The Best Looper Pedals on ReverbBuying Guide

How to Choose the Right Looper Pedal for You and Your Budget

No band? No problem! Looper pedals can be incredibly powerful, both as a practice and a live performance tool—not to mention that they’re heaps of fun. Looper pedals allow you to record a part, then overdub it, usually an infinite number of times. Using a looper pedal when practicing can really help improve your timing, as well as your ability to craft and utilize melody and harmony.

As a performance tool, they can allow one person to sound like a full band—Ed Sheeran, who's often referenced when talking about looper pedals, is a great example of this. His stadium-filling songs are played just by him, with the help of a very advanced looper system. While loopers are seen on many guitarists' pedalboards, these effects are unique for their ability to offer new creative possibilities with nearly any instrument you could think of. Complex piano and synth arrangements, experimental vocals, and even layered drums are all possible with these nifty little boxes.

Some looper pedals allow you to loop one instrument’s signal, some allow for a couple of instruments, and some allow for instruments and a microphone. There’s a multitude of different pedals on the market, offering a range of inputs and outputs, different storage and playback options and even onboard loops to play along with. There are a number of things to consider when buying a looper pedal—how long you’ll want to loop for, inputs, size, price, extra features, and how many loops you’ll want to be able to control at once—it all depends on what you want to do with it.

Generally speaking, the more pedals or footswitches a looper has, the more you’re going to be able to do with it, so if you want to be able to stop and start different sections of a song, then you’ll likely need a looper with more than one pedal. If you’re a live performer and need a multitude of options when it comes to laying down different loops, then a high-performance looper might be what you need.

The Best Looper Pedals on Reverb

Check out the most popular looper pedals on Reverb right now, updated daily.

What to Consider When Buying a Looper Pedal

Number of Channels

First question: how many loops do you want? For players who just want a backing track or some ambient sound, a straightforward, single-channel pedal like the Ditto or Boss RC-3 are both affordable and easy to operate. If you want to run multiple parts simultaneously and create your own soundscapes, more involved units like the Boss RC-505 or truly enormous Headrush Looperboard will keep you hitting switches and adding layers indefinitely.

Loop Time Length

Second: how long do you need your loop to be? For instance, the Ditto (it gets mentioned often because it's something of an industry standard) can hold up to five minutes of recorded sound, which is plenty for most players. Of course, you can go even longer, like the 12-minute madness of the Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper.

Onboard Effects

Did you get looper in my delay or did I get delay in your looper? The point here is that plenty of pedal have looping capabilities built right in if you want multiple effects in one fell swoop. Some fan-favorite options include the TC Electronic Flashback Delay, Electro-Harmonix Grand Canyon, and mind-bending Montreal Assembly Count to 5.

Single-Looper Pedals

Single-looper pedals are ideal if you want to use one as a practice or writing tool, or you just want to play around with layering different sounds. Perhaps you’re a guitarist and you want to improve your lead playing. You can lay down a drum pattern by striking the muted strings, and then add a bass line (if you’re using an octave pedal, put it before the looper), then add some chords. Now you’ve got your own rhythm track to try out different solo lines over.

When you’re ready to stop, you’ll likely have to either double tap or hold down the pedal to do so, depending on the model. Some of these loopers have built in backing tracks too, so if you don’t have a band to play with, then a feature-packed looper pedal like the BOSS RC-3, might actually be all that you need.

If you’re wanting to do some basic looping whilst playing live, then you should be fine with a single-looper pedal, though anything more than just a few overdubs will likely necessitate something a little more advanced.

More Excellent Single-Looper Pedals

Double-Looper Pedal

With two onboard loopers, you usually have the option of stopping one loop and starting another. Some let you play two loops simultaneously with the ability to stop one and let the other carry on—ideal for dropping out of a chorus etc.

You’ll usually find that double-looper pedals have more in terms of extra features too—on-board effects, multiple inputs, a fade out option, and more. Some also feature an XLR input, so you can create vocal layers as well as instrumental layers, making them a good choice for buskers and live performers.

More Excellent Double-Looper Pedals

Multi-Effect Loopers

Things start to get a little more serious with multi-effect loopers. If you’ve never used a looper before and you just want to get started, then it’s unlikely you’ll need all the features and options that these offer—a single- or double-looper pedal may be better suited to your needs.

These multi-effect loopers are created with live performance in mind. If you’re a player that bases a good chunk, or all of your set around creating layers, taking them away and adding them back in, then a multi-effect looper is the tool that you need. As you’d expect, most of these have multiple inputs for instruments and microphones, as well as a range of extra features that help bring your performance to life.

More Excellent Multi-Effect Looper Pedals

High-Performance Looper Pedals

These high-performance loopers are incredibly powerful performance tools. You can even use some of them to create album-worthy recordings. These loopers feature high quality sound reproduction, plus the ability to create loops in different ways.

If you’re serious about looping or you’re a performer that’s already built up a set around the art of layering different sound sources, then you might want to consider one of these. If you want a unique looper to create something completely different, then the Chase Bliss Audio Blooper should definitely be considered.

More Excellent High-Performance Loopers

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Editorial content by Richard Blenkinsop

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