When you play live, you usually have a lot of ideas and tunes running in your mind that you would want to actualize on stage. You are so sure that you could make your live performance great if you could play all those tunes. Yet, you are hampered because you only have one instrument, and both your hands are already preoccupied with playing your patented lines.
So, what else could you do? You can still play all those creative notes and lines if you use a looper pedal for live performance.
A looper pedal, of course, is a necessary guitar effect that you can use to loop instantly. It adds another dimension to your live guitar playing by allowing you to create simple and complex arrangements to enhance your live performance.
A loop pedal is a tool that enables guitarists, singers, beatboxing singers, pianist and musicians to create awesome instrument sounds without necessarily needing an orchestra or the help of other musicians. With this versatile tool, a guitarist can bring out his musical genius even when playing alone in public. It can also enable him to be creative in various ingenious ways. With the looper pedal, a guitarist can easily work out solos, write tunes, and play along with those tunes. Moreover, during the live performance, looper pedals can enable a guitarist to utilize unique effects to create impressive depth in his performance.
Using a looper pedal, you can either create loops or store loops for future use. Your imagination is the only limitation as to how much creativity you can achieve with your loop pedal. There are, however, myriads of looper pedals in the market today. So, you might get confused as to which looper pedal to select. Thus, if you are shopping around for the best looper pedal, you can use the following list of best looper pedals for live performance in the market today:
Last update on 2020-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Looper pedals, however, can be a bit complicated for some beginners. In fact, its use can be very tricky for some guitar loop pedals are not user-friendly and require time to master. Hence, if you are a guitarist or singer who wants to buy a looper pedal, you need to consider the brand and model that you would buy carefully.
First, you need to buy a model that allows you to record your loops easily and readily plays them. It should likewise be very responsive to your simple touch so that you can easily synchronize your loops with your bandmates’ rhythm. It should also make your live performance easy and cool. Hence, to help you in finding the best looper pedals for your performance needs, here is a perfect list of the most popular looper pedal brands and models that we are are going to show you in this review:
1) Boss RC-300
This very expensive looper pedal is definitely considered by many as the ultimate looper. Boss RC-300 is a real beast among loop pedals and literally supersedes other types of loopers. First, it provides you with perfect control over your track allowing you to record every instrument that you plug into it. It also features a vast array of input options. Moreover, it comes with XLR input together with phantom power for mics allowing you to join the musical act easily without a hitch. Its recording time period is up to 3 hours directly into its internal memory, enabling you to add effects along the way.
It is equipped with all the important features that you can find in smaller models; it has the necessary integrated effects likewise. It also has provision for USB via its USB port, allowing you to save loops externally.
2) Digitech Trio+ Band Creator + Looper
The Digitech Looper is a powerful gadget for practicing, writing, and performing music. It features the DigiTech’s popular Trio Technology that allows you to listen to your playing while playing bass and drum accompaniment using its trio band.
The Trio pedal Technology allows you to play your guitar according to your style while this technology listens to how you play the guitar. Then, it quickly offers the correct drum and bass parts to complete the song using this Trio + Plus looper.
Using this gadget, you are afforded five extra genres of accompaniment that were not offered in the original trio pedal. Thus, you can easily change your song’s tempo and loops without altering its pitch. Therefore, you can experiment with your tempos without ruining your creative undertaking.
The Trio + pedal is powerful. Its footswitch controls everything. Thus, with it, you can record songs, play it back, then undo and redo your song. With Trio + Pedal, your only limitation is your creativity.
3) BOSS Loop Station Twin Guitar Pedal, USB, (RC-30)
If you are looking for a looper pedal that provides great value, you should consider BOSS Loop Station Twin Guitar Pedal (RC-30). This looper pedal features twin pedals and multitrack. It also comes with two synchronized tracks with select buttons and dedicated volume faders, as well as built-in loop effects.
The Boss Loop Station is easy to set up. All you need to do is plug in your instrument or microphone to it. It comes with an XLR input and is equipped with phantom power. The main selling point of this looper pedal is its internal memory that allows you to record up to three hours while adding effects along the way. You can also save your loops using its USB 2.0 port as well as import/export WAV files. This looper pedal also comes with 99 onboard memory phrases for storing loops.
When it comes to portability, this gadget is quite portable. It weighs around 4 pounds and is compact and easy to carry around with its 12.9” x 7.3” x 5.9” dimensions. It may come with a steep learning curve on controlling its pedals. But once you get the hang of it, you will find this looper pedal dripping with awesome possibilities.
