tattoo.

Some prefer to keep the waveforms separate, like in this tattoo

synth wave

Or slightly more abstract, like in this tattoo

vintage synth tattoo

Instead of individual waveforms next to or below each other, this person chose to overlap the waveforms for their first tattoo.

My first tattoo (maybe I don't have to explain it much to you folk)

Simon Mattisson, from Elektron Music Machines, also has a unique waveform tattoo that can be seen in this video that was shot at NAMM 2018.


Even people who know very little about vintage synthesizers are aware that these instruments tend to be covered in knobs and dials. For synth enthusiasts who want tattoos that are a little less abstract than waveforms, these distinctive synthesizer features are another popular option. For example, the person with the tattoo below opted for the attack, decay, sustain and release dials of the Prophet-600 when choosing a tattoo. For those wondering about the weird settings for the knobs, the owner of the tattoo decided to have the knobs turned to 1980, which is the year of their birth. 


Of course, synthesizers feature more than just knobs and dials, so you could also just opt for some synth related inputs and outputs, like in the tattoo below


Complete Synths

Of course, knobs, dials and inputs alone are not enough for some synth enthusiasts. Instead, they opt to get the entire synth tattooed on themselves like in the example below.



With these types of tattoos it is also very easy to get carried away and end up with a massive synth design on your body like below:

Or you can stick to something a little smaller, like the tattoo below:




There are even those who think that an entire synth on its own is a little too boring and end up combining it with all kinds of other designs, like the DX7 with skull and flowers below: 


In fact, the synthesizer doesn't even have to be "vintage" as can be seen in the tattoo below where a Korg Radias is featured prominently. 

Unfortunately, not everyone who gets tattoos of full synths are happy with the results. One such person is Kelly Osbourne, daughter of rock legend Ozzy Osbourne, who ended up undergoing the painful process of removing the synth tattoo she had on her right arm. 


Kelly Osbourne



If an entire synth is a bit much and you don't want to go for the cliched knobs and dials approach, you could always just get a tattoo of some synthesizer related schematics like in the tattoo below. People who are unfamiliar with synthesizers will probably be baffled by what it represents, but your fellow Moog enthusiasts may just be impressed!


Finally, getting a tattoo of your favorite synthesizer brand is also an option. The most popular ones tend to be the logos of well-known and established brands, such as Moog, which can be seen in the tattoo below. 

Piano Keyboard tattoo

Then again, there's nothing stopping you from getting tattooing the logo of your favorite digital audio workstation on your arm, as can be seen in the photo below. Clearly the proud owner, Josh Mobley, is a big fan of Reason.



Over to you guys, do you have any synthesizer related tattoos of your own? Have you ever considered getting any, and if so, what design do you think would work best? Let us know what your thoughts are on the subject of synthesizer tattoos in the comments below or on the forum.