Synthesisers are as popular as ever and possibly getting more so every year. If you're new to synthesis and things still seem a bit daunting, don't worry. The music magazine Sound on Sound has an amazing long running tutorial series on the topic. 63 tutorials total released from May 1999 to July 2004. From the basic components of a synth and different types of synthesis to synthesising all kinds of instruments whether it's strings, brass, wind instruments or various percussive sounds. This tutorial series is certainly the most extensive of its kind on synthesis. Even for producers and musicians who are well acquainted with synthesis, there is something new to learn or knowledge to freshen up. All of the tutorials are still accessible, even if not directly via the magazine's website. You can find them all listed below in chronological order.

Sound on Sound Synth Secrets

  1. Part 1: What's In A Sound?
  2. Part 2: The Physics Of Percussion
  3. Part 3: Modifiers & Controllers
  4. Part 4: Of Filters & Phase Relationships
  5. Part 5: Further With Filters
  6. Part 6: Of Responses And Resonance
  7. Part 7: Envelopes, Gates & Triggers
  8. Part 8: More About Envelopes
  9. Part 9: An Introduction To VCAs
  10. Part 10: Modulation
  11. Part 11: Amplitude Modulation
  12. Part 12: An Introduction To Frequency Modulation
  13. Part 13: More On Frequency Modulation
  14. Part 14: An Introduction To Additive Synthesis
  15. Part 15: An Introduction To ESPS And Vocoders
  16. Part 16: From Sample And Hold To Sample-rate Converters (1)
  17. Part 17: From Sample And Hold To Sample-rate Converters (2)
  18. Part 18: Priorities And Triggers
  19. Part 19: Duophony
  20. Part 20: Introducing Polyphony
  21. Part 21: From Polyphony To Digital Synths
  22. Part 22: From Springs, Plates & Buckets to Physical Modelling
  23. Part 23: Formant Synthesis
  24. Part 24: Synthesizing Wind Instruments
  25. Part 25: Synthesizing Brass Instruments
  26. Part 26: Brass Synthesis On A Minimoog
  27. Part 27: Roland SH101/ARP Axxe Brass Synthesis
  28. Part 28: Synthesizing Plucked Strings
  29. Part 29: The Theoretical Acoustic Guitar Patch
  30. Part 30: A Final Attempt To Synthesize Guitars
  31. Synthesizing Percussion
  32. Practical Percussion Synthesis
  33. Synthesizing Drums: The Bass Drum
  34. Practical Bass Drum Synthesis
  35. Synthesizing Drums: The Snare Drum
  36. Practical Snare Drum Synthesis
  37. Analysing Metallic Percussion
  38. Synthesizing Realistic Cymbals
  39. Practical Cymbal Synthesis
  40. Synthesizing Bells
  41. Synthesizing Cowbells & Claves
  42. Synthesizing Pianos
  43. Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 Part 1
  44. Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 Part 2
  45. Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 Part 3
  46. Synthesizing Strings: String Machines
  47. Synthesizing Strings: PWM & String Sounds
  48. Synthesizing Bowed Strings: the Violin family
  49. Synth Secrets: Practical Bowed-string Synthesis
  50. Practical Bowed-string Synthesis (continued)
  51. Articulation & Bowed-string Synthesis
  52. Synthesizing Pan Pipes
  53. Synthesizing Simple Flutes
  54. Practical Flute Synthesis
  55. Synthesizing Tonewheel Organs
  56. Synthesizing Tonewheel Organs: Part 2
  57. Synthesizing Hammond Organ Effects: Part 1
  58. Synthesizing The Rest Of The Hammond Organ: Part 2
  59. Synthesizing The Rest Of The Hammond Organ: Part 3
  60. From Analogue To Digital Effects
  61. Creative Synthesis With Delays
  62. More Creative Synthesis with Delays
  63. The Secret Of The Big Red Button

If you prefer to be able to read these tutorials offline, you're in luck. Someone else already did the work and combined them all in one big PDF (40 MB) that you can download for free. Happy synthesising, everyone!