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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52 Visitor comments
August 27, 2010 @ 6:01 pm
you MUST check the youtube links in the demos and media box... after hearing them i simply must own this synth!! beautiful sounds - distinctly different sounding filter to many other roland analogues. underrated classic imo
August 13, 2010 @ 9:06 pm
I found out after I bought this thing recently that it has an oscillator dividing system that allows you to get different waveforms from the same osc simultaneously. The same oscillations at different feet actually change in resolution (timbre).

A couple of the presets are not that bad either. Sounds great through a good delay. I'm using a Kenton Pro Solo mark II to MIDI sync LFO to the filter and thinking of adding a CV/Gate jack to control pitch???!

It's got a personality all its own - the lines are warm, wooden and round, the knobs are large and shiny. It's also heavy to carry for its size - very solid.

So far no regrets.
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!
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Rated 3.89 (328 Votes)

  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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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