In this guide we’ll look at the best looper pedals.
We’ve compared build quality, features, effects and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What Is The Best Looper Pedal?
More Detailed Looper Pedal Reviews
Sometimes it’s worth paying a little extra to get exactly what you want. And I’d say that is very much the case when it comes to effect pedals such as looper pedals. After all, it is very likely that you will use it for many years, possibly for the rest of your guitar playing days!
If you’re willing to splurge to get an awesome loop station, you should definitely check out BOSS Multi-Effect Processor RC-300. It features three loop tracks that have their own individual footswitches and volume knobs so that you can get that perfect balance going.
It also has a USB port, which means that you can save loops on your computer as WAV files and even import other’s loops as well.
The internal memory can hold up to three hours of recording. This loop station is perfect for advanced and professional musicians!
If you would love to get an RC300 after reading the review of our Top Pick, but just feel like you need something a little bit simpler, either because of the price or because you don’t really need three tracks, chances are that you’re going to like Boss RC-30, which is a loop station that is more back to basics, but still very useful.
It features two tracks, that just like on the RC-300, have their own controls, which makes it even easier to personalize your music. The memory is just as good as its big brother’s as well, three hours of internal memory allows you to do basically anything you want without running out of memory.
If you are looking for your first looper pedal but still want it to be high-quality, Digitech Jam Man should be on your wishing list.
It has all the features you could possibly need as a beginner/intermediate musician, such as a mic input and USB port, but it is still really user-friendly and easy to get started with, which unfortunately can’t be said for all similar products. It’s also really sturdy, which means that you will be able to use it for many years to come.
There is no need to worry about the memory, as it can store over 35 minutes of stereo and if that isn’t enough you can use an SDHC card which can store 16 hours in 99 additional memories.
Do you know what’ I think is awesome?! Effect pedals that have as much fun built into them as possible. Enter the FlashBack Delay and Looper Pedal!
Except for making it possible for you to create cool loops, there are also 10 different delay types that you can play around with. And if you think that it’s hard to find the perfect setting you can use Tone Print, which lets you browse between all your favorite artist’s settings.
This is a small and compact pedal that takes up minimal space on your pedalboard. It also offers true bypass, which means that it won’t affect your tone when it’s not used.
The Electro-Harmonix 720 is a great looper pedal that is perfect if you think that you will use it casually. Compared to many other looper pedals, the memory is rather limited, but it’s still 12 minutes, which is more than enough for many musicians.
If you like to make up your loops as you go and don’t feel the need to be able to save them indefinitely, this is a good pedal that is easy to use.
But this is not only a looper pedal but offers a few other effects as well, such as distortion, cocked wash sound and a stuck voice-box sound.
All in all, a really useful tool for any guitarist, but especially for those looking for their very first looper pedal, since it’s so user-friendly.
If you want to find a delay pedal that also allows you to record little loops, you will probably love the Canyon from Electro Harmonix. It features eight different delay voicings, for example, modulated delay and tape-like delay.
It has four control knobs: FX level, delay, feedback, and effects.
As for the looping, it is good to be aware that it’s only possible to record very short loops of up to 62 seconds. Still, that is often enough if you just want to add some rhythm as a background, for instance.
Another great thing about this pedal is that it is very small, saving space on your pedalboard so that you can fit all your cool effect pedals.
There are many reasons why you would want to buy TC Electronics Ditto looper pedal. Firstly, it is very easy to use. It’s great for people who just want a looper pedal that does what it says on the box without any weird other effects you didn’t ask for or ever will use.
Then there is the size. This is an incredibly small pedal that makes life much easier for you, making it possible to fit more pedals on your pedalboard.
Lastly, there is the price. This is a very affordable, yet sturdy and dependable pedal.
Looper Pedal Buyer’s Guide
The electric guitar is probably the most versatile instrument in the entire world. There is just so much you can do with your music. But the possibilities would be much more limited if it wasn’t for effect pedals. With the press of a button or the stomp of a pedal, a guitarist can change his sound completely.
But not all pedals are there to change your sound. The looper pedal is a unique one because instead of altering your tone, it records it and replays it. Let’s take a quick look at why you would want to do that and how you can use a looper pedal to compose, record, and perform in a unique way.
What do You Use a Looper Pedal for?
A looper pedal is the best way to transform you into a one-man band. When you practice on your own, you could, for example, record a chord progression that you play back using the pedal so that you have an accompaniment for when you’re practicing improvisation.
You could also use it as a tool when you compose your own songs by recording lots of different little lines that go well together. You might start with a bassline and then add chords, rhythm, and melody. This is a great way to improve your hearing skills and learn what works and what doesn’t.
