A friend recommended that I should write a blog on tech for musicians, as I seem to always know about the latest gadgets and gear – especially for the performing solo musician. So, I plan to regularly update with posts about gear I find, want, buy, build, etc. starting with:
The Beat Buddy is a stompbox sized drum machine that lets you cycle through verse and chorus rhythms with the tab of your foot. I do a lot of building rhythm by banging and thumping on my guitar and recording that into a loop pedal. Often though, this means that the rhythm is the same through the whole song- I might add a layer using the second track on my Boss RC-30, but that usually means additional setup time before I really get into the song.
The Beat buddy comes programmed with 10 or more drum set sounds and hundreds of pre-defined “songs” or set of patterns, and lets you add fills and swap between chorus and verse at the tap of your foot.
This sounds really exciting- a one-stomp box to add a drummer to your set!
The demo video looks pretty good, but I wonder how it would work in a real solo performance setting. For example, to move from verse to chorus, you press and hold the pedal and release it to change. Does the change happen on the release or on the downbeat of the next pattern? If you accidentally release too soon, will it start the new pattern early or change mid-measure? I would hope the change would occur at the downbeat, allowing the performer to instruct the pedal that the change is coming, then possibly tap other pedals to change the guitar sound as well.
An initial Kickstarter campaign has already closed, and they are taking pre-orders now. If I get a chance to demo, I’ll update!
I experimented with making my own printed picks this week! I had looked into getting custom ones made, but Dunlop pad printed picks are super pricey, D’Addario ink jet printed picks are $69 per 100, and I wanted multiple thicknesses and wasn’t sure I would stick to the one design…
I found a site that does custom rubber stamps from any B&W design you upload. A 1×1 inch stamp was $12 with shipping. A StazOn ink pad was $7 – it’s solvent based ink like a Sharpie. 100 of my favorite Planet Waves 0.50 mm and 0.60 mm picks were $20 each.
So $59 for 200 custom printed picks, and I don’t have to print them all at once- if I want to change the design, I just order another stamp for $12 and I can do multiple designs! As a bonus: I can stamp my logo onto anything else- cards, flyers, stickers, the bathroom wall…
Last night, my friend Andy Liechty invited me down to WizKid Sound in Atlanta to record a podcast interview/performance session! We had a great time, I told stories about and performed “Saving Grace” and “INT. BEDROOM – PRE-DAWN”.
In the interview, I mention that “Saving Grace” was a bit of a co-write with my californian friend, Kim Hellman- but didn’t actually say her name! Kimmi: I love ya, and thanks for your inspired lyric!
You can stream the podcast episode here.