“Create drum patterns by simply strumming strings”: DigiTech brings that beat back as the SDRUM returns to create jam rhythms from your pedalboard

DigiTech SDRUM
(Image credit: DigiTech)

DigiTech has brought back an old pedalboard favourite as the SDRUM drum machine stompbox returns with the capability to generate a custom rhythm track that takes its cues from what you are playing on the electric guitar.

The concept is simple: strum your strings and create a drum pattern, and use this to play along to. Guitarists are in effect teaching the SDRUM a kick/snare pattern to play just from scratching their instrument’s strings, with the onboard BeatScratch technology interpreting the drum pattern from what you have played – it also works on bass guitar, too. 

Once this kick/snare pattern has been established, SDRUM then adds hi-hat, ride, toms to complement the core beat. A rotary dial allows you to change the pattern of these “right-hand” elements.

SDRUM comes programmed with five different drum kits, and has three different embellishment levels, from “simple” to “busy”. It can learn songs, too, with the capacity to hold three sections of your arrangement in its memory, with Verse, Chorus, Bridge LEDs located across the top of the enclosure to let you know where you are at. Each of these parts can have its own time signature, and you can adjust the feel, intensity, time signature and tempo for each. 

In total, the SDRUM can store up to 36 songs. There are alternate kick and snare sounds for each kit, and you can tap in your own kick/snare pattern via the illuminated pads on the front of the pedal. 

While there are a lot of options for customising your rhythm track, the SDRUM’s design is remarkably intuitive, and as MusicRadar noted in our 2018 SDRUM review, it is of obvious benefit to solo musicians when playing live.

Your kit type options comprise E-Pop, Brush, Percussion, Power, and Clean. SDRUM automatically applies Lexicon reverb to the sounds so they are as naturalistic. And you can choose between 3/4 and 4/4 time signatures and the intensity of the drum track. Tempo can be adjusted via the dial or can be tapped out on the soft-click footswitch. 

The output volume of the drum track is controlled via the Level dial, and there are routing options for mono or stereo operation, and a footswitch input for the FS3X footswitch. 

You’ll have to buy the FS3X footswitch separately but it could well be worth the £27.50 street if you have songs cued up with three different parts and want an easier way to control the pedal. The onboard metronome keeps the time and the SDRUM is even kind enough to count you in. 

The SDRUM Strummable Drums is available now, priced £167 / $349. See DigiTech for more details. 

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.