i’ve been using my beat buddy out at open mics and a couple solo gigs for a few years now and I am surprised at how many people (mostly other musicians) look down on using a drum pedal/machine.

has anyone else gotten negative feedback, or been frowned upon, for using their beat buddy?

maybe because they just don’t know how to play in rhythm(?)

All the time…I use 100% live looping and a BB for my duos music and we get negative comments as you mention mostly if not exclusively from other musicians. My philosophy is we can only worry about we offer to the person paying us and their patrons. A couple things for me personally, I don’t make the BB the star of the show. Meaning, it provides a rhythm but only that. It is not a standout in my mix. We work to have a good mix and play the best to our abilities. That is all we have control over.

Because I live loop and use the BB, I get “you use tracks” ALL THE TIME. I recently had one musician spend a great deal of time talking to me on break trying to find a loophole in what we do and find a reason to hate it. He actually did not believe I live looped everything…“you need to prove to the audience you are live”. :roll_eyes: True story.

In my opinion the BB separates us from the rest of the pack. I will add that we play higher end venues and it has never been a problem with the paying customers or people that hire us for events…

I am not sure if it is making you second guess what you do, or feel insecure about your offering…just do what you do to the best of your ability.

Anyway, I could go on and on about this…musicians lose sight on what their job is. They also tend to be competitive and jealous.

I should add we use a harmonizer too…that is a whole different discussion… :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


I haven’t heard too many negative comments directly from other musicians…but some of the sentiment is definitely there.

Would I love to be able to do what I now do with a full band? Sure! I’d love to be part of a 7 piece band that plays out every week or two.

But the BB allows me to not have to have a drummer. And the looper allows me to not need a assortment of bassist/rhythm guitarist/etc.

I sing and play guitar and I also have the benefit of having an amazing piano/keyboard player who is a fantastic singer as well. We are technically just a piano/guitar duo, but the BB and looper just makes us capable of being so much more than that. We do Comfortably Numb, Hotel California, Roadhouse Blues…all of it sounding like there’s a full band on stage.

In general I tend to me to get more like “how are you doing what you just did?” type questions. And the answer to that is “Each song is different. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to make the drums/looper parts work to create the sounds I need…then I practice the shite of out it!”

I HAVE been to some open mics where people were a little put off by the drum machine. But I don’t see how it’s different than using a delay or a distortion, or adding reverb, whatever. At the end of the day I want to give the best performance I can give. Like the other guy said, it makes us more dynamic. It adds something extra, and opens up a lot more sonic possibilities. Coupling it with a looper expands that even more.

I have no shortage of venue owners wanting to book our duo. So if it isn’t bothering the ones paying us to come play…Let the egotistic musicians scoff. I’m going to keep using the tools available to me to make our music the best it can be.


The only place you should care about fellow musicians is when you’re doing masterclasses. Playing in a venue, to me, is giving background music for people to drink and have fun. And… most venues here in my city don’t pay reasonable enough for a simple trio with a drummer. So, I’m mostly doing duos, with me on Bass/Vocal, and a guitar player. If the manager don’t want a device that emulates a drummer, he must pay for a real drummer, and professional people are expensive.


Haters gonna hate. You’re not going to change that. Best you can do is have thick skin and not let it bother you.

We all have biases, and two common, unconscious biases are against automation of any type or things that are “different”.

You’re also fighting the cognitive dissonance between what we see, hear, and expect when there is no drummer.

These are things you accept, but realize other people are within their rights to feel different. They cross a line when they share that POV, but you’re never going to change their mind.

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This is actually intended as a reply to the original poster, @eggy

When I saw Queen, way back when Freddie was still alive, they performed Bohemian Rhapsody. When they go to the choral parts, they blacked out the stage and had light timed to the vocals going on and off, and at the end of the choral section, there was a large flash and the band reappeared. If Queen could use tracks, we can all use tracks. I lived in Vegas in the 80s and 90s, when the show rooms went from using live bands to using tracks. The only complaints came from the musicians who got laid off. Since then, I have seen numerous acts using a laptop for some tracks. It’s part of the landscape of live performance in this age.

In fact, one reason I have tracks on the BB, is that by having tracks on the BB there is no computer on the stage to target as the “he is using tracks” device. I feel if the tracks are my compositions, I should be able to present them as part of my performance.

As others have responded, essentially, when the purists are the ones paying the bills, or paying for the gig, then they have a right to complain. Otherwise, I’d bet it is probably more jealousy that you are facing than any real complaint. If the open mic allows electronics, use what suits you, including a BB.


I seldom get overt negative comments (I’m Canadian, we’re mostly too polite :slight_smile: ), but I do get the disapproving looks from other musicians from time to time – even though all the songs we play were played in or programmed by a real human (i.e., me).

So, when I see that, I always offer up why I love Waldo (my Beat Buddy)

  1. He always shows up on time
  2. I only ever had to pay him once
  3. He plays as loud or as quiet as needed with no complaints
  4. He doesn’t swear like a stevedore
  5. He doesn’t drink like a sailor on shore leave
  6. He has never tried to hump a bar manager’s wife’s leg

Numbers 1, 2, and 3 NEVER happen with real drummers; Numbers 4, 5, and 6 have ALL happened to me with real drummers.

