Today I’m going to talk about Guitar Looper Pedals…..
Wait, BB King doesn’t loop.
It’s what Ed Sheeran and KT Tunstall do. But hang on… isn’t the 12 bar blues like a long 12 bar looping song? Sure it does and I’m sure BB King would have one in his private practice space even if he doesn’t perform with one.
So what’s a looper pedal? What does it do? and Which looper pedal should I buy? Hope to help you in this article.
I was first introduced to the world of loopers 3 years ago. I was instantly hooked and it quickly became the most useful pedal in my collection. I can go without any other pedals but not without a looper pedal.
There are many loopers out there and in this post I want to introduce these that I have used and share why it is I believe the most important pedal you can have.
I am using a “EHX 2880 Super multi-track looper”. My reason for picking this is for very personal reasons. Other than the features, my 2 reasons help make instant connection with an essential tool for my playing.
#1, It looks like multitrack recorders I used to use in the past, when multitrack recorders were cool.
#2. It has a super cool long name. 2880 Super Multi-Track Looper!
These 2 are my reasons. You should have your reasons to pick up your looper.
But first why do I think that a looper is the most important pedal?
Well, every guitarist should have a looper because guitarists need to be first good rhythm players. Rhythm with wrong notes is better than right notes without rhythm. To reach good guitar playing, good rhythm is preferred. And a looper pedal really helps us develop decent rhythm. It helps us work on this one of the most important element of good guitar playing in a seriously fun way. Other than a metronome, I learned great rhythms and timing using a looper more than anything else.
So why a looper is the most important pedal?
A looper developed my rhythm.
What is a looper pedal? Well, it is basically a device that will loop anything you play on it and it can play as many loops as you want on top of the earlier loops.
How it functions is simple.
Press footswitch again and it plays what you played over and over again.
With that track playing in the background, you can play a melody, a solo or another rhythm track over it. Wonderful for practice and have fun. Because it loops in a regular interval, it can help you play in your timing. Very very much!
Here are some of the loopers I’ve used in the past and my relationships with them.
#1 TC Electronics DItto (My first looper and still my best recommendation for a simple looper). My first and still is my best recommendation for an easy to use and fantastic sounding looper. I must have used it for almost a year before I sold it to try something else.
#2 Vox Lil Looper (Forget it) My felt using it is the construction. It feels plasticky and it is made of cheap plastic. I had a hard time connecting with it which is the reason why I sold it only one day after buying it. I think the things that I can’t get pass was the tone suck. Especially compared to the Ditto I had, this is really not a good unit.
#3 Boss RC3 (Used for a week) OK this one is on the more robust side. Sturdy standard ‘built like a tank’ boss chassis. Never like the Boss/Maxon/DOD style switch, still like the standard small silver footswitchs. It’s a personal preference that the latter is more durable and easy to use despite the bigger foot surface area of the former. The sound quality is much better than the lil looper one but I was still thinking of the clarity of TC Ditto so out it went in a week.
#4 Digitech Jamman Stereo (Used for a year). I got this and had lots of fun with it. Because it has 4 switches, it has better flexilibity. I can lay more tracks and perform a full song with it using the expanded features. Used it to play a little family gig for my father’s 80’th birthday and it works beautifully. It sounds great and I got connected to it quickly after that. Compared to the Ditto, the sound quality is still not as good but in terms of functionality and ease of use. It has a built-in rhythm/drum section. It serves me well and lasted one year on my pedalboard.
#5 EHX 2880 Looper with foot controller (Currently using). This is the one that I had the most fun with. I can lay endless number of tracks using the foot controller. And the sound quality is on par with the Ditto. I’m currently using this one and have no intention to change to another. I’m quite happy with it. I do not recommend it because of its price and also the bulkiness of the unit. It does take up a lot of real estate on our pedalboard.
I have used the TC Electronics Flashback X4 which is a delay more than a looper. But the looper in this one is great. I like it if you need a delay to beef up your sound. I have performed with it using the looper function before and it simple to setup and sounds amazing.
However, if there’s one I recommend for a starter, it is TC Electronics Ditto
- Easy to use,
- Priced right for a beginner and
- Sounds top notch.
It doesn’t have a lot of features which I think is redundant for a starter. As an experienced player I use the most basic feature of a looper 90% of the time, so this should be enough. If you are more experienced and have personal reasons like mine consider an EHX 2880 Super Multi-Track Looper. I will get the newer version the instead.
- Nostalgic reasons of it emulating an analog multitrack recorder,
- Great sound on par with the Ditto
- Other features such as “Reverse”, “Octave” and ability to tweak the sound of each track as its recorded
Otherwise, for the most basic feature of a looper which is the ability to play a rhythm and loop it for some solo work. So for its simplicity, durability, price and sound, my first looper is my #1 recommendation.
Let me know if you need further elaboration of the loopers I have used. I love them all.
But to find yours, it has to be a personal reason.
Drop me a line in the comment below and share what you are looking for in a looper. I’m more than glad to help.