Roland SH-3

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Micke
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Post by Micke » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:59 pm

otto wrote:Thanks Micke - however I'm unclear about whether they were numbered sequentially for each of the same items or every item roland produced. In other words if they started at 1 for every product made than you might have different products with the same serial number which isn't a problem or did they serialize each thing they made consecutively. In other words might a 250555 be an SH3 and a 250556 be an SH1000?

At any rate my SH3 is serial number 270798 (October '74). I've asked another person who is attempting to sell his for $2500 and his serial number is 240476(July '74. If ever product starts out at **0001 than there seem to be at least 798 in existence assuming mine was that last one made :lol: - I'm waiting on serial number information from other people to get a broader scope. On the other hand if other products are intermingled in the serialization it may be impossible to say how many were made.

As far as I understand most, if not all, of Roland keyboard products made in the '70s up to the mid '80s or thereabouts had serial numbers starting at XX0001. This means that different models could share the same serial number (I don't know how often that occured though).

So in theory at least #250555 could be both an SH-1000, SH-3 and even an SH-2000. However, seeing that the SH-1000 was released some 6 to 8 months prior to the SH-3, the chance that this would happen is very small, unless the the production rate for the SH-1000 was extremely slow (not very likely).

I'm pretty sure therefore there ain't no SH-1000 and SH-3 that share the same serial number. On the other hand, there might be an SH-3 and SH-2000 with the same serial# since they went into production around the same time.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that I made that chart. It should be pretty reliable because I've compared it to hundreds of serial numbers from most of the Roland keyboard models made from 1973 to 1985, and they all fit into the chart. I've also compared it to s/n's listed in various Roland service manuals.
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Micke
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Post by Micke » Fri Aug 01, 2008 3:14 pm

FYI; here are a couple of more serial numbers for the SH-3:

#240482 (July '74)
#250616 (Aug '74)

SH-3A (for comparison):

#302005 (Jan '75)

According to Peter Forrest's A-Z the serial numbers (for the SH-3A I presume) seem to have ranged from xxx800 to above xx2550 implying that at least 1750 were made (i'm sure that a lot more than that were built though). This suggests that the SH-3A went into production around Oct '74 given that your SH-3 is #270789 (one of the last SH-3's) and that the original SH-3 was in production around 6 months before it was replaced by the SH-3A.

Original AD for the SH-3:

Image
"The (Yamaha) CS-80 is a step ahead in keyboard control, and a generation behind in digital control" -- Dan Wyman, Jan 1979

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Post by otto » Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:19 pm

Micke wrote:FYI; here are a couple of more serial numbers for the SH-3:

#240482 (July '74)
#250616 (Aug '74)

SH-3A (for comparison):

#302005 (Jan '75)

According to Peter Forrest's A-Z the serial numbers (for the SH-3A I presume) seem to have ranged from xxx800 to above xx2550 implying that at least 1750 were made (i'm sure that a lot more than that were built though). This suggests that the SH-3A went into production around Oct '74 given that your SH-3 is #270789 (one of the last SH-3's) and that the original SH-3 was in production around 6 months before it was replaced by the SH-3A.

Original AD for the SH-3:

Image
You are a great resource Micke. Maybe we can finally put this one to rest and estimate that there were about 800 SH3's made.
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Re: Roland SH-3

Post by hfinn » Sat Aug 02, 2008 3:42 pm

That makes sense, as I've seen a few SH-3's. I also wonder about Jupiter 8's. How can there be less than 2000, yet I've owned more of them than almost any other synth.

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Re: Roland SH-3

Post by Micke » Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:22 pm

Hfinn: I've done some research on this and came to the conclusion that at least 3100 JP-8's were made. I have pictures of several units that have SN's in the 3000 plus range (the highest SN I have seen is #413207 and the lowest is #030118--the 18th unit off the production line-- made in April '84 and Feb '81 respectively).

