Author Topic: Help on choosing a looper for use with band  (Read 3499 times)

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Offline shopstartuk

Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« on: December 18, 2012, 04:46:56 AM »
Hi

Ive had my GR55 a few weeks now and loving it, it has really filled out the sound of our 4 piece band with adding synth and helping me out no end with alt tunings etc.

The next step is to add to those parts of our set which seem a little empty when i go into a solo without a 2nd guitar or keyboard backing me up. Which would be the best looper to use in a live band situation? Most importantly would be ease of use, ease of getting the timing right and using the control pedals. Or should I even be considering using a looper in a live band situation?

An example would be 'Hotel California┬┤where I could play the intro then loop it so i can then add the lead stuff, and then loop the backing for the solo to fill out the sound. Can I store loops easily on the fly and then bring them back in at the right time?
Is this doable with the right looper? The looper on the GR55 does not offer enough time and I find the controls fiddly to get the timing right.

Thanks for any advice.
Fender Strat Plus Delux
Fender Tele 60th
Roland GR 55

Offline Syph

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2012, 06:10:14 AM »
Heyo!

Let me be the first to welcome you to a whole new world of G.A.S.! (I am sorry for your loss...)

I can only speak from experience of ableton live and the boss RC300, though there are a few other options that would also be suitable. Insert suitable disclaimer here.

The big issue with looper with in a band context is keeping everyone one in time with the looper, and unless your drummer is truly something amazing you are going to need a metronome for him to play along to. As a result I think we can start by limiting your selection to loopers that have midi and can either be the master midi clock, or the slave.

The boss RC300 is great as a tempo master, and its foot controls should be more than adequate. The one thing the 300 lacks to be used smoothly here is a click track in the drum machine section, though since it can act as a midi host it can send click info to a metronome with a midi in for your drummer to play along with. I have been researching midi metronomes and the best I have found so far is the boss BD90 which seems to be selling for about $170 australian. This is an expensive package, coming up to around $800 for the looper and the metronome at common retail prices, but it is a AWESOME rig! (note, you could use the RC50 in the same way, but I will leave that for ThreeLeggedYoyo to comment on (thanks buddy :P))

Ableton live is another significant investment, requiring a decent audio laptop, a copy of ableton live, an audio interface with 2 in and 4 out, and a midi foot controller like the berhinger FCB1010. Ableton can provide the looping and the click track, and you would want 4 outs so you can run a stereo mix to front of house/PA/amps, and another output to feed a headphone click track for the drummer. Minus the laptop, this rig should cost around around $700, though with second hand gear and maybe a lite copy of ableton live the price could drop a few hundred...($250 sound card (presonus firestudio mobile, 6 in 4 out analog, firewire and bus powered), $150 bringer FCB1010, and ableton live 8 standard is selling for about $300 or so)

There are a few other loopers out that that offer midi (don't quote me on these, just giving some ideas here!) including the Infinity looper (slaves to external midi device) and the boomerang looper *MAY* be midi capable....

Hit me up if there is any details you would like to know about either the RC300 or ableton, and in the mean time, happy hunting :)

Offline Syph

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2012, 06:11:49 AM »
Oh, and just for the record if you have a midi capable looper you can sync all of your GR55 FX with it... Beat synced tremolo and delay... mmmm.... nom nom nom.....

Offline Mrchevy

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Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2012, 08:59:18 AM »
The Bomerang III does not have midi sync or clock capability, yet. It is suppose to be in the works for a firmware update coming soon ???. You could just record a WAV file to a USB stick with a click track and fill parts on it and run it thru the audio player on the GR55 but you would have to figure out a way to get the click track to the drummer only. The RC300 has pre-recorded loop play storage/ability does it not? A decent drummer should be able to stay in sync with the guitar loop he hears if it is loud a clear enough for him. Or , you could add a second guitarist to the group and not have to worry about any of it ;) Just for the record, Hotel California has 3 guitar parts
« Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 09:14:50 AM by Mrchevy »
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GT100
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Offline Elantric

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2012, 12:14:41 PM »
Quote
It is suppose to be in the works for a firmware update coming soon ???.

Ive been waiting 3 years for the rumored "MIDI Clock Sync" firmware update on the Boomerang III - I would not hold my breath.

