Yamaha SS30

Yamaha SS30 Image

This fully wood-cased beast is a classic String-Synth of the seventies from Yamaha. It is "multi-phonic" as it uses a divide-down, electric organ type of architechture for its tone generation. There are two tones for each note so it's probably fair to say it's dual-oscillator, and it can create some really lush timbres. It's richer sounding than the ARP Solina String Synth. It has an individual VCA envelope for each key. The four-octave keyboard is not velocity sensitive, and the synth offers just a few controls above the keyboard for choosing preset sounds, and modest tweaking (no filters, LFOs, etc). It has been used by Utravox & Midge Ure.

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15 Visitor comments
March 6, 2014 @ 2:26 am
Extremely lush sounds on these - even better than the strings on the D-85 top of the line analogue Yamaha organ, which I also own - The detune function is simply dial in genious. I'll never sell mine
stephen parsick
November 22, 2012 @ 6:57 am
i think it´s one of the most overrated pieces of gear. it certainly does have a distinct sound but iit tends to be on the bright and cutting side. there are many shortcomings in its design (envelopes, chorus and modulation settings) which caused me to sell it. many years later, i borrowed my old ss30 from its current owner, just to feel bothered by exactly the same flaws that had made me sell it back then. it´s certainly nice, it´s rare, built like a tank, there certainly are worse machines around, but i´m not sure it´s really worth its current asking price. but what do i know?
Big Chris
September 25, 2012 @ 3:07 pm
Just got one of these from eBay, sold as fully working, but it actually needed a bit of work on the keyboard. The sound is distinctive and much thicker than the other "stringers" I've played on (Crumar Performer and Logan String Melody II). I'm pretty sure it's the high string sound in Fade To Grey by Visage, and it's definitely all over the Ultravox albums from Vienna onwards.
September 4, 2012 @ 1:54 am
The SS-30 is a good reason to post a comment. I for one, love it and feel that it is perhaps misjudged, a shy retiring kind of beast. As it is rarely seen in public places, perhaps people think that they must be a bit crummy... The fact is, Yamaha made pretty much the best stuff. (or at least until a bit later, they did)
I have recently fulfilled my several year long quest to track down and obtain an SS-30. A fairly dull story, though one with a very satisfactory conclusion. I love it.
Never sell an SS-30. They are only for buying, and much playing.
izera styephen
August 13, 2012 @ 9:49 pm
Years ago I came across something like this although it had a chorus/flange button and different controls. Sounded similar from memory.
Yamaha with the same suit case build and look.
Any clue what it may be called?
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 3.25 (242 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Full 49 voices
  • Oscillators - 2 Osc. per voice
  • LFO - None
  • Filter - None
  • Effects - Chorus & Vibrato
  • Keyboard - 4-Octave (49 keys)
  • Memory - None
  • Control - None
  • Date Produced - 1977
  • Resources & Credits
  • Thanks to Don Thomson and Steven Norgate for submitting info.

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