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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55 Visitor comments
Cleber Vaz
June 21, 2010 @ 7:11 pm
It is just what a "dinosaur" should be, as simple as fantastic and unique.
June 16, 2010 @ 1:10 pm
Well, i just bought one of these and let me tell you - it's truly wonderful! I own many old monosynths and this have somehow become my favourite. It got the most amazing raw filter, built with discrete electronics, like the rest of the synth. The VCO is huge, organic and warm sounding and the envelopes are very snappy. And believe me, it's not limited at all. Just mix the different waveforms and you'll have a large palette of sounds. After some cleaning it's like new; it's built with quality parts. It just fits perfectly in a mix, no EQ needed. If you can find one, buy it!
April 12, 2010 @ 11:47 am
My first synth! I cut grass the entire summer of 1976 to afford it. I think it was $600.00 but I'm not sure. Anyway I loved it. The SH-1000 was my introduction to synthesizers. I used a phase shifter to fatten it up a bit. It allowed me to live out my Chick Corea fantasies!
john Zadro
January 29, 2010 @ 4:23 pm
I've owned or played practically every synth manufactured and have played synths for over 30 years --this synth gets a bad rap because of its appearance and preset tabs. It is quite literally one one the most expressive lead synths I've heard but you need to put it through a line 6 echo or space echo to get what i'm talking about. yes you can do that to any toy to make it sound better but other synths just don't have the edge or sonic variance. Some wonderful sounds can be had when the filter hovers on oscillation, and having tabs to instantly engage a warbling, gurgling or buzzing LFO makes this an extremely expressive lead synth. I simply cannot get these sounds out of other machines. Add a foot pedal to control cutoff and you'll find out what I'm talking about.
January 18, 2010 @ 3:34 am
It has was used by Jimmy Destri,of Blondie!
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 3.89 (332 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • 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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