Be it in a live surrounding, or in the confines of a recording studio, musicians are looking for ways to surpass their musical limitations and rise above.
One of the best ways to achieve this is to invest in a handy, reliable and steady loop pedal.
“What is a loop pedal for a guitar?”, you may think. Well, a looper is an instrument that’s in charge of recording a segment of your performance, and then replaying it in a loop. But the functionality of this device doesn’t end here. These loops can be subjected to additional effects to amplify the quality and versatility of the loop, like altering the pitch, speed, overdub as many layers as you like and many more.
Any musician that’s looking for an additional band member but is at a loss can look no further than a loop pedal, as its capabilities override the limitations that come with having only two sets of hands and two instruments.
Loopers are the most useful pedals of the lot available to guitarist and this list of looper pedals is a narrowed down list of only the cream of the crop.
Selecting the right looper pedal for you requires a knowledge of the type of music you’d like to create, personal preferences in terms of sonic needs, functionalities and the complexity of your music. We have curated a list of the best looper pedals for your convenience:
1. Zoom Electric Guitar Multi Effect (G1 FOUR)
D’Addario Prelude Violin Strings is a solid steel core string that comes in various scales. They provide durability that is unparalleled in its price range, with a warm tone and adjustable tension. It has a quick bow response, which makes it an ideal fit for students and beginners. As far as violin string names go, D’Addario is very well known because of being the Educator’s Choice. It is highly stable when it comes to pitches and tuning, and brings in a unique blend of warm tone with affordability and durability. Moreover, pitch stability makes it easier for users to tune their violins conveniently without any hassles. These strings are an ideal choice for both, beginners, and professionals.
Solid steel core makes it durable and provides a warm tone.
Comes in multiple scales- ½, ¼, ⅛, 1/16, ¾, and 4/4 scale.
Has earned the honor of being awarded the Educator’s choice, making it reliable and go-to option for students and professionals alike.
- The tension can not be adjusted over medium.
- Isn’t as consistent as synthetic strings.
2. TC Electronic Guitar Ditto Looper Effects Pedal
The TC Electronic ditto looper, is the perfect concoction of high quality and creativity, made available at an affordable price point. This ditto looper is perfect for musicians that need to be involved in every step of the process, to exercise control over their creative vision. The manufacturers of this product have taken the time to ensure that it works optimally for every guitarist, especially bass.
- TFeatures analog dry through and true bypass, allowing the signal to sound as pure as it came out.
- High-quality audio, works great for bass.
- Unlimited number of overdubs, so there is always room for more improvisation.
Requires at least 9 Volts with 100 mA current.
Product offers only 5 minutes of loops, but on the flip side, the device has unlimited undo and retakes.
3. Digitech JMSXT Jamman Solo XT Stereo Looper Phrase Sampler Pedal
The Digitech Jamman Solo XT Stereo Looper is the solution for musicians complaining of loopers having memory issues in the past. With excellent capacity in terms of stereo recording time, the product has a feature to extend the memory to suit individual needs. It comes with a built-in stereo recording time of 35 minutes with loops in 200 internal memories, which is a lot more than what other competitors usually give.
Unlike most looper pedals, this one comes with a sampler pedal to avoid the hassle of looking for one in the market.
The expandable feature does not hamper the quality of audio.
Includes an optional SDHC card option to increase CD loops by 200 additional memories, totaling 16 hours of stereo recording time.
Doesn’t work well in live stage performances.
Drum feature offered sounds like rhythm patterns.
4. Other Acoustic Guitar Effect Pedal, REGULAR (JMEXTV)
The Digitech JamMan Express XT Stereo looper is one of the flagship models under Digitech, but is very minimalistic, offering amateur users a look into the Digitech JamMan express XT manual to show them just how user-friendly this looper pedal is. Like previous models, the Digitech support comes with the JamSync feature, in which several loopers can be connected to create a whole system, aside from the unlimited dubs and the LEDs.
- This is the first looper to feature the Silent Clear technology. Instead of playing through the amp, the product has the feature to automatically clear the loop when activated.
- Excellent quality recording, zero sonic transference, even in the case of multiple recordings.
- Controls are basic, but could be confusing as one button takes care of three area control functions, so referring to the Digitech JamMan Express XT manual is encouraged.
- Only 10 minutes of available loop time.
5. BOSS RC-3 Loop Station Pedal
The Boss RC-3 is definitely one of the strongest contenders in the looper market, with a steady build, durability and built-in advanced functions at a fair price.
This Boss loop station is used by professional artists all over the world, owing to its three synchronized tracks with the separate rec/play/dub and stop footswitches which are ideal for stage artists. Their RC 3 loop station offers stereo recording, along with a string of advanced functions such as a rhythm option and a tap tempo feature. This is the pedal that covers the loop needs of at least 95% of players, while packing a sturdy Boss build and a fair price.