When you’ve recorded all the loops you can easily adapt the form of the piece by turning them on and off. Perhaps you want more music during the chorus and fewer loops during the verses, for instance.
A looper pedal can also be invaluable when you’re performing, either solo or in a band that could use some extra help.
If you think that this sounds like cheating, remember that even though it’s quite easy to add loops, it is also an art form in itself. Check out this video and you’ll see what I mean!
But is it just guitarists that can use a looper pedal? No, of course not. You could technically use a looper pedal for any instrument, as long as it’s plugged in or you have a microphone for it. Let’s take a look at a few examples!
The bass is, of course, a natural place to start since its construction is so similar to a guitar. A looper pedal can really make your bass shine and lift you up from a destiny of always being in the background. This is a skill that you could either use when jamming on your own, on gigs, or even as a street performer.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and listening to quite a few string players who use a looper pedal and the result is usually incredible. If you play a string instrument, it is helpful if you use an electric instrument or at least a special string mic that you fasten to the bridge or something similar.
If you play the cello, you’re probably familiar with The Piano Guys. I encourage you to watch this video, which really shows what you can do with a looper pedal.
And I must say, being a cello player myself, that a looper pedal opens up a whole new world. I think especially the cello is an ideal instrument to use it with since you can finally use the full register of your cello in one song. Sure, we do that sometimes when we play chords and stuff, but it’s very rarely you find a solo piece where you feel like you’ve used your cello’s full potential. Hence, every cellist should own a looper pedal!
If I was to try a new instrument, I think it would be the trombone. I mean, what could be cooler? Watch this video if you want to hear a looped version of ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams!
I must admit, before writing this article, I had never heard of a euphonium player using a looper pedal. But then I found this video with a looped version of ‘Uptown Funk’ and I just love it! It just shows that even the rarest instruments that you never associate with effect pedals can get a whole new life if you try it!
If you want to use your looper pedal to make music like that in these videos, there are a few things that you should try to include. You need some kind of rhythm. The rhythm can be created either by tapping your instrument, beatboxing, or anything else that makes a drum-like kind of sound. It could also be a melodic rhythm, for example, playing eight notes or sixteenth notes or strum a chord progression.
It’s also good if you include a bass line, that you can use to build everything else on top of. Then you can start playing some harmonies as an accompaniment and then finally, you can start playing the melody.
What to Look for When Buying a Looper Pedal
Now that there’s no doubt in your mind that you desperately need to get a looper pedal, you will face the challenge of selecting the right one for you.
It might be easy to assume that they all are exactly the same and just go for the cheapest you can find, but that would probably be a mistake.
You see, even if they basically do the same thing, recording and playing it back, there are a few things that make them all slightly different. Memory capacity, length of the loops and how many loops you can have going at the same time are factors that you need to consider.
I hate buying something without knowing whether it’s any good because it’s such a drag having to buy another one after a couple of months because I didn’t do enough research. So do take your time to read up on the different features and the pedals available and you won’t have to regret your purchase.
We’re now going to look at everything you need to know in order to choose the best looper pedal for you!
The fact that pedals use footswitches means that everything becomes easier for you. Sometimes you might even want to add an external footswitch.
The footswitch doesn’t only stop and start recordings but can also stop the playback and erase loops along with a few other functions depending on which pedal you’re using. It saves you a lot of effort and when you’re used to using the footswitches it will feel like second nature and you’ll be able to focus solely on what you’re playing.
There are different combinations depending on what you want to do, tapping once might start the recording and tapping twice stopping it, and so on.
You’ll find one footswitch on the cheapest models and the more advanced ones will have three or more.
It would be easy to assume that the longer loop length, the better, but most often that’s not really the case. Think about it. How long loops will you actually record? Often times they will only be like 8 measures long. You would most often not record a 3-minute loop. If you perform live, nobody will want to listen to you adding four loops that are 3 minutes long each. And if you’re recording, it would just be better to record different tracks instead of using a looper pedal if you want them to be that long.
If we try to think about what a loop actually is, a short little piece of music that is repeated over and over again, we realize that it’s not really necessary to get a pedal that boasts many minutes of loop length.
Most of us that use looper pedals really like that it’s all about living in the moment. We’re creating music that is here today, gone tomorrow, and our audience has the privilege of witnessing art taking place right in front of them, that nobody else has heard before.
For those of us who feel like that, there is really no need for loop storage. We’re quite happy to do it all over again and what we just created disappears in a moment when we turn of the pedal.
But if you feel like you would like to be able to store your creations, you might want to find a pedal that both has internal storage as well as the possibility of using an SDHC card to store even more loops.
Mono vs Stereo Loopers
If you want to be able to plug two different instruments into your pedal, or maybe a microphone for singing, you will need to get a stereo looper pedal that has two in-jacks. If this isn’t something you think is necessary you might as well go for a mono looper instead.
