Roland SH-101

Roland SH-101 Image

The SH-101 is very cool, especially for techno, drum&bass and ACID! It's a monophonic bass synthesizer. Its sound lies somewhere between the TB-303 and a Juno bass sound. It has a lot of simple but cool features. You can control the VCF, pitch, LFO or all from the pitch bender. It has a white noise generator, arpeggiator with up, down and up/down patterns and a simple real-time sequencer. The LFO offers random, sine, square or noise waveforms. And normal or auto portamento effects give you that elastic bass sound. There are external clock inputs for the sequencer and arpeggiator, CV/GATE inputs and outputs and a CV hold pedal.

Roland SH-101 Blue Image

Unfortunately there is no patch memory storage and although it has no MIDI there are upgrades available for it from many analog service companies that will allow you to incorporate it into any MIDI studio environment. It can also be controlled by MIDI using a CV/MIDI converter. It's great for bass sounds or bubbly analog effects. They come in three different flavors - gray, blue or red (there was a VERY rare white version too)! It can also be strapped on like a guitar for live performance using the optional Hand Grip.

Red SH-101

It is used by Orbital, Future Sound of London, Überzone, The Prodigy, 808 State, The Grid, Cirrus, Eat Static, Jimmy Edgar, Apollo 440, Devo, Union Jack, Luke Vibert, Dirty Vegas, Josh Wink, the Crystal Method, Aphex Twin, Astral Projection, Les Rythmes Digitales, Sense Datum, Squarepusher, Sascha Konietzko of KMFDM/MDFMK, Freddy Fresh, Lab-4, Nitzer Ebb, the Chemical Brothers, Boards of Canada and many more.

Lookup Roland SH-101 Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics


Are you looking to buy or sell a Roland SH-101? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

106 Visitor comments
May 24, 2009 @ 5:59 am
pic of the rare white version
April 30, 2009 @ 4:45 am
See Dolby solo with this (complete with Rock wig) and then throw it off stage at around 3 minutes in...
And you can hear it at the beginning of this song - one of the roadies is sound-checking it in the background :-)
I remember being completely horrified when I saw this live on TV...
April 30, 2009 @ 4:35 am
The sequencer is not 'real-time', it is a step sequencer with 100 events (including rests / ties). Great sound, which is thinner than the Pro-One or Moogs, but still quite versatile, despite the single oscillator (+sub). Very much the poor man's mono when it came out, but as often is the case, it's now regarded as a classic. Sounds like a Juno when multitracked. The main difference between this and the MC-202 is that the MC sequencer ("microcomposer") is a simplified version of the 101, with fewer parameters, smaller controls and a diddy keyboard. The 202 was marketed as an expander / sequencer for the SH-101. The shorter sliders put me off as I found it difficult to control the parameters as easily as with the 101.

p.s. there is no 'sine' waveform on the 101 (lfo's post). You get Sawtooth, variable pulse (nice), and sub oscillator with fixed pulse and square waves which plays 1 or 2 octaves below the main VCO.
April 13, 2009 @ 6:24 am
They also made a dark military green model too, although rarely seen outside Japan. Possibly even rarer than the white model. They all sound the same however.
Rob Parker
February 13, 2009 @ 1:05 pm
Ratamahata, it is a really fun synth! It's so simple, yet can teach you so much. As far as it being "gigable", well notice it has a small keyboard (32 keys) and has no memory, so youll have to change your sounds on the fly if you need to. Having said that, because its a simple design, being able to quickly find the parameters you want to change shouldn't take you long. Personally I love this synth...I made a whole song using just this and nothing else (Had to sample the drum sounds of course) and it's just really fun to play with :) I hope that helps, email with any questions you may have :D
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.32 (1029 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.
  • Demos & Media
  • YouTube Thumbnail
    Roland SH-101
    by stretta

    Manual - Roland has made manuals for most of their products available as free PDF downloads.

    Patch File - This is a text document describing how to set up the SH-101 for a nice Orbital style synth lead sound.

  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Monophonic
  • Oscillators - 1 VCO (independent levels for saw, square/pulse/pwm and sub-oscillator)
  • LFO - triangle, square, random and noise waveforms
  • Filter - resonant, self-oscillating LPF, mod by EG, lfo and kybd tracking
  • VCA - ADSR, mod by EG or gate
  • Arpeg/Seq - Digital sequencer up to 100 steps record/playback; Arpeggiator patterns: up, down, up/down
  • Keyboard - 32 keys
  • Control - CV / Gate
  • Date Produced - 1983
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.