Drum machines — those are those big, luggable rectangular things used by electronic music producers, right?

What if one could fit in a guitar pedal? And what if you could use your feet to trigger patterns and fills, leaving your hands free to play guitar (or another instrument)?

That’s the idea behind BeatBuddy. Now, the basic notion is that it’s friendly for things like practice – and it should be helpful motivation. But clearly live performance, songwriting, and even dance music could benefit, too.

And now it’s a fully-funded project.

If the content in the video isn’t appealing, the makers also promise you’ll be able to upload your own kits, which means this could have broad appeal.

Like many of these ideas, BeatBuddy is a crowd-funded project, built on IndieGogo. Started on December 16, the project has already far exceeded its funding goal of US$75,000, and there are still 26 days. (Their incentive was clever: they set the launch price to US$199, shipping estimated in April, versus a proposed retail price of $349.)

Launch video:


  • Multi-layered, sampled drum kits
  • Un-quantized, human MIDI patterns
  • 10 drum kits, 200 pre-loaded songs, custom upload
  • Headphone jack
  • MIDI sync (dedicated jack, appears to be S-Vid to save space)
  • Stereo output, via jack plugs
  • Footswitch input
  • SD card slot
  • (mini) USB connection
  • Play fills, transitions, accents from the pedal
  • Customize content from desktop software (load MIDI, WAV, add song parts, load sets)

You can expect a lot more like this, too. Computational power keeps getting more affordable in crazy-small form factors – see Intel’s announcement of Edison this week, a reference platform inside an SD card. And crowd-funding seems likely to continue to promote this sort of experimentation from niche makers and musicians.

BeatBuddy: The First Guitar Pedal Drum Machine

(Hmmm, there’s that word “first” again – any electronic music product historians want to chime in?)

And the project page:

It’ll be really interesting to see how these new crowd-funded projects deliver. They’ll be making their presence felt at NAMM – the first sign we live in different times.