Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi is no more

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Roland Founder Ikutaro Kakehashi

Ikutaro Kakehashi, founder of Roland, is no more. Ikutaro was an engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Roland Corporation.

Ikutaro Kakehashi was the father of the TR-909, TR-808, and Godfather of MIDI. His contributions to the musical instrument world, and music in general, affected millions of people worldwide in a positive way.

Tommy Snyder, a former adviser for Roland, revealed the tragic news.



Ikutaro Kakehashi, an instrument engineer, founded Roland in 1972, and went on to develop several game-changing music instruments. He was the mind behind the System 700 modular synthesizer, the TB-303 bassline synthesizer, the TR-909, and, of course, the TR-808 drum machine. He was the man responsible for the 808, 909 and many other beloved machines that musicians use to make our music.

Iconic gear (in electronic music) that were produced under his leadership:

  • The System 700 modular synthesizer;
  • The TB-303 bassline synthesizer;
  • The TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines; and
  • The Jupiter-8 & D-50 synthesizers.

The TR-808 drum machine had a profound influence on contemporary music (specifically hip-hop). Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, Diplo, Lil Jon, and many more have used the TR-808 drum machine in their work. For the younger generation, one name that immediately pops up when they hear “808” is Kanye West, whose 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak featured the drum machine on every track.

Checkout this 2014 documentary on the 808, narrated by Zane Lowe and featuring interviews by Rick Rubin (record producer), Questlove (multi-instrumentalist and record producer), and more musicians.

Watch: “808” (Official Trailer)

Kakehashi (along with Dave Smith) was the recipient of a Technical GRAMMY in 2013 for hi contributions to the development of MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) technology.

“Imagine there’d never bn a 808 909 101 303 etc. Wud all b stuck listening to guitars. (How many can I offend) RIP Roland’s Ikutaro Kakehashi,” a music fan tweeted.


Roland Drums, Keyboards, Pianos, Synthesizers & Accessories

If you’re into music, you would know that Roland corporation is among the bigger companies out there that makes a range of electronic musical instruments, electronic equipment and software. Here, we take a look at their bestselling products – Roland Drums & Percussion, Keyboards, Digital Pianos, Synthesizers, Recording Gear & Accessories.

Roland, established in 1972, is a world leader in manufacturing electronic musical instruments. Its product range includes electronic keyboards, synthesizers, guitar products, electronic percussion kits, digital recording equipment and audio processing devices.

Keyboards & Synthesizers

Roland’s keyboards and synthesizers are quite popular in the music fraternity, and they have a range of models to suit the needs of beginning as well as professional musicians.

See All Roland Keyboards & Synthesizers
See All Roland Arranger Keyboards
See All Roland Keyboard Amps

Roland Digital Pianos

Roland is a popular brand when it comes to digital pianos as well, and have a wide range of pianos to offer. Roland has models with the traditional piano looks as well as the more compact pianos designed for professional use on stage. You can expect top-level sounds and touch, great features, and educational features.

See All Roland Digital Pianos

Roland Drums & Percussion

Roland has some cool electronic percussion instruments that are great alternative to the traditional acoustic drums. Drummers love Roland’s V-Drums family of products, whch are commonly found in studios as well as on stage. Take a look at Roland’s wide range of percussion instruments suitable for recording, performing, and practicing.

See All Roland Drums

Roland Digital Recording

Roland has a variety of recording products for musicians, hobbyists, and audio professionals. Multitrack recorders, handheld recorders, interfaces for computer music production, Roland has a product for nearly any audio capture application.

See All Roland Digital Recording

Roland Guitar & Guitar Synths

Roland has a god range of guitar products, which they sell under the Roland and BOSS brand names. Compact pedals, V-Guitar, CUBE amplifiers, are just a few of their popular guitar products.

See All Roland Guitars & Guitar Synths

Roland Amps

Roland has a range of powerful and versatile instrument amplifiers as well as portable PA systems. Roland has an impressive range of combo amplifiers for all kinds of different instruments, including guitars and keyboards.

See All Roland Amps

About Roland

RolandRoland Corporation is a leading manufacturer and distributor of electronic musical instruments, and is also known for developing groundbreaking digital instruments.

About the Name of the Company
The founder of the company Kakehashi chose the Roland for the company because it was simple to pronounce (he found the name in a telephone directory). Besides, there were not many companies that time which started with the letter “R”, which would make them stand out in trade show directories and industry listings, felt Kakehashi.

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