MDA Beatbox - Great for Jamming and One-man Banding


MDA Beatbox

This is a fun and useful plugin for easily getting some basic percussion sounds while playing. I’ve been using my guitar and after some experimentation and fiddling with the parameters, it is working well enough to have some fun with.

At first I was struggling to get anything working or understanding how it was responding to the inputs. What I learned is that playing an open string or fretting and playing a note wasn’t working. I’m guessing that the shape of the wave in this case doesn’t work well with the filters, and letting the string ring at all introduces all the harmonics so you end up triggering multiple instruments.

It works (for me) much better to hit the strings more …percussively :slight_smile: I’ve found a few different styles that work pretty so far and after tuning the parameters a little more. One style is that use the 6th string and play it more like a two-fingered bass style. I keep the string muted and plucking it down a little lets the kick play and striking it more forcefully gets the snare. The other way that works well is to mute all the strings with my left and play some rhythm patterns across all the strings with a pick. In this way all three drums get activated in rhythm, with the kick responding to the low strings, snare to mids, and hat to high string. By adding a little swing and emphasizing different sets of strings while strumming you can get some nice results. I put a looper behind this and then can have a drum beat going to jam on and add layers to.

Community blog posts

Nice thread @unbracketed!

Not only is this informative (I had tried this plugin a long time ago and didn’t manage to get any proper sounds from it) but it’s also great to have more music-oriented topics on the forum!



Technique update:

I’m finding that the output is easiest to control with Beatbox when the input is pretty hot. I’ve been using a switchbox so I can add a gain in front of the Beatbox and boost it up quite a bit. This way I can leave my guitar level in the sweet spot and switch back to the live effects route when I’m done box’ing it up without blowing up.

The best thing for producing sounds for me lately has been:

  1. Mute across strings with left hand
  2. Hit lower strings (4-6) with palm or all strings with palm of right hand even across strings = Kick
  3. Hit mid strings (3-4) with a slight slapping motion using right hand fingers = Snare
  4. Pick or pluck the high string (1) with right hand = Hat

It takes some work and tinkering to get to where you can play the different samples in isolation (and when you expect them). With this setup I can get consistent kick or snare sounds and at a tempo suitable for most styles of music. The plugin will respond to the dynamics of your playing so you can alter the velocities a little. Feeding into a looper, I can get a nice enough sounding percussion track with one or a few dubs. Works for my needs, YMMV!