4) Digitech Jam Man Stereo Looper Delay Pedal
This Digitech JamMan stereo delay pedal looper is capable of store up to 35 minutes of CD-like quality stereo loops in its 99 internal memory slots. However, you will have 16 hours of recording times with additional 99 memory slots if you choose to use the optional SDHC card.
It has 4 separated pedal footswitches for loop up, loop down, Rec/Play/Overdub and Tempo/Stop which will allow having more flexible and quick control during your live performance.
The advanced part of this lopper pedal is that you can connect it with the PC via USB cable to manage your loops with its Jam Manager software for easy expression pedal monitoring.
5) Boss RC-3
This Boss model is one of the most popular among buskers. In fact, you would often see this among buskers. It comes with a truly massive three hours or 180 minutes of recording time. You can store up to 99 loops in its memory bank. It also comes with a “drums” rhythm guide. Buying this loop station can surely help you—if you are just new to looping—to learn how to engage a pedal. You can readily connect this looper via its USB port.
6) TC Electronic Guitar Ditto Looper Effects Pedal
This is a stereo looper pedal that features intuitive format. This intuitive format equips it with the essential elements that a looper pedal needs to have. It is also very portable. This means that it leaves a minimal footprint; hence, it is very convenient to use in cramped spaces. It has a very minimalist layout and comes with a single switch that lets you control the recording and allows you to stop, undo, and erase functions using various foot commands. This allows you to record layers of loops easily.
The internal memory of DITTO allows you to record up to five minutes which is good enough for looping lines and playing back during actual performance. DITTO also carries a true signal bypass feature that enables the audio signal to pass through the pedal without necessarily converting this audio signal into a digital formal; thus, your sound remains unadulterated.
I think DITTO is surely your best option for the money. DITTO does not have an overwrought design. It has a single foot button and a single knob for adjusting the volume. Its design is so minimal and simple. Thus, making it easy to use with its single input and output. Lastly, it is a perfect example of a pedal that does all even with its tiny size.
7) NUX Loop Core Guitar Effect Pedal
If you are a guitarist—who wants to pursue knowledge in the use of advanced loop pedal—but you’re on a budget, you should go for the NUX Loop Core Guitar Effect Pedal. It comes in its distinctive yellow metal casing. It can record and at the same time overdub many layers according to your recording and dubbing needs. It also allows six hours of recording using stereo or mono recording.
It features 99 user memories with built-in drum patterns and tap tempo. With this looper pedal, you can readily change the playback tempo of any recorded phrase without necessarily changing the key and sans latency. It also comes with an extensional pedal for greater control. Furthermore, it allows you to import and back up phrases using your PC. Lastly, you can run it using batteries or an AC adaptor.
8) Boss RC-1
Among the range of Boss loopers that are available, the Boss RC-1 Loop Station is definitely the simplest. It carries a design that is very user-friendly, especially, for those who really don’t want to rely on instructional manuals. This looper pedal allows you to create your back-track with which you can play along, especially, when practicing and learning. It comes with a sharp-looking loop indicator that shows the current loop mode. It also allows for 12-minute of stereo recording. You can store recorded phrase into its memory even if you have already turned it off. Moreover, it provides stereo outputs and inputs of remarkable quality.
It is a straightforward looper that is quite easy to operate. Its stereo in/out jacks allow you to connect it with amplifiers and stereo effects. These in/out jacks also will enable you to connect to synthesizers.
9) Digitech JMSXT Jamman Solo XT Stereo Looper Phrase Sampler Pedal
The common issues that hound users of loop pedals are the issues about its capacity and memory capability. These issues, however, are solved by the Digitech Solo XT Stereo Looper. With Digitech JMSXT, you can make great loops with its extended capability.
You can engage in over 35 minutes of CD-quality stereo loops with the built-in 200 internal loop memories. You can also further extend your looping capability with its optional micro SDHC card that can store up to 16 hours of quality audio in its 200 additional memories.
The Digitech JMSXT has a rugged construction with its durable metal chassis that comes with a power supply. You can record rhythm loops as well as a solo over those rhythm loops on the fly. You won’t even need to adjust the pitch if you want to slow down or speed up the tempo of your loop. Its aux input also allows you to import from MP3 and CD players music.
