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Thread: Great stocking stuffer — the Digitech Trio Band Creator pedal!

  1. #1
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Great stocking stuffer — the Digitech Trio Band Creator pedal!

    Digitech Trio Band Creator



    This pedal is really cool — you play a rhythm guitar part and it will create a drum part and a bass part which will follow the chord progression you just played. You have a choice of 7 different genres, each with 12 different song styles. Digitech has dropped the price of this "band in a box" pedal which retailed for $149.99 earlier this year. I had seriously considered buying it at that price but their upgraded Trio+ for $299.99 had many features that I thought absolutely necessary, like the ability to save your creations to an SD card, 5 song parts instead of 3 and a built-in looper for your guitar.

    However with all of the big stores now selling the original Trio for $49.99 the price/value ratio has changed drastically. While there is no way to permanently archive the backing tracks you have created*** you can record them on your own looper or directly to your digital recorder or computer. Perhaps more important both of the pedals are much more useful for practicing and composing rather than performing as a solo artist with digital band (better to record the backing tracks you create on your own looper for that.)

    Besides the 1/8" headphone jack with its own level control on the rear panel there are two auto-sensing 1/4" output jacks on the left panel labeled AMP and MIXER. Used alone each sends the blended signal from the guitar and the Trio but the MIXER jack adds speaker simulation. Used together the AMP jack has the guitar signal and the MIXER jack has the bass and drum parts from the Trio. Pretty slick since that allows you to distort or overdrive just your guitar without affecting your "trio".

    Both the Trio and the Trio+ really need the Digitech FS3X 3-button footswitch to simplify operations and it, too, has dropped in price — from $79.99 to $39.99. Wow! While the Trio and FS3X together would have cost $230 plus tax a year ago that has dropped to $90! Here are links to the items on the Digitech site:

    https://digitech.com/en/products/trio

    https://digitech.com/en/products/fs3...ton-footswitch

    I had first checked with GC but they were out of stock until the middle of January... kinda late for Christmas.

    Lucky me — Sweetwater had both items in stock with free USPS priority shipping through Dec. 18th and no sales tax for everybody besides Indiana residents. Here are links to both items there:

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/TrioPedal

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/FS3X

    And here is a YouTube playlist which will cycle through several video demos on the Digitech site...

    https://youtu.be/2UDhwyCforQ?list=PL...0LymqufDySJDri

    And for more details here is a link to the manual which I also attached to this post. (I usually try to download manuals before buying anything electronic to get a better idea of their capabilities):

    https://3e7777c294b9bcaa5486-bc95634...B_original.pdf

    Steve A.

    *** The Trio does save the 3 song parts currently in its memory but you can't build up a library unless you are running the audio-only output to a looper or a digital recorder or computer . There is a USB port but it is only for updating the firmware.


    screenshot_2017-12-13-10-19-05_20171213102008446.jpg
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Steve A.; 12-14-2017 at 07:40 PM.

  2. #2
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    To illustrate what a solo singer/acoustic guitarist can do with a looper...

    Watch "KT Tunstall - Tutorial Black Horse & the Cherry Tree(part 1)" on YouTube:



    Here is part 2:

    https://youtu.be/TH1euOP3zZ4

    I was so impressed by this video that I went out and an Akai E2 Head Rush Delay/Looper back when I had more money than common sense... (They are now selling for well under $100... ouch!)

    Steve A.

    P.S. I thought it was very generous for KT to basically give away her biggest hit to anyone who wants to learn it, with or without a looper. Back in the early 70's I thought it was very generous of Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana to include at least parts of their solos in their songbooks, some with tab, some not. Giving away trade secrets like that used to be extremely rare. (Was it Louis Armstrong who used to cover his trumpet with a handkerchief in the early days so that no one could copy his fingering? Not that I blame him...)
    Last edited by Steve A.; 12-13-2017 at 09:03 PM.
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  3. #3
    Supporting Member mozz's Avatar
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    Just ordered this with the footswitch from Sweetwater yesterday. Seems like a cool toy and besides, i haven't bought any type of pedal in a long time.

