What is Loop Pedal? | Using Guitar Effects

What is Loop Pedal? | Using Guitar Effects

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Loop pedals, as the name suggests, excel with looping small snippets of content from a variety of audio sources, including a guitar or stereo input.
  • These loop stations, like a ditto looper or RC-1 Loop Station, can play the perfect loops at any speed, making them great tools for practicing guitar leads.
  • They are also fantastic for live accompaniment and for use as creative songwriting tools.

If you are new to guitar effects, you may wonder what is a loop pedal. Many of the best guitars, after all, integrate with a vast array of effects pedals, and loop pedals are certainly one of the more popular options. So what exactly is a loop pedal, and why is this type of pedal considered one of the best guitar pedals for some musicians? Keep reading to find out.

Loop Pedals Defined

After learning all about guitar pedals, you may want to know about the humble looper pedal. As the name suggests, this pedal records short snippets of content and then loops them for dramatic effect, even if you are just learning how to use a guitar pedal in the first place. This is helpful for creating guitar loops but also for triggering samples and related content from other pedals if you are learning what is a pedal board.

In other words, loopers are for more than just guitar players, which is helpful when comparing bass cables vs guitar cables.

Benefits of Using a Looper Pedal

There are some serious advantages to integrating a looper pedal into your guitar pedal board. These are just a few.

Great Practice Tool

These pedals play loops at whatever speed you desire, making them a great practice tool, as they can mimic accompaniment. Having trouble with a guitar lead? Sample the whole part, with every instrument aside from the lead, and set it to loop at a slower speed to start. Practice the lead until you get a feel for it, and then slowly increase the speed until you are at the actual speed you will be performing the piece live.

Songwriting Aid

Just as samplers have been assisting hip-hop producers for decades, live loopers can help you write music on the fly, even in more guitar-friendly genres. Practice the pedal until you start to create some unique loops and use them as the basis for a song or two (or three.) Sometimes it is the happy accidents with these pedals that allow for the most unique song structures.

Your Looping Live Buddy

Of course, the primary use for these pedals is live performance. These looping pedals, well, loop at the perfect time, making them a great live companion. Bands have been bringing these pedals on stage for decades, and for good reason. They just sound great.

Loopers FAQs

What can I use a looper pedal for? 

Use a stereo looper for setting the loop level of independent loops and for adjusting the timing of your initial loop or the current loop. Beyond that, they can mangle the audio in numerous ways. 

Which brands make the best looper pedals? 

Many brands make well-regarded stereo loops for continuous loops. The Boss RC-1 Loop Station, for instance, is well-regarded, as are models by Line 6 and others.

How much should I spend on a looper pedal? 

Loop stations like the RC-1 Loop Station cost anywhere from $50 to $500, depending on the make, model, and feature set. Some stereo loopers with external footswitches, for instance, cost more than barge-bones models with XLR inputs. 

 

STAT

“In 1963, musician and performer Terry Riley released an early tape loop piece called “The Gift,” featuring the trumpet playing of Chet Baker.” (source)

TIP: Some modern looping pedals include multi-unit functionalities with reverb and delay.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_looping

https://blog.andertons.co.uk/learn/5-reasons-looper-pedal

https://sirenpedals.com/blogs/pedals/7-reasons-why-every-beginner-guitarist-needs-a-looper-pedal

https://www.sweetwater.com/c978–Looper_Pedals

https://www.andertons.co.uk/guitar-looper-pedal-guide

 

Lawrence Bonk
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