Roland keytars

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Herbie Hancock performing with a Roland AX-7 at the XM Sonic Stage at The Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival

The Roland Corporation has manufactured several keytars.

The Roland AX-1 was produced between 1992 and 1994.[1] It does not produce sounds, but controls other devices (such as keyboards, sound modules and samplers) via MIDI. The industrial design of the Roland AX-1 was done in a basement studio in London, U.K. by two designers, David Sherriff and Andrew Leggo, who ran a small design studio called Space Logic. The electronic design and engineering was done by Roland Europe, Italy.

The Roland AX-7 was manufactured from 2001 to 2007. This modern instrument contains many more advanced features than early keytars such as its predecessor, the Roland AX-1, and the Yamaha SHS-10. It runs on 6 AA batteries or an external power source. It has a 45 velocity sensitive keys (without aftertouch), and a 3-character LED display. Several features aimed towards stage performance are present, such as a pitch bend ribbon, touchpad-like expression bar, sustain switch, and volume control knob, all on the upper neck of the instrument. There is also a proprietary "D-Beam" interface, made up of infrared sensors that detect nearby motion.

The Roland AX-Synth was released in late August 2009. This modernized instrument builds on the features of its predecessor, the Roland AX-7. The most notable change is the addition of an internal synthesizer. A UV Black-colored "premium" model called "Black Sparkle" was released in September 2010. The AX-Synth has now been discontinued.


  1. ^ "The History of Roland: Part 4". Sound-on-Sound. February 2005. Retrieved 19 April 2012.

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