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    As usual in rip-off Britain Digitech have set the price at £49.99 which equates right now to $66.59. Apple do the same thing with the iPhone. Given these things are probably shipped world-wide from China it kills me how much the market is inflated over here.
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  5. #5
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    Our VAT (20% sales tax) evens it up a bit (£40 before VAT = ~$53).

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    Good point. Does an advertised price in the US include taxes?

  7. #7
    g1
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    No it does not.
    Here in Canada it is approx. $65CDN + tax, which is about even with the $50US + T price. (aside from tax differences)
    Certified Dotard

  8. #8
    Supporting Member John_H's Avatar
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    I bought one of these a few weeks ago. A friend told me about them when the price came down. It really is a fun little box. I didn't buy the control pedal at first, but ordered one right away. In the USA when you buy across state lines, you don't pay sales tax. I bought it from Musicians Friend. $50, and the controller was $40.
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  9. #9
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    I like the look of the pedal and compared it to the Trio+. Rather bizarre that the + model has hiphop. I don't relate to this as being a guitar genre. What's the thinking behind having this, rather than soul, funk or reggae?

    After using it for a while do you get tired of the patterns and bass lines? I notice there's an optional simple bass now that the firmware on the basic model has been improved, though from what I've heard it's more of a root note plod rather than the Jaco 'sports bass' workout of the more complex models.

  10. #10
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Question for Trio owners: GENRE control has extremely weak clicks... is this normal?

    Question for Trio owners: the GENRE control has extremely weak clicks... is this normal for the pedal? It is hard to figure out where exactly it is set when reaching down to the floor.

    IMO it is either a defect with the specific pedal I received or a design flaw... if the latter then I don't want to go to the trouble of exchanging it for another pedal that is exactly the same.

    Tech support at Sweetwater is supposed to call me back on this but perhaps I can get an answer here faster.

    Thanks!

    Steve A.

    P.S. Sweetwater does not charge sales tax for the 49 states besides Indiana. Typically in the U.S. if a chain store has a physical presence in your state it will charge sales tax, at least that is how it is in California.

    P.P.S. The drum and bass patterns are created using software from Band in the Box. I'm sure that they can get boring - I think it is up to the guitarist to keep things interesting.

    Here are some of the things I like about it...
    - You don't have to program it manually. Just play a simple rhythm guitar part and it can figure out the chord progression and come up with an appropriate drum part.
    - Unlike most loopers I've used you don't have to stop the recording/learning mode on the exact beat.
    - If you don't like what it comes up with then just erase it and try again with a different rhythm pattern.

    CONS:
    - You probably won't find most of the 84 different Genre/Style combinations usable (but you can probably find a few that are)
    Last edited by Steve A.; 12-20-2017 at 10:53 PM.

  11. #11
    Junior Member killivolt's Avatar
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    Thank you, for the suggestion. I went to Guitar CityCenter today and picked up this little guy, to bad it was broken it was a used one. Anyway, I got the Trio + instead. Wow, what fun great Grandpa gift to me. A bit spendie but, it works well and have been watching a few reviews and people tell you how to use the box.

    Here is just one of them.

    https://youtu.be/k0VXRK2JGkQ

    Merry Christmas,

    kv
    Believe Nothing You Hear, and Only One Half That You See. Edgar Allan Poe

  12. #12
    Senior Member walkman's Avatar
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    Got one for Xmas ... instantly able to have a great little jam with it.

    Excellent with a Yamaha thr-5. I ran headphones out of the Trio into the aux in of the thr-5 got a backing track, then put the guitar in to the thr-5 input for more ‘realistic’ guitar tones. As a table top practice rig these together are ideal.