According to the 2nd ed. of the service manual the serial numbers for the Jup-8 started at #030100 rather than #030001. I'm not sure why.
"The (Yamaha) CS-80 is a step ahead in keyboard control, and a generation behind in digital control" -- Dan Wyman, Jan 1979

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Re: Roland SH-3

Post by Electrocomp-101 » Sat Aug 02, 2008 8:24 pm

Hi Guys,

I finally can report in. My Roland SH3 serial number is: 250663.

So what does it mean? Do we have a good idea of how many SH3 (not 3a's) were made?

Thanks for the detective work!

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Re: Roland SH-3

Post by Micke » Sat Aug 02, 2008 8:45 pm

I just noticed in the service manuals for the Jp-4 and RS-101 that their serial numbers also started at '0100' rather than '0001'. Hmmm...maybe all (most?) Roland vintage keyboards had SN's starting at '0100'?
if that's the case, about 700 SH-3's were built.
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Re: Roland SH-3

Post by Synthacon » Sun Aug 03, 2008 4:58 pm

The thing about the SH3 is it is one of those synth's that has a lot of folklore with it. As has already been mentioned it is very unlikely that only 40 were made, although the Acetone version would seem to be rare. Also people used to value it at a huge price because of the legend of the one that sold for $12,000 at Sotherbys, the fact that Sotherbys have no record of such a sale ever happening never seemed to stop people saying it was true.

I had an SH3a for a while and rather liked it, certainly it has a very nice sound to it, and would be worth in the £250 - £500 price range depending on condition and how much you wantd one.

The lack of CV and Gate was a pain, and I never had mine modified, although I probably would get it patched out by my tech if I ever got one again.

The word Rare seems to get over used alot, just look at some eBay listings!!

I have had rare stuff, a Red Synton Syrinx, Steiner-Parker Synthacon and lots of RSF gear (Kobol keyboard, Expanders, Expander 2, Blackbox and Polyclavier).

I think a lot of newcomers to the synth world do get caught up in the "Vintage" "Rare" hype that can be created, both on message boards and generally around the internet.
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Re: Roland SH-3

Post by otto » Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:45 pm

I created a blog with an extensive post on the SH-3 and 3A, primarily so the info isn't lost. If you have any information for me to add, let me know.

http://thugsmugssynthesizers.blogspot.com/
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Re: Roland SH-3

Post by feral_universe » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:05 pm

Thank you everyone who owns one of these Roland SH-3 Bastard Children for posting to this thread.

I bought mine from my brother in law (the original purchaser) in the mid 80's. Over the years, I've had numerous false starts and stops, trying to track down some sort of history. In the 90's I decided to ask the fine people at Roland about it. The response I received was NOT encouraging, "The only SH-3 we made was the SH-3A". And that's when I gave up looking for info that Roland insisted it NEVER MADE. I'm not sure if it was because of the Moog lawsuit or shoddy record keeping or I didn't reach the 'right person' to get the info. Needless to say, it was maddening to track down any sort of info/history/record of serial numbers on a SH-3.

Until today... when I found your thread. Finding all of you today has renewed my interest in the SH-3 story, so much so, that I killed dust bunnies to retrieve this bit of info to share.

I am pleased to add another s/n to the list. My Roland SH-3 Bastard Child is serial number 240430.

I'm going to guess that the "lawsuit" with Moog, is factual. If so, there should be records of the lawsuit being filed. The settlement portion might be sealed, but the filing info should exist in paper form or (hopefully) online somewhere. Does anyone know which country the lawsuit was filed in?

THANK YOU!

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Re: Roland SH-3

Post by Anivoc » Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:24 pm

Wow Feral mine was the 14th SH3 made after yours!

I am the original owner of SH3 serial # 240454... I used to run it through an audiovox tape echo chamber back when I was in a local Los Angeles prog rock band.

Sweet! Good times...sadly I rarely use it but too many good memories to sell it.

In regards to the dubious "lawsuit" from what I remember it was not a law suit just a cease and decist "or else"

You'd have to talk to the folks that were overseeing the product development back in the 70's to get the real skinny on what went down..

