Guitar Looper Basic Training

Learn how to use a looper to add depth and variety to your live performances!
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Instructed by Abraham LaVoi Music / Instruments
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  • Lectures 15
  • Length 1.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 2/2016 English

Course Description

Guitar looping is one of the hottest things in popular music. Ed Sheeran, Jason Mraz, and many others add live loops to their solo performances and audiences love it. This course will introduce you to live guitar looping and help you develop the skills to be proficient at this exciting music technique.

In Guitar Looper Basic Training, you will learn:

  • What a loop pedal does and how to activate its basic functions
  • Techniques that will enable you to loop lead lines, chords, percussive beats, and more
  • How to add other instruments and vocals to your loops for a layered loop that sounds like a live backing band

Besides all the instructional lectures, you'll see many examples of loops being created for songs - complete with multiple camera angles so you can see the loop pedal up close and in action.

What are the requirements?

  • Students should have at least some proficiency with their guitar

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Create live guitar loops that add depth and complexity to live performances
  • Layer percussive loops, lead lines, and chords to create live backing tracks
  • Add additional instruments and vocals to live loops

What is the target audience?

  • Acoustic performers
  • Guitar players
  • Singer / Songwriters

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Guitar Looper 101
02:20

This lecture introduces you to your instructor, Abraham LaVoi, and the vast possibilities available when adding a loop pedal to your live performances.

01:43

This lecture gives an overview of Guitar Looper Basic Training and provides details on everything you will learn.

03:33

What Is Guitar Looping?

Guitar looping is using a device - a loop pedal - to record a short musical phrase that is then repeated until it is paused or stopped.

A looper can be used to:

  • Record a chord sequence you can then sing or solo over
  • Record a lead line that plays behind your chord strumming
  • Record percussive beats played on your guitar body to enhance your song
  • Record your voice to play behind your performance
  • Record additional instruments to add depth to your performance

Here is your homework before moving on to the next session:

Search YouTube for

  • Ed Sheeran (in The Live Room, and some of his live concert videos)
  • Arthur Lee Land
  • BOSS Loop Station World Championships

Observe how these artists use a loop pedal to enhance their solo performance.

Section 2: Getting Started with Looping
07:51

Buying A Loop Pedal

There are essentially two types of loop pedals: dedicated loop pedals, and multifunction pedals that include a looper.

Dedicated Loop Pedals

Dedicated loop pedals perform one function only - looping. These type are easier to use for a beginner and generally provide longer record times. Here are some dedicated loop pedals:

  • Boss RC-1
  • Boss RC-3
  • Boss RC-30
  • Boss RC-300
  • TC Helicon Ditto
  • DigiTech JamMan Express

Multifunction Pedals

Multifunction pedals, as the name implies, perform multiple functions. Some functions may include: guitar effects, volume controls, vocal processing, vocal harmonies, and in many cases, loopers. Here are some multifunction pedals that include a looper:

  • TC Helicon Play Acoustic
  • DigiTech RP355
13:01

Loop Pedal Basics

Most loop pedals perform many functions with one single pedal (or footswitch). These functions include:

  • Recording
  • Overdub
  • Play
  • Stop
  • Erase or Clear
  • Undo

PRACTICE CHALLENGE

Before the next session, get to know your loop pedal and how it triggers each function.

03:53

Setting Up Your Loop Pedal

Now it is time to set up your loop pedal in your signal chain. Here are some things to remember.

Power

In a recent live performance, my loop pedal died in the middle of my set. Not only was I not able to create any more loops, but it stopped sending my guitar signal through to my amp and my guitar went dead. I had to completely remove the pedal from my signal chain and plug my guitar directly into the amp. Make sure your loop pedal has a fresh battery or you are plugged in to power.

Input

Plug an instrument cable into your guitar, and plug the other end into the input jack of your loop pedal.

Output

You will need a guitar amp or a sound system to hear your loops. Plug an instrument cable into the output jack of your loop pedal, and plug the other end into the input of an amplifier or sound system. Many loop pedals have a power switch inside the output jack; so when you plug a cable into the output jack, the pedal turns on. Always remember to unplug the cable from the output jack when you are done playing or the battery could run down.

Most loop pedal manufacturers discourage plugging headphones into the output of the loop pedal.

