I'm Getting Loopy Again

Lately I've gotten interested in Loopers again. As most, if not all, guitar players know, Loopers are floor pedals that do an instant record-playback of your riffs.  Press a button, it records. Press again, it plays back.  Again, and it records a second part over the first, and so on, building up a song (or at least a section of a song) in layers, and then playing it all back, in sync, repeatedly, to jam or sing over. There's actually a lot more going on as to what a Looper is capable of, and how to control it, but that's the gist of it.

I  use a Looper on about a half-dozen songs when I play live, but they're all pretty basic. I could never do the seven- and eight- layered highwire act that someone like Ed Sheeran or KT Tunstall does.  Scary.

I rarely pay much attention to news about Looper technology, so a couple of big developments had completely escaped me. One type of Looper, in particular, which has always been on my wish list, has already been around for at least a few years, and possibly a decade or more, and I didn't even know it: The combination Looper/Drum Machine.

I've owned Drum Machines before, and they're fun.  With a little effort, they can be “synced” together with a Looper, but the combination of the two in one box is a whole new world. With a Looper/Drum Machine combo, you get to make all the rules; chord changes, rhythm patterns, tempo, different keys, harmonies; literally everything.

And, like my favorite toy when I was a kid, the Etch-A-Sketch, you just wipe the audio you've created clean with a button press and do it all over again with something new. And you don't have to turn it upside down and shake it.

Practicing solos and timing is so much more fun now.  I'll bet it would be great help for songwriting too, something that has never come easy for me.  Heck, maybe I'll do another album someday after all.