Im still looking for a good solution. I have my son's little drum machine which has about 80 drum beats but they are painfully repetitive and only 3-4 are usable (you have Waltzes, maching band, bla bla bla)

Ive tried a couple apps on my Ipad but they either sound too electronic or the apps were crappy.

When you guys practice alone do are you using stuff for ryhthm? I hate using a metronome and it just doesnt work for me. One of my challenges is limited practice time, so when I practice it has to be fun and I have to jam. I want to play and practice to some reasonable percussion that goes beyond just keeping time.

If there was a reasonably priced electric drum kit I could record and play back that might be cool. Hell... even some good drum tracks.

he of tranquil mind
You can make your own drum beats on Reason. I personally use Reason 4 because the drum computer is easy to use
Have a look at Rockschool grade backing tracks online, though the actual Rockschool grades themselves are ridiculously easy they make some really good backing tracks and the tempos differ a lot. They also change time signatures frequently on some of the higher grades, I bought a loop pedal for precisely this reason and it is probably one of the best things I have ever spent money on. Comes with a CD with loads of tracks on there (differing styles as well) and you can obviously record multiple guitar parts over them so it makes it really good for harmonising, I use it live a lot as I then don't need another guitarist to do 3 part harmonies.
Any decent software out there for this as well? Something that spans alot of different genres?
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Quote by Darkness in Zero
If you have a Mac, you can just use Garageband and type in some drum beats in like 5 minutes

Ive seen this on the ipad... is it worth it?
he of tranquil mind
Just watched this review; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqoT3UotMgM&feature=g-all-lik&context=G2967971FAAAAAAAAGAA
I tend to just create loops with GuitarPro when I need a more interesting metronome for an exercise.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
What kind of computer do you have? Mac or PC?

The Mac comes preloaded with garageband. It's really simple to use and as Darkness in Zero noted you can type in your own drumbeats in minutes.

Windows doesn't come with anything similar but there may be some freeware/shareware out there.

You should get yourself a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). That's what garageband is and there are a heap of them out there.

I haven't tried to use my iPad for any of this. Most of the time when you are working with drum samples in this way you will be using midi. there are a number of factors that will affect how realistic your drum samples sound.

First the quality of the drum samples you have loaded on your system. If the drum samples are very authentic sounding drum samples recorded in a studio with good mic setups etc they can sound pretty realistic. If they are low quality samples or completely computer generated to mimic a drum then the result will likely sound like exaclty like that - low quality and fake.

Next is the midi programming. In midi you can adjust the timing (exactly when the note is hit) the velocity (how hard it is hit) the length (how long it is held) and the pitch (which note is hit). Did I miss anything? This midi information is all that is recorded of your midi performance. Then you can apply any instrument you want to it. If you apply drum kit samples to the midid then each note choice will represent a different drum in the kit. Usually the length you hold the note will not matter as each note is a single drum hit. You can hold the key for a minute and the midi note will remember that and if you apply a string sample you might get a long note but if you apply a drum sample you still just get a single drum it. Now to make the drums sound "human" you need to be mindful of velocity.

When considering velocity you must remember that not every drum hit a drummer plays uses exactly the same force. They will use soft hits and hard hits to create accented beats and a solid flowing groove that breathes.

A poor quality drum sample library might contain only one drum hit sample for a particular note. Changes you make in velocity may then affect volume and decay so that the drum sounds like it was hit softer because it is not as loud. A good quality sample library will have mulitiple drum hits on each drum in the kit that relate to velocity, Thus as you change velocity you actually get a softer drum hit and not just a hit that was harder and made to sound soft.

Drummers will also "bend" the time to create different effects. For example they may pull their snares ever so slightly behind the beat to create a relaxed groove or they may push them slightly ahead to create an anxious feel. They may delay a cymbal crash by miliseconds to delay the release of tension it provides.

When mapping out a drum track you can never beat a good live drummer. But if you pay attention to velocity and timing when laying out your midi drum beats then you can certainly provide some good and fairly realistic drum tracks for practicing with.

Often a DAW will come preloaded with a handful of midi drum tracks preloaded that have been recorded by a drummer on a midi kit. Thus they will sound realistic enough and can be easily combined and looped to provide a good practice tool. They also usually have a number of different kinds of beats. Soft rock, hard rock, blues, Latin beats etc.

I'm a bit skeptical of the iPad as often a good drum sample library can take up a fair amount of room. But you may be able to get something out of it that sounds pretty good. Really though you might want the RAM and Hard Drive storage capacity of at least a laptop if not a desktop to create your tracks. You can then have a rock solid beat that sounds pretty good and simply by adjusting the track tempo you can then pump out four or five MP3 tracks of each beat at different tempos and go from there.

You should try to get used to practicing with the metronome though. A fuller drum track can provide a solid backbone to your playing which is a lot of fun but it can also do a good job of masking minor mistakes. The metronome is ruthless. It just clicks leaving your guitar on it's own. This can help you identify minor mistakes that you might need to work on.


EDIT: (Reading your post again I think I went into way too much detail. -sorry. I can send you some MP3 drum tracks if you want. Tell me what you're looking for and I'll put something together. It'll only take a few minutes. Are you looking for something heavy some rock beats something jazzy? Just a reasonably steady beat with some variations to keep it interesting and a few small fills and a turnaround on the 12th bar? or the 16th bar or the 8th bar? Anyway if you let me know I'll pump something out and export as MP3 in a few different tempos then post it somewhere you can rip it from).
Last edited by 20Tigers at Apr 13, 2012,
20tigers....(and all)
first off, wow and thank you. You may have wandered a bit but that was just a bonus. This is not a Q&A forum for me. Im new at this but my god I love playing guitar, music and the ever expanding role music is taking in my life. This is where I come to learn and posts like this keep me coming back.

I have a PC, but dont really use it much since I got the Ipad for Christmas. Really for no other reason than I dont want to be a computer outside of work. I have kids, wives, dogs, guitars, beer and other things all calling my name.

The other reason I mention the Ipad is I can plug it into the Line6 amp I practice on as that takes headphones. Quality however is below average (amp) and I think a good practice tube amp is something in my future. Another discussion....

What Im looking for as for drum tracks? Good question... probably what I really want is beyond the scope of reality, because like you said nothing beats the feel of a human drummer with his own musical input and feeling. THAT is what I really crave... what I need is a drummer to jam with!

For now, I would be thrilled with some drum tracks that just integrate different sounds. I also like some space... a little less is more. The two albums I simply cant get out of my 6 CD changer are the newest Jane's Addiction album and the double all live CD from Dispatch (Get in the Bus? I forget the name, kind of a live greatest hits). Gov Mule is in there, Black Crowes + Jimmy Page at the Greek are also in there. I find the more guitar and theory I play, the more I want to listen to music and the more I like it.

Ive also been playing a lot slower lately. Ive been at this 3 years ish and Im tearing down some of the slopppy habits I picked up while just trying to know enough barre chords and rhythm stuff to jam with my friends. Lately Ive been focused on theory so my playing has been slow and melodic.

(now its my turn to ramble)

If you have something to send me I would love to give it a try man... that would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again for the long response... as for style? I would just say some variety. Im happy to figure out a progression that matches the beat.

Another jam I cant stop playing is a variation on Hendrix "send my love to Linda"

Its a tiny little jam he plays and follows a 3 chord progression the whole jam. Its B - G - F#
I play the A shaped B maj chord and the E shaped F# (both major) and the open G. Various hammer ons of the B and F# shape while leaving the index barre give it a Minor Pent->Major scale bluesy feel.

Enough rambling.... thanks again mate.
he of tranquil mind