As with any equipment, make sure you spend the time getting used to your new loop board. The nice thing is, these boards are fun to practice with and it doesn’t take much encouragement to want to spend hours on ’em.
You’ll be looping like a pro in no time.
Buyer’s Guide and FAQ
Can you add Vocals/Drums/Piano to these loops?
Absolutely. Most loopists (Ha! I invented a term!), will add all sorts of improving percussion, beatboxing and backup vocals to their singing.
However, with the vocals, it is difficult to use it for harmonization. The pitch and tempo on the first take have to be perfect, and, with the human voice, it is really hard to get that right. If you will notice, most artists tend to use very little vocality in their loops.
My Drummer/Pianist/Band Don’t Like My Looper
While a looping system works well for a solo artist, it becomes much more difficult when you bring in other talents alongside it. A lot of small band artists simply don’t have the practice and or discipline to feel comfortable playing with recorded tracks.
That or the timing on your loops truly do suck.
The high-end pedals we review below actually have an output that you can send to a separate monitor. This is great to feed into the drummer’s headset or to the stage monitors so that the rest of the band can be in sync with you.
And, of course, practice, practice, practice with whatever unit you decide to go with.
Most advanced players say a minimum of 30 hours of practice is required to start feeling stage-ready with these units.
Where In The Signal Chain Should I Place My Looper?
The easiest place is to put it last — just before the amp.
This way you create the sound with all necessary reverbs, delays, overdrives, etc and then loop that sound.
A more advanced skill would be to place it at the front of the chain and then add effects as it loops. This can let you adjust the song and add effects throughout the song without laying down a new or extra loop for each sound. You hear a good example of this song in the intro of Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You” where the repetitive guitar riff is loud for the intro, muffled for the first line, and then is brought back in right before the chorus.
However, it takes a lot more skill to get used to it in this position and to keep your board adjusted throughout the song. (ie. accidentally turning off overdrive mid song when you mean to turn on delay)
Now, loops take a little bit of time to master. The key thing is you have to get your timing down. All of us have made the mistake of getting a loop started and then coming in half a beat late on the second track. It sounds awkward.
Furthermore, there are times when you want to lay down a separate track, build loops separately for mixing and matching later on… and all of that takes some practice to get good at.
So is a looper pedal right for you? If you are serious about playing, are willing to practice at it and already play small gigs and in church, then, definitely. Get one.
As you practice, it will become a second nature tool for improving and building tracks. You’ll use it to get serious. You’ll use it for fun.
With the right pedal, you can even set up your show beforehand, and use the loops to supplement your playing in different parts of the song.