With this looping pedal, of course, you can up the energy of your performance and allows you to make limitless loops. It also lets you make seamless transitions from one loop phrase to another. This looping pedal is indeed a great choice.
10) LEKATO Guitar Effect Pedal Guitar Looper Pedal
The LEKATO Looper Pedal is another compact looper pedal that comes with awesome features. First, it offers great professional tone quality with its 48K/24bit sampling rate. It also affords you up to 40 minutes of recording time with unlimited superimposition recording. It features a long memory allowing you to create 9 loops with a single loop recording up to 10 minutes duration. Its visual time indicator, of course, is excellent.
Its tuning functionality features a built-in and high sensitivity tuning function that allows for continuous switching without causing any discordant interruption between phrases. It also comes with USB functionality for uploading and downloading purposes. With this feature, you can import and export music from your PC.
This looping pedal is easy to set up and use. It lets you loop clearly with unlimited overdubbing. Its user interface is easy to navigate, and you can access its different configurations and functionalities using its various foot commands using a single button. Moreover, it features a single-knob operation for setting up loop playback volume.
Last update on 2020-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Other Top-rated Looper Effect Pedals
Buyer's Guide: Major Factors When Buying A Looper Pedal
When shopping around for an ideal looper pedal, you will find that there are myriads of options at hand, and each option may offer different features. Hence, you may get confused as to which is the best option at hand. Yet, if you know the following important factors to consider when choosing a looper pedal, you will find buying a looper pedal a breeze. Here are the important factors to consider when buying a looper pedal:
Number of Pedals
If you intend to use your looper pedal in live performance or professional setting, you need to consider the number of switches or pedals that a looper pedal has. Many loopers have only one pedal. This kind of design may get you well enough through some looping endeavors. Yet, if you will perform live on stage, you should opt for a looper pedal that comes with multiple pedals. This is because you will find it difficult to shift from one dial to another if your looper only has one pedal. With more pedals, your looper becomes easier to operate and shift from one feature to another. It is also very useful if you make multilayered loops.
There are different brands and models of looper pedals. Many of them come with simple designs, while others have more complicated features. Moreover, the price range of loopers may be great. Simple loopers, of course, are less expensive, while those with more complicated and advanced features may perch at around $500 or more. Professional guitarists, of course, opt for high-end ones because these high-end models come with advanced features.
Your choice, of course, of a looper pedal will often be determined by the amount of money you are willing to shell out for a looper. Yet, if money is not an issue for you, you can always have the best looper pedal at hand.
Several looper pedals will only let you play one loop at a particular time. Other high-end loopers, however, will let you play multiple loops at the same time. A simple single-looped looper can do the trick for you if you are going to use a looper for practicing solos. Yet, if you want to play multiple pre-recorded loops simultaneously and create complicated tunes and songs, you should go for a looper that is capable of multiple loops at once.
Mono or Stereo Output
If you are only jamming, then a mono output looper will be fine. Yet, if you want to engage in multiple looping or recordings, you will need something with stereo output. Most pedals feature a stereo output option. This feature allows you to separate sounds into useful stereo output.
Types of Inputs
You should also consider the type of inputs that a looper has. The most common of this type is the quarter-of-an-inch type. It is also the standard cable input that you have in your guitar. Yet, other pedals come with many other input options. You can, for example, add different sequences to your loops. You can plug in, for example, XLR to enhance the sequences. You can also find aux jacks for connecting to devices and MP3 players. Some pedals can also be connected to your computer via the USB port for transferring the loops. You should determine, therefore, the type of inputs you would need in a pedal.
Tips on Setting up & Improving Your Live Performance Using Looper Pedal
As mentioned above, loops quickly enhance your live performance. You can use them in varied ways. You can, for example, enhance your solo performance by adding another element to your live band performance. Your only limitation when it comes to using loops is your level of creativity and imagination. So, if you are raring to tinker with your looper pedal, here are some succinct tips that you can employ:
Thoroughly Know Your Looper
Loopers may come in different brands and models. Some are very trite and simple, while others are full of great features. Yet, whether you got a simple looper or a complicated one, you should fully understand its different functions and features. In this way, you can fully utilize your loop pedals.
The use of looper pedals, of course, require versatility and flexibility on your part. It also requires you to multi-task at a time. As a singer-guitarist, for example, your attention will be divided while you perform because you will be singing, playing the guitar, and stomping on your looper pedal. So, you must have already intuitively mastered the use of your looper pedal to a point that it becomes second nature to you to use it.
