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looping, mechanics of....

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Josh Ryan, May 19, 2002.

  1. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Ok, I am now able (mostly) to play a simple loop. I've found that if I want to repeat a longer pattern, I can play through it once, hit the pedal on the 1, then hit it again as I play the 1 on the bass when it comes back around. (as in my sig.) However, I am at a huge loss in trying to get around the real short phrase type loop! what I mean is a one timer type thing, where I have only one shot at it. Any advice or tips on the actual mechanics or a good way to conceptualize it would be greatly appreciated. It is improving with practice, but I'd hate to develop bad habits. I can see why people have more than one of these devices already! It would be so cool to be able to add and remove layers in any order.
  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi Joshua,

    don't worry, everyone goes through a bit of a looping crisis like yours when they start - it's very similar to 'red light fever' in recording studios; everything's fine til the record light is on!

    With looping it's just a matter of relaxing and responding - play a few things that you're intending to loop, without looping them, then try looping them and compare how the rest of your body reacts - are your back, shoulders, neck and/or jaw tensing up? If so, that could be the root of your problem. I've had a few students whose entire physical state shifted (from solid to liquid??? OK maybe not a change in state... :oops:) when they start recording, panicking in case the loop is crap.

    So, record some crap loops on purpose, just rubbish stuff, don't worry about what you're recording, make tonnes of mistakes etc... feel how your body doesn't tense up when you do that? now try and hit the same level of relaxation while playing a fairly simple loop in time... still, allow yourself to mess up, but don't aim to. If it goes wrong, don't worry but don't delete it straight away - listen to the mistake and see if there's anything cool you can make out of it. Some of my best improv ideas in gigs have come from a glitched loop that was better than what I intended initially!! :oops:)

    Tension in your body is the most likely cause, so the answer is relaxation, practice and allowing yourself to mess up.... :oops:)

    I hope that helps,


  3. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Thanks Steve, I'll make that part of my practice routine. I bet that's the root of it. :)
  4. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I'll add my twopence here

    1p I have seen Steve create loops (although brieflly) and it's obvious that he does it a lot.

    2p I have since started to use very short loops with my band and mucking about with my son on drums. Try using loops in front of people at rehearsals and/or at home so you get used to it.

    Hope that helps
  5. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    That's the thing, I've been sort of "anticipating " when the loop is going to come back around, and screwing up the last beat. I'm enough of a clown that public performance doesn't bug me, it's just worrying about the timing I think that's making me screw up the timing!
  6. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    I'll add my tupence worth too!

    1p - I have seen Steve create loops too (I'm a student of Steve's) and I'm very aware that (he makes) it look a lot easier than it is.
    I use my PC to do the same thing and I find it fairly difficult to get a loop to sound consistent, even with all those easy editing functions to hand.

    I do know exactly what you mean... but do you do the same thing when playing with band or to a drum machine? - I expect not?

    Have you tried playing through the last beat onto the next (the 1st beat at the start of the loop)and just clicking-off the loop-box on the last beat to maintain consistency? :)

    I've not used a pedal-loop-box-thing-a-me-jig, so I'm totally guessing! Sorry if that was teaching granny to suck eggs?!!!!
  7. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001

    Yep, I can do it like that now, I just need to work on one timers. If I can play a phrase once and get it to loop, or get it to loop at certain intervals by leaving open space I'll be happy.
  8. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I'm starting to get the hang of this....I don't know how I lived without it!!!! It's like having extra hands....the possibilities are endless! A band with bass + loops and guitar + loops can make A LOT of sound!! The only thing we just can't do is have both of us start loops at exactly the same time. After a minute the loops seem to have wandered just enough to sound weird. Metronome practice has been prescribed for both of us!
  9. bassmanjones


    Feb 23, 2002
    Boston, MA
    To hear what you just described try to listen to some Jungle Funk (the band, not the genre). Will Calhoun, Vinx, and Doug Wimbish....each of them have a sampler and they're interconnected so they can sample what the others are doing in addition to themselves. The whole album is live...and there's one song where the last minute or so is completely loops but you'd never know it.
  10. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I have that CD! It's amazing, thanks for reminding me of that.

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