Yesterday I bought a used Roland TR-606 drum machine from craigslist. For those that don’t know, the Roland brand of drum machines are synonymous with most of the music released in the 80’s. You would be hard-pressed to find a record from that era that wasn’t made using one of the Roland drum machines; the most popular being the TR-808 model. This model is so popular that people just refer to its sounds as the 808 kit, and an “808” is now slang for the really deep bass kick that’s used all over the place. Even if you didn’t know what it was, you’ve heard it a million times, especially on southern rap records and 80’s music. The TR-606 I bought originally came out in 1982.
Even though I experimented with the 80’s sound on Adventures in Counter-Culture, I never owned any vintage gear, so I had to work from memory and studying those styles more than actually owning the gear they used to create it. I would’ve loved to own some vintage gear in the past but it’s usually pretty expensive, and I didn’t know if I would be using it enough to justify the purchase. Luckily, I saw the 606 on craigslist for a price that was in my budget, so I went for it. I spent a few hours last night going through the user manual and learning how to use it, and while it hasn’t even been 24 hours since I brought the TR-606 home I’ve been reminded of something that was starting to get a bit lost.