The two most commonly used loop pedals are in the Digitech JamMan and Boss RC series. Other companies are catching on to the looping craze- but Digitech and Boss are setting the standards for professionals. The original Boomerang and Gibson Echoplex are used by famous artists such as Trey Anastasio and Keller Williams respectively, but are outdated and more difficult to come by.
I started my looping journey with a Boss RC-20: a basic two pedal looper that is capable of controlling one loop track. I’ve seen the RC-20 on more than a few pedalboards and it’s a happy medium between the bigger pedals and single pedal style of loopers. Currently I’ve graduated to a Boss RC-50 which has 3 loops that can be independently controlled- and I plan on upgrading to Boss’s latest flagship model, the RC-300.
Although the bigger loop pedals are becoming increasingly complex, simplified loopers such as the RC 1 and Digitech Solo are also popular and occupy the space of a typical guitar stompbox. Having a smaller footprint can be helpful in situations where you have little room to operate. The single pedal is a good option for guitarists in bands that want simple looping at their disposal. With that being said, the bigger pedals are where it’s at for creating more complex arrangements for a solo looping show.
Unfortunately the Boss RC-50 has a major flaw- which is about a second of silence in the first playback pass of the loop. Jedi Loop Master Zach Deputy showed me the obvious workaround which is simply to keep playing through the silence until the loop kicks in. Even though a loop ninja such as himself can execute this flawlessly, it’s remained a setback for me and I’m looking forward to not having to deal with it in the RC-300.
No matter what loop pedal you decide to use, it’s the creative mind of the looper that makes all the difference. Experiment with different set ups to find what works best for you. Just like anything else your looping will evolve over time and so will the tools you use to create your soundscapes.