For this article I return to the loop pedal. The regular readers of this blog will know I have posted about the use of loops before. I myself, am a keen user of loops and tend to use them in different ways. I keep on exploring their potential as I am convinced you can use them in more flexible and creative ways.
For those who are not familiar with looppedals
In short, a looppedal is a sort of sampler: You play a musical idea in the loop and the loop will repeat this idea. This gives you then the ability to use this musical idea in a larger context. This is also the downfall of loops: The original idea you put into the loop may become the overruling musical part, whatever you do, you cannot move away from this part.
Why would you want to move away to a different part you may wonder?
Think of the average song and how most songs are build? They contain various parts such as verse, chorus, bridge ect.
When you put a chordsequence in a loop which acts as verse you are stuck with this idea, you will not be able to move out of this sequence without altering the loop: Either by chosing a diffent loop, or bypassing the loop to start up another musical idea. Most of this will interupt the flow of the music and rhythm and will give undesirable results.
How can we solve this problem you may wonder?
How can we create a loop which will enable you to play various songparts without the orginal loopidea offending the sound?
The solution is in finding small musical ideas which will work with the key and chords you want to play. Yes you will need to think ahead of what you want to play. Once you have a small musical part, you will find you can play chords and basslines without offeding the loopsound. The actual loop will enhance the rhythm and sound of your song.
What kind of looppedals are good for this approach?
Pedals which can contain short loops. Something like two bars will be enough as you will play yourself the main parts of the song. If you loop the whole song you have the restrictions of the loop: You cannot change the length of bars, you will not have much space for any extra improvistions ect. Overal, your song will sound mechanic and will feel very different compared to when you play that song on your own without using the loop. Using a small part, on the other hand, can enhance the overal song. Leave out that small looppart, and you will miss something. Bring the short loop back and your song will have more body to its bacis sound.
Without going too much into the different looppedals which are on the market, any pedal will do as long as it can contain short loops. There are dedicated short loop pedals, most of you will probably prefer the onces which conatain larger memory. Most of these pedals will be able to loop your whole song. Try looping the whole song, work with it, and then try the approach I described above to see if you like it.
Once you start the get the hang of things and you really like the results you are getting why not loop your short loop into another looppedal where you add more parts into? You could add a bassline and the chords of the different parts of the song. For this approach you will need a pedal which will contain a larger memory than just the two bars I mentioned before!! This approach is great to get the one man band sound. The short loop-idea, on the other hand, will enable you to use the loop in context of playing with other musicians.
What I described above will make sense to people who have been using loops for a while as they know what they like and dislike about them. If you are new to using loops,just get started and explore. Do not feel restricted about what I mentioned above, just create, play and enjoy.
See you soon again,