The BeatBuddy, the last drum machine that your mother told you that you should get, that doesn’t sound like a drum machine. I’ve had quite of few of the “other” drum machines over the years, and the BeatBuddy is like no other. It is easy to use and easy to program out of the box. However, in order to get the full features of everything your new “buddy” will do, I highly recommend reading the manual.
The Beatbuddy sounds just as good, if not better than, some of the drum programs that are used with todays DAWs and even sounds better than some real drummers. Bands have even recorded entire albums with this little guy. It is just a tiny bit bigger than a normal size foot pedal and comes with a footswitch that allows you to use the left button for cymbal hits and the right button for pause, and makes it so you can control everything with your feet. If you are in stopped mode, the right button also lets you browse through the current library that is engaged.
Included are two hundred songs and all beats have an intro, two main parts, two transitions, three fills, and an outro. Tap the foot pedal once to start the beat, hold to transition for as many measure as you like (after the transition it goes into the other main part), tap once for drum fill, and twice for the outro. There is a moving bar across the LCD screen called the visual metronome, which lets you know where the beat is in the bar. This visual metronome is particularly helpful when trying to determine when a fill or transition is going to end and great for working with odd time signatures. It doesn’t stop there. From the BeatBuddy website, you can download the BeatBuddy manager and edit all of the beats to your liking, add new midi files, create new songs, add songs as a set list, and more new features coming. All of the beats are stored on an SD card, and I would recommend having a couple if you are planning on changing beats around or creating your own.
The SD card does need to be kept in the BeatBuddy for operation, and all of this is very well explained in the manual. The BeatBuddy website also has additional beats and drum sets you can purchase. There are ten drum sets, and you can use any of them with any of the beats. The drum sets included are standard, rock, metal, jazz, brushes, percussion, Latin, dance, ethereal, and voice. There are twenty different styles of beats including blues, rock, country, metal, odd time, classics, R&B, funk, and more. The majority of the beats contain ten different styles for each genre. For example, the blues genre includes not only straight time, but also 6/8, and 12/8 blues. The jazz genre contains beats for swing, modal, 3/4, 5/4, and 7/4. The possibilities are endless. Don’t like the jazz kit with the jazz beats, change it to standard or Latin. The BeatBuddy, a new revolution in drum machines that aren’t a machine.
BeatBuddy can be used as a stand-alone unit to practice with or live applications, as part of your pedal board, and even with a mixer. It is powered by an included adapter and has left and right inputs/outputs, with the left being mono, a headphone jack with it’s own volume control, a midi sync port with an included cable, and a USB cable for PC/MAC connectivity. The other controls for the BeatBuddy include an overall beat volume, drum set knob, and tempo knob. A tap button is surrounded by navigational buttons for browsing the menu. Last but not least, it also has the good ole metronome with eleven variations including quarter notes, and regular and odd time signatures. The BeatBuddy may be small, but this little guy is a beast and will give you countless hours of inspiration and joy. Check out the BeatBuddy at mybeatbuddy.com!