    And they sound great at conversation level volumes. Apparently there is firmware update to simplify the bass
    playinghttps://youtu.be/Xrm0SBa87oU
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  13. #13
    Supporting Member John_H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
    Question for Trio owners: the GENRE control has extremely weak clicks... is this normal for the pedal? It is hard to figure out where exactly it is set when reaching down to the floor.
    Yes. The detents are weak. It is awkward switching between 'genre'.

    PROS:
    -The bass player never complains, and the drummer doesn't drink.

    CONS:
    -The on board 'FX' aren't very good.
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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    PROS: -The bass player never complains, and the drummer doesn't drink.
    Hah, I love it.



    A long time ago I dropped into a club to see a friend play. he was doing a duo with a drum machine. I sent three drinks to the stage.
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  15. #15
    Supporting Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I'm probably dating myself, but... I remember doing some of my first home recordings with a Doctor Headache (Rhythm). You had to program these things one hit at a time and dub over again for the snare and cymbals. Now they have better accompany in a pedal. I probably won't get one. But maybe.?. It looks like fun.
    "So I acquired it for the purpose of fixing it up - in case I run out of things to do with the rest of my life..." tubeswell

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  16. #16
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    I got the Trio+ about a year ago, after much time spent anguishing over the price (which was truly exorbitant in Canada, around $475 CAD after taxes). But I figured it was about the cost of ten guitar lessons, which I had no time for anyway, so I finally talked myself into getting one (after saving up the cash for it first).

    It took me quite a while to get to grips with the thing, and there is still a lot I haven't explored, but I began to see a difference in my guitar solos almost as soon as I started practicing with the Trio+. I would loop something like a I-vi-IV-V7 chord progression on the Trio+, and try to solo over it. At first I would find myself playing the fairly obvious guitar licks you've all heard a thousand times. But if I stayed with it, I would start to find more notes, over a wider range of the keyboard, that worked. An hour later, my solos would be sounding considerably less generic and more interesting.

    I haven't used the original Trio, but at the prices mentioned in this thread, it seems like a no-brainer for anyone wanting to improve their timing and ability to solo. It's a great practice tool.

    There is a dark side to the pedal - no dynamics in the accompaniment, so if you don't stay aware, you can easily find yourself playing the same way, with no dynamics. Lack of dynamics is one of the hallmarks of mediocre musicianship, so definitely not something you want to reinforce in your own playing!

    -Gnobuddy
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    With the basic Trio, given the same settings and chord progression, do the drum and bass parts come out the same every time?

  18. #18
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnobuddy View Post
    I got the Trio+ about a year ago, after much time spent anguishing over the price (which was truly exorbitant in Canada, around $475 CAD after taxes). But I figured it was about the cost of ten guitar lessons, which I had no time for anyway, so I finally talked myself into getting one (after saving up the cash for it first).

    It took me quite a while to get to grips with the thing, and there is still a lot I haven't explored, but I began to see a difference in my guitar solos almost as soon as I started practicing with the Trio+. I would loop something like a I-vi-IV-V7 chord progression on the Trio+, and try to solo over it. At first I would find myself playing the fairly obvious guitar licks you've all heard a thousand times. But if I stayed with it, I would start to find more notes, over a wider range of the keyboard, that worked. An hour later, my solos would be sounding considerably less generic and more interesting.

    I haven't used the original Trio, but at the prices mentioned in this thread, it seems like a no-brainer for anyone wanting to improve their timing and ability to solo. It's a great practice tool.

    There is a dark side to the pedal - no dynamics in the accompaniment, so if you don't stay aware, you can easily find yourself playing the same way, with no dynamics. Lack of dynamics is one of the hallmarks of mediocre musicianship, so definitely not something you want to reinforce in your own playing!

