Looping vs. uhhh....Looping?

Featuring Loops In Worship Posted on December 14, 2010

Are you interested in looping or using loops? Are you looking for a Looper pedal or a MIDI Foot Controller?  When you think of loops do you think, Boss or do you think Ableton?  After a few hours of pursuing the web this weekend, I figured it’s time to clear up a bit of confusion between the two.  I’ve noticed on various forums, people wondering how to “use loops in worship” but the conversation at times tends to lead towards, “What Boss Pedal should I use for looping?” I have nothing against Boss and their wonderful little stomp boxes of joy, but the confusion ends here.

Looping is not the same as Using loops.

Looping consists of recording small musical sections or segments and layering them on top of each other to build a song.  This is typically done by using a foot pedal of some sort( I.e Boss looper, dl-4) and recording a rhythm track and then adding guitar parts one by one to build a song. Some people that employ this technique are Phil Keaggy, Andrew bird, and that British chick that sang about the cherry tree. This is a technique used frequently to accompany yourself when playing an instrument and singing by yourself.

Using loops is a whole beast on it’s own.  Using loops typically consists of using some form of pre-recorded qccompiqemt. With the help of software like Ableton Live we have the ability to play with the loops and not just to the loops.  The type of loops you use can vary greatly depending on your budget, your band, and your skill level.  Some people use “backing tracks”‘to fill out their sounds while some people bring short washy/percussive loops in and out of the song to add a new dynamic to their song.

Ableton and looping

Now it’s important to note.. Ableton Live has the ability to do  ”looping ” as well as using loops.  Ableton Live includes a great tool for looping called the “looper”. It allows you to record phrases and stack up those phrases one by one in a very easy to manage instrument.  In fact it’s quite powerful and can be used to do alot.. With just one footswitch.  Now this brings us to a very Important note: The looper device in Live is not made for creating drum loops! I repeat… Looper is not used to create loops.  If you want to layer your guitar and build up a performance looper is great.  If you want to create a drum loop.. Just Create it in Live using the built in devices… But don’t use looper… It’s purpose is not to create drum loops.  You’d be suprised by the amount of people that try to use looper to create loops, and then quirky there after curse live.

Loopers and Loop Pedals

I you’re wanting to use a loop pedal to play loops for your worship band, you’re going to be disappointed.  You should be using a software like Ableton Live or at the vary least use an iPod.  A looper pedal is for those times you want to build up a performance by recording parts one at a time on top of each other to create accompaniment.

Now you may see a worship leader with a MIDI Foot Controller at their feet.  They are most likely using this to control a software running their loops, most commonly Ableton Live.  As a guitar player it’s worth mentioning that the foot controller you see your worship leader using may just be their guitar effects pedals or a guitar effects processor( oh I hope not…)

So let’s recap..

  1. Looping and Using loops are two separate things
  2. Looper Pedals or Loop Pedals are different from MIDI foot controllers
  3. Loopsinworship is a site about using loops, not looping
  4. If you want to use loops don’t buy a looper pedal.  It won’t do the job, but will make a Great paperweight.
  5. The Looper device in Live isn’t for creating loops, it for “looping” in live.  It’s a virtual loop pedal or looper pedal in live.
  6. If you try to create your drum loops in looper you will be disappointed… So don’t do that.
  7. Review the last two and then remember looper isn’t for creating loops!

Does this help clear things up for you?

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