beatbuddy_angle

Drum machines — those are those big, luggable rectangular things used by electronic music producers, right?

What if one could fit in a guitar pedal? And what if you could use your feet to trigger patterns and fills, leaving your hands free to play guitar (or another instrument)?

That’s the idea behind BeatBuddy. Now, the basic notion is that it’s friendly for things like practice – and it should be helpful motivation. But clearly live performance, songwriting, and even dance music could benefit, too.

And now it’s a fully-funded project.

If the content in the video isn’t appealing, the makers also promise you’ll be able to upload your own kits, which means this could have broad appeal.

Like many of these ideas, BeatBuddy is a crowd-funded project, built on IndieGogo. Started on December 16, the project has already far exceeded its funding goal of US$75,000, and there are still 26 days. (Their incentive was clever: they set the launch price to US$199, shipping estimated in April, versus a proposed retail price of $349.)

Launch video:

Specs:

  • Multi-layered, sampled drum kits
  • Un-quantized, human MIDI patterns
  • 10 drum kits, 200 pre-loaded songs, custom upload
  • Headphone jack
  • MIDI sync (dedicated jack, appears to be S-Vid to save space)
  • Stereo output, via jack plugs
  • Footswitch input
  • SD card slot
  • (mini) USB connection
  • Play fills, transitions, accents from the pedal
  • Customize content from desktop software (load MIDI, WAV, add song parts, load sets)

You can expect a lot more like this, too. Computational power keeps getting more affordable in crazy-small form factors – see Intel’s announcement of Edison this week, a reference platform inside an SD card. And crowd-funding seems likely to continue to promote this sort of experimentation from niche makers and musicians.

BeatBuddy: The First Guitar Pedal Drum Machine

(Hmmm, there’s that word “first” again – any electronic music product historians want to chime in?)

And the project page:
http://mybeatbuddy.com/

It’ll be really interesting to see how these new crowd-funded projects deliver. They’ll be making their presence felt at NAMM – the first sign we live in different times.

beatbuddy_top

beatbuddy_input_side

beatbuddy_angle_back

  • eddy
    • stumm

      Yeah, that was an insane claim, hate it when people think they need to promote that way. Hell, there’s a ton of them.. Zoom has made like 9000 at this point…they almost churn out programmable drum machine guitar pedals as much as Korg does tuners. Not to mention the top-selling AdrenaLinn I, II, and III. Not even new to this decade really…

  • JonYo

    Seems all right, keeps it simple for practice usage and such, but… where do you connect the output? If your guitar amp has an aux in that bypasses any guitar FX and distortion stuff, then great, otherwise, how do you keep the drum sounds clean while using your usual guitar sounds? Most guitar amps don’t have a whole bunch of differently treated inputs, although if you have a extra practice amp, you can use that, or just powered monitors, or something separate, that would work ok, but then the whole thing about it being a “guitar pedal” form factor sort of loses its point.

    • Jesse Jensen

      I think the idea would be to use an amp sim and other pedals before this in your signal chain, and use this as the last thing before hitting your amp clean

    • JonYo

      I suppose, but I don’t know anyone who consistently always runs their amp dead clean, no eq, no nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I like the super simplified operation and being able to go to the chorus, back the verse, fills, etc, with simple toe taps, but I think the assumption of how the average used is going to amplify the thing is a fundamental flaw in the idea.

    • chaircrusher

      I think you could use it without a guitar plugged into it, and run it through DI into the mixer, or another guitar amp. Or just run it into your amp if you like how that sounds.Hell, run it through other pedals, have fun with it.

      The form factor and inclusion of an audio input doesn’t mean it can only be used the way other guitar pedals are used. And guitar pedals don’t just need to be in between a guitar and an amplifier, for that matter.

  • kerm

    I’m really impressed with the sales pitch. Nicely produced video. He’s personable and seems passionate about the product. There is a working prototype. The explanation is straightforward. I think it’s a winner.

  • Zé Maria Gonçalves Pereira

    DRM-32 electro harmonix?

  • pola

    This pedal
    is going down, in my humble opinion, the fail road, because :

    1) You can see from the start of the
    video that you will be very limited with just one switch. Even for the purpose
    of a simple test, there is need for an additional footswitch. Why would the
    creators of beatbuddy not imagine a two or three switches pedal from the start
    ?

    2) One short press for a fill, another short
    press for another fill (great ! what if the first fill was good enough for me
    ?), press long for change from chorus to verse, and vice versa. Press super long
    to end the song. Brilliant. Press three short, three long, and three short for “S.O.S.
    I am in the middle of a song in front of the audience and I messed it up
    because the pedal is too complicated !”

    3) I will absolutely LOVE when I hear
    my heavy distorted guitar AND beat, since they are both plugged to the same
    amp. What ? you need another amp to be able to hear beatbuddy with no
    distortion ? Then beatbuddy is as cumbersome as another solution. Period. What
    is its edge over a simple drumbox connected to a separate amp ?

    4) Video claims that with another
    drumbox, you need to spend ages to learn how to create a beat, but why would
    beatbuddy be totally different ? You still need to compose your beat and if you
    do not know how to do it, then it will be complicated with all devices. My advice: take 1 full week to program as many
    beats as you want with an Alesis SR16, buy a MIDI pedalboard, you get much more
    possibilities than the beatbuddy for less than 350 USD.

    5) There is already one pedal that lets
    you record whatever you want, not just beats, in your computer, then transfer
    it to your pedal, that is sturdy and easy to use, has two switches + an
    additional one if you need, that costs 250 euros, the name is Boss RC30.

    So, in my
    humble opinion, the beatbuddy would have been brilliant and a hit 5 or ten
    years ago. Not today. Sorry guys.

    • J

      I could respond to these one at a time, but instead I’ll just say this. The creator of this pedal started a funding campaign. This means people sent him money before he even had a product to sell in hopes that the pedal would see the light of day and that they would get one. Not only did he meet his goal, but he exceeded it by almost 50%. Now, the question that comes to mind is- if there are other products that have been out for ages that as you say are just as functional (if not more), are cheaper and easier to use, why would people pay money to wait for this rather than go down to the local Guitar Center or order one online and have it in their hands by the end of the week?

  • Regend

    AdrenaLinn

  • armedliberal1

    Avoid distortion? Two Channels??