The Ultimate Guide to the TR-8S Rhythm Performer – Creating Sub Steps

TR-8S Ultimate Guide
Sub Steps are a great way to add stutter and fast roll effects to your Patterns in the TR-8S. To create Sub Steps we first select a Sub Step Value, then input the Sub Steps into the Pattern. Sub Values are expressed in fractions of a Step, they can be 1/2, 1/3 or 1/4 of a Pattern Step. For Example, if the Pattern Steps are sixteenth notes, a Sub Step Setting of 1/2 results in Sub Steps that play 32nd notes.
Contributed by Alexander Marlowe for Roland Corporation Australia

Sub steps work really well on High Hats. To add some to a Pattern try this:

  1. Press the Start/Stop Button to play your selected Pattern.
  2. Press the TR-REC Button to enter Step Recording Mode.
  3. Hold the Sub Button and turn the Value Knob to set the Sub Step value.
  4. Press the CH Button to select the Closed High Hat Instrument.
  5. Press one or more Pads [1-16] to add Sub Steps to your Pattern.
  6. Press the Sub Button again to turn it off.

Try inputting Sub Steps for other Instruments like the Bass Drum or Snare Drum, by following the above steps, and pressing the desired Instrument Select Button to input Sub Steps on the selected Track.

Pads that have Sub Steps on them light in yellow. If you want to replace your Sub Steps with ones of a different rhythmic value, press the Pads that are yellow to clear the existing Sub Steps you want to replace. Then hold the Sub Button and turn the Value Knob to set a different Sub Step value, and input your Sub Steps again.


The Last button on the TR-8S allows the creation of a virtually unlimited range of Polyrhythms, by giving you the ability to set the Length of each Instrument Track in a Pattern independently.

To do this:

  1. Press the Last Button.
  2. Press the desired Instrument Select Button.
  3. Press one of the Pads [1-16] to select the last step for the selected Instrument.

You can change the length of more than one Instrument at once, by holding down one Instrument Select Button and pressing other Instrument Select Buttons.

To clear the Last Step Setting of a track, press the Last Button, press the Instrument Select Button of the desired Instrument, then press the Clear Button.

Article written by Alex Marlowe

Alex MarloweAlex Marlowe is a Composer/Producer, Musician and Consultant based in Melbourne, Australia. Alex has placed music in numerous movies and TV shows, and toured worldwide as a keyboardist with major artists. As a Teacher and Consultant, Alex has worked with platinum songwriters, music editors, producers and composers, and conducted courses in Music Production and Music Software, including at the Songwriting School of Los Angeles. You can find more info, and contact Alex at:

TR-8S Ultimate Guide

This Article is part of a series called The Ultimate Guide to the TR-8S Rhythm Performer, for the Guide’s Main Page click here.

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Created by Roland V-Drums specialist Simon Ayton, these patches were designed using the internal factory sounds and many of the techniques covered in the TD-50 guide. Enjoy exploring the possibilities!