Thus, prior to your live performance, you should regularly practice creating loops. Make it second-nature to you to operate the looper pedal intuitively to make your loops clean. You should also know in what mode your looper is. A typical looper has the following modes—record, dub, play, erase, and stop. You should thoroughly know these modes and make sure that you can flawlessly navigate from one mode to another.
Know the Intricacies of Arranging
Arranging the loops is not as simple as putting bricks one over another. You need to know where to direct rhythmically and sonically a particular layer. Don’t stuff the first layer, for example, with too many riffs. You should leave spaces. Moreover, you should let the other layers fill the gaps. You should also let each layer stand and sound differently.
You can do this by using a different sound or by playing on a different pitch or register. Try to be innovative in each layer. Try to use techniques to make each layer stand out.
Use the effects Properly
You should be intentional in your use of effects. Don’t overuse the effects to the point that it rubs your rendition of clarity. You should utilize the effect to relay your feelings and ideas. The trick is you should learn how to juxtapose layers and effects to make your rendition interesting. Your creativity will play well with your juxtaposing of effects.
As mentioned above, your imagination and level of creativity are the only limitations to what you can create using the looper pedal. So, you should try experimenting with effects-pedal placement. If you are creating multiple layers, you should sound each effect on each layer. Thus, the proper use of effect can present itself as a powerful tool for creativity.
Set a Proper Foundational Layer
The first layer, of course, will stand as your foundational layer. Yet, as mentioned above, you should not over-stuffed it. The trick is to make the first layer the longer layer. Then, build on that layer. The other layers should not be longer than the first layer. This tip is applicable if you have a lengthy loop and want to stuff it with different layers. You can overdub the initial layers with various layers to enhance it.
Organize & Plan for Songs With Multiple Sections
A song is made of different sections. You can build simple loops that you can sound throughout the song. If your looper pedal allows for independent switching for every layer, you can then use it for making a dramatic shift. You can tinker with the “off” and “on” controls of the looper if you want to create this dramatic shift.
Stay Precise & Be Organized With Your Loops
More often, you will build different layers in a loop when you perform live. Your audience, of course, will meticulously listen to your loops and their layers. You don’t want your loops to appear contrived and rehearsed. So, you need to arrange the notes prior to a performance. You can also opt for a looper that can store recorded loops. The important thing is that you need to practice well until everything comes out naturally.
Always Prepare a Backup Plan
The “stop” switch is a very useful thing to access if something isn’t working as planned. You should also know how to fade your loop gradually as your best option out. Yet, you can also opt for the stop mode if everything isn’t working.
Always remember that even the well-planned endeavor sometimes fails. So, if you made an error in layering a loop, you can always erase it and move on. Don’t dwell too much on your mistake. Your audience may not notice your mistake, but if you dwell on it too much, you may lose your focus.
You will also encounter instances wherein your pre-recorded loops would inadvertently fail because your looper’s internal memory fails. In such a case, you should always have a backup SD card or USB. You should also have an extra looper at hand, in case your primary looper fails you.
Additional Guide: Sheeren Loop Pedal Live Performance Tutorial
Frequently Asked Questions about Using Looper Pedals for Live
We have collated the different questions that are frequently asked by those who would like to purchase a looper pedals. These questions can help answer some of the possible questions that you have in your mind before buying a looper pedal:
Do Loop Pedals Need Accessories?
Loopers are stand-alone gadgets, and they do not need any additional accessories. Of course, the most necessary accessory that you would need to make your looper pedal functional is the power adapter or a 9V battery. This power adapter is usually not included in the package. Besides the power adapter, you will need a pair of cables for connecting your device to the amp and guitar. Moreover, if you have several pedals, you might need a pedalboard.
Is it Necessary to Have Loop Effects?
You won’t be needing loop effects. At the onset, you may be fascinated with some effects included in your looper pedal. Yet, as time goes by and as you get involved in many gigs and begin regular performances, you would usually no longer use any effect. Loop effects may include features like Lo-Fi Filter, 1/2 Speed, or “Reverse” Options.
Stereo and Mono Loopers: What's the Differences?
Stereo inputs let you experiment with your looper. You can, for example, plug in a mic to the second input to add different percussive instruments to your making loop. If you are only jamming, you can always opt for a mono output looper. Yet, if you want to engage in multiple layers of looping or recording, then you might be needing a stereo output.