Roland TR-09 the Missing Manual – A user’s guide to the TR-09 Rhythm Composer

PDF FORMAT – Version 0.1 November 2017

This is user’s guide number five – The User’s Guide to the Roland TR-09
I’ve collected all of the information I can about the TR-09 Rhythm Composer and compiled it into a PDF document for you which is in the form, and in the spirit of the original TR-909 manual.

I started doing these because the first leaflet style manuals which arrived with my Roland Boutique synths were too small to read, and so abbreviated that I was left feeling a little underwhelmed. I wanted more. So I learned more, and tried a bunch of things and eventually took my notebooks and turned them into the missing manuals for these lovely little things.

I hope they open a world for you, and guide you through the features, and serves you as a reference guide for things you forget, or wonder about.

At the end there is both a “patch memo” intended for transcribing your settings for the sounds, as well as a “pattern” memo” which is meant to allow us to transcribe the actual patterns we write. I hope these are useful to you, and make writing beats, and sharing ideas easier, and more fun.

PLAY LIVE! Join me.

Sunshine Jones
Nov 1st 2017
San Francisco, California


  1. Dan Isaac:

    Thank you, Sir! Your manuals are a welcomed blessing!! Thank you, thank you!

  2. Wingo Shackleford:

    Dude, you ROCK!

  3. Joseph Lepkowski:

    Awesome ! I like how your continuing your great work against the road map manuals of what should have been.

  4. Andre Ezer:

    Roland should seriously pay you for this. That’s how much better they are than the originals

  5. Dan Isaac:

    ^^^ what he said ^^^

  6. Raja Azar:

    Oh my god thank you!!!!!!!!

  7. Jake Cadigal:

    Thank you!!

  8. Steffen Waldow:

    You‘re the best! ♥

  9. Sunshine:

    @Andre & @Dan – You guys are sweet. I wouldn’t take money if they offered it. I do this for love.

  10. Dan Isaac:

    Dude…. you fucking rock!

  11. Harry Callahan:

    Do you have one for the vp-03?

  12. Gary Gill:

    Sunshine u r awesome!

  13. Xavier Case Corrick:

    Thank you!

  14. Sunshine:

    @HARRY CALLAHAN – I don’t have the VP-03. If I did I would absolutely plan on writing one. Love that thing.

  15. Mike Smith:

    Wow thank you so much.

  16. Robert D. Grijalva:

    A thousand likes!

    Now, if somebody would be willing to do the same for the TB-03 and the TR-08 boutiques that I also happen to own. (Hint, Hint).

  17. Sunshine:

    TR-08 is planned. I give you my word.
    I would love to do one for the VP-03 and for the TB-03 but I don’t have those… if I did, I would. I don’t think it’s right for me to attempt to write or re write a manual for something I don’t have.

  18. Rick Martinez:

    Thank you!!!!

  19. Robert D. Grijalva:

    Printed and 3 hole punched. Ready to go into a binder whenever I get home today

  20. Brad Ashwell:

    Thanks for doing this!

  21. Vincent Salas:

    I don’t think I could possibly love Sunshine Jones more. And then I do!

  22. Alberto Marín:


  23. Arthur Kerrey:

    That’s a lot of work, thank you heaps !

  24. Joost Houter:


  25. Neil Fox:

    Thanks for what you do to help the music grow

  26. Mister P:

    Thank you so much for all your manuals which I have also in hard copy. Really generous of you!

  27. Jonny Ellis:

    This is incredible, you have done a very good deed and should reward yourself today, thanks so much…

  28. Chris Rawlinson:

    Legend. What a gent

  29. Dante Pettus:

    Please do this for the TR-08

  30. Eric Bliedtner:


  31. Björn Ellebrecht:

    Thanks, the manual is very professional

  32. Sunshine:

    @Dante Pettus – It’s planned. I will as soon as I can.

  33. Dante Pettus:

    Thank you. That small fine print is crazy. It doesn’t even give a full explanation either.

  34. Jorge Martins:

    Awesome!! Thanks bud.

  35. Jean-FrançoisSylvain:

    Thank you so much, something I can actually read without a magnifier!

  36. Simon James Dodson:


  37. Marc Davidson:

    Thank you for your kind endeavour. Most appreciated.

  38. Simon James Dodson:

    Any chance of any other manuals for the Boutique and Aira Range?

  39. Sunshine:

    @Simon – I’ve done the JU-06, JP-08, JX-03, SE-02 and the TR-09.
    The TR-08 and SH-01A are planned (SH-01A in the works)
    See them all in the non-fiction category of this site:

  40. Basimathieu:

    Thank you! Very great and useful manual!

  41. Simon James Dodson:

    You are legend! Niice work. I have enough Roland manuals to wallpaper my stairs and landing!

  42. Scotty James:

    love this, thank you!!

  43. Pedro Monza:


  44. Sunshine:

    @Pedro – The only medal I want is for YOU to make music. Play Live! Join me!!!

  45. Christoph Marek:

    thank you!!!

  46. What you did transcend the passion for music, it’s true love.
    Thank you.

  47. homie:

    thank you so much

  48. Thanks so much for this! If you ever find time for a D-05 manual I’d be eternally grateful! :-)

  49. Sunshine:

    @Gary – I would love to illustrate and rewrite the manual for the D-05, but I haven’t got one, so I wouldn’t even begin to attempt a manual for something which wasn’t right in front of me.

    On the other hand, isn’t the software for the D-50 and the D-05 exactly the same? Maybe just grab the old school manual and you’re there? fingers crossed.

