Roland SH-1000

Roland SH-1000 Image

The SH-1000, introduced in 1973, was the first instrument produced by Roland, and probably one of the first compact affordable keyboard synthesizers in all of Japan. It was designed to complement a home organ. Above its keyboard is a wooden sheet music stand. Organ-style colored preset selector tabs are located below the keyboard. All the extra parameter controls are located to the left of the keyboard.

The SH-1000 is a monophonic analog synth with a single oscillator feeding a lowpass filter, an ADSR envelope, and two LFOs. It features 10 Preset sounds, but they are pretty weak. Fortunately you can create your own sounds for some really great mono-synth bass, lead, percussion and FX sounds. Basic square, ramp and pulse-width waveforms are available from the oscillator and the LFOs have sine, square and sample+hold. It has a terrific ‘Growl’ and ‘Wow’ effect for a pretty scary analog sound. It also features white noise, pink noise, portamento, octave transposition and a Random Note Generator. Although there is no user memory, unique sounds can still be quickly recreated or discovered thanks to its simple interface.

It’s a dinosaur! But it’s also a classic piece of Roland history. It has been used by Vangelis, Human League, Blondie, The Band, and Jethro Tull. A little later in 1973 the SH-2000 was released with more Preset sounds (up to 30) but far less flexibility, controls and features. This may have been because the SH-1000 was a little confusing to its target demographic at the time. But today’s synthesists will love the unique sound and nostalgia of Japan’s first compact synthesizer!

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54 Visitor comments
October 30, 2009 @ 5:04 pm
I have one of these that all of a sudden stopped working. Now only the random note generator works. I know it must be something simple because one second it worked, the next it didn't (no dropping involved in this incident). Maybe needs some soldering? If anyone can take a look at it in the Western MA area, I'd pay for parts and labor.
September 21, 2009 @ 2:29 pm
this things is amazing. it blows away most things when used manually. it all comes down to how you use it. the bass and depth here are outstanding. give away your juno, prepare to let your moog sit on the sideboard for a while.

(just dont use the presets... although they are useable with filtering

limited but brilliant)
June 21, 2009 @ 6:37 am
I am fixing one for a friend. Like some solder joints and dirty connections. I am having fun learning all about it and I won't give it back for a few weeks so I can jam with it in a band I'm in. I think it sounds good even if it is limited. The temperature sensitivity is just poor design unfortunately. The Presets are very basic compared to present technology and sampling. But sampling isn't synthing. Some of the good sounds seem based around playing with the filters and the Growl and WAW effects. Analog has a very different sound to digital stuff. Same with the guitar effects I use too. Any one know where to get the front switches in Australia or even over seas? Email I know I'm a bad boy for asking but I don't know where else to go, please don't delete me.
June 2, 2009 @ 7:22 am
Very limited synthesis and range of sounds. 1vco, no PWM.

nice basic VCO sound
Surprisingly nice filter! I've owned most of the SH series, and this is probably the best sounding SH filter I've heard. quite Moogish, maybe they used their SH3 Moog clone in this one as well?
Very snappy ADSR, though on mine it only works on the filter if it's also routed to the VCA. Probably by design?
Two separate LFOs, though very limited speed range and waveform selection.

The presets are few nd crappy, there are few possibilities to modify them, so in praxis I'd consider this more of a variable synth than a preset synth. As a variable synth it is limited, but Im impressed by the bass sounds it pumps out. If you can get one cheap Id say it's worth upgrading it with cv/gate/filter cv jacks, as this will make it a very nice machine for sequenced basslines.
February 19, 2009 @ 7:07 am
i got to play one of these for a few months years and years ago..

it was my 1st experience of analogue synths and i loved it..

i still have a recording i made with the SH-1000 in random note mode and my (digital) piano...

i wish i had one now x
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Rated 3.89 (331 Votes)

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  • 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 - Monophonic
  • Oscillators - 1 VCO (square, ramp and pulse-width)
  • LFO - 2 LFOs (sine, square, sample+hold)
  • Filter - 1 VCF w/ frequency and cutoff sliders (lowpass)
  • VCA - 1 ADSR envelope gen
  • Memory - 10 presets
  • Keyboard - 37 keys
  • Control - CV / Gate
  • Date Produced - 1973 - 1981

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