Today a short article about loop pedals. I will give a brief description of how they work and furtermore, give you some ideas how you can use loops to improve you own playing.
A loop is simply an effect which enables guitarplayers to play a musical idea, store this idea and play this idea back to you, for as long as you want to. You can treat the loop as another musician you play with: Play a short bassline into the loop pedal, and the loop will play the bassline back as any great bassplayer would do for you. Cool!
The simplest loops which can be found are delaypedals with a hold function. This hold function works as a short loop. Today there are quite a few brands of delaypedals on the market which will give you a hold function. A well-known one is the Boss DD3. The hold function on this pedal works as follows: Keep the pedal pressed down with your foot and it will repeat whatever you play into it. The hold function on the DD3 is very short: 800milliSeconds, however, this is long enough for the pedal to hold one chord, which then gives you the ability to play single notes over this chord whilst holding the pedal pressed down with your foot. All in all, a primitive way to create a loop, but it is a great way to introduce yourself into the wonderful world of longer loops.
Dedicated loop pedals will give you longer looping time, more advanced features and more control to create your own loops.
It is not my intention with this article to give you a lowdown on particular brands-or types of looping pedals. I leave the reseach for this job over to you, I merely want to highlight some applications you can achieve by using a loop pedal.
Three Useful Applications:
New to loops? Not really sure what they can do for you? No problem, here are three useful applications any guitarist on the globe will appreciate whether you are a beginner or an experienced guitar player.
~ Create different chords which work together as a complete sequence ~ :
Put some chords together, play them into the loop to hear how the chords work together as one sequence.
There is a theory of how chords work, but by using a loop you can actually hear which chords do sound nice together. Cool! Since you are using your skills in a practical way, later on you can get into the deep with keys and other music theory to find out why certain chords work the way they do, but for now you can just play and enjoy the results of your experimentation. Great!!
~ Put a chordsequence into the loop and play some riffs or melodies over this sequence ~ :
Again, as above, there is a theory of which notes, riffs, phrases and scales work over which chords, but for now you can just play and see what works. This way of working is great for getting to know the fretboard in different areas. Cool!!
~ Put a chordsequence into the loop and improvise over the given chordsequence ~ :
A great way to learn your scales, improve your phrasing and to get more fluent with playing in different areas on the fretboard.
As you can see from the above, the possibilities of things you can achieve by using loops are infinite. The three applications from above only highlight the backing possibilities of using a loop (using the loop to mimick the sound of a small band playing together, while you, the guitarplayer, play over this sound) What about using the loop to create sounds by putting different loops together to create particular sounds you cannot play with an instrument? When you get into this realm you start using the loop as another instrument. This will then open up the door to a whole different kind of playing the guitar, and a different kind of music altogether.
Hope I have given you enough ideas to wet your appetite for using loop pedals for your own playing. Next article will be about rhythm, scales and how to improve your speed.
Hope to see you soon,