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drum machine for practice

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by one-note, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. one-note


    Apr 30, 2002
    Does anyone have an opinion on what they think is a great drum machine for practicing? I practice a lot, and would like to buy an easy- to-use, free-standing, inexpensive, dependable loop machine that I could listen to using headphones . Maybe even one that would allow my bass to patch in and have an headphone output with the machine's drum pattern and my live bass together? Thanks, one-note. :help:
  2. The Boss JS-5 Jam Station.
  3. ivanthetrble


    Sep 9, 2002
    I recently bought an Alesis SR16 at the local CG. They seemed to have good reviews. I may be a moron but I couldn't even figure out how to program in a simple highhat pattern. Nearly tossed the damn thing a couple of times. Ended up taking it back and got a Zoom MRT-3B. Much easier to use. I was up and running in about 5 minutes and it was $50 cheaper.
  4. chardin


    Sep 18, 2000
    I'm sure I'll get flamed for this but so be it. Drum machines are great but don't get lulled into laziness. A full drum kit pounding away will mask subtle mistakes in your playing. If you really want to work on your time keeping, play along with a metronome. There is no where to hide from that simple click. Check out Ed Friedland's article "The Metronome As Guru".

    Don't get me wrong, I think drum machines are great tools for song writing and practicing different rhythms. Ed Friedland's slap bass DVD even shows you how to program a drum machine.
  5. Dennis Kong

    Dennis Kong Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2004
    San Mateo CA
    I use either the Alesis or the band in box programs.
    Agree with the Ivan too- they are pain in the A-- to program.
    You have to program it in Step Time which is very tedious.

    the BNB is lot easier.
    Sometimes in the BNB tunes: I just mute all the instr and
    work with drum program alone.
  6. jtauban


    Oct 28, 2003
    I totally agree with chardin.
    If your objective is to develop great sense of time, use a metronom. I've had a small electronic one for 8 years now, and I still turn it on while playing and practicing. 5 years ago, a jazzman showed me this trick of letting the metronom play the 2 and 4 only. It was a revelation. Tough at the beginning, but so much more rewarding! And it is more fun to play along a metronom this way.
    Since it only gives so little cues as far as the timing, you can decide to play triplets, swing, play straight 8th... Eventually you'll develop a very organic steady sense of time.

    Good luck to you!
  7. sedgdog


    Jan 26, 2002
    Pasco, WA
    Check out the Zoom RT-123. Does everything you mentioned and is very easy to use.

  8. ivanthetrble


    Sep 9, 2002
    The RT-123 has been discontinued and replaced with the MRT-3B. I looked for a RT-123 on the web and found a couple listed but when I tried to order they all said they were no longer available.
  9. I was looking for a drum machine for practice that is easy to use, preprogrammed out of the box, and that didnt sound processed or a require a college degree to operate. The Zoom MRT-3B does it all . Highly recommended.
  10. lowerclef


    Nov 10, 2003
    Chardin and Jtauban are right: stick with a metronome, and use it on 2 and 4.

    The goal here is to develop strong internal time, and this is the perfect way to do it. Drum machines provide too much information - they play a lot of the subdivisions for you, and this is precisely the sort of crutch you don't want. You want to feel the beat internally.

    And incidentally, when learning new music, do not use anything. You need to focus on getting the notes under your fingers first, which requires a lot of practice slowly and out-of-tempo. Only when you can play a piece cleanly should you apply the metronome to fine-tune your sense of time.

    My two cents.
  11. Nadav


    Nov 13, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I agree about using a metronome to develop your time, but a drum machine is great if you just want to jam for a bit, flesh out some ideas, etc. I have an Alesis SR-16 and it's been great for me...
  12. ErikP.Bass

    ErikP.Bass Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2004
    I have one of these and really dig it.


    There is a lot inside of it......but like anything it has its upsides and downsides. Try one out first if you can.

    The 2 & 4 metronome advice above is great. You can do that with this too as there is just a simple click. I also recommend recording yourself and then listening.........sometimes difficult to swallow. The Pandora does have a recording function so you can do this, though the amount it can record is small I still think it is useful.

    :rollno: Just noticed that I posted in a thread from 2004! DOH!