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performing with a looper

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by ndcaster, Jan 27, 2021.

  1. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

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    I've been using a looper for my solo live performances for over 10 years.

    Here's what "evolved" from my experiences:

    - I use it in about 60% of my show.

    - In a few songs I record a short intro, start the loop and play lead over it... usually, just one time through.

    - I mostly use it for a lead break mid song, only.

    - I rarely "jam out" on the loop.

    - I often use the loop for harmonica solos, too.

    - I sometimes, but rarely, use it for an outro.

    - The looper is a DigiTech Jam Man Stereo and works well... I'm on my second on in 11 years.


    It's a significant part of my show.


    I do sometimes feel that listeners think that I'm play to pre-recorded (like in a studio) tracks; so I mention that everything that they hear is being performed live in front them with the looper.
     
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  2. James Knox

    James Knox Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    My Wife and I have been doing a Retro Rock Classics Duo (Trio if you count the Beat Buddy) for about 5 years. When Live Music was allowed, we Busked Markets, Open Air Events, etc., with a Battery/Inverter Set up and from that got Gigs for stuff like Baby Boomer Birthday Parties, Weddings, Winery Patios and such.

    Our Ethos was “Minimal”. Minimal Gear, Minimal Song Arrangements, EZ load in, load out, setup. We could get everything we might need including a 10x10 pop up canopy in a Hyundai Tucson. The Upright Bass took up the most space, lol.

    The biggest epiphany for me was to strip down the song arrangements. I had to let go of the idea of “it’s a cover, make it sound like the record”. We work hard on creating a groove, an atmosphere. We found people move and groove and love to sing out on The Choruses. We are there to create that opportunity, that “moment” for “them”.

    I have my Looper Midi synced with a Beat Buddy Drum Machine that is Loaded with our Song List. I can page forward or backward through the songs as needed. We can skip songs, repeat songs, come back later to songs, etc.

    So, in order to simplify the Song Structure, I usually arrange the song to have an Intro, which is also the Outro, and many times also the Instrumental Break. My Looper is set up to record/play 2 different loops. I may want to record and play those two different loops separate OR together. I keep it super simple. Record a bar or two of rhythm. Record a Signature Riff. Have them both available to turn off and turn on at will.

    Take for example, Satisfaction by the Stones. Start the count off on the Beat Buddy, record and play 2 bars of rhythm, then with that playing, record and play the Signature Riff. I can now Independently turn off either or both of the loops. I usually turn off the rhythm loop and start playing it on guitar with the Signature Riff loop playing. We let it run a bit cuz people now are hearing and getting it, Grooving with it. I nod to my Wife, here we go, and I stop the recorded loop and we (Bass, Drums, Guitar and Vocals) go to the chorus, “I can’t get no-o...” usually with anybody in earshot singing or mouthing “...Satisfaction”. OK, coming back around to the verse, I start the Riff Loop. Which plays with the verses. Think “Riff Loop” playing during “...when I’m drivin’ in my car...”. Also, since I have a simple Intro/outro bed looped, I can play it and Jam for awhile over it (Instrumental Break). Depending on crowd interaction, we can repeat verses or choruses if we want.

    I really think the Key to Gigging with a Looper, at least if you are playing Covers, is Simple Song Structure (SSS).

    Here is a pic of my set up. The Guitar Pedalbaord changes around. This one is just set up for practice. I also have a Nano and a Nano Plus so I can add more pedals. I usually use a Wah, a Delay, a Vibe for swirl, and an Overdrive. I used to stack OD’s but have lately been just using my Guitar Volume and Tone Controls.

    00ABDA4E-AC5F-4138-90CC-3F1AE8676C6C.jpeg
     
  3. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    I just got the boss rc500. It has two tracks, easily switchable. This offers you two song parts, or two separate tracks simultaneously (so you can bring different parts in and out to keep it interesting,). It also has a pretty good sounding and tweakable drum machine built in.

    Great looper, and the minimum for live use imo. I couldn't imagine having to double tap to stop in a live setting. Also, the improved sound quality is noticeable over my older ditto x2.
     
  4. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    The most seamless use of loopers I've seen is with two different duos, each had one guitar player that sang and a 'lead' singer. The guitar player would capture a verse and then solo over it at one point or two, then back to all live playing. These players both used Boss RC 300 pedals, I think. The first time I heard this it was so seemless I had to run over and see what was going on when I realized what I was hearing. (It was not a show, but side music at a gallery.)

    I think it would take a lot of practice to get this working with more than one musician playing, based on a few times I've tried in practice.
     
  5. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    I think this is the ideal use of looping in a live setting. To each their own of course, and no disrespect to live "loopers," but as a listener a layered loop gets old fast.

    For bedroom jamming, that's another story. They're awesome! And great for practicing things like chord melody relationship etc.
     
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  6. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

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    I got the Ditto X 2 for my "acoustic" duo gig with a bass player. Record the verse and playback for solo. Can't be used that way on songs with atypical forms.
    Once I got the looper, I found more uses for it, including the reverse feature. Use that for psychedelic soloing on songs like "8 Miles High" in an acoustic trio.
     
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  7. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah, I tried using a looper with a power trio so I could have my rhythm guitar going while I played lead, and it didn't work at all-- the drummer could not stay synched to it at all, even if I didn't make any mistakes in my loop timing. So we nixed that.

    You know, once you get used to using a DAW it is pretty darn easy to lay down tracks that can have any structure you'd like-- AABA, whatever. Once you are at the point of essentially wanting a backing track for yourself, maybe it actually makes more sense to do just that-- create a backing track for yourself. You can have your laptop or even smart phone plugged into the PA and just play the backing track, and away you go.

    If you want to use your looper pedal to achieve the same function, a lot of loopers have pretty good memory storage. You can save multiple loops, and they can be quite long. So you could have multiple backing tracks of complete, pre-recorded songs saved in the memory slots of your looper.
     
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  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    There are a lot of hints in this video



    no how-to but well done




    .
     
  9. Daddy Hojo

    Daddy Hojo Friend of Leo's

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    I thought I could do this at one point, but then tried it with a drummer. Total disaster even when I thought I'd nailed the loop. That 1/8th of a second your loop timing was off seems to get worse with every successive loop. That 1/8th off becomes a 1/4 off, then a 1/2 off, then a full second and it all comes falling apart.

    By yourself, it can work, but it takes a lot of work to make the transition from gimmick to interesting. It can also work if you're just creating drone notes.

    As a songwriting tool, it's incredible though. You can try all different kinds of basslines and lead licks over an idea without having to make a rhythm guitarist play the chord sequence for hours.
     
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  10. dan40

    dan40 Friend of Leo's

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    The Digitech Trio Plus is pretty handy. You can record up to five song sections and then program them to play in any order you choose. The included sd card allows you to save up to twelve of these songs. It's more of a full band machine though because it creates a drum and bass track along with your song. You do have the option of turning the volume down on the bass and drum parts though if you prefer not to hear them in the loop.

    https://www.digitech.com/band-creator/TRIOPLUS.html
     
  11. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Per my earlier post at that point using home-made backing tracks recorded with a DAW almost makes more sense. See bands like Sunsquabi to see how three guys sound like about six guys by using pre-recorded tracks that they trigger with laptops on stage...


     
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  12. James Knox

    James Knox Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    That is some creative stuff there...
     
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