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Synth and Software’s Top 10 Synth Soloists

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Fission with Jens Johansson, Anders Johansson, Shawn Lane and Mike Stern

Jens Johanssen

Swedish synth virtuoso Jens Johanssen first came to worldwide attention playing keys with Yngwie Malmsteen. For six years he developed a virtuosic soloing style that blended Bach, Mozart, and Paganini along with a dose of blues and fusion influences. To match the over-the-top playing of his boss, he did it with the execution and tone of a lead guitar player. His playing with Yngwie became the template for so many keys/synth players that followed in similar genres, he is considered the OG influence. He originally made his much-coveted lead synth tone on a lowly Korg Polysix through a Morley JD10 distortion pedal. He later began using a DX7 driving a Roland JV-1080 module—and more recently a Roland controller driving a smaller JV-1010—always with the Morley pedal. That’s not exactly the high-end gear you might have imagined, but his tone, expressive control, and powerful playing have earned him legions of fans.

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