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Is a drum machine a good investment?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Vacume, Dec 16, 2006.

  1. Vacume


    Jan 11, 2006
    my teacher recently recomnded that i get a drum machine, i kinda see this as a good idea but im not shure:help:
  2. arbarnhart


    Nov 16, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    I think so. I practice with one some. I can get more of a groove going than with just a metronome and you can plug in more complex beats than just tiick-tick-tick... I am actually using an old laptop with Hammerhead and Drumflow (software) with a cable that goes from headphone out to the CD in on my amp. For some funk, you and the machine are the whole band (in the style of Larry Graham).
  3. PocketGroove82


    Oct 18, 2006
    yes. great practice aid.
    Boss DR880 is the one I use. perfect for solo practicing.
    You'll never wanna use a metronome again, if you get a drum machine with good sounds/beats.
  4. I have a Digitech RP80 mutlifx unit for guitar. It has a drum machine included, with at least 20 different drum beats and I think it's an excellent aid to my playing.

    It holds time and some loops play a small fill which you can work with as well.

    Great tool for me.
  5. threshar


    Jul 30, 2002

    Playing with a metronome is nice and all, and sometimes essential, but playing with an actual drum beat is much better - you get a better feel for the groove, be able to work closely with the drum pattern. (Especially with some crazy larry graham funk) You can also slow things down and really nail exactly what is happening in a groove and then speed it up where it'll be ridiculously tight.

    I use a nice old Alesis Sr-16, or I just use my computer and some loops I've purchased.
  6. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    A classic. And a great sounding machine.
  7. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    Oh, and the teacher speaks wisdom. Go for the drum machine. Great practice tool.
  8. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.

    You can have songs programmed within minutes. sr16 is very easy to use and has loads of flexibility and features. One of the few things I've bought that worked like I wanted it too without any hassle.
  9. Yes!

    Not only are they great for practice but if you learn how to program beats - believable ones, not ridiculous ones - a drum machine can really offer you some insight into how time is broken down per bar. It also will give you keen insight into what a drummer really does.
  10. im not really a big fan of drum machines.

    if you want to record, unless you drop tons of dough, the drums will sound cheesy and fake, and they lack feeling and dynamics, so they come up very shy of a real drummer.

    if you want to practice, i would reccomend a metronome instead. when you practice with a drum machine, it might help your groove to a point, but i think that it almost gives you TOO MUCH structure and rhythm, and doesnt leave enough of the groove up to you, whereas a metronome will keep the pulse for you, but yet it will still force you to keep the rhythm steady.

    by practice i mean your own personal practice...i would still strongly reccomend getting together with a human drummer, and more musicians too, because i dont think there is a substitute for real drummers, good ones anyway.
  11. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    Drum machine are good to practice with later on, but in the beginning metronomes are better to internalize where each beat is. Plus if you learn to groove with the click of a metronome then you'll be able to do more with a drummer or drum machine. Then you can focus on playing on top of the beat, behind the beats and so on.

    A drum machine can mask time problems, master time with the metronome first.
  12. Check out the Korg PX4B, it's not really a drum machine, but an all in one practice unit.

    It has metronomes, tons of drums beats, amp modeling which allows you to drastically change the tone of your bass, and it also allows you to plug in a CD Player or other device and play with the song.

    It can be used with headphones or run through your amp if it has a line in.

    It's probably the best bass-related investment I've made. Cost? Anywhere from $80 to $160 used on eBay.

    If money is no object then check out the new Fender B-Dec. It's too new to have any real reviews, but I'm already hearing that it is an awesome practice and learning tool. Cost? About $400.
  13. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004

  14. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.
    Actually you couldn't be more wrong. The Sr16 is actually taken from real drums. You can even program it so it's so it's not dead on the beat (forget the name for the term right now, basically the same effect if you take a metronome and tilt it) If you take the time you can program it to do just about anything a drummer can ( short of responding to you in real time) Also it's inexpensive at 140, and easy to program. You can learn how to program a whole song within minutes of looking at the instructions.

    I've recorded several songs with it. I've always got back "whos the drummer? Drums sound great. Or I wouldn't have known it was a drum machine."

    Of course if you don't have a sense of what would be good drum part for songs, or how to mix it you wouldn't get that effect in a recording.

    As far as the metronome thing, I think you are wrong on that as well. Metronomes are boring as all hell and don't get people into the beat so much as annoy the hell out of you. I can stay perfectly on time with a drum machine and actually have fun. I can stay on time with a metronome and want to throw it across the room after a few minutes just for being annoying and unmusical.

    As far as making a pulse instead of beat that would dictate a groove, all you would have to do is program a simple loop with just a bass drum. there you go just like the metronome, without the annoying click.

    To me it makes sense to develop your time center with something that at least sounds closer to what you are going to actually be playing with in the future.

    I could see a metronome for someone who plays in a musical act that doesn't have purcussion keeping time, but if you are playing in the typical bass, guitar, drums band... I see no reason why a metronome would be superior.
  15. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    If you can't turn on a metronome and start hearing grooves in your head something is wrong. Try it, flip on metronome and if you want to be funky think of it as the drummers snare. You should be able to establish and a groove, mentally hear a drum beat no machine has. If in a Jazz mood think of the metronome as the drummers hi-hat and mentally swing walking bass line with skips and accents. This way you'll really get a sense of where you are in relation to the beat.

    Can you just clap along with a metronome, does the sound of the metronome disappear when you clap. If not you're out of time. If your time is right the sound of the metronome disappears. Same with a drum machine if the snare isn't disappearing your listening to the drums, instead of listening to the time.
  16. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.

    Ya, I can do all of that. But, I don't have too when I have a programable drum machine that makes it fun. I have worked with a metronome in the past, I prefer a drum machine if I'm going to do that. I had a time a good time center before I ever played the bass though, so I don't need to train it.
  17. Ten Four One

    Ten Four One

    Dec 5, 2006
    +1 anything that makes rehearsing fun and makes you feel good about your playing instead of constantly being dry and humbled by the stupid little box that ticks.

    By playing along with a drum machine instead of a click, you'll pick up a few techniques that will carry over to real drums too. And you can program it just to keep a click if that's what you want too.
  18. s.m.80808


    May 5, 2006
    They're up there with US savings bonds.
  19. A good drum machine will help you figure out how to play in the pocket, or out of it, if that's what your going for.

    Some drum machines allow you to adjust how much a pattern swings by setting a percentage. It shows you that there are lots of areas in between straight and swung feels, and how many different ways there are to play eighth- and 16th-notes. Plus, you realize how you can play straight against a swung figure, or vice versa, to create tension. It’s a matter of experimenting. A good idea, if you have a drum machine with the option, is to program or sample a drum pattern and play along as you vary the swing percentage.

    Once that’s in your ears, program a simple quarter-note kick-and-snare pattern at 92 bpm and explore the different feels you can create by moving around the pocket with your bass lines.

    If you really work at it you will became more aware of a live drummer's individual lope, and help you to tune in to it better...so that you not only listen to the kick and snare but also to the hi-hat and how the drummer is subdividing the inflections. Then you will GROOVE :smug:
  20. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.
    thats the term I forgot, the sr16 can be programmed to do swing beats.

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