Drums without a drummer

Tips & tricksEspecially if you are playing your guitar mostly at home, sooner or later you will reach the point where you start thinking about some kind of rhythmical companionship. And fortunately, there are numerous options for a tactful backing that work without a flesh-and-blood drummer.
There is a wide range of devices: from a simple metronome to a drum sampler. To give a short overview, I would like to present some devices. Thereby, I hope, this article might brighten up the mysterious world of drum computers.


Every musician knows analog and digital metronomes. They are advantageous and produce a click in four-four time. You can check the speed quite simply. But to be honest: these devices are not really inspiring. At least for practicing pattern and runs they might be suitable.

Drum computer

Drum computers offer much more possibilities. Mostly, they are digital and allow to tap different rhythms. Frequently, it is possible to program them per step.
In many cases, you will also find presets with different drum styles that can be adjusted regarding the respective speed.
The most famous drum computers are the Boss DR-660, which, unfortunately, at the moment is only available in the trimmed-down DR-3 version.
Alesis also offers a variety of good drum computers.And the Korg Volca series as well provides the Beats and the Drum. Two extensive and advantageous models.

These digital drum computers use factory samples.
Of course, there are also analog devices like the Roland TR-808.
By using them, you can also create analog drum sounds.
The Korg Volca Beats for example is able, to offer digital as well as analog sounds.
Frequently, it is possible to fine-tune the sounds of drum computers like these.
Regarding song writing, it can be quite inspiring if your drum computer provides a song mode. This means, you can store a certain sequence of rhythms. This will definitively trigger your creativity and timing.

DigiTech SDRUM and TRIO

Some time ago, DigiTech discovered a market niche by putting the TRIO and the SDRUM on the market.
The TRIO provides a drum sound, accompanied by a bass guitar that generated from the guitar chords. The Plus version is even equipped with a looper.
The SDRUM is perfect for every guitarist because the rhythm is created by envelope control. For those, who have never used percussion instruments at all, will get very nice results at once.
And, by connecting the SDRUM via midi with your effect pedals, you can synchronize the delay exactly to the drums. For the respective midi sync cable check out the DelayDude shop.

Drum sampler

Drum sampler offer the most extensive equipment. They are pretty similar to the drum computers, but each pad allows to store certain sounds. And you will also get widespread possibilities to edit the sounds and their sequences.
Famous models are the Elektron Digitakt and the less expensive Korg Volca Sample.They are based on the Akai MPC 2000 which have been the most successful and most extensive sampler in the 1980s.

Sampler like these can act as real accompanying instruments or whole band if you add respective samples like violins, cellos or synths.
The song mode allows to program whole sequences. Thereby, they replace a full DAW or can be integrated into it.
Midi control will enable you to change between the respective pattern via footswitch. This is pretty intuitive and with a little experience, you will get the perfect companion volume.