If you are either a beginner or a professional guitar player, you might have heard of the device called the “loop pedal”, or “looper” for short. Though this gadget is not a must-have for all guitarists, it is definitely a very interesting and useful tool to play any style, and also something that solo players can’t do without. So, if your curious to learn how it functions, whether it’s essential, and what it’s used for, everything will be included in this article.
- What is a Loop pedal?
- Popular Types of Looper
- Is a Looper necessary
- What is a loop pedal?
So basically, a looper, just like its name, is designed to create loops of rhythms. In other words, it enables players to record their guitar playing, then repeat that sequence of chords so that the player can play another part over the top of the rhythm that’s just been recorded. And as you continue to add more parts to the previous ones, you can create a song with multiple layers that sounds complex as if it’s being played by a band. This is why the looper is on the top of a solo players’ shopping list, because it was born for people who play alone but wish to sound like they are playing with the help of others.
- Popular types of looper:
There are two main types of loop pedals: Stompbox Loopers and Loop Stations.
The Stompbox looper is that standard loop pedal that offers the full package for solo players who want to practice at home: recording, overdubbing, and stopping. With 3 buttons for 3 features, the player only has to press one to start recording, then press again to save the rhythm, then play whatever he wants over it. The player can add more layers to the background track if he likes to create a more complex-sounding repeating beat. However, as how the Stompbox looper functions is quite basic, the player can only play on top of one musical phrase that’s created at the beginning until he decides to delete it.
Stompboxes are great for practicing, but to some extent, it limits the players’ creativity while playing. This is where loop stations come in handy – a more complex looping device that’s designed for professional and advanced musicians.
With loop stations, guitar players can switch between different backing tracks while performing, slowing down or speeding up the looped patterns, and so much more. These features make loop stations ideal for musicians who wish to make a one-person band on stage or in the studio, but may be something too much for normal players who only want to practice.
- Is a looper necessary?
A loop pedal is actually an invaluable tool for any musician when it comes to practicing, composing, and performing.
First, it provides the players with more opportunities to practice than any other tools by enabling the musician to play on top of a repeating rhythm without the help of anyone else. By using a looper, the guitarist himself doesn’t have to rely on someone else to repeat the same musical phrase over and over for him, thus making it easier to improvise and experiment with any techniques he likes. Creating the background loop is a form of practice in itself, as it will encourage the player to improve his timing skill and gradually perfect his playing.
A Looper is a helpful tool when it comes to songwriting. By creating loops of rhythms, you can try putting different parts together to make sure it sounds great. With the help of a loop pedal, you can also save the parts you just played without having to remember all the notes you’ve just thought up on your own. To put it simply, a looper is like a memory card saving all your ideas when you’re composing for later use. Besides, with the recording feature, the looper also gives you the chance to stand back, listen and assess your composing. In this way, you can step by step perfect your song. Clever, right?
Loop pedals are used the most in live sessions, especially in solo performances. Even if the player has another guitarist with him, the looper can still be very helpful as it can significantly enhance the performance. In particular, by overdubbing on top of the background loops, the musician can bring in a complex song with multiple layers, thus creating a richer sound.
In fact, there have been several famous musicians using loopers in their live sessions, namely: Jacob Collier, Ed Sheeran, Reggie Watts, etc.