09:23

The Importance of Counting when Looping

As we talked about in the lecture, “What Is Guitar Looping,” a loop pedal records a musical phrase and repeats it over and over again until you stop it.

It is absolutely critical that you know the time signature and tempo of the song before you create your first loop.

You should also map out the beat you want the loop to sound like

The loop pedal starts recording immediately when you step on the pedal - this should be the “one” count.

The loop pedal stops recording and immediately begins playing back the loop as soon as you step on the pedal the second time - this should also be on the “one” count.

So, if your song is in 4/4 time, and you plan to record a two-measure loop, this is how you will count and where you will tap the pedal:

1 Tap 1 (record)

2

3

4

1

2

3

4

1 Tap 2 (stop recording, play, and overdub)

It helps to know the beats per minute (BPM) of the song before you begin to record a loop. There are several tools that can help you when you practice, and even in live performances.

  • Metronome
  • iPhone App (I use one called "ProTap")
  • Apple Watch App (I use one called "tacet")
Section 3: Creating Loops
06:27

Your First Loop

Congratulations! You are ready to record your first loop! Here are the steps to follow:

  • Count off the time signature and the tempo of the song for one or two measures before stepping on the pedal.
  • Step on the pedal to record (on the "one" count)
  • Play one or two measures of your loop
  • Step on the pedal to stop recording (again on the "one" count)
  • Step on the pedal again to stop overdubbing

Practice Challenge

Pick a song you know well and loop the chords following the steps outlined above.

03:44

Looping For Practice

A loop pedal is a great practice tool! You can use your loop pedal to record a chord sequence in a particular key and then practice scales, solos, and lead lines over the chord progression.

PRACTICE CHALLENGE

Loop a chord sequence like you did in the previous session and then practice a scale over the loop.

08:01

Looping Chords for Soloing

One very practical way to use a looper in live performance is to loop a chord sequence to a song, and then play a solo or lead line over the loop. One performer I encountered did this on almost all the songs he played. He first played the chord sequence to the verse of his song and looped those chords. Then, while the loop played, he performed a solo. This was the introduction to his song. He then stopped the loop and strummed the chords live while he sang the verses and choruses. Then, before the last chorus, he activated the loop once again, and soloed over it for a musical break. He then again stopped the loop and strummed the chords live while he finished out the song. This technique added some additional dynamics to his performance.

PRACTICE CHALLENGE

Find a song you know and loop the chord sequence to either the verse or the chorus. Then, play a solo over the looped chords.

08:59

Looping Lead Lines

Many songs can be enhanced with a simple, looped lead line that plays underneath live chord strumming and singing. This only works, however, if the same chords repeat over and over again throughout the entire song. Songs like "With or Without You" by U2 use the same four chords throughout the entire song. So, you can loop a bass line, or a simple lead line, or both, that will sound pleasing under your singing and strumming.

PRACTICE CHALLENGE

Find a song in your setlist that uses the same chords repeatedly throughout the song. Loop a solo or bass line, and play the chords to the song over it.

08:21

Looping Percussive Beats

Acoustic guitars with electronic pickups make great percussion instruments. There are many different ways to hit the top, many different ways to hit the side, and even techniques that involve muting the strings and using a pick to get a "snare" type sound. The type of pickup you have in your guitar will determine the best way to play percussion on your guitar, so experiment and find the best sounds for yourself.

When you loop a percussive beat to start a song, it is critical that you know the tempo of the song. Otherwise, you could easily create a beat that if either too fast or too slow for the song (believe me, I've done this more times that I'd like to admit when I first started looping). This is where a metronome app on your phone or watch comes in very handy.

PRACTICE CHALLENGE

Loop a percussive beat and play a song over it.

Section 4: Take it to the next level
Looping other instruments
03:11
Adding gear to expand your looping capabilities
04:04
Putting it all together
13:10

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Instructor Biography

Abraham LaVoi, Guitar Instructor

Abraham LaVoi began piano lessons at age 7. Since then, he has become an accomplished musician through seven years of piano lessons, three years of guitar lessons, two years of touring with his college chorale, and over five years of playing keyboard or guitar every Sunday while leading worship in his church. Now a solo acoustic performer and guitar instructor, Abraham has the unique combination of musical skill and teaching aptitude to help you achieve the next level in your musical journey.

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