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 He originally made his much-coveted lead synth tone on a lowly Korg Polysix through a Morley JD10 distortion pedal.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.
Synth and Software’s Top 10 Synth Soloists – NEXT