Offline Csewell

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2012, 06:45:53 PM »
Ive been waiting 3 years for the rumored "MIDI Clock Sync" firmware update on the Boomerang III - I would not hold my breath.

Im sure it will happen mere days after I sell mine.

Offline Mrchevy

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Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2012, 06:55:59 PM »
Im sure it will happen mere days after I sell mine.
Well then, help out us rangers and sell it to yourself. We'll get our update and you'll still have yours. You'll get off on a technicality ;D
Les Paul Custom
SG 50's prototype
Squire classic vibe 60's
Gibson WRC w/GK3
Vantage VE 565
Schecter Hellraiser & C1 classic
PRS SE FR Custom 24
Martin acoustic

Tubemeister18 w/Egnater 112cab
Princeton chorus 210
Yamaha THR10C

GT100
GR-55
Mustang Floor
Boomerang III

A lot of stuff I DON'T need

Offline atonal

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2012, 12:43:20 AM »
I just got my rc-300 and I'm so happy with it,as far as a click track you could send the rythym track to a sub output and have your drummer monitor that and a measure or so and he should be ready to go..What I love about the rc-300 is how well it responds to engaging the record(loop) feature no latency and very stable.I had a digitech jamman stereo and just always had trouble engaging the loops it was hit or miss ,the engage buttons had a long throw so you had to compensate for that when engaging,the rc300 has the same engaing system that you have on the gr55 and has quite a few audio out routing options,it has the ability to record three seperate loops per bank with a mixer,this is huge for also as for instance i record the verse kick it in and i could play another instrument or engage the audience,go to the toilet ,drink a beer  !! do the same for a chorus and bridge ,theres your three tracks available at a footstep away and most in time.i haven't touched on the midi aspect of this piece of equipment yetbut has midi in,out and thru so that should have you covered,I love the sound reproduction also ,almost anologish warm!Can't say enough about this unit I'm having a blast with it,Ihave a gr55 and a pod hd500 running thru it and saw a cellist use one shannonleehayden.com and that sold me on it's live capabilities check her out you can listen to her looping or watch her video's..good luck hope this helped

Offline Csewell

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2012, 06:38:51 AM »
Looping with other musicians is a challenge. They need to have an keen sense of time and an above average ability to listen. The loop doesn't move or adjust. You are playing to it which is counter-intuitive to a lot of players. Without a click, no loop is hardly ever perfect. I used to play with a percussionist that was so good, he would adjust for minute changes in time throughout the loop. I can tell you after 2 frustrating years searching for a replacement, that is rare.
I agree the RC300 is probably your best bet. The routing combined with midi and rhythmic settings make it about as perfect as its gonna get.
Theres always software, but your bringing in a whole bunch of other issues that don't really belong on stage (IMHO).
I use a drum machine instead of a click. Midi out to a DR880. Instead of drum kit sounds, I use hand drum sounds. And Im having a frigging ball doing it. All loops are tight and in time, plus, all delays and filters are beat synced. Sooo powerful. You could try something like that. A tambourine or clave instead of a click. It might even add more rhythmic interest and musicality to for sound. And of course good monitoring would be key.

Offline Brak(E)man

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2012, 06:57:35 AM »
Looping with other musicians is a challenge. They need to have an keen sense of time and an above average ability to listen. The loop doesn't move or adjust. You are playing to it which is counter-intuitive to a lot of players. Without a click, no loop is hardly ever perfect. ......... And of course good monitoring would be key.

I agree 1000% the drummer needs to be used to playing to others beat not to his/hers own and that's rare.
And on top of that a loop "in time" is usually static so it doesn't swing.
I loop all the time but out of time instead since that's in my view the best solution
doesn't work with "standard music"
swimming with a hole in my body

I play Country music too, I'm just not sure which country it's from...

"The only thing worse than a guitar is a guitarist!"
- Lydia Lunch

Offline Csewell

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2012, 08:34:43 AM »
Doesn't swing? Doesn't that depend on the looped material?

Offline Brak(E)man

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2012, 09:20:16 AM »
Doesn't swing? Doesn't that depend on the looped material?

