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Questions about Loop Pedals.

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by matt hunt, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. matt hunt

    matt hunt

    Dec 16, 2005

    I'm looking to get a loop pedal mainly for playing around at home with but would like to use it in a band setting too if i wanted to. I'm thinking either the Boss RC-20XL or the Digitech Jamman. Few Questions for ya'll:

    My question is if i'm playing with my band and I start a loop with the Jamman and it starts to go out of time with the drummer (would be his fault obviously, bass players don't go out of time :eyebrow: ) can you tap the tempo to re synchronize without disrupting the loop?? I know there is tap tempo on both pedals but i've read you can't do it mid loop on the RC-20XL and keep the loop going. Can you on the Jamman?

    My other question is if you, for example, play an 8 bar phrase and loop it so the 8 bar phrase is looping round and round, do all your other loops you build on top of it have to be 8 bars long or could you then loop a 2 bar phrase on top. ie, do all the loops you lay have to be the same length as the original loop you created?

    Hope that makes sense. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  2. Both units have some kind of tempo alteration feature. The RC-20XL lets you set a tempo before recording the loop. That allows the quantize feature to work and controls the guide tone (ick!). The manual also says that it will let you change the tempo of a saved loop. But this means that you need to store the loop to memory before you can do this, not do it on the fly. You probably also need to use the external tap tempo pedal to do this on the fly as opposed to stopping the loop, resetting the tempo, storing it again (no undo for this) and restarting the lloop.

    RC-20XL manual online:

    The Jam Man manual is online in pdf format
    The loop tempo description shows up on page 30 of 44. It looks like you still need to store the loop first. I haven't had a chance to try this yet. (I think I am going to have to bite the bullet and buy one so I can have them side by side)

    Neither of these loopers will let you stack loops like you describe. That is something for the EDP and Looperlative, but not available in a stompbox looper afaik. Once you set the initial loop you can punch in, but you can't punch in a shorter quantized loop and have it auto-multiply.
  3. matt hunt

    matt hunt

    Dec 16, 2005
    I thought as much, thanks a lot.

    I guess to use these pedals in a live setting you have to have a seriously good time keeping band or it could all go pear shaped! I'm pretty sure i'll just be playing around with it at home trying ideas out etc but it would be nice to use it out in the real world. I'll have to give it a go when i get one.


  4. pointbass

    pointbass Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Fretlessrock did a nice job explaining the RC-20 & Jamman, no need to elaborate ....

    When picking a looper I chose the Boomerang primarily for ease of live use. It's fairly simplistic in its approach and for me, the most user friendly of the bunch, although I think the others have more diverse features.

    I try not to loop complete sections of tunes when using it live, simply because the stacking is as described .... an initial 12 bar loop can only be stacked with another 12 bar loop. I use it mostly for sections of the tune where a single chord or phrase vamp is happening and someone is blowing over the top of the vamp, and I rarely stack it live. I play with a power fusion trio so during the guitar solos I can chord or fill as needed to keep the sound filled up.

    Also, as stated above, your drummer better be rock solid. Inputing a 12 bar phrase at the start of a tune and then replaying it at various points in the song is a train wreck waiting to happen unless the bands time keeping is solid. Trying to tap the tempo up live is a disaster .....
  5. Pretty much every time I play I use the RC-20XL, and previously the RC-20, with a live drummer and the biggest help is to make sure that the drummer gets a good monitor of the loop sound. If you have to run a splitter from the looper then do that. Getting your own loop timing down is just a matter of practice, but getting the drummer or other band members to deal with it is another thing entirely.

    Using these pedal loopers where you have limited compositional options and no real external sync options means that there are some restraints on what you can do. Start by just playing simple stuff over a straight time loop and take it from there.
  6. matt hunt

    matt hunt

    Dec 16, 2005
    Thanks for the advice. My thoughts on using it within the band would be as you suggest, over a chord vamp or to play a bass line and solo over the top and stuff like that. But the real fun would be using it on my own making some cool solo bass loops!
  7. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    Despite what the drummer will tell you, the loop will play at the same tempo, it is the 'human element' whose timing drifts. I have a RC-20XL and the quantize works when you are creating the track that is being looped. The easiet way to stay in sych is to be able to hear the looping well. I use a headphone amp so the drummer can hear the loop.
    On the RC-20XL, yes. I find this a benefit becuase in an 8 bar loop I can put in a 2 bar part and then quickly change effect voicings before putting in another phrase later in the loop. The drawback is you have to figure out how many bars the loop is going to be from the outset.