1972, analogue rhythm machine
I have to have a page on this classic drum box which was actually Rolands first product, yet one of my favourite Roland products. It is actually an updated and relabelled Rhythm Ace FR-8L (below), if you take a close look at the pictures you will see the differences are very small, but the sounds are entirely different. Ikutaro Kakehashi who founded Roland had previously created the Ace Tone product line but was forced to leave his own company due to financial problems.
Click here to read the Sound on Sound article on the history of Roland.
This unit was primarily designed as an organ top box and a very good one it is. To an organist it would give you plenty flexibility with volume faders for each group of sounds and a clever chrome touch bar on the top left that starts and stops the rhythms (like it uses some static in your finger or something?). There is an UpTempo switch, 2 beat, 4 beat and a fade out button plus you can hold down multiple rhythm’s to layer them!
It’s sounds are unique warm vintage latin style with really nice hats, the bass and snare are quality plus its got great percussion including bongos and a guiro. The rhythms are good and inspiring to play over. I would always sample it to use it in a tune so that I can pitch it into the right bpm, it has no strict time format and not even a metronome input.
Rhythm Ace FR-8L
The functionality of the two units are essentially identical but the drum sounds are completely different, and again among the best vintage latin drum sounds you can get. I will gather a little more info and put samples up asap…