4 May 2010

What is a Guitar Loop Pedal and How Do I Use One?

A guitar loop pedal is a fun and versatile tool that allows guitar players to explore new musical dimensions. In this article we'll learn what a loop pedal is and see how it can be used as a guitar practice and performance tool.

What is a Guitar Loop Pedal?

A guitar loop pedal records short passages played on an instrument and plays them back in a repeating loop. Loops can be mixed together to create complex rhythms and harmonies from layers of simpler parts. Usually a loop pedal is used to create a backing that you play along with.

You operate a loop pedal with your feet, leaving both your hands free to play your guitar. Some loop pedals also offer several different inputs so you can also record samples with a microphone or from a CD or mp3 player to mix with your guitar.

Guitar Practice With A Loop Pedal

A loop pedal is a great practice tool for guitarists, here are some of the things you can do with it.

1. Practice Solos - Record yourself short chord progressions and practice solo over them. You can record just a few bars of the backing you're working on and the pedal will repeat it for as long as you want. This makes creating long backing tracks to work with a snip.

2. Practice Rhythms - Backing loops can also be used to work on rhythm guitar playing. A simple chord backing will also help you keep in time and hear how your rhythm licks sound within the context of a chord progression.

Many guitar rhythms are an elaborate mix of parts that subtly play off one another. A loop pedal is a great way to experiment with different mixes of rhythm guitar parts.

3. Compose Music - A loop pedal makes it easy to capture ideas and build your own harmonies or even compose new songs.

4. Work On A Tricky Passage - A loop pedal makes it really easy to work on any passage in a song or a piece of music. You can record any short phrase or passage and practice with it as many times as you need. You can easily break down songs and work step by step on the parts and link them together with ease.

5. Practice Recorder - You can use a loop pedal as a convenient recorder for your practice and playing to see how you're progressing. It can also store music from favourite recordings, jam tracks or drum rhythm patterns for practice backings.

Create Interesting Performances

A guitar loop pedal is not only a practice tool, it can also transform you into a one man band where you play rich multi-instrument songs all by yourself.

Build up song performances with percussive rhythm sounds, bass line and chord backing, then solo or sing over the resulting mix. Search for "loop pedal" on You Tube to find some amazing performances to inspire you.


In summary a guitar loop pedal is a fun and versatile practice and performance tool that allows you to explore new musical dimensions.

Use your pedal to instantly create any backing you like to practice with, as a versatile recording device for practice and composing, or even to give impressive performances as a one man orchestra.

Loop pedal resources

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1 comment:

Charlie said...

Thank you. Clear and basic explanation which is exactly what I was after.

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