    -Gnobuddy
    As for your improved soloing the same could be said about using pre-recorded backing tracks but good luck finding one for a song that you are composing... and the Trio/+ requires no tedious manual programming!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
    As for your improved soloing the same could be said about using pre-recorded backing tracks
    For some reason, I've never had much luck using someone else's backing tracks. I think it's because it takes a while to find and download them, test them out, find you don't like them, rinse and repeat, and when you finally get a track you like, the creative impulse to play guitar has gone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
    but good luck finding one for a song that you are composing...
    Very true. Some YouTube reviews talk about using the Trio and/or Trio+ for composing. I can see that it can be very useful for that purpose, if it fits into your particular way of approaching new compositions.

    Me, I approach composing a different way. I found out that if I start with the chords, I'm more likely to end up with a poor melody. It is easy for me to get stuck on the obvious chord tones, and end up with a melody that has little melodic movement and a small pitch range. Many famous bands seem to have this same problem too - for instance, a lot of REM songs go nowhere melodically, instead being made up of long strings of the same repeated note with only a little melodic movement here and there. Many, many blues songs have the same problem.

    So I start by writing my lyrics. Then I put a melody to them. And only after that do I harmonize the melody (find chords to go with it). Sometimes I do this with a guitar, sometimes a keyboard, sometimes a software music notation program (MuseScore).

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
    and the Trio/+ requires no tedious manual programming!
    I really love this about the Trio/Trio+! I've programmed drum machines in the past, and the (logical, step by step) nature of that task always pulls me into my left-brain. Unfortunately, creativity and art come from the other side of the brain, which I find relatively hard to get back into! So by the time I'm done programming, all creative inspiration has been lost.

    With the Trio, I don't have this problem. It only takes a minute or two, and a few button presses, to get going.

    -Gnobuddy

  20. #20
    Supporting Member John_H's Avatar
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    I should have tried the mixer output sooner. This is a great feature for me. I took the output from my little board directly into my powered reference monitors. With the bass and drums going to the mixer (which also gives me the ability to EQ the bass/drum track) , I'm able to use my own effects on the clean guitar signal from the amp out on the trio. I wish I would have done this a month ago when I got the thing.
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    Damn. They've put the price right up again over here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John_H View Post
    I should have tried the mixer output sooner. This is a great feature for me. I took the output from my little board directly into my powered reference monitors.
    I love this feature too. Lately I've been schlepping so much gear to my music jam nights that I stopped taking my valve guitar amp, and instead play my electric guitar through the Trio+, using the mixer output straight into my little mixer, which in turn feeds an Acoustic AG30 (powered speaker / acoustic guitar amp / keyboard amp) acting as a small P.A. system for vocals and guitar.

    I also found the Trio+'s drums sound much better going from mixer output to P.A. than they do going straight into an electric guitar amp. The deeper bass extension and flatter frequency response of the P.A. give the drums much more kick, and they sound more realistic.

    Quote Originally Posted by John_H View Post
    With the bass and drums going to the mixer (which also gives me the ability to EQ the bass/drum track) , I'm able to use my own effects on the clean guitar signal from the amp out on the trio.
    Since I stopped hauling my Princeton Reverb to my music jam nights, I've been putting my effects pedals in the Trio+ effect loop. We all know distortion or overdrive pedals straight into a P.A. system sound harsh and terrible. But putting my FX pedals in the Trio+ effect loop, and using the mixer output (with emulated speaker response built in) does a nice job of taking the worst of the harsh edge off overdrive or distortion pedals before they get to the P.A. Adding the usual delay and reverb took off the rest of the harshness.

    Quote Originally Posted by John_H View Post
    I wish I would have done this a month ago when I got the thing.
    I've had mine a lot longer than a month, and I'm still learning how to drive this thing! (Never used the external foot-switch yet, for instance. Never used the SD card storage, either.)

    It's definitely an amazing, well thought out, and quite complex piece of kit, and there is a definite learning curve before one figures out how to get the best out of it.

    -Gnobuddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Bailey View Post
    Damn. They've put the price right up again over here.
    It might make you feel a little better to know that they never dropped the price much here in Canada. We always got to pay through the nose for it if we wanted it.

