My guitar buddy Rob and I are always struggling to get a drummer to practice with. So often we end playing to a backing track or more typically no drums at all. Candidly, my rhythm is not particularly excellent, so I prefer to play with a backing track or a drum loop. But when you want to jam, those options often come up short. The smart guys over at BeatBuddy have designed what looks like a perfect solution for anyone in need of a more dynamic style of drum backing: a guitar pedal that supplies a custom drum track.
BeatBuddy looks easy enough to use. Pick your drum style or song, lock in the tempo and then hit the pedal to start the drums. Press the pedal again to add some fills, or hold it down to transition from verse to chorus or vice verse. You can add a second footswitch to vary the tempo, move to next song, add cymbal crashes etc. And unlike old-school looping pedals, BeatBuddy is smart enough to supply the transitions at even measures, even if your own rhythm is a little off.
BeatBuddy comes with 200 songs, and 10 drum styles including rock, blues, pop, and the ability to add more via USB port and SD card. Personally, I will be happy if it has more than half a dozen good blues tracks and a dozen rock tracks. So many of these drum loop devices just put two shuffles and a couple of standard rock tracks and then twenty pop or electronic tracks. My guess is most of the buyers of this pedal are going to be focused on classic rock and blues.
The project is being funded via IndieGogo. While there's always risk of delays or a product that doesn't quite live up to expectations, this one looks to be pretty solid. The price is $199 until Feb 4. That's much less than the expected retail price, with delivery expected by end of April. (Ok, I've never seen a crowdfunded project meet it's delivery date, so maybe just think "Q2 2014.")
Here's an up-to-date video on YouTube with more details: