Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Got a Roland SH-7 :)

A big old Roland from the 70s!

I bought myself a present, since my birthday is coming up... (or at least that's my excuse)

It's the Roland SH-7 !

I got it for a fairly low price, but for a reason.

It's not in very good shape.

One of it's previous owners probably decided to repaint the room the SH-7 was standing in... You can see where this is going I guess... I think he must have used a paint roller because those little tiny white stains are all over the thing.
The seller had it serviced a couple of years and the guy who serviced it spent an entire evening together with his girlfriend, trying to remove as much paint stain from it as possible.
At least now most of the panels are almost clear. The keys have some stains, and while the tolex on the bottom looks OK from the front, you should see the back...
Some sliders and switches also need replacing.

To sum it up:

The VCA LFO mod slider is completely broken off.
The VCO 32' slider is completely broken off.
The Portamento Mode switch is completely broken off.
The CV mode (one note, two note, ext) selector causes the pitch to jump around (dirty or worn out).

The pitch bender is glued, so it was broken as well at one point.
The seller warned me that he noticed that the Filter Cutoff slider made a slight crackling sound, though I haven't noticed any problems with it, yet.
The previous service guy said he had replaced some of the rotary selectors (waveform selectors I think) and maybe some others. Perhaps some of them aren't exact replacements because the knobs now seem to sit too far above the panel, like a few millimeters. Perhaps that's normal. Don't know, but not all knobs are like that
I also noticed the triangle wave mode on VCO B seems to produce what sounds like a saw wave. I'll need to take a look at it with a scope and see what is is and perhaps try to see what's causing it.

Some good news at least are that I have managed to locate, what I think (and hope) is, replacements for the portamento and CV mode switches.
The sliders however, will probably be a complete nightmare to find replacements for...

There's supposedly a mod done to it that involves external triggering and S&H, but I forgot what it was, hehe. I'll have to check again...

One thing I don't quite like with it is that the amplitude of the signal drops dramatically when you turn the resonance up, much more so than I've noticed on other synthesizers. I guess it's just the way the filter works.

All in all, I'm happy about it and just hope that I find some sliders. Everything else should be manageable :)


  1. Good Luck with the sliders!

  2. Congrats on your present! It's a fantastic piece. I have an old SH-7 myself, which is in good working order - fortunately all sliders are fine (knock on wood...) - but I have the same problem with broken lever switches as you. Part no. SLE-623-18P for transpose, and SLE-643-18P for cv mode. Would be interesting to know if you actually did locate the right parts, and if you would share your source? I tried with Syntaur, but they don't seem to have these available.

    1. Hi, I think I have a couple of spare ones if you're interested in buying.
      Let me know where I can contact you if so.

    2. Sounds great. Please write me on damgaard3[at]yahoo.dk

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Hallo Peter!
    Do you still have some SLE-623-18P or do you know where to buy them from? I broke mine off my SH-101 :-(
    Thanks in advance and regards,

  5. Eheh I just did the same for my birthday, just 4 years later :-)
    Did you find all the spare parts?