Roland’s first drum machines

It looks like Japanese manufacturer Roland have a busy year ahead of them as they celebrate their 50th anniversary. To kick things off they’ve launched a new website – Roland at 50 – which is well worth browsing if you’re interested in learning about the history of this iconic music gear manufacturer.

The history of Roland and electronic music are inexorably intertwined with the legendary TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines leaving their mark on music, club and street culture around the globe but these weren’tRoland’s first attempts at making drummers obsolete!

What drum machine did Roland make first?

Originally designed to provide rhythm backing for organ players, Roland’s first three products were the TR-33, TR-55 and TR-77. The TR in the name stands for ‘Transistor Rhythm’.

The CR-78 – world’s first microprocessor-based rhythm machine:

Later in the 70s, Roland launched the CR-78 which was the world’s first microprocessor-based rhythm machine and the first machine that enabled users to program and store their own drum patterns. The CR-78 featured on numerous hit records and laid the foundations for the TR-808.

Where is the Roland Museum?

The Roland R&D Center is in Hamamatsu, Japan. The R&D Center is home to a private museum that exhibits Roland and BOSS musical instruments that date all the way back to Roland’s foundation in 1972. Watch the video below for a guided tour (complete with some killer synth music!)

Roland’s Gear Museum

Put a Roland 909 and 808 in your DAW today!