- Its three synchronized tracks with dedicated rec/play/dub and stop footswitches make it the choice of professional loop artists the world over.
- Loops can be quantized, and fused with the rhythm patterns.
- Vocal effects and virtual effects like transpose, flanger, phaser, and modulation can be applied to the music.
- Has a collection of stage-ready features like auto-recording, and an expression pedal, which can be assigned to a list of parameters as per the musician’s choice.
- While it gives the bang for the buck, in terms of professional use and advanced features, it is on the pricier end.
- Is meant only for regularly performing stage artists.
6. Digitech Jam Man Stereo Looper Delay Pedal
The Digitech Jam Man stereo has raised the bar for invention with expandable memory, 3 minutes of CD loop recording in 99 memories, and an additional slot for storage purposes. The Digitech Jam Man also has true stereo looping, reverse playback, and a mic input that assists in backing tracks, an additional feature that will come in handy for DJ applications.
- Can be used to create custom jam playlists with ease.
- Handy for DJ’s with a backing track feature.
- Loading audio into the unit is tricky, as it cannot be read without the Jam Manager software.
7. Nux Loop Core Guitar Effect Pedal Looper 6 Hours Recording Time, 99 User Memories, Drum Patterns with Tap Tempo
The Nux loop core packs all the features of the Boss RC-3, but at a significantly lower price point. With excellent sonic quality, 6 hours of mono and stereo recording, and the ability to multilayer with ease, this equipment gives a good value addition to recordings.
- The equipment comes with a pedal power essex (an extension pedal) in order to have more control when switching phrases.
- Has two input and output jacks, which enables additional instruments to be connected to the loop.
- The device offers built-in percussion, with 40 drum patterns to choose from.
- Inferior percussion quality, can’t be used for live performances.
8. BOSS RC-30 Phrase Looper Pedal
The Boss RC-30 loop station is a twin pedal looper with built-in loop effects, that can facilitate the stacking of tracks using multilayering tools, with independent control over each track. The Boss RC 30 also has the auto-recording feature, which makes the looper process all the more convenient.
- The device comes with two synchronized stereo tracks, and volume faders for the same.
- The USB 2.0 port allows the loops to be saved externally, and export files in .wav format.
- There is a bit of sonic transference in the recordings.
- The auto recording feature is useful in a recording studio, but is a little touch and go in bigger spaces.
9. BOSS Loop Station Guitar Pedal (RC-300)
The Boss RC-300 lets musicians manufacture a high-quality backup band for themselves. Loaded with an expression pedal that can control effects in real-time, and three stereo tracks with footswitches, this device is a dream come true for experienced musicians.
In order to navigate this device, the RC-300 manual will assist musicians to find their groove and achieve their creative vision with ease.
- The device includes 16 guitar effects that can be utilized for looping, aside from the general features.
- This looper comes with 8 footswitches, which can elevate the quality of the musical output, if navigated correctly.
- Very high-end product, delivers above and beyond for its price point, but is not for amateur musicians.
- Big in size, weighs over 5 kgs, excluding the three stereo tracks and footswitches.
10. Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper Pedal
The Electro harmonix 720 offers advanced features, without being too complicated to use. This looper offers additional but practical features like the reverse option of the ½ speed option, but with ease of functionality. The Ehx 720 is perfect for any musician looking to jazz up his tracks without blowing a lot of money.
- Aside from the usual features, the device offers the reverse option, to play the track in reverse, and the half-speed button, cuts down the speed of the track by half, as the name suggests.
- The looper has two input and output switches, so as to plug in more than one instrument, plus a separate input to connect an additional, but optional footswitch.
- Though the reverse and half-speed options are practical, they are more flash than substance and the probability of these features being put to use regularly is very low.
It is absolutely vital to heed the following safety restrictions to gain from using looper pedals:
- Do not use this apparatus near water, as the equipment could combust, and endanger lives.
- The devices are to be cleaned only with a dry cloth.
- The ventilation openings of the loopers will be present on the sides. It is best to not block those ventilation openings to allow the heat to escape, the failure of which could lead to malfunctioning in the device.
- During installation, keep in mind that the looper should not be installed near any equipment that emanates high amounts of heat, for instance, radiators, stoves, or amplifiers.
- To avoid malfunctioning of the loop pedals, it is vital to keep in mind that only the given apparatus can be attached to the product. In cases of attaching additional accessories, like an additional footswitch, extra care must be taken to ensure that the footswitch and the input allotted for the footswitch on the device are compatible.