Added bonus: He does exactly what I tell him to do when I tell him to do it.

Plus, we play 65+ shows a year, and no weekend warrior drummer has ever been nearly reliable enough for that kind of schedule.

And if you still think it’s a bad idea, dude, I cannot help you.


Hah! Waldo. Our “drummer” is named Jeff! And I agree and totally feel all 6 points!


I like the comparisons to karaoke. I invite anyone to try it themselves. Then they realize you actually have hundreds …if not thousands of hours editing…adjusting and practicing the tunes.

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Ed Sheeran is a monster live looper and he makes a point to tell the audience that everything they will hear that night is live and that he uses a custom looper. He even stopped a song, when I saw him, because he put the wrong melody line in. He was fantastic and I heard not complaints from any of the 75,000 people there. lol

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Interesting! I’ve had my BB for about 1.5 years now and have NEVER heard this sentiment from anyone! Mostly it’s compliments on our performance otherwise it’s ME making light that our drummer “Buddy” screwed up when it was actually me hitting the wrong pedal or something similar!

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Thanks for all the comments to this thread. They’ve all been very helpful and supportive. I struggle with the same issue, although no one has said anything to me except for a drunk who accused me of not playing anything. I don’t know how you fake-play a saxophone in a small space, but that’s another story.

I started developing a solo act in 2015 using a Boomerang with guitar, voice, sax, and flute because no one was hiring me as a sax player locally (even through I’ve worked cruise ships and toured with tribute bands across Canada and the US). I had to reinvent myself. I added the BB a couple of years ago to “take it to the next level.” I’ve been torn with the issue of using a drum machine, and I’ve worried about perceptions of others, including musicians. But the bottom line is that I have to make money, and casual listeners don’t seem to care.

I played a show at a local pub three weeks ago with the BB. I hope to talk to the owner for feedback tonight and maybe rebook.

I enjoy playing with the BB because it’s fun having rhythm support. If I’m having fun, I would think that the performance would be better. I’d rather have a live drummer, but most budgets won’t allow for fair wages for two musicians.


And keep in mind there are a lot of tunes available with bass or piano tracks. Could work really well against a sax!

Hey, thanks everyone for the excellent feedback.
btw, i use my BB as my ‘set lists’, midi-sync to a Dittox4, then loop/sync my guitar rhythms (verse/chorus) then play a different guitar tone and do guitar licks, solos, etc. as well as vocals (i.e. sing).
Mostly 90 alt/rock stuff.

another note, one of the open mics I go to is technically is setup as a ‘jam’ (host sets up a drum kit, bass and acoustic) for if/when performers wish to have accompaniment.
Most performers there, oddly, do solo acoustic tunes and do not ask for accompaniment.
I’ll sometimes catch grief cause i’m using a beat pedal instead of asking for a drummer - lol.
I do sometimes get a ‘band’ to jam along with except if it’s a new tune that i want/need to loop.
Most drummers i know hate when a guitarist uses a looper cause it’s hard to keep in-sync (understandable).
Incidentally, i’m in Huntsville Alabama and have never seen another BB being used.

Thanks again, peace out!

We use prerecorded loops (often synth from my Micro Freak) on the BB. We’re not brilliant musicians (technically) but write and arrange all our own material. I guess some frown on what we do but feedback is generally good.

It’s a secret weapon here as well. Being a duo that plays “sweaty rock power trio” tunes gives us a real leg up on the pub scene for size, and the festival scene for price. I think I’ve run into four people who knew what the BB was (although I have also run into dozens who CLAIM they knew what it was).

@JoeInOttawa - Same! We actually do a mix of acoustic and “sweaty rock power trio”. Everything from Elvis to The Doors to Elton John to 80s rock to 90 grunge. I have the same thoughts. We offer a lot more than most smaller acts can offer in a bar/pub setting, and we don’t have to split the pay 4-5 ways! Our drummer is fine with just a little electricity as payment!

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Once you put yourself out there, you’re at the whims of many opinions, judgements, etc. You won’t please everyone all the time. Enjoy the ride…

Perhaps more so than other devices, a looper is an instrument of its own right. Definitely benefits from talent and skill.

The first time I saw a looper, Jean Luc Ponty blew me away with his artistry. It was clear he had invested untold hours to play this way.


I saw Todd Rundgren play songs from his Something / Anything album in the early seventies solo with a two inch 24 track studio tape machine. I saw him in 2002 in Dallas playing solo to an iPod that he held in his hand. I saw ZZ Top playing to the Lone Wolf Horns on video on their Deguello tour.

As long as your paying customers are happy, other musicians opinions don’t matter. I realised decades ago that just because people are musicians, they’re opinion doesn’t affect me.
Good on ya for having a paid gig, that’s what I say to anyone getting paid to play music🍻