In some looper pedals, you’ll find that they do have a couple of other effects, such as playing the loops backward or with a delay, but I would recommend that you don’t let this affect your choice too much. At the end of the day, you will want a sturdy pedal that lets you record loops that are played back exactly as you played them.
Other effects might seem fun, and they are for a while, but you will most likely not use them anywhere near as much as you might think.
Best Way to Use a Looper Pedal
As I’ve mentioned before, a looper pedal is an excellent way of making your music more interesting without playing with other musicians. This is where the pedal really shines and works the best.
It can be used when you practice, perhaps learning how to improvise or compose as well as when you’re out busking and performing on the streets.
Even though a looper pedal can be used when you’re recording as well, there is not really any reason to, since it’s so easy to just add separate tracks into your software, which will actually make it easier for you to correct any mistakes.
You can use a looper pedal basically for any instrument as long as you can plug it in or use a microphone, so this is a good device to have whether you play the guitar or not.
Even though I totally get that you’re always looking for a bargain (I mean, who isn’t?) I would still recommend that you spend as much as you can afford when you buy your looper pedal. Sure, the price difference between cheap and expensive models can be massive, but the old saying is true; you get what you pay for!
It’s better to save up a couple of months than buying a cheap gadget that breaks after a while. This has happened to me too many times. I go for the cheap alternative and then when that breaks or simply doesn’t work very well, I go out and buy the more expensive option. In the long run, it often costs more to buy the bargain!
So keep that in mind when you buy your pedal and you won’t have to order another one in a few months!
As is the case with all effect pedals, looper pedals need to be quite sturdy and durable. This is also something to keep in mind when you’re choosing which pedal to go for. If you know that you’re going to use it a lot, make sure that it can stand all of that stomping!
It’s best to go for a pedal with aluminum casing, plastic tends to break much easier. It is a bit more expensive but totally worth it!
Some of us couldn’t care less whereas others would argue that it is super important. What am I talking about? What your effect pedals look like, of course! If you like all of your pedals to match and look nice on the pedalboard, you will already have thought about this.
But even if you don’t really care about what the pedals look like, you will still need to make sure that you have room on your pedalboard. If you have limited space, you might want to find a mini pedal that is small but still does the job.
Who Uses a Looper Pedal?
There are quite a few famous musicians that use looper pedals frequently and thousands of musicians that should be more famous than they are.
One of my personal favorites is, of course, Ed Sheeran. His songs are great, that’s for sure, and include hits like ‘Shape of You’ and ‘Perfect’. Listening to these songs, it would be easy to assume that he was one of the lucky ones that just somehow suddenly became famous.
But Ed Sheeran is not one of those singers that never had a lesson and suddenly becomes famous overnight. He started singing in a choir when he was only four years old and learned to play the guitar as a kid.
But it was not until he was 15 that he learned how to use a looper pedal and his musical career would change forever. He was with his dad at a gig and saw a guy called Gary Dunne perform using a looper pedal.
A few days after, Ed’s dad emailed Dunne to ask if he would perform at Ed’s birthday party, which he agreed to. Ed just loved it and Dunne explained to him how to use the looper pedal and taught him the basics.
He actually came forward a while ago and told the media this story after people had accused Ed Sheeran of using a backing track, suggesting that he was cheating! He assured everyone that Ed certainly uses a looper pedal and added:
“I find it interesting that people can watch the gig and criticize the art and not understand the complexity and the vulnerability of what he’s doing. If he pushes a button half a second out the whole song can fall out of sync. So he’s up there on his own and he’s riding a wave of being in the moment with the music and every time he puts his foot down he’s either recording or looping or reversing or adjusting a track.”
Here is an awesome video clip where Ed Sheeran performs ‘Galway Girl’:
There are a few other musicians that I think you should look up if you want to see what you could do with a looper pedal. If you’re a vocalist and you don’t know who Dub FX is you should definitely check him out.
I also like Roz Firth a lot, especially her looped version of ‘Happy’.
Did you know that there is actually a Beatbox Battle World Championship? Check out the final of 2018’s Championship if you want to hear something really cool!
A looper pedal or station can be an incredible boost to your music and open up a whole world of opportunity.
Even though all looper pedals work in a similar way, there are a bunch of different features that vary from model to model, so it is a good idea to do some research before you make your purchase.
When you’ve found the perfect pedal for you, the fun begins and you can enjoy creating music on your own but still have awesome accompaniment to back you up. You can use it when you practice, on gigs, while busking or recording in a studio.
This is a pedal that is both useful and incredibly fun to use and I really hope that this article has been helpful in your search for the perfect looper pedal for you.