I have started using a loop station about two years ago, and today I could not miss it any more. The loop station is a powerful tool for every musician, ane I recommend it for everybody who wants to add more color and diversity to his/her musical life.
My first video using a loop station was this:
Last year I have presented the loop station at the Mandolin Academy by Carlo Aonzo in Sorrento. In this post I will write about how to use a loop station with the mandolin and guitar for practicing and recording.
What is a loop station?
A loop station (or looper) is an electronic device which can record tracks, playback the recorded tracks, and record additional tracks over the first track. Loops can be stopped and started again, with some loopers you can use several different loops and switch between them for different parts of your song.
Loop stations have become very popular in Pop Music, Artists like Ed Sheeran use them a lot. Typically a short sequence of chords, a baseline, a riff are mixed up with rhythm to prepare a background for a song.
A nice example by CATT a singer from Germany is this:
- A loop station with direct input for a microphone: I am using the Boss RC 30 (ca. 200,- €); another option is the Ditto Mic Looper (ca. 99,- €); the new Boss RC-500 does also have a microphone plug, but it is more expensive.
- An amp – any acoustic / keyboard / guitar amp – will do – get a used one or a new one from ca. 50,- €
- Microphone / microphone cable / microphone stand / line in cable to connect loop station to the amp – you can get a bundle for ca. 60,- € (Thomann: https://www.thomann.de/de/the_t.bone_mb75_beta_bundle.htm)
So for little more that 300 € you can get a working solution.
You can also use any looper without a plug for the microphone – I have used the Ditto X2 looper first. In this case you need a small mixer for your microphone and an extra cable to go from the mixer to the loop station. You can use any cheap mixer, you can get something from ca. 40,- €. The cheapest looper by Boss is the RC-1.
But I would recommend a looper like the Boss RC 30 which has the option to store up to 99 tracks. And it makes the setup much more easy compared to an extra mixer.
Additional information: https://www.boss.info/us/community/boss_users_group/1317/
Link collection: https://pinboard.in/u:mandoisland/t:looper/
You can find many youtube videos explaining how to work with a looper for live looping and using a looper for performances. There are also many videos explaining special loopers like the Boss RC-30. I have compiled many of the best videos in the following playlist.Read more “The Loop Station – a Powerful Tool for Mandolin Players and Guitarists”