BeatBuddy: Meet your new Best Buddy

Posted by Stuart Barbour on 10 September 2015

Normally I am a manual devourer. I like to read them all the way from – Welcome, thank you for buying our product to Willkommen , danke für den Kauf unserer Produkte.

But having looked forward to trying a Beatbuddy pedal ever since the adverts started popping up on Facebook, once the box arrived I took it straight to rehearsals with me.

Our drummer was late to the rehearsal (he has trouble with his time keeping) so I proudly announced I had brought an alternative with me.

On opening the box the Beatbuddy pedal looked substantial, slightly larger than I was expecting which is a good thing if it’s being stomped on in earnest. Mine also came with the optional Beatbuddy footswitch.

Initially I tried it without the footswitch, plugged it in to the PS and turned it on. I was met with a blank screen. Maybe I should have read the manual. Rummaging through the box I found an SD card, slotted it in and voila! A live screen with info.

The Beatbuddy is one footswitch, so I assumed press once to start, once more for a fill, hold it down for a fill and a B pattern (chorus), hold it down again for a fill and back to A pattern (verse) and a double tap to stop.

And so it was! Ease of use – 10/10

In the past I have used an old Alesis SR16 which has a similar set up although you have to attach two pedals to it to operate it. The Beatbuddy is more compact than the SR16 which is good point in my book. The less you have to set up the better.

The samples sounded good as you would expect. I don’t think you could get away with nasty samples these days unless it was for effect.

Attaching the optional footpedal gave me the option of hitting a cymbal and kick with one pedal, and with the other one pausing the beat.

To set the tempo you press the tempo button and then tap the pedal, very straightforward.

The colour of the screen changes to let you know which part the pedal is playing which is very useful, the colours are bright enough to see in any lighting.

Blue – stopped. Red – intro/outro. Green – main part. Yellow – fill. White – transition. Black – paused.

So without having read the manual (and still not having a drummer in the room) we launched in to our rehearsal for Sunday morning. There is a knob to choose your drumset so I set it to standard, tapped the tempo of our song, pressed start and off we went with a fill to launch us in.

It worked well, and I was quickly stomping for a fill and alternating with the chorus/verse patterns. Eventually our drummer arrived and for the rest of the evening I used the Beatbuddy to add a cymbal/kick at inopportune moments.

Will I use it again? I can definitely see us using it in rehearsal again when the drummer is not able to be there (or when he’s just late). On Sunday mornings we run The Mix for our younger kids which is usually high energy songs led by one or two people on guitars, so the pedal would come in to its own in this environment. It could add some good solid rhythm sounds and we would probably experiment with some of the more electronic kits for this too.

I think the Beatbuddy is a very useful tool to have in your kit bag (or guitar case). A quick look on the net shows you can do some extensive editing and more if you connect it to your computer. Maybe I’m going to read all the way through to Willkommen after all.

Stuart Barbour is the worship pastor at The Point Church in Burgess Hill. www.stuartbarbour.com

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