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Re: Roland SH-3

Post by synthroom » Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:18 pm

Micke wrote:Hfinn: I've done some research on this and came to the conclusion that at least 3100 JP-8's were made. I have pictures of several units that have SN's in the 3000 plus range (the highest SN I have seen is #413207 and the lowest is #030118--the 18th unit off the production line-- made in April '84 and Feb '81 respectively).

According to the 2nd ed. of the service manual the serial numbers for the Jup-8 started at #030100 rather than #030001. I'm not sure why.
I've got JP-8 #413272. It's the latest SN I've run across.
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Re: Roland SH-3

Post by mootbooxle » Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:19 am

So nice to hear all this talk about my beloved Roland SH-3.
I promise I'll get the serial from it asap...It's a bit of a hassle now, as I've temporarily stored it on a high shelf in my studio to make some room (toooooo much gear....but never enough gear...you know the sickness!).

The SH-3 was definitely not my first synthesizer, but it *was* my first analogue synth. Got it in 1999 when I was 15 years old. Fun gear story. There was this junky old music store in town, run by an old guy who only opened it when he felt like it, so often you'd go by there and it'd be closed, but the first of the two times I ever caught it open I went in there, and it was...It was that place that I think probably exists in every gear junkie's mind, except this was real.
It was like a time capsule. It reeked of cigarette smoke, and everything was covered in dust, but there was vintage gear piled in every nook and cranny. He had a couple Rhodes Stage 73s, a Wurlitzer 200a, a Farfisa Compact, Yamaha CS-01 (on original display stand, no less), and a bunch of other curios I couldn't identify at the time. That's just in the area of keys. There were innumerable old guitars and amps, but I was mostly interested in the possibility that SOMEWHERE IN THIS PILE OF JUNK IS MY HOLY GRAIL, the Minimoog.

Well, there were no Moogs, but there was, on a shelf, a very odd-looking old thing with all the knobs to the left of the keyboard that said Roland Synthesizer on it. I asked if I could try it out...and my life changed instantly.
Finally I had something that could at least make those Moog-esque sounds, right here before me. (Little did I know of the patent-infringing filter at the time!)
The guy wanted $150 for it, which might as well have been a Million Dollars at the time, to a high school kid with no job. He reluctantly agreed to let me put it on "layaway" which I knew was a gamble due to his erratic "store hours". I think I gave him $50 that day, and came back about a month later with my dad and he gave him $40 more, and the guy let me take the Roland home.

I never saw the place open again. Tried calling a ton of times, never an answer. Every time I went by there it was closed. So for a total of $90 I got my SH-3. It's an original SH-3, not a 3a...That's for sure. The beefiest, nastiest, best early Roland synth, IMO!! I have never heard or used anything besides a Minimoog that does fatter bass.
Sure would be nice if it had 1v/oct CV/Gate I/O.

Someone should clone that divide-down SH VCO and put it in a dotcom/Moog format module!

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Re: Roland SH-3

Post by synthroom » Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:37 pm

That's a great story!
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Re: Roland SH-3

Post by mitchweingart » Wed Nov 18, 2015 4:59 am

...just stumbled across this thread....and yep, count me in....I've got the SH-3.....still in very decent working order....took it out last year to show my daughter's boyfriend....the sliders could use some lubrication, I guess....but, everything is working the way it should....somewhere buried....I've got the manual....that Roland sent me....cuz, when I bought this used from Sam Ash....maybe in 77...they didn't have it....and the internet hadn't been invented yet...but, they were kind enough to mail it to me...after I inadvertently set the sequencer control on....and had no idea how to turn it off....other than power the unit down.... Anyway, I took a bunch of really cool leads with that board....back in the day....when I had my own hair and teeth....always had an issue with it kinda pitching itself outta tune....but, other than that....way cool.... if it helps anybody's research....my serial number is 250720 :)

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