Beat Backing Box For Bassists

The soul of a rock band is its rhythm section, usually consisting of a drummer and bass player. If you don’t believe that, try listening to a band where these two can’t keep proper time. Bands can often get away with sloppy guitars and vocals (this is how punk became a genre), but without that foundation you’ll be hard pressed to score any gigs at all. Unfortunately drums are bulky and expensive, and good drummers hard to find, so if you’re an aspiring bassist looking to practice laying down a solid groove on your own check out this drum machine designed by [Duncan McIntyre].

The drum machine is designed to be as user-friendly as possible for someone who is actively playing another instrument, which means all tactile inputs and no touch screens. Several rows of buttons across the top select the drum sounds for the sequencer and each column corresponds to the various beats, allowing custom patterns to be selected and changed rapidly. There are several other controls for volume and tempo, and since it’s based on MIDI using the VS1053 chip and uses an STM32 microcontroller it’s easily configurable and can be quickly interfaced with other machines as well.

For anyone who wants to build their own, all of the circuit schematics and code are available on GitHub. If you have an aversion to digital equipment, though, take a look at this drum machine that produces its rhythms using circuits that are completely analog.

9 thoughts on “Beat Backing Box For Bassists

    1. Have been driving a few very recent electric cars and the lack of tactile switches, buttons and sliders is pure hell. It’s forbidden to even pick up your mobile phone let alone texting while driving (which IS stupid). But the lack of real physical buttons makes you look away from the street much more…

      I like my 2004 Volvo V70 a lot more in that regard.

    2. In this context, with 32 equal pushbuttons, user-friendly because of tactile switches doesn’t hold up because you will look at the device anyway. In an old car you can find your way without looking because there are not so many controls, etc.
      For mordern cars i would think that voice control would be the way forward?

  1. My ’97 Lexus has the radio screen dead the CD player requires you to press and to look at and watch numbers go by and releasing when you see the correct track. Clearly they were on a bad tract even then. The heater has a long flat rocker for fan speed, though it is physical it’s flush with the panel and the middle is a non operational surface it requires one to look at it to change.

    8 note rhythm can’t swing. 16 or more slots et it going.

    1. The implication was that punk started because of “sloppy guitars and vocals”. The rythem and bass was there, but banging 3 strings for power chords while screaming at the microphone was the early punk aesthetic.

  2. Singular Sound’s Beat Buddy pedal is better than any drum machine if you want your beats to NOT sound like they come from a drum machine. I am always hopeful someone will build a better mousetrap so fingers crossed.

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