How to Use a Guitar Looper And Blow People’s Minds

Interested in guitar loop pedals? You've come to the right place! Loop pedals make tiny sound clones that turn a one-man (or woman) show into an entire band. Who says you need band mates? You can create one at the touch of your foot, also fondly called a footswitch. We'll guide you through the process of learning how to create a loop and how to use a guitar looper, plus where to go when you're ready to learn more.

Don't have time to read? Check out these recommended products:​

Best Guitar Loop Pedals

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Vox VLL Lil Looper (Editor's Choice)

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What is a guitar loop pedal?

A guitar loop pedal records short passages then plays it back in a repeating loop. While originally used for guitars, musicians use loop pedals with vocals and a number of instruments. Some famous "loopers" include Ed Sheeran, KT Tunstall, and Imogen Heap (just to name a few). I love this video of Ed Sheeran performing "You Need Me, I Don't Need You." This is a great example of creating a progression with a loop pedal.

In Ed Sheeran's video (above), he uses a loop pedal to create complex rhythms and harmonies. The basic backing lays the ground work to increasingly add more to the song. Guitar loop pedals are a great practice and performance tool that can take your tunes to the next level.

What can I do with a guitar loop pedal?

You can work on rhythm guitar playing, which will help keep you on time. Loop pedals let you hear how your rhythm mixes within the chord progression. It's great for experimenting with different types of rhythm.

Loop pedals give you the power to be the composer. You can get creative and write your own harmonies. Who knows, maybe you'll be the next Bob Dylan!

You can work on perfecting your practice solos. The loop pedal allows you to record short chord progressions. When you build the progressions, you can play over the top to make rocking solos. With the loop pedal, you can transform your one person band into a multi-instrument gig, all by yourself. Essentially, creating virtual band mates.

JustinGuitar​ has a really good video on using guitar looper pedals. You may also be interested in learning how to fingerstyle properly, which you can do from this Coustii article!

Footswitch + 1 (Chord) + 2 + 3 + 4 + Footswitch

Now, you've got yourself a loop! Practice this several times to get in the habit of starting and stopping the loop at the right time.

Boss RC-30 Phrase Looper Pedal

The Boss RC-30 loop station is the best loop pedal for beginners, also what Brown is using in the video above. It's lighter and smaller than it's big brother, the Boss RC-300. With the compact size, you don't have as many features, but if you're just starting out this is a good place to begin.

The Boss RC-30 has enough internal memory to let you play for three hours. It comes with two synchronized stereo tracks with dedicated volume faders and track-select buttons. Plus, the Boss brand is known for their durability and warranty, which don't come with other brands.

The Boss RC-30 Loops Station comes with 99 onboard memory presets, built-in loop effects, and true stereo outputs. The dedicated controls and faders make it easier to mix each track.

Note: Ed Sheeran is said to have performed with the Boss RC-30!

Pros

  • Lots of features
  • 3 hours of internal memory
  • No delay
  • Super durable

Cons

  • Bit of a learning curve to learn how to use

Beaspire Pedal Loop Station

​The Beaspire Looper is a shiny and elegant piece of equipment. The loop function allows you to speed up or slow down your music and the backing track is great for the soloists out there. 

This looper gives you unlimited overdubs and 10 minutes looping. The dedicated Stop/Clear footswitch makes it easy to navigate with your foot. This pretty little pedal will gain you a few compliments.

Pros

  • Easy to use footswitch
  • Unlimited overdubs
  • Great price point

Cons

  • The color may not be for everyone

Boss RC-1 Loop Station

​The Boss RC-1 is an easy to use pedal to reckon with. The LED display allows you to visually see where you're at in your loop. You get 12 minutes of loop to enhances your song with a number of effects. 

It's also got a great battery life that will last you 4.5 hours without a charge, long enough to get you through warm up and your sold out concert! You can even add on a flexible external footswitch to make it easy to use when you're on stage. 

Pros

  • Easy to learn
  • LED display
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Doesn't include power supply

Vox Lil Looper

If you're looking for a "middle of the road" guitar looper, we suggest the Vox Lil Looper Pedal. Even with the compact size, Vox offers two independent loops and great features like recording, playback, and overdub. You can make your timing a bit easier by using the Quantize function.

This pedal comes with a power supply too, so you don't need to worry about buying extras. This is a good loop pedal to start with if you're starting to experiment and aren't ready to shell out the big bucks yet.

Pros

  • Extra features and effects
  • Very compact
  • Great value

Cons

  • Not as durable

TC Electronic Ditto Looper

This loop pedal is easy to use and gives you all the basic functions you'll need as a beginning rockstar. You can even use it to analyze your tone, rhythm, and timing. The sync/serial switch allows you to create loops for separate parts of your song or run them both simultaneously.

You can also import and export backing tracks then stop, reverse, or half speed them. This pedal will improve your playing and your sound!

Pros

  • Extra FX
  • Easy to use
  • Very versatile

Cons

  • Power adapter issues

We've guided you through what a loop is, how to play a loop with a pedal, what the deal is with overdub, how to play like Ed Sheerin, and where to begin when buying a guitar loopers. Now, all you need is a little extra motivation. Listen to Roz Firth's cover of Pharrell William's Happy. I imagine Roz's voice sounds like angels swimming in champagne glasses.

1 COMMENT

  1. Playing the guitar is enjoyable for any musician, but when you want to create richer sounds and more impressive solos, you should certainly consider purchasing a guitar looping pedal. You will be able to layer sounds over the top of each other to build your solos to something that sounds like a full band is playing. The only limit is that of the musician’s imagination when it comes to using the best guitar loop pedal.

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