Everyone knows a good drummer joke. Or two. Drummers are indeed a special breed.
Singular Sound’s BeatBuddy drum-machine pedal, however, is no joke. And as the first drum-machine-in-a-pedal designed for guitarists, it, too, is special.
The BeatBuddy provides Charlie Watts in a box – along with Buddy Rich, Al Jackson, Jr., and John Bonham thrown in for good measure. And it arrives programmed with 10 drum sets sounds ranging from Latin stylings to reggae to rock and roll. Want to play prog on Neil Peart’s full kit? Cool jazz with brushes? You got it.
More than 200 songs are provided in 21 genres. But that’s just the beginning; the user can download new songs and beats or create their own with free software. And it’s capable of holding a whopping 3.2 million songs. An online forum offers a sharing service for even more tunes.
The beat can be programmed at any tempo and in time signatures from 3/4 to 7/8 and beyond to some you probably can’t play in. The screen provides a metronome.
Once the style and tempo are selected, the Beat Buddy offers hands-free creative control. To start, simply tap the footswitch. Tap it again to add a fill. Then, hold it down to get a transition from a verse to a chorus; lift your foot, and you jump back to the original beat. Double tap, and the beat ends. An optional BeatBuddy footswitch provides even more on-the-go options, including drop beats and other accents. Plus there’s full MIDI control.
The BeatBuddy Mini is simply a more basic version – 16-bit mono sound compared with its big sibling’s 24-bit stereo. It’s packed with 100 pre-loaded songs, and you can’t add tunes or swap sets or create gig lists. Still, it’s packed with possibilities.
Either model of BeatBuddy can be run through a guitar amp’s auxiliary jack; while it sounds good, acoustic-guitar amps and PA systems offer a neutral, full-range sound that works best.
Whether you use the BeatBuddy as a home-practice click track, a looper’s accompaniment, or to power your band, it’s a viable alternative to lugging around drum cases, and you can actually tell it what to play. Not to mention you’ll also be in control of the darn volume.
This article originally appeared in VG July 2016 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.