Excel based drum machine


[Thomas] just wanted a simple, free drum machine to play with. He decided to build one himself using MS Excel. To get it up and running you need to download a .zip file that contains the .xls and .dll files. Grab some drum samples and you are ready to go. Each drum is mapped to a key and can be used with a game pad. Don’t worry he’s got some simple, Meg White, patterns to get you started. Not impressed? Well, tear it down and build your own machine.


  1. F13Nd says:

    this is a lot like the ijam widget. rockout in your lunch break.



  2. evan b says:

    anyone know how to get it to work with OpenOffice?

  3. annie_linux says:

    This is a great project…I only wish there were more explanation on the website about how it works. Could the spreadsheet be used to program drum patterns rather than playing them live?

  4. Joe Strout says:

    I’m not sure I see the point of Excel in this. Write it in REALbasic (http://www.realsoftware.com/) and it would be not only easier, but run on Mac and Linux too. In fact I recall that being the subject of a tutorial several years ago… yes, here it is: http://www.resexcellence.com/realbasic/articles/2001/10-04-01/

  5. n3ldan says:

    what was the point of excel in this?
    i would have tried it, but i don’t sell my soul to the devil everytime i want to reinstall my operating system.

    thank you linus :)

  6. tristan says:

    #5: honestly, we all know Linux is better than Windows, we’ve heard it countless times. A lot of people prefer Windows because it’s:

    a) what they’re used to
    b) the only OS supported by their favorite programs
    c) believe it or not, for the average user, easier to install and operate

    By calling Microsoft the devil and Linus your lord, all you’re doing is making yourself look like a jerk. Now, don’t get me wrong: I love Linux, and prefer it over Windows.. but you don’t have to be such a troll whenever the word ‘Microsoft’ enters the conversation. If you want people to convert to Linux, try being nice, then maybe they’ll listen to you.

    Using Linux doesn’t make you a superior human being, it simply makes you a Linux user.

  7. happy gilmore says:

    ooowwwwww snap!

  8. fucter says:

    but tristin, we are jerks. and we’re proud :)

  9. I was in a band for years. Our drummer really sorta sucked but our guitarist could play drums(and sing, play harmonica, trombone, organ, well, I hated his raw talent,) but this would have been a great alternative to one of those expensive(crappy) drum machines. I plan on giving this a whirl. Maybe I can figure out a way to save the inputs and have it play back.

    I’ll be drumming like Danny Carey(Tool) in no time now!

  10. n3ldan says:

    #6:Microsof tisnt teh devil, but they’re EULA certainly isnt something I woudl agree with. Thankin Linus doesnt make him my lord, either. It’s the fact that (the drum machine dude) built it into $350 software, rather than the free equivelant. Or just making it standalone. Believe it or not, not all windows users have office (and for good reason)

  11. tomskag says:

    bravo, thsi is a nice change of pace.

  12. furtim says:

    For those of you asking what the point of using Excel was… Hack value, plain and simple. It’s like climbing Everest, only without the sherpas and oxygen deprivation.

  13. william says:

    yeah, i know, it’s cool and all, but it won’t let you do two samples at the same time, which kind of makes it pretty un-practical… if this is somthing wrong on my computer or settings, let me know please


  14. pocketbrain says:

    His link to a site with drum samples kinda crashed that guy’s bandwidth. Bummer, but I recorded some vocal samples, and we’re cool now. With a little bit of VB and time and a better microphone, and yes, a better voice, you could program a full keyboard, forget “just” the drum set.
    Oh, and who here paid $350 for excel? It runs on ’97! I might play with this and see how well I can script it. Haven’t looked terribly closely at the code, yet.

  15. Thomas says:

    Thanks for the link! The ability to script the kit–to create a real drum machine–is something I’d like to work on, particularly straight from a spreadsheet, but if someone else wants to put it together that would also be cool.

  16. mix master master mixa says:

    Totally badass! I love it. Now, If it only had MIDI support…

  17. iNSOMNIACUK says:

    If he had programmed a drum machine himself, that wouldn’t be much of a hack, would it? The whole fun of hacking is making a product designed for one purpose do something entirely different isn’t it? To customise a product you own to make it better suit your needs?

  18. p@ says:

    “To customise a product you own to make it better suit your needs?”

    uhh… i don’t own MSExcel… so that must mean… this is useless.

    Try hacking using the ultimate hackers resource… Opensource.

    here’s a tip… http://www.openoffice.org

  19. max says:

    There is already a good free drum machine with tons of preloaded samples; it’s called garageband and it ships with every mac! And for 70 bucks you can get a midi keyboard to jam out with. I don’t have the time to master frets and strumming on a real guitar but hell, I know what sounds good and I’ve been hitting keys for 15 years :). I wonder, can you install the iLife applications on OSX86? Anyone?

  20. Thomas says:

    If I’ve got to buy a Mac, it’s not really free, is it?

  21. Zerophil says:

    what do you mean “not all windows users have office”? i thought that it was a law now. damn that dell sales person!

  22. john smith says:

    OK! I see a drum machine!!But wheres
    the download!!!
    Another link to nothing, just as expecteed!!!
    Thanks for nothing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 97,706 other followers