The Looper Pedal & The Guitar

June 3rd, 2010

One very versatile and effective music product that has been lost in the massive wave of modern technology is the looper pedal. What exactly is a looper pedal? A looper pedal is a special little toy that will enable any guitarist the ability to produce loops from scratch.

If you want to be an excellent guitarist, practicing with a looper pedal is essential. Why? Few pastimes are as enjoyable as creating an entire song by yours truly. Musical creativity is endless when you have the chance to layer the chord progressions, bass lines, rhythms, and drum beats with one individual and with a single instrument.

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Did you know? Loop-based music was initially made popular by Robert Fripp, the musician who benefited from a stream of experiments involving tape loops.

What is great about looper pedals is A) how easy they are to use and B) their afford-ability. Looper pedals range from $160-$600 depending on the number of tracks recordable and other features. As a guitarist, you may have different aspirations for the loop pedal than that of a singer. Think about what you want to get out of a looper pedal and research accordingly.

Too often it’s easy to get suckered into the most expensive product with a million different features (a quarter of which you’ll probably use regularly). For example, if you are just looking for a pedal that will allow you to layer three or four different guitar tracks, than a $200-$250 looper pedal should do just fine.

Most looper pedals have similar functionality. One pedal is commonly reserved for recording, playing, and overdubbing. On the first tap, it records you playing, the second tap stops the recording and starts the looping, and a third tap allows you to overdub.

Guitarists may then build up their backing track with whatever other instruments they seem fit. Most loopers will also allow you to undo your last recording and it’s highly recommended that you invest in a looper with this capability. Secondly, look into pedals that allow the user to switch between different loops, reverse loops, play along to a drum track, as well as change the tempo of the recordings on the spot.

Over time, guitarists can build up their own backing track by adding to the existing loop. In loop terminology, this is known as overdubbing. Looping is fantastic for practice and jamming out at home, however you can also gig alone with one if you desire.

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Did you know? Fripp’s experiment with loops was successful enough that the musician ended up on a tour appropriately titled the Frippertronics Tour? It was here where Fripp brought delay and looping effects a step further into the mainstream.

Looping is a very cheap, simple, and effective way to record music. If you really want to get serious about your music, you’ll one day need to invest in higher quality recording and engineering devices. In the meantime, however, you may surely learn a lot from a looper pedal.

Ask most guitarists and they will tell you that having a backing track or variety of backing tracks is a great way to practice once you have moved past the basic lessons. Not everyone has the ability to call up three or four friends and meet for a quick jam session. People are busy and always working. Thus, you will have a lot of time where you’re only able to practice alone. Enter the pedal.

Once you purchase a looper pedal, try to make four or five different backing tracks. They do not have to be complex, but rather something that you can vibe well with and is easy to strum along to. Try to record a few different styles or genres, and mix up the tempo for further skill.

Click Here! For an excellent review of the five best looper pedals from 2010.

One Response to “The Looper Pedal & The Guitar”

  1. [...] The best way to play with the pentatonic and blues scales are with a backing track. It’s important to hear how the scales sound within the context of a song. See if you can locate something with a particular “blues feel” or merely build your own with such handy devices as the looper pedal. [...]

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