    -Gnobuddy

  24. #24
    g1
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    I'm not sure everyone is talking about the same thing here.
    As far as I know, it was only the Trio, not the Trio + that had the big price drop. The conversation drifted a bit to the Trio +, but it was never discounted as far as I know.
    Is the plain Trio the one you are talking about Nick? It's still at the lower price here.
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  25. #25
    Supporting Member John_H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnobuddy View Post

    I also found the Trio+'s drums sound much better going from mixer output to P.A. than they do going straight into an electric guitar amp. The deeper bass extension and flatter frequency response of the P.A. give the drums much more kick, and they sound more realistic.
    This! I was vague about it in my post, and failed to mention how much better the overall sound was. The mixer out gives it a whole new dynamic!
    Quote Originally Posted by Gnobuddy View Post
    I've had mine a lot longer than a month, and I'm still learning how to drive this thing! (Never used the external foot-switch yet, for instance. Never used the SD card storage, either.)
    I like the foot switch. Just being able to toggle between the 'styles' is really handy. I have the basic trio without the SD.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gnobuddy View Post
    It's definitely an amazing, well thought out, and quite complex piece of kit, and there is a definite learning curve before one figures out how to get the best out of it.

    -Gnobuddy
    It is an amazing piece of technology. The more I use it, the more I like it.

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    Just had another look around for a basic Trio and the deals have certainly gone. Many places now list them as 'no longer available'. I wonder if there's a new model coming out? The Trio+ is more than I'd want to pay and has features I wouldn't use. I did find that before Christmas one place had the Trio on offer at £39.99. I really missed the boat on that one.

  27. #27
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Bailey View Post
    Just had another look around for a basic Trio and the deals have certainly gone. Many places now list them as 'no longer available'. I wonder if there's a new model coming out? The Trio+ is more than I'd want to pay and has features I wouldn't use. I did find that before Christmas one place had the Trio on offer at £39.99. I really missed the boat on that one.
    I just checked on this side of the pond and the new ones are nowhere to be found, with used ones going for $79.99, $99.99, $124.99, etc.

    I guess we need to watch for news releases from Digitech announcing a new version of the non-plussed Trio...

    Steve A.

    EDIT: I just checked the Digitech site and there is a page with a 2018 date that shows the Trio+, the Trio and... drumroll please... the SDRUM! It looks like they retail for $195.99.

    https://digitech.com/en/product_families/band-creator



    https://digitech.com/en/products/sdrum




    https://youtu.be/U8E1poBX_uA

    https://youtu.be/kONBcBE7QQk

    I think that this might be more useful than the Trio if you don't really need the bass part... it's more like using a drum machine that is easy peasy to program.


    Steve A.


    screenshot_2018-01-19-06-16-50_20180119063137298.jpg
    Last edited by Steve A.; 01-19-2018 at 03:41 PM.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
    drumroll please... the SDRUM!
    I saw that video and some threads on the SDrum a little while ago. Harman / Digitech is on a roll lately!

    Mebbe the SDrum will end up at $50 USD by Christmas 2020. If so, I'll probably get one. It looks like the first real improvement on a drum machine anyone has come up with since the 1980's Linn Drum Computer.

    The more years I play music, the more I realize that a huge part of the gap between really good musicians, and really mediocre musicians, comes down to timing. Play even simple stuff with really tight timing, and it will sound great. That's what makes so many of the studio musicians sound so good, even when they're playing simple stuff on crappy songs.

    A lot of the sloppy or outright bad timing I hear comes from people who have never used a metronome while they practiced. Part of that is because of the irritating beeps that metronomes make. Maybe the SDrum will save a few amateur musicians from bad timing. That would be a great thing for the world!

    I haven't been using my metronome enough lately. I've probably gotten sloppy with my timing without realizing it. Time to get back to some daily practice with my metronome again!

    -Gnobuddy

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