BeatBuddy comes from the I Can’t Believe Nobody’s Done This Before files: it’s the first guitar pedal drum machine, giving you hands-free control of your beat while you’re rocking out. It was initially funded via an IndieGoGo campaign which reached $30,000 within the first 30 minutes and went on to be super mega successful. It’s now distributed in Australia by Innovative Music, and I couldn’t think of a better group of folks to bring this particular pedal to Aussie players.
STEP ON YOUR DRUMMER
BeatBuddy is a MIDI-based drum machine built into a pedal, and the unit comes with an SD card which is loaded with ten drum sets and over 200 song styles, in a variety of time signatures. Its full stereo with 24-bit sound, full-colour LCD screen, 220 included songs, multiple unique fills per song, and there’s also an optional additional switch for hands-free song selection, tap tempo, accent hits, beat drops and more.
Between the pedal itself and the additional footswitch you can start a beat, add a fill or three, go from verse to chorus, add a cymbal crash or tom hit whenever you want it and much more. So it’s much more than simply playing along with pre-recorded backing tracks: you actually interact with it to trigger performance changes, which makes it great for improvisors.
BRING THE BEAT BACK
The stock beats are not quantised, so they have the natural feel of the drummers who originally played them, with the benefit of very well-recorded drumkit samples to send them through. The interface is intuitive and in no time you’ll find yourself improvising and interacting with the pedal like it’s always been a part of you. The only downside really is that you can’t create new beats within the pedal itself, but you can make them in other software and import them into BeatBuddy. And sonically, the kits sound great.
Have you heard of ‘A Little Thunder’, the pickup invented by Andy Alt, which generates a bass-like signal from the bottom two strings of a guitar and sends it to a separate amp? I’ve messed around with the BeatBuddy and my Little Thunder-equipped Les Paul, resulting in an instant power trio. I’m sure if I got my paws on a looper pedal I could take things even further and be a one-man band with drums, bass, rhythm and lead guitar and vocals all in one. Hmm, now there’s an idea...
THE BEAT GOES ON
And that’s really what makes BeatBuddy so much fun: it’s not just a passive sound source for you to play along to: it’s an interactive one for you to play along with. Whether you’re a solo performer, a guitar teacher or you just want to have a more satisfying musical experience around the house, it’s a great tool for inspiring new musical explorations.
For more details on Singular Sound products, head to www.innovativemusic.com.au.
Hits and Misses
Can't program drums within the pedal