If you're not a huge fan of practicing with a repetitive metronome app, and you want a way to practice which is more realistic, fun, and engaging…
So perhaps you've also found yourself searching for drum beats apps on the App Store / the Google Play store.
Today I want to recommend to you my favorite drum beats app, one that I've actually been using for 7 years now.
I think that while a metronome practice is also very valuable and has a time and place, it's simply more realistic and more fun to practice your rhythm skills with a drum beat – because eventually when you get to play with other musicians, there would not be a metronome app there keeping the time for you… (Hopefully)
Instead, a drummer would be playing the beat for you. So ideally, you want to get ready to the feeling of playing with a drummer.
The Problem with Most Drum Beats Apps
The main problem I have with most drum beats apps that you can find on the app store while looking up “drum beats” or “rhythm machine” is that most of them:
- Have a very limited number of beats
- Sound artificial – usually they are simply a collection of MIDI samples played by a computer
- Oftentimes they require you to manually input the beat patterns yourself on a musical timeline/grid – while all I want to do is to get straight down to the playing.
The one app that's different
That's where Drum Beats+ came into my world 7 years ago and changed how I practice and write songs.
You might have already seen it in all of the previous “best guitar apps” resources that I've made, and usually it's the first one there, literally because it's the app I've been using the most in my practice.
For example, here:
Article on the Guitar Songs Masters blog: The Best Guitar Apps You'll Actually USE in 2022
A YouTube video I've made in 2018: The 13 Most Useful Guitar Apps
A YouTube video I've made in 2020: The 13 Best Guitar APPS You'll Actually USE
What makes Drum Beats+ a favorite practice app for me
I think that a couple of things make Drum Beats+ a winner:
- It's as simple as it gets. You just open up the app and click on one of the beats – and off you go.
- All of the beats are played by a real drummer, and sounds like it's a great drummer too – so the feel of these grooves is great, and they are fun to play with.
- When you connect your phone to a bluetooth speaker, it sounds excellent – almost as if you have your own drummer in the room.
- There are 100's of beats to choose from even on the basic 8$ version of the app (there is also a pro version available with hundreds of extra beats for a 20$ yearly subscription. I personally haven't had it because the regular version has enough beats for my needs)
- The genres that you can choose from are very diverse – you can find any kind of beat, from country brushes to pop, rock, electro, hip-hop, R&B, jazz and more.
- You can control the BPM while the beat stays in the same pitch. Do you know how for example you can find a great drum beat on YouTube, but it's just too fast/slow for you, and slowing it down with the YT speed control messes up the sound? So here you don't have this problem.
A huge advantage if you like to write songs
If you're into songwriting, so actually one of the more common methods to start writing a new song (and one that's very popular among professional writers in Los Angeles, Nashville and this kind of places) – is to put on a drum beat and start adding chords, melodies, and lyrics on top of it.
(I explain more about all of these song-starting methods here, in the Songwriting Inspirations course)
So I often find myself using Drum Beats+ for coming up with an inspiring rhythm to start a song from, and I highly recommend you'll try it too.
An example of what might be a fruitful way to do it is to:
- Browse through the beats, and find one that you click with – something that makes you move your body and enjoy yourself.
- Then – try to listen really carefully and see if you hear, within yourself, something that you can add on top of that beat. It might be a certain chord that you can develop into a chord progression. It might be a melody that you feel like singing on top of it. It might be some lyrics that you feel like singing or even rapping on top of that beat. Just go with that flow, that inspiration, that the beat may spark.
- Just try any idea that you feel even the slightest tingle to try – don't hold yourself back. You'll be surprised, all of us have this inspiration within us – it just needs to be teased out.
There are two main disadvantages to the app:
- One is that it's only available for iPhone (I have an alternative for you below)
- And two is that there is no free version. (It costs 8$ for the version I have which already has a ton of beats, and an extra 20$ yearly subscription for opening up the rest of the beats) However, considering all the work that went into recording all of these beats and into making the app so pleasant to use – these are probably among the best 8$ I've spent on anything in my music life.
If you are an Android user, a similar app that I have briefly tried and I can recommend to you (based on the tens of thousands of very positive user reviews that it also has) is Loopz.
Loopz works on a very similar concept – pick a style, pick a specific drum beat, set your preferred tempo, and off you go.
That's it, I hope that was helpful, and feel free to ask any questions or give us more recommendations for other apps you love in the comments below. Cheers.