First gig tonight with the BB - some thoughts/feedback

A friend and I filled in for a last-minute cancellation on a gig tonight as a duo. The BB was our ‘third’. LOL First gig ever with it.

Overall? It went very well. I had prepped us for this situation with a bunch of sng’s at the ready, but scrambled this morning throwing a bunch of simple beats together in a set list for tonight (and tomorrow night as well…as it’s a 2-night commitment).

There are a couple of tweaks that a performer should be aware of.

First - if I have one criticism of the canned midis, it’s that the fills are much, much, much, much, much too ‘busy’ for performers. It’s like you can hear John Lennon’s voice in the background admonishing, “Just play the F-ing beat!” After a couple of embarrassingly complicated fills escaped on some of the last-minute additions I hadn’t had a chance to vet completely? I seldom threw-in any fills at all from that point onward during the night. Note to developers - simple is better. Real performers just need the most rudimentary of fills. Most of them sound like the by-product of some self-frustrated drummer trying too hard to impress the audience with his syncopation and stick-speed prowess. NOT cool for 90% of performances.

Second - you have to dedicate the BB to its own PA channel and have some sort of volume pedal at the output of its signal. Changing drum kits in the software and downloading it to the SD card on the pedal doesn’t really prepare you for the seriously varying gain levels that get outputted to the PA in a live setting. I was constantly ‘riding the fader’ because most of the standard kit’s volumes were totally strong and too far out front, while most of the brushes kit were so far underneath that gain level we struggled to even hear them. Yes - I know brushes are supposed to have a softer feel…but they shouldn’t completely disappear relative to the standard kit. JMHO.

If it sounds harsh - it’s only because we’re fairly picky, as performers, as to the quality of our tools of the trade. It’s the main reason we picked BB - because the sound is REAL. This may be nit-picking, but it’s just a heads up for other performers who may be able to glean a little experience from those who have traveled the path before them.

Overall? A great pedal. Easy to use. Realistically sounding. Just a few tweaks you’ll need to do to reliably use it in a gig situation. 1) Have a volume pedal in the chain after the output and run the BB pedal a little ‘hot’ so you can throttle it up or down as needed. 2) Preview EVERY song’s fills so you don’t get embarrassed by the oh-too-busy drummer in your live performance. Eliminate/delete the ones that won’t fit your requirements. Yes, it’s tedious. But necessary.

The problem with drum fills is universal from all sources… too busy. Some busy is good yes, but it is always hard to find simple beats and fills especially for ballads and things that are not all out hard rock. I often have to edit the fills, which usually means removing hits. Drummers can’t seem to help themselves. No matter what midi loops I buy, 8 out of 10 fills are way to busy for most uses, especially for ballads and standards. I think any serious user of BB is going to have to tweak intros and fills to get what you want, especially if you need specific accents or breaks.

The volume pedal is a good idea. I also use compression which helps a bunch in taming the more aggressive loops. Also, it’s worth just taking the time to edit midi tracks for volume when you get the chance. It’s no different when producing drum tracks for recording. Drag and drop drum tracks would be feasible if there were a more balanced selection of fills and accents.

I find that I use midi loops from Toontrack and others more than the ones that came with BB. There are some good clips in BB but many are too busy or too heavy on the crash cymbals… I edit a lot of hits out of them. I also spend time tweaking the song arrangements for every song, including volume. I use very few routines for more than one song. Unless it’s 3 chord rock n roll, each song is unique, so I build a separate routine for each song. Once you edit a song for volume and cleaning it up, you can then clone that song to build a new song and eventually you’re working with more consistent midi loops that will reduce the effort.

We’ve gigged twice so far with the BB and noticed the same issues as Mark. Someone posted that he placed one of those wing-nut type knobs on the volume pot on the BB. One way to control it. I like the volume pedal idea too. I have made notes for each song that we do and will adjust the BB volume as needed prior to the song but that’s a lot of work and bending over. And yes, the brush beats are very heard to hear and we often found ourselves watching the metronome on the pedal display to stay on the beat.

Regarding the busyness of fills, I find that the faster the song, the more busy the fill sounds. I have spent probably 100 hours creating beats for each of our tunes and each time I play along during practice, I take notes again, make modifications and get rid of fills that just don’t work. Mark didn’t have time to do all that but as time goes by and you use BB more, you’ll start to weed out the stuff that isn’t jiving.

I have noticed that the pedals will “walk” away from you as you continually tap them so I’ve taken to duct taping the underside of each. Problem solved. Also learned that in rehearsal (where I don’t sing into a mic) it’s easy to look down and find the pedals and buttons. When you are singing and have to keep your mouth near the mic, it’s harder to find the right pedal, esp if you’ve been moving around a bit. Tricky but by the second gig it got better. Placement of the pedals in relation to your mic stand is key.

We are an acoustic duo and we run the BB into it’s own channel on the PA…in larger rooms we drag out a powered sub and sometimes a bass player and the sound really fills in nicely.

I concur, rlumachi. Great idea on the duct tape.