- In case of any damage or defects, the equipment must be taken to the service manufacturer. Any prior hampering in terms of spillage, leakage, exposure to rain will deem the servicing and warranty agreement void.
- In cases of servicing, care must be taken to ensure that the pedal chassis has not been opened by the user at any point, otherwise, the servicing agreement will be deemed void. The pedal chassis is the enclosure built around every pedal and is usually manufactured from aluminum alloy. If it has been tampered with, the fragile wiring underneath may be ruined.
Before investing in a looper pedal, it is crucial to ask yourself a couple of questions, to narrow down your options considerably:
- What kind of value addition are you looking for from your looper? Do you want a durable looper that lasts for years, or are you looking for a decent one for current use and then upgrade later on?
- Do you want to purchase a complex but diverse looper or a simple, user-friendly looper for the time being?
- Do you plan to use this looper for live performances? Or is this for recording studio purposes?
These are just some of the questions you’ll need to answer to find a suitable looper that can elevate your music and give you the best bang for its buck.
Every musician has dreamt of making their musical visions a reality, but each one’s requirements are different. Some musicians need elephant size equipment with all the bells and whistles, while others like to keep their style simple and elegant. With a wealth of looper pedals out there, what are some of the most important features that one must prioritize in order to get something with actual value addition, reliability all the while not hampering their music quality?
Here’s a simple buying guide for the artists who are new to the looper scene:
When it comes to looper pedals, the more footswitches, the merrier. The footswitches essentially control and loop the music so needless to say, any musician looking to have more control over various aspects of the composition should look for more footswitches.
However, amateurs looking to jazz up their music without too many complications should keep it simple and get a maximum of two footswitches or else chaos could ensue.
But when it comes to looper pedals, there is such a thing as too simple. Loopers with only one footswitch can be very confusing and counterproductive to some. Having only one footswitch means having multiple functionalities attached to one footswitch. This means that the record, stop, play and erase functions are all in one footswitch which is considered a big limitation by musicians.
While flexibility in musical experimentation may sound appealing, jumping straight across to investing in a multiple footswitch pedal with no prior experience is not a good option. In such cases, trying to find a middle ground between opting for an eight-footswitch pedal and two to gain a little more control over the music, is possible. For this very purpose, some looper pedals come with a separate input for an additional footswitch, giving artists an extra loop to work with instead of going overboard.
Length of loop pedal:
The length of the loop pedal can determine exactly what kind of music one can make with it. For example, the longer the length, the more options you have to go out of the box.
But nowadays, considering the advancements in functionalities, every looper comes with a decent length to facilitate the recording and looping of at least two songs.
For solo guitarists who are looking to create an entire band with a looper pedal, multiple inputs are of the essence.
Incorporating different instruments into the mic while help in creating complex loops and taking the output to the next level.
With a good bass rhythm on hand, an additional instrument, and good looper with multiple units, solo guitarists can do live performances with ease.
Loop effects like reverse and half-speed are attention grabbers at first, but are not features one uses regularly, nor do they add any value to the music. These features are often used as marketing gimmicks to sell loopers with basic features at a higher price.
It’s often best to look for the most regularly usable features and weight it with the cost of the product rather than opting for loopers with these features as it won’t come in handy after the first week of purchase.
Loop storage differs from each looper. Some loopers erase the loops the moment they’re disconnected and others have the option to transfer it to an external memory card.
For musicians that need loopers ready to go for live performances of generally are more spontaneous with their performances, it is always best to go for a looper with a decent internal memory and an expandable external memory.
In any case, having zero internal memory is not a good choice, unless the device is only being used for experimentation.
Any looper pedal with a product warranty from anywhere between one-five years is optimal.
The product should be checked before purchase to ensure that the pedals are functioning smoothly, to avoid any problems in the future. Most looper manufacturers specify that defective pieces will be taken care of, but keep in mind that they will not be able to reimburse or replace anything in the equipment if the pedal chassis has been opened beforehand.
Based on the aforementioned points, it is evident that there are several aspects to be looked into before purchasing a looper pedal.
While it is a great tool to experiment with for musicians who are still trying to find their sound, for experts, it provides a wholesome musical environment to sustain in with ease. From multiple footswitches to the storage, this guide has covered every aspect that needs to be taken into consideration when investing in a looper to find the right fit to elevate their sound.
With solo guitarists using loopers to deliver live performances to thousands of people, the world of music has evolved to accommodate advancements in technology to deliver new outputs, which just goes to show that any guitarist can create professional chart-topping music in the comfort of their living room, with the right equipment.
If you’re looking for a simple looper to play around with, or create an album filled with complex loops, make sure to check out the buying guide for the best looper pedals to elevate your sound.