Beat Making Interface for Hands & Fingers

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by lynnchpin, Jan 25, 2022.

  1. lynnchpin


    Aug 12, 2008
    Southeast Texas
    Greetings Talkbass family. I have beats dancing around my head all day long and I find my voice recorder very helpful in capturing an idea for basslines and beats quickly...but when it comes time to flesh out that idea I have no mode of input to create a drum track. I've used a cajon, tables and all sorts of thngs that a microphone can pick up because I'm always drumming out beats with my hands, fingers and feet to match what's in my head. I'd get a drum kit but that's not an option right now. My initial thought is to get a MIDI device that has touch sensitive pads to assign as I wish but I need something sensitive enough that will allow me to use my hands and hopefully my fingers too. Has anyone tried or know of any similar configuration to what I'm describing? What devices did you use or would you suggest? I currently have Reaper, a basic Focusrite input and a nice gaming computer, seems like I just need an appropriate MIDI device and software, but I'm not aware of all the options out there, much less the good ones. Thanks in advance for your help!
    scott sinner likes this.
  2. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    Google « finger drumming ».
    You’ll have tons of gear, videos and tutorials.

    tdstiayw, RyanKinBK and lynnchpin like this.
  3. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    You want a MIDI controller with pads. There are tons of them.
    DirtDog and Basslice like this.
  4. lynnchpin


    Aug 12, 2008
    Southeast Texas
    Finger drumming, the missing link in this entire quest for sharing my grooves. Thank you;ve made all the difference
    jam.majors and ugly_bassplayer like this.
  5. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    My pleasure, enjoy the journey
    There are some seriously talented finger drummers out there
  6. lynnchpin


    Aug 12, 2008
    Southeast Texas
    I'll be sure to reply with something when I get the missing components set up and running
    ugly_bassplayer likes this.
  7. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    Here’s an old early video of Jel to get you started

  8. When you say 'all day long' I wonder if you are wanting something portable?

    If not, I like the quality of the pads on the Akai MPD218 MIDI for pads only. Their larger keyboard are good too e.g. Akai MPK225, the mini ones for mini.

    For portable, iPads have some pretty solid options, though you can make a case for how bad Apple is about breaking things with updates, so I would shy away for more in-depth projects without backing up to desktop. Unfortunately, Android suffers from some fundamental issues in how flexible it is for it to be a platform.

    Tell me more of what you want and I have more thoughts. I use this kinda thing a lot for sketching stuff out mobile and recording to desktop too.
  9. Basslice

    Basslice Supporting Member

    May 11, 2008
    Western Massachusetts
    I use a midi mini keyboard (Launchkey) that has both keys and pads. I bought ez-drummer and I can tap in beats and it will search its huge database for sampled beats. Great for forming songs.

    Often I start as you did. I will record my beat vocally then tap it out later. This helps me remember. My beats often come to me first thing in the morning while I am still in bed. I usually lose them about an hour later unless I record them in bed to my phone.
    B-Lo likes this.
  10. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    I got a pretty nice one. Pm me if interested.
  11. RyanKinBK

    RyanKinBK Supporting Member

    Oct 30, 2013
    I've recently gone down a tiny little rabbit hole on this, and after having tried a number of relatively inexpensive pad controllers (Akai LPD, Maschine Mikro Mk 3, Novation Launchpad Pro Mk3, and PreSonus Atom), I'm convinced that for me, the Atom is the best feeling controller with the least amount of complexity/functionality I don't need or want.

    Also, if you're interested in developing your finger drumming chops in a fairly methodical way, Melodics is pretty fun and effective IMO.
    seamonkey, 31HZ and tdstiayw like this.
  12. allintime


    Apr 10, 2018
    I went down the rabbit hole of finding a quality finger drumming pad last year. As with anything you buy, you get what you pay for, and quality control for the cheaper units is an issue. You also need to decide whether you want a dedicated stand alone unit for this where all the sounds and editing are on the device, or you just want a midi input for your computer. For midi input, a midi keyboard will work fine, as @Basslice mentioned, but pads have a different feel to them. There are also far more expensive midi devices that can control your DAW and help with recording and looping (ex. Ableton Push 2) and can be used for finger drumming.

    I started with the Akai MPD218 to control Ableton, but the unit I got was a dud. Reviews had said this was common and I took the risk, and lost. I really had to slam my fingers to get the signal to trigger, so I returned it. I ended up getting a Sensel Morph which for its portability and other features but far more expensive.

    Let us know what you end up going with and how you use it. I was attempting to create a home jamming/looping set up, and it wasn't as easy as I thought.
    RyanKinBK likes this.
  13. -Asdfgh-


    Apr 13, 2010
    Another option is to use something like an Alesis DM5 drum 'brain' and piezo discs as triggers attached onto whatever you want, e.g. your desk, Apollo mission Saturn 5 rockets (mostly for Stewart Copeland). Soldering required, and some tweaking/swearing/burned fingers. But it can work.
    JamesDeGrandis likes this.
  14. LukeSlywalker


    Jun 9, 2014
    I just started doing this as well. Recording songs on ableton with a focusrite interface. I bought a Novation launchpad mk3 37 and it’s been great. Keys play keyboards well and the drum pads are very sensitive. Different sounds based on how hard or soft you hit a pad.
  15. Genomatic8


    Jan 5, 2021
    I have a similar "affliction". I impulse bought a Roland HPD-20 last year and it has GREAT response to finger teqniques and is MIDI capable.
  16. Forget the finger drumming, any finger players I've heard sound very unnatural.
    Sticks on pads or a midi percussion instrument will get much better results.
    I agree on the Handsonic.
    Or perhaps a Zendrum?

    A lot of folks just use a midi keyboard, but I don't find that way any better than buttons.
    Bob_Ross and SoCal80s like this.
  17. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Haha I posted a Machina MIDI jacket on another thread here yesterday.
  18. ClusterFlux

    ClusterFlux Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    I'd look into an Artiphon Orba.

    Bob_Ross and And I like this.
  19. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    David « Fingers » Hayes and I, disagree

  20. bfields


    Apr 9, 2015
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Right. Though it does have the advantage that then you've got a keyboard, too. (Or maybe you already do.)

    If you don't mind finger drumming, that's up to 88 keys that you can map to drums as you please, and, bonus, you get to play piano too.