I put a volume pedal between the BB and the PA tonight and it made a big difference - much better. Darylc - It’s definitely gong to take some time to tweak every song in the setlist with proper fills and beats. I enjoy doing it in my midi editor, but it would be nice if most of them started out leaning toward the simplistic. Not a biggie complaint - but definitely a realistic viewpoint of what many encounter when putting the theory into practice.

However - this a BTW discovery…you CAN eliminate fills and still transition from one Part to another. That sometimes comes in handy if you really can’t fit a fill into any particular song.

I did my first gig last night with the BB and everything worked out fine. I did mess-up with the pedal a few times but it was my fault,other wise it was great and everyone liked it. Alot of compliments. A volume pedal is on my list.

Yep. I have quite a few of those types of transitions. The .sngs I’ve set up are all frankensteins. I’ve pulled a beat front Rock1, a fill from Pop8, another from somewhere else. I’ve spent a half hour searching for an exact fill for a certain song and 90% of the time it exists. For example, the snare/tom build and the snare roll I needed for transitions in “Nowhere Man” are there in the BB
BUT It took a LONG time to find them. Yeah, I got that kind of patience :wink:

I spoke with my partner about the volume thing and mentioned the suggestion above regarding compression. He is the sound and engineering part of the duo and he is kink in himself about not having thought of running compression. I’m clueless with stuff like that but he’s the king with it. Says we can do it no prob. Next gig is Feb 21. We’ll see how it goes.

Walking pedals syndrome I bought a giant mouse pad and the pedal now stays put even on wooden floors it’s about twice the size of a standar mouse pad and firm foam but not hard materials it’s easy to roll up its that soft and about 1/4 thick

Daryl…how do you run the compression on the BB? Through a compressor pedal or through effects at the board? Do you run the BB stereo or mono?

For the volume problem I reworked the Std drum set lowering all drum volumes -5db and named it it Std Lo Vol. Takes about 5 min to create. I use it on songs that are too loud which is easier than midi velocity editing. Fills, intros, outros I’d rather learn something on guitar over midi programming.

I sing & play in a 4piece band with a drummer but I also am part of a duo. We have our first duo gig with the Beat Buddy tomorrow night. I had already eliminated all unnecessary fills and changed intros and outros to suit our set. I had also come across the wandering pedals syndrome. I have wooden floorboards at home so I had noticed this before. The advice about the volume pedal is a great idea.
I am nervous and excited about using the BB in a live situation for the first time. As musicians, all of us are used to dealing with the problems that arise with gigs, but every time we introduce some new element there is always a moment of “Well, here goes” and hope for the best.
I am looking forward to a couple of weeks time when using the BB live will be second nature and not even come up on my radar as a thought for concern. We are quite busy for the rest of the month and March, so far, is crazy busy.
So with all that said, I’m eagerly anticipating our first duo gig with the BB or should I say trio gig. I’ll let you all know how it goes and any tips that I may have come across to improve our collective performances I will update too.

Keep Rocking!!!

Stop the BB sliding around with a 3’ X 5’ cushion floor mat for about $28, soft to stand on. Cut holes for your pedals (which lowers their height profile) or tie wrap them down if you are not sure where they go yet. Can also cushion between equipment when you are hauling it.

Good luck Vibe! It gets better each time out And you stay busy for a coupla weeks it’ll be 2nd nature in no time!

Tried a compressor pedal and it was a disaster. TREMENDOUS amount of hiss. Returned it. Back to square one. Next step: Volume Pedal (?)

My first gig with the BB pedal went pretty well all things considered… I play and sing solo acoustic so the incorporating the BB pedal into my arsenal is a welcome addition. I run my Yamaha FGX-04-LTD Acoustic/Electric w/ Fishman Matrix pickup through a TC-Helicon Harmony Singer pedal, an Infinity looper, and a BB pedal. I’m amplifying everything through my Fishman Sa-220 tower and took up some one’s suggestion here for a sub so I’m cheating using my Markbass mini 121p with a mid to hi cut EQ. Everything went pretty well although I lost my nerve attempting any live loops when my first one got a way from me. Oh well practice makes perfect! I’ll definitely need to get the footswitch pedal as I really could of used it for a couple of songs especially “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers. It’s also really unnatural to me to double tap for the outro it made for a couple of embarrassing endings. I’d rather just use the footswitch to stop. The Hip Hop/Electronic beats are way louder than the standard kits so I had to write myself to lower the volume for Hip Hop 1 when I did “I can’t believe” by T-Pain. I guess I could of saved a lower volume setting in the setlist when I made changes? Probably will get a volume pedal for solo’s when I get more comfortable with looping…

Other Notes: I turned off the intro’s as I found them unusable as others had expressed. Also used the fills rather sparingly not knowing which one would come up was a little nerve wracking also some were just too busy…

Good, I’m not the only one that gets tripped up by the double-tapping :slight_smile: double tapping with certain tempos just throws me. I usually opt for the method of stomping both switches on the external pedal simultaneously which gives you a crash cymbal ending, in place of a fill

Another ending I like is to stop with the footswitch then restart after 4 count pause playing a guitar outro then stop.

The fills that drive me nuts are the “dead at the start ones”… In a duo or acoustic sitch it always make me go WHAT?