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Drum machine vs. metronome

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by thrash_jazz, Mar 8, 2002.


  1. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Hello,

    I was looking into the possibility of getting a drum machine, both as a practice tool and a songwriting aid.

    As far as "practice tool" goes, I was looking for opinions about how drum machines stacked up against metronomes in general.

    I was looking with particular interest at the Zoom RhythmTrak - any good? I'm looking for something with a tap-tempo function, triplets/quintuplets/etc, and the ability to program several tracks. Opinions?

    Thanks in advance...
     
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Can you post a link to some onfo on this unit? Curious minds and all...:cool:
     
  3. ive owned the zoom rhythmtrak for over a year now and am very pleased with it. loads of pre programmed patterns with room for 100 custom settings. the pressure sensitive drum/cymbal buttons are great. imo for $149.00 its a great value.
     
  4. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    But of course.:)

    http://www.harmony-central.com/Synth/Data/ZOOM/RhythmTrak-323-01.html

    I dunno though... after reading these reviews, I'm more inclined to look elsewhere. I'm definitely going to want to experiment with odd time signatures.
     
  5. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
  6. Kraken

    Kraken

    Jun 19, 2001
    Aylesbury, England
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well I've never liked any Zoom stuff, I've tried; but I think that drum machines are very useful practice tools - in terms of playing in time and for hearing how "difficult" rhythms sound, so you can play long with them.

    I have always had a drum machine around - since they first appeared, but I find the "micro-composer" idea even more useful and use mine all the time. So I will programme a drum track and a chord sequence to pay along to. I think the facility for having some chords playing is even more valuable.
     
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'm totally out of the loop (no pun intended) on drum machines, but anything that can produce subdivisions of the beat in different timbres will be a great practice tool.
     
  9. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    That's what I was thinking. This was the problem I had with metronomes - the fact that it was always that monotonous "tic-tic-tic". I'm thinking a drum machine might liven things up a little.
     
  10. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Well, be careful.

    A mertronome provides a basic reference to the tempo. The "tic tic tic" forces YOU to play the rhythm as opposed to following the drum machine.

    I agree with Bruce about using the machine to help you hear the complex rhythms, but the proof that you've internalized those rhythms is to play them with the drum machine OFF.
     
  11. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    True, the metronome is a basic reference to tempo - but what I meant was that playing grooves to a drum machine beat instead of a tictictic might be a bit more fun!

    Also, as you say, you can program a drum machine with odd time sigs, rhythms, etc, which I think would be quite helpful if you're trying to get a nasty one down pat, or come up with your own.
     
  12. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    In the shed, a drum machine is fun...
    Honestly, one of my best purchases. Really helped my playing & how 'time' works, too(IMO). ;)
    I did end up buying a 'few' drum books...eventually, I was taking Clyde Stubblefield beats(for example) & displacing them, or making them 'odd', or speeding them up, blahblah.
    ...or, keeping the drum beat/pattern 'straight' & dsiplacing the bass figures.
    Big fun! ;)

    BTW, you know you can always program the drum machine to go CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK...
     
  13. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I have a Yamaha QY70 portable sequencer and I also own a drum machine, an Alesis SR 16. The Alesis has great sound, but quess what? So does the QY70 and it's orders of magnitude more interesting. You can use the built in drum parts or you can just punch in the notes from a drum chart and wha-la you've got the drum part. You have the option of speeding it up or down as you do with a drum machine, but the beauty of this little beast is the multiple tracks(8), different time signatures, loads of different instruments with the ability to change the sound of each. Unfortunately this unit has been replaced by the new QY100, which is larger, has all the same functionality and the ability to plug your instrument into it and the use of a smart media card. The unit was pricey, it retailed for $600, I got mine new for half of that because they were coming out with the new version and all of the stores were liquidating there stock. To get a sample of a drum part that I programmed on it check out my website:

    http://www.philipasmith.com/musicmusings.asp

    The autoplay track is a midi file that I used the QY70 to create.
     
  14. Kraken

    Kraken

    Jun 19, 2001
    Aylesbury, England
    There you go useing that F word Again (Fun). Don't you know that practicing is serious work and that Fun should be seen as forbidden ;) :D
     
  15. I use Fruity Loops for practicing.. works perfect :)
     
  16. I use a metronome when I'm practising by myself (I got a pretty goot one when I was in Florida, it can keep a 2/4 to 7/4 beat) and I use a "drum machine" (old ruined multi-effect with a drum program that my friend used to have) when I'm jamming with a friend of mine.
     
  17. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Well, I went out and bought a Zoom RhythmTrak 234 on the weekend... Impressive, especially considering it's a Zoom! It's exactly the kind of practice tool I was looking for!

    The only beefs I would have with it are that it doesn't do odd time (5/4, 7/16 etc) unless you want to string together lots of patterns in song mode (eg, a bar of 3/4 and one of 2/4 for 5/4)... Also, the bass sounds on there are laughably bad, but that isn't what we got it for, is it?

    All in all, I thought it was a great deal for $370!!! :)
     
  18. If you can practice near your computer, I'd recommend looking into Acid and Band in a Box. Acid is a great tool to use to "lock in" on feels and rhythms and Band in a Box is a great play-along practice tool allowing you to try out different feels in different keys at different tempos. It also actually writes some good walking bass lines.

    I looked in to drum machines and sequencers (I have one by Roland), buy I found them to be more work than the software programs and not nearly as interesting.

    Good luck!
    Jeff
     
  19. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Thing is, I don't have a computer (I go online at work). If I did, I would probably have gone the software route instead. Thanks though!