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Can some please explain true-bypass loopers?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by nussy the whale, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. They seem like very handy pedals that can be used for a lot of purposes, but I'm slightly confused by them.

    A detailed explanation would be great!

    thank you :)
  2. 1. They are true bypass, so the tone going in is just like the tone going out. Some stomp boxes are not true bypass and simply running your signal through them can deteriorate your tone, even when they are off. By having a pedal in a true bypass loop, it will not effect your tone while off. So the stomp box itself would always be on, then you use the true bypass loop to actually introduce it to your signal chain, turn it on, as it were

    2. They can be used to turn on/off multiple pedals at once. Put two or more pedals in the loop and one button switch can turn them both on/off.

    3. In the case of a true bypass strip, which is a whole bunch of true bypass loops in one (one button for each loop), They place a bunch of buttons in a fairly convenient area. Instead of having to reach through rows of pedals, all their buttons can be in one strip directly at your...toetips.

    4. Safety. Their construction is generally more reliable than you can get in a variety of potentially old, poorly constructed stomp boxes. If one of the stomp boxes were to stop working, your signal would still be intact as long as the loop it is in was not on. Also, since your signal goes straight from the input of the looper to the output (as long as the loop(s) aren't on), then if a cable stopped working it would be considerably easier to troubleshoot. For example, if your signal was in tact with none of the loops on, then your cables going in/out of the box would be fine, then you could turn on each loop individually until you found the one that wasn't working and narrow the culprit down to a couple cables, versus checking every cable in between every pedal if they were set up in the traditional manner.
    Somnambulance likes this.
  3. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    The simplest true bypass looper would be a single loop setup like this:


    In this case you plug a cable from your bass into the looper's input and run a cable from the looper's output into your amp.

    The other two jacks are a "send" and "receive" which is actually what creates the loop.

    So let's suppose you have a vintage fuzz that you love but it is a real tone sucker. You run a cable from the send jack to the fuzz's input and a cable from the fuzz's output to the receive jack. Now you've created a loop.

    When the looper is off the signal goes straight through the looper (but not through the fuzz in the loop) and is true bypass. When you turn the looper on, the signal now goes through the loop which in this example contains the fuzz.

    For this simple example you've effectively made your fuzz true bypass.

    But there are other uses. You could have two effects in the loop (maybe a fuzz and a phaser this time) which you want to turn on at the same time. You place both of them in the loop (and both the fuzz and phaser are turned on the whole time) so when your looper is off you get no effects and when the looper is stomped on, both the fuzz and phaser are now turned on simultaneously.

    Or you can have a looper with multiple loops. You can have different combinations of pedals in each loop or dedicate one loop per pedal. In that case the looper becomes a way of organizing and controlling your board, putting the stomps for each effect in one easy to reach place.

    And of course many loopers can add additional functions like blends, phase inversions, flip flops (switching the order of effects), tuner outs (muting the signal), momentary switches and more.

    Hope that helps.

    EDIT: Damn slow typing skills. Beaten to the punch by Oreomeister who swung in with a great explanation.
  4. Thank you both! I totally understand them now
  5. icecycle66


    Feb 4, 2009
    True bypass is just a wire.

    You bypass the circuit (effect loop) a wire that goes through the stomp switch.

    loop on: Guitar, cord, input jack, wire, on/off switch, a bunch of circuitry in the effects loop, wire, output jack, cord, amp.

    Effect off: Guitar, cord, input jack, wire, on/off switch, wire, output jack, cord, amp.

    If it's not true bypass, instead of going through just the wire, the signal goes through some or all of the circuitry without being blended into the effet.
  6. Explorer


    Jul 4, 2010
    The thing not mentioned yet is that the longer your pedal run, the more it can ruin your tone.

    So, a lot of manufacturers actually have buffers in their pedals which remove that effect.

    There's a lot of opinions tossed about on true bypass/buffered signal chains, and a lot of interesting recordings showing how badly it can affect your tone to blindly embrace either route without understanding the issues.
  7. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    I would like to get a loop similar to the Keeley pic posted. Can you suggest some options that are available.

    I currently run bass>3 Eventides>BOSS Loop Station>amp. Eventides controlled by a MIDI Moose. I'd like a simple switch to just run clean bass>amp when I want to.

    There is a BOSS Line selector which seems to be overkill for my needs.
  8. DannDubblewe

    DannDubblewe Knob Wrangler

    Apr 3, 2009
  9. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    Thanks. They're local as well. Even better.

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