  50. Josh:

    Thanks again – just picked up a TR-09, after the TR-08, and a year after selling the TR-8 thinking samples in a Rytm would be enough. I was going to build a Nava, and still may, but was impressed enough with the TR-08 to get the 909 too.

    Would be awesome to have TR-08 and SH-01a guides too, but I know they are a lot of work. It’s amazing how simple the TR-8 is in comparison. Interface design has come along way since 1980.

    Was just in SF (my stomping grounds), but missed your show in Santa Cruz. Maybe next time.

    And there is a ton of D-50 stuff out there. Google Cult of D-50.

  51. George:

    Manuals are very important. I like to download and read them before purchasing a machine. Once I buy the machine I will usually print out the manual because it is easier to read the hardcopy while learning and playing the machine. Of course the TR-09 manual supplied by Roland is next to useless because the print is so small. It was very thoughtful of you to put this manual together and very much appreciated.

  52. McSuede:

    Thanks for making these up Sunshine! So much easy to read and follow compared to the awful Roland posters.

    Keep up the good work!

  53. Matt Prehn:

    Mate thaaaaaaaaank you!
    Not only informative but kinda fun to read as a manual should be. Think all companies should send you free products to review in this manner so everyone can actually get good use outta toys :)

  54. BC:

    Hey man if you are ever in San Antonio you have a place to crash and jam out too! Hit me up for real man! Thats the least I can do. Thanks a million.

  55. Andy:

    I was about to sell this thing until I found your manual. Thank You!!!

  56. Sunshine:

    @Andy – You have no idea how deeply that delights me. Thank you!

  57. Paul Jay:

    Hey Sunshine Jones, I have an issue with the Tr-09 and I’ve searched for some time for an answer and then I came across your alternative manual which was awesome.

    I’ve integrated the Tr-09 with Logic Pro X and it’s working fine apart from one big issue that has stopped me making any music so far.

    I’ve connected it all up, created an aggregate device and so on but when I playback either with midi notes or without, my other software instruments are playing the midi notes from the Tr-09! For the life of me I can’t figure out how to stop that channel from receiving midi from the from the Tr-09. I’ve made sure that all midi tracks are on different channels and searched the preferences for some sort of disable midi thru but I’ve come up short.
    Are you able to offer any advice. I’m losing my mind. I’ve spent 4 days trying to figure this out.

    Many thanks

  58. Sunshine:

    @Paul Jay – Your problem sounds strange, and more like a computer setup issue than an issue with the TR-09. But here are my thoughts on the matter.

    1. Logic Setup
    I don’t use Logic Pro X, I don’t actually use a computer at all for music, but what I understand about logic is that you don’t need to do any system setups for the TR-09 apart from installing the driver from Roland. Make sure it’s the correct driver for your system, and check it’s setup i the system’s settings to be sure it’s buffering the way you want it it.
    That said, the driver is only for using the USB midi/audio with your computer. It is not for standard midi operations. If you’re using 5 pin midi cables, you don’t need to worry about the driver at all.

    In Logic’s environment, create a new instrument.
    Name it TR-09
    Connect it in the side bar to midi channel 10 (the TR-09 default) and make sure that the channel bus is correct (port, etc.)

    In Logic’s arrange window, create a midi track, and choose the TR-09 instrument.

    In the preferences you want to make sure that the midi clock settings are set up correctly, and that you’re sending midi clock to your interface so that the TR-09 can play in sync.

    With a midi cable connected from the out of your interface to the input of the TR-09 you should be good to go.

    That should work, and there shouldn’t be any exception to this. So if it’s doing strange things I would look at your interface and double-check your connections, look at the instrument created in logic and check and inspect the settings, and if you’ve cabled it strangely. Check and double check.

    Other Ideas:
    Disconnect midi out
    If you are hoping sync the internal sequencer to Logic, you really only need midi out connected. This will allow Logic to clock and control the start/stop of the TR-09, and program the beats from within Logic as well, but nothing it is sending will be involved in your midi chain. All of the midi will be coming from Logic.

    It sounds like the problem is coming from attempting to use the TR-09 as a controller. I would start by using it as a slave instrument first and get everything working.

    The USB/Midi features are fun, I have explored them a little to learn about them. But again, I did the same as above, and simply pointed the instrument created in logic to the USB ports instead of the midi ports, and the audio interface portion was selected in the Audio settings.

    With an input device (midi out connected into logic) any track set up to record will play whatever the controller device is playing. That’s how input controllers work – they work in a sort of omni mode so that all the sounds can be accessed from your keyboard, or input controller.

    So it sounds to me like something’s wrong with how you have it set up initially. I’d follow my guidance above, and see if using the TR-09 as a slave to Logic doesn’t remove all of those problems.

    But again, I don’t use a computer for music, and so this is probably better addressed in a computer/logic forum where people are actively using logic as their sequencer every day.

    Hope this helps.

  59. Tonmeister K:

    Hey Mon, you rock. I own the the jx-03, ju-06, and the jp-08 thingies. I was about to dump them for real cheap, when I stumbled on your site. Roland should either PAY you for doing this, or at least give you FREE GEAR, so you can write ‘real manuals’ for their equipment. As a Roland gear user since the early 80s, I am totally stunned at the direction the company has taken recently. In their bid to compete in the ‘cheap, affordable market’, they have thrown the well-known traditional Japanese culture of ‘thoroughness and perfection’ to the winds. My last Roland ‘big board’ was the V-Synth. Since then, I have watched Roland from a very safe distance, awaiting the next crop of ACB/DCB emulations with ‘what’s-so-new?’ FPGAs, and their futuristic? dinky-toy analog synths loaded with tiny, wiggly, faders and knobs. Thanks for donating all these great user manuals to us musicians. Cheers.