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As a solo musician, performer, or singer/songwriter it can sometimes be tough being all alone on stage. While some performers prefer the solitude and authenticity of a single acoustic guitar, other musicians are looking for solutions to create a fuller sound without the need to bring a full band along.
If you’re one of these performers looking to expand on your sound, you just may be on the lookout for the best guitar looper pedals or guitar loop station on the market.
These pedals are becoming more and more popular, and it’s easy to see why. A guitar loop pedal can open up a ton of options for the solo performer. Once you know how to use it well, a looper pedal can allow you to create a full live sound experience when performing alone.
If you’re new to loop pedals or to guitar effects pedals, you may have a hard time knowing where to start. There are a lot of options out there.
In this guide, we’ll give you the rundown on these unique pedals, and we’ll also let you know about our top 5 loop pedal picks.
Keep reading, and hopefully, you’ll discover all you need to know about finding a pedal that is just right for you.
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Best Guitar Loopers – Quick View
What is a Guitar Looper Pedal?
Basically, a guitar looper pedal will connect to your guitar and allow you to record small segments and loop them together in a live setting.
Pedals will allow you to layer different loops together, creating interesting textures and sounds. You can then play, sing, and perform on top of these other layers, creating a dynamic and interesting performance and a full array of sound.
Check out this video to see Ed Sheeran working a little magic with his own looper pedal. This should give you an idea of what you can do with one of these pedals.
Things to Look for in a Guitar Looper Pedal
Not all guitar pedals and looper stations are created equally. Each looper on the market has different abilities and functions that you will want to look out for when choosing a good pedal.
Many of these features depend on personal preference, so be sure to think about your own personal needs when reading the points below.
Guitar loop pedals will vary in the amount of sound they can record and store. Even the very affordable loop pedals will include at least 10 minutes of recording time, whereas the higher-end pedals will be able to store 6 hours or more.
While this may seem like an important consideration for one of these devices, most players will not need more than a minute or two of basic looping functions. More advanced and intricate performers may wish to have extra recording time, however.
Many guitar looper pedals don’t store the recorded sounds after they are turned off, but some will have the ability to hold loops in the internal memory. Some will have built in space and some will even have an external SDHC card slot.
The majority of users probably won’t need a huge amount of storage space and storage functions, but some advanced users might need a pedal with high storage abilities.
Stereo or Mono
Depending on how intricate you plan to be with your looping experiments, you may want to consider whether the pedal you choose is stereo or mono.
With a stereo pedal you will be able to run the pedal through to separate amps or an advanced studio rig and experiment with sounds in different sides of the room.
Design and Footswitches
One of the main considerations when buying a looper pedal is the number of foot switches that the pedal has. While some looper pedals have only one footswitch, an additional footswitch or two will make your looping experiments a lot more convenient to manage.
Additional foot switches will allow you to stop and start the recording of loops and the playback with much more efficiency. If you have the budget for it, plan on going with more switches, rather than less.
Some guitar looper pedals will give you the ability to slow down and speed up the tempos of your loops as you go, allowing for some interesting dynamics in a performance.
Consider keeping an eye out for tempo and rhythm functions on loopers if you think this is something that you can make use of.
Many pedals will include fancy sounding features such as a “1/2 speed function” or the “Lo-Fi Filter.” While some users may be interested in these features, typical guitarists and performers will likely use most of these only a couple of times.
A lot of the features pedals include are a bit gimmicky in nature and won’t serve much use in an actual live performance setting.
5 Best Guitar Looper Pedals – REVIEWED
So now that we’ve had a look at some of the best functions you should be looking for in guitar loop pedals, let’s move on to our list of the top 5.
The effects pedals listed below are some of the best of the bunch, although they vary in price range and features.
Most likely one of these loopers will be exactly the pedal that you’ve been looking for to up your live performance game.
- XLR input for vocal harmonies
- 16 onboard guitar and vocal effects
- Three hours recording time
- USB export to upload performance to your computer
- More expensive than other options
If you’re looking for a pedal that is on the higher end and has all the bells and whistles, the Boss RC-300 is the best pedal you can buy.
The loop station has three synchronized stereo tracks and dedicated foot switches. It also has an onboard expression pedal which allows you to control the effects in real time.
This pedal also has 99 onboard memories, allowing your to record up to three whole hours of footage if need be.
The options this loop station offers are truly extensive and will allow you to do just about anything you would want to do with a looper, as well as control it all easily with the numerous foot switches.
If you’re looking for a looper with a lot of power, the RC-300 Loop Station is certainly your best choice.
- Easy to Use
- Good amount of features
- Could use more foot switches
The Electro Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper pedal has that great mix of functionality and ease of use. While the basic loop function is very simple and easy to use, it’s also a high-quality device that will serve the purpose of most users very well.
It isn’t lacking in the features department either, but the pedal has been built in such a way that no function you want to use is really that difficult to access. It has plenty of extra features to play around with if you’re looking to make some great looping experiments.
The pedal has functions such as the stop, undo-redo, reverse and the 1/2 speed effects close at hand. The 720 Stereo Looper also has plenty enough recording time for most users, and clocks in at about 12 minutes.
Overall, the Electro Harmonix 720 would make for a great simple, easy to use, and high-quality choice for your looping needs.
- Minimalistic design
- Few Extra features
For the true minimalists out there, the TC Electronic Guitar Ditto will make you drool. The looper pedal has a sleek, basic design and few buttons and knobs to deal with.
It has one control knob and footswitch and will allow you to easily and quickly get to playing without too much hassle. This looper will do great for users who don’t like to make too many adjustments and like to decide their sounds on the fly.
The TC Electronic Guitar Ditto Stereo Looper has 5 minutes of looping time and allows for unlimited edits. Unlike the original ditto pedal, this pedal is in full stereo and has a great and full sound.
Overall a great value for your money, if you’re simply looking or a looper that does all the basic looping abilities well.
- Heavy duty foot switches
- Plenty of recording time
- SDHC Card Slot
- Full array of features
- A bit on the bulky side
This Digitech loop pedal is touted by many as one of the best the company has to offer and allows for a full-featured performance. The pedal has a huge amount of options and features that make this a great choice for musicians looking for a powerful loop station product.
This looper can store over 35 minutes of stereo sound and can expand even more with the use of the SDHC card slot. The pedal has 4 heavy-duty foot switches that make the pedal incredibly functional and easy to use.
The Digitech JamMan Stereo Looper Delay Pedal is a fully featured loop pedal station with a lot of versatility at a reasonable price. Great for musicians who want a powerful pedal without going for the more expensive RC-300.
- Advanced Rhythm Features
- Not the best recording quality available
Another great pedal by Boss, the RC-3 Loop Station is a bit of a lighter option. Still, it has some advanced functions that will allow for some amazing sounds and this pedal will be more than sufficient for the majority of players.
This pedal offers stereo recording. It also has special rhythm features such as a tap tempo function and included drum tracks.
The RC-3 is a great loop pedal overall and is great for guitarists looking for a mix of affordability, functionality, and versatility.
So there you have it, those are our picks of the best guitar looper pedals on the market today. Hopefully, you saw one that you liked above or at least learned enough to get started choosing the right one for you.
All of the pedals listed above are great, but much will depend on you own specific needs. If you’re an advanced player you may want to go for one of the pedals with multiple footswitches and features, but a beginner loop pedal enthusiast may want to go with one that is simpler and more affordable.
Whichever way you decide to go, you’re in for a ride. Looper pedals are truly a fun way to transform your performances and expand on your solo sound.