Not if you have a short loop ,
one can discuss what makes music swing
but one aspect is the shifts in tempo and rhythm
that a drummer ( or a band/player ) makes when playing,
if the loop are short the drummer has to adjust to the loop
and there's little or rather no room for agogics
or the shifts in tempo and rhythm that I spoke of.
and we're speaking about loops around 20-40 sek maybe even longer.

that's why when recording with a click track , one usually
have slightly different tempos in different parts of the song
the chorus is preluded by a small tempo shift down a few bars
and then a higher tempo than the verse and the bridge might have
a lower or higher tempo then the rest and the intro most likely lower
while the outro a higher tempo , this is pop and rock music we're speaking about.
and something that occurs naturally when playing without a click track or a loop. 
swimming with a hole in my body

I play Country music too, I'm just not sure which country it's from...

"The only thing worse than a guitar is a guitarist!"
- Lydia Lunch

Offline Csewell

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2012, 10:33:18 AM »
I see your point. That is, if thats what you mean by swing. I dunno...8 seconds of Elvin Jones looping still swings harder then all mortals.

Offline Elantric

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2012, 10:55:04 AM »
Quote
.8 seconds of Elvin Jones looping still swings harder then all mortals.

Agreed!

I once attended a 2 hour seminar by Grady Tate in Chicago on just Hi-Hat swing techniques - 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grady_Tate

Offline Brak(E)man

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2012, 11:42:17 AM »
I see your point. That is, if thats what you mean by swing. I dunno...8 seconds of Elvin Jones looping still swings harder then all mortals.
Yeah he does , but he also said - sometimes my 4 bars are a bit longer .

and the org. Q  was as I understood it a guitarloop that a drummer would play along to.
Which is a different animal than a Elvin Jones loop :)
« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 11:45:25 AM by Brak(E)man »
swimming with a hole in my body

I play Country music too, I'm just not sure which country it's from...

"The only thing worse than a guitar is a guitarist!"
- Lydia Lunch

Offline aliensporebomb

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2012, 11:51:38 AM »
I'm torn between the RC-300 and the Pigtronix Infinity.  With the Infinity it's 2 loops plus midi sync and some nice features however I'd need some additional footswitches to make it go most effectively although the Roland has 3 loops plus midi sync and all footswitches built in but it's as big as an aircraft carrier and I already have an LC-300 so it could be....interesting. 


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Offline shawnb

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2012, 12:16:08 PM »
Yes, with regards to the OP, I imagine the size of the RC300 will be a problem live.  Depending on the feature set needed, an RC30 (or Jamman stereo) may be just as good and about 1/3 the size. 

I've been talking with my drummer about using the RC300 looper more.  Problem is, simply, volume, and how good/bad your monitor situation is.  The drummer may not hear you as good as he needs to. 

So we're talking about experimenting with certain things.   First off, there's no real 'click track', i.e., metronome, on the rc300.  There is, however, a very simple hihat sound (one of the very last rhythm tracks) that should work well. Still not sure whether we want to use a headphone mixer or just use 'one ear' of the phones, so he can hear the room as well.  The other thing we're considering is running a cable with an FS5U over to the drummer so he can tap/change the tempo.   

Address the process rather than the outcome.  Then, the outcome becomes more likely.   - Fripp

Offline Csewell

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2012, 01:21:13 PM »
Keep in mind, with the RC300 if your using a rhythm sound, or midi out to a device providing a click or beat, there has to be a loop playing. I have either a bar of 4/4 or 2/4 going on an empty loop to provide steady rhythm. I have 2 empty tracks to play with and a track of 1 bar to use. Not sure how the Infinity deals with that.

Offline Threeleggedyoyo

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2012, 07:41:37 PM »
Short answer:

It can be done. The RC-50 or 300 will be your best bet.

The JamMan series will be ok if you are less concerned about quantization or easily returning to stored loops.

The Boomerang has no Midi sync but can do the other stuff.


So those are a few options I'd look into trying.

I would recommend either the RC-50 or RC-300, personally. The 50 has fewer features, but is a little more affordable and a touch smaller. They both are the best options for being able to store multiple loops on the fly and return to them, and they offer MIDI sync, which you may find helpful. The 50 has some other drawbacks... read up on the forum or PM me or whatever for a comparison if you are looking at that route.

