This YouTuber just played Tony Banks’ Roland JD-800 – which still contains the Genesis man’s patches from the ’90s

Banks is said to have used this exact synth on tour.

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Tony Banks in 1972

Image: Michael Putland / Getty

YouTuber Alex Ball has managed to borrow a Roland JD-800 which once belonged to Genesis’ Tony Banks in the 1990s.

Along with giving you a demo of how it sounds, he’s also shown how his patches were programmed so you can unlock the tones yourself.

The JD-800 is a digital synth that was released in 1991, and these days it can be tricky to get your hands on one. Most being sold online will set you back over £1,000. This specific one now belongs to avid synth collector Andrew Ward, who kindly loaned it to Ball to use in his video.

Roland did release a plugin emulation of the synth back in 2021 as a Zen-Core Model Expansion on the Roland Cloud. It offered the same retro sounds as the original, as it was crafted using the original waveforms along with with advanced modelling techniques. As of yet though, there has been no physical remake of the synth.

In Ball’s video, he walks through patch by patch and plays them through. They handily have correlating names to matching song titles such as Invisible Touch and Mama, but some for some of them Ball had to research into the band’s former live performances to figure out which parts of the song they were used in.

Each track is timestamped in the video’s description, too. Take a look at the full video below:

Earlier this month (September), Ball also got hold of an E-mu SP-12 from the ‘80s. For the occasion, Ward dug out some of Phil Collins’ and Mike Rutherford’s original floppy discs from part of his Genesis equipment collection.

“Chris Poacher lent us a floppy drive and I fired up the discs, possibly for the first time in over 30 years,” writes Ball on YouTube. Watch here:

Roland is set to open its first retail store in Japan on 1 October this year. Last year it also opened a retail space in London in honour of its 50th anniversary. The stores form part of a wider plan to expand Roland’s global reach, but no further shops have yet been announced.


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