The guitar loop pedal is a device that lets you express a song idea by letting you record it on the guitar and then looping it back out of your amp and recording it again, in real time as you build upon it. It even lets you alter the tempo, pitch, and effects of your track, helping you progress organically with your idea, which is just the thing you need when those creative juices are flowing in your head.
Why do I need loop pedal?
The loop pedal, or the looper as it is generally called, is an important essential in the equipment of a guitarist, who thinks like a musician. You need one, to give life to your ideas and you need a good one at that. The first thing that you should look for in a looper is high-quality sound replication. A natural sounding pedal with a rich tone will go a long way in helping you build up your idea. It will make something as simple as a jamming session with your guitar, entirely fun.
Also, a pedal that has more control over what you can do when you are jamming is always better. This means more features, especially footswitches. A pedal that has a lot of footswitches and features lets you do more in one session. Value added features like stereo support and more memory will help you add vocals and other instruments to the track you have just created. Your ideal choice for a good loop pedal should be a robust device that has as many features as possible at a given price point.
The following are some of the best loop pedal choices for your live performance.
Boss RC-3 Loop Station Pedal
The Boss loop station is a great middle ground between a value for money device and a top quality pedal with a solid metal construction. It is designed to cover almost all the needs of a guitar player. Equipped with stereo capabilities, this loop pedal will even let you plug in a microphone as and when you are using your guitar.
The Boss has a large internal memory capable of storing three hours of stereo quality audio. If you are in the mood to jam, the onboard drum machine lets you build up your idea to crisp sounding drum beats. What we personally like about the boss is the tap tempo feature that lets you control the tempo of the track, using the foot switch.
Pros: Simple to use, loaded with features, huge onboard memory, metal construction, stereo input.
Cons: The time tap feature does not have a display to let you know what you are doing.
TC Electronic Guitar Ditto
Simple, concise and precise, the TC Electronic Guitar Ditto is the perfect starting point for beginners. This is a minimalistic approach to design, with just one footswitch and a knob to change the level of the loop. Crafted from metal, the ditto looper is built to last and is perfect for frequent, on the road usage. Loaded with five minutes of loop time, the guitar Ditto has more than enough memory, as a simple pedal for a beginner guitarist, who is looking to learn using a looper.
Pros: Simple minimalistic design, metal construction, extremely easy to use.
Cons: Quite expensive for a device at this price point, it won’t be long before you start to miss features that come with other loop pedals.
Digitech JMEXTV JamMan Express XT
Digitech is a respected name in the world of accessories for musical instruments and this pedal tells us exactly why. The JamMan is an entry level device that lets you plug in two instruments or a microphone into the loop, thanks to the stereo input setup. This is a true bypass pedal with up to ten minutes worth of onboard memory capacity for stereo audio. The controls are basic, yet effective with just a knob to control the level of the loop and an intelligent foot switch. This is an extremely intelligent design by Digitech featuring multiple uses for the onboard footswitch.
Pros: Intelligent footswitch design that lets you toggle between ‘record’, ‘dub’, ‘play’, and ‘erase’. Functions of the loop, metal body, simple design, stereo input.
Cons: An onboard drum machine would have made this product, perfect.
NUX Loop Core
If you have been looking for the best loop pedal for live performances, at a great price, then look no further than the Loop Core. This device strikes all the right chords with its stereo capability, metal body construction and compact design. Things get better with its gigantic onboard memory that can store up to 6 hours of stereo audio and onboard drum machine with tempo control. You can also export and store loops into your personal computer after you have completed sessions on it. Given the number of features on the Loop Core and the price it is available for, this is the most value for money loop pedal in our review today and is our personal favorite!
Pros: Stereo input, auxiliary MP3 connectivity, onboard drum machine, 6 hours of stereo audio storage, solid metal construction.
Cons: Apart from the steep learning curve that comes on account of the advanced features on this pedal, there are no noticeable drawbacks in this practically flawless device, at a great price.
Hotone Skyline Series WALLY Compact Looper Guitar Pedal
The Hotone Wally is another great option for beginners who just require a basic loops pedal for practice and amateur recording scenarios. Hotone have decided to take a minimalistic approach to design to but with a radical twist of their own. The Wally is equipped to support 15 minutes of mono audio sound and for a package that is intended for use by beginners, we say that this is more than enough. This is a no frills design and a very basic approach to guitar loop creation.
Pros: Great intelligent minimalistic design, extremely small in size which is impressive given how well it can create loops.
Cons: There are loop pedals that have more features, that cost lesser than this.
Digitech JMSXT Jamman Solo XT
The Jamman solo has made the cut in our list today because it is a worthy contender at a great price. Sizewise, it is as big as a basic looper but is absolutely in jam packed with extremely impressive and remarkable features. There is simply so much you can do with this loop pedal that is equipped to hold 35 minutes of stereo quality loops, in its internal memory.
The Jamman pedal is a serious piece of equipment and you have absolute control over tempo, loop levels, rhythm levels and more. With this awesome piece of equipment featuring auxiliary input, you can also import music from Cds and MP3 players into your mix, making this a Palm-sized recording studio! All of this goodness comes packaged in a rugged metal chassis.
Pros: This pedal is the equivalent of a one man army and is capable of performing some mind-boggling functions through the stereo input, it is compact in size and by design, both of which are extremely impressive.
Cons: Getting used to everything that this pedal can do, is going to take quite a bit of getting used to.
Donner Looper Effects
It’s super simple design and minimalistic approach to the utility is exactly why the Donner Looper is on our list today. Not everybody wants advanced features on a loop pedal. If you like simplicity and primarily use your loop pedal for jamming sessions just to get the creative juices in your head, flowing, then the Donner is guaranteed to be your close friend. The compact design means that it will not take a lot of space on your pedalboard while giving you basic looper functions with true bypass, 10 minutes of mono audio memory and the ability to easily import and export music to and from your computer.
Pros: Ultra compact design, true bypass, simple and concise utility.
Cons: Built for basic functions only, with minimal memory on board.
Electro-Harmonix The Silencer
Having an onboard noise gate in a looper pedal is especially helpful in a recording scenario. As a looper, the Electro-Harmonix is more than capable of performing basic duties. Crafted from metal, it is built to be durable and resourceful as a multi-utility pedal on your effects board. This is a quality product that carries out the basic looper duties that it is equipped to do, flawlessly.
Pros: With the Electro-Harmonix, you get two pedal functionalities for the price of one.
Cons: It is more of a noise gate than a loop pedal.
The Zoom G1on is not just a simple loop pedal, it is a whole collection of multi-effects it is possibly everything that you could want as a guitar player. From overdrive and distortion to amp presets for amp modeling, reverb, delay and filters, the Zoom is onto multiple things including performing Looper as well. It can record audio up to 30 seconds worth of audio and has an onboard drum machine with 64 different types of beats with extremely good audio quality.
Pros: Fares well as a basic looper pedal because of the fact that it has an onboard drum machine containing 64 high audio quality beat patterns and thirty minutes worth of memory for loops that you want to save.
Cons: This is not a dedicated looper pedal but is more of a comprehensive effects package that does a lot of things. For guitarists who are looking for purity in tone and vintage sounds, this may not cut the requirement.