In either case, you don't need a separate metronome. You can send the click track out the SUB output for your drummer and anyone else to listen to. It might be in mono, but you can fix that with the right cables... in my case when I played with a drummer, I put it into a little amp, and then split the headphone jacks from the amp (one for each of us) and then you get stereo. I would also run my end through something to reduce the volume since my drummer liked it much louder!

You won't have a simple click, but I found the hi-hat setting on the 50 to be quite close to a straight click. You can find a beat that should be ok.

As for tempo control, you have more options than you may realize.

First of all, you'll have to train the drummer that he must listen in order to stay in sync with the loop. Your drummer will not like this because it chains him to a constant tempo. Tell him to deal or no loopie.

HOWEVER, either you or the drummer could be in charge of the initial loop tempo. You can assign Tap Tempo to an external button. So either you could count yourself in to what the drummer is doing, and let him know he'll need to listen after a certain point, OR you could give him a little foot pedal he could tap a few times when your loop section is coming up. Still another option is to offer a fixed tempo it will always be at.

In some cases the click track isn't necessary. Turning quantize off might be a better approach if you are good at ending the loop at the right moment. If you're good at that, you don't need to worry about tempo settings at all, which is a bonus.

If you like that option, the JamMan series may be a better fit for you. They have tap tempo and a metronome, but no MIDI to sync your effects to. But the Tap Tempo is pretty irrelevant aside from the click track, because I don't think it has quantization anyway (I could be wrong? It's been a while since I've used it for looping). The benefit of having quantize off is that you don't have to get the tempo right as you're playing... just the start and stop points, really. The JamMan series is much smaller. There's also the RC-20 which is about the same size, but the JamMan is a little better at that level IMO.

The drawback with the Jam Man series is that it's not easy to store loops and return to them in a live situation. The RC-50 or 300 will give you three loops before you have to stop playing and store. I believe with the JamMan you have to stop just to store one... but again, it's been a while. If you go with the Dual-button JamMan, check out the FABE, which helps with this a little. I think the RC-20 has the same limitations.

The RC-2 may be a good option for you, too... no Midi (and I think no tempo control? Not sure) but I think it can easily switch between 11 stored loops, and is small and affordable. I could be wrong, though. Haven't used that one.

With the Boomerang... haven't used it, but it offers 3 (or 4) tracks you can get back to without storing or stopping, so that's nice. It has Tempo sync but no Midi. It is nice and small, and in many ways as good as or better than the RC. I don't think it has a click track of any kind, it does not store loops on patches for the future, and it has no Midi sync. It has a couple other things the RC series does not, but nothing that you mentioned wanting.

Hopefully that helps.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 07:43:44 PM by Threeleggedyoyo »

Offline Mrchevy

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Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2012, 09:37:42 PM »
Hey guys just a quick post regarding the Boomerang III  http://www.vguitarforums.com/smf/index.php?topic=7552.0
Les Paul Custom
SG 50's prototype
Squire classic vibe 60's
Gibson WRC w/GK3
Vantage VE 565
Schecter Hellraiser & C1 classic
PRS SE FR Custom 24
Martin acoustic

Tubemeister18 w/Egnater 112cab
Princeton chorus 210
Yamaha THR10C

GT100
GR-55
Mustang Floor
Boomerang III

A lot of stuff I DON'T need

Offline Threeleggedyoyo

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2012, 11:01:07 PM »
Hey guys just a quick post regarding the Boomerang III  http://www.vguitarforums.com/smf/index.php?topic=7552.0

...so who bought Csewell's 'Rang?  :P

Offline Mrchevy

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Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2012, 11:03:58 PM »
With them working on the ability to connect 2 Rangs together It should have been me ;D
Les Paul Custom
SG 50's prototype
Squire classic vibe 60's
Gibson WRC w/GK3
Vantage VE 565
Schecter Hellraiser & C1 classic
PRS SE FR Custom 24
Martin acoustic

Tubemeister18 w/Egnater 112cab
Princeton chorus 210
Yamaha THR10C

GT100
GR-55
Mustang Floor
Boomerang III

A lot of stuff I DON'T need

Offline Csewell

Re: Help on choosing a looper for use with band
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2012, 06:39:56 AM »
...so who bought Csewell's 'Rang?  :P


Well now the question is, who's gonna buy my 300?