Buying Your First Guitar Looper Pedal

There’re so many looper pedals on the market these days, it can be really difficult to know what to buy for your first looper pedal.

Read on to learn about the type of looper that I think you should be looking out for.

Simplicity

Some looper pedals come with all the bells and whistles, but to begin, you should start with something extremely simple. 

You don’t need extra lights to tell you where you are in a loop (that’s what your ears are for). You don’t need heaps of loop banks. You don’t need 100 minutes of recording time. You don’t need drum tracks. And you don’t need any extra effects. The more functions your looper pedal has, the more confusing and overwhelming it’s going to be to use.

When you start out, you just need something that does looping extremely well.

Start simple.

Budget And Sell On Value

You’re also not going to want to spend too much money on your first looper pedal. For one, expensive looper pedals tend to be more advanced and complicated, and we’ve already discussed that we want to start simple. But also, what if, after buying a looper pedal you find that looping just isn’t for you? If you start at the budget end, at least you’ve not spent too much money on your looper pedal if you decide to move it on at a later date.

Robustness

When you really get into looping, you’ll find that your looper pedal gets stood on a lot. For that reason, you’re going to want something pretty robust. Something that can withstand lots of stomps. In my experience, super cheap pedals don’t hold up that well.

A Small Footprint

Footprint refers to how much space a pedal takes up on a pedal board. Ideally, you don’t want a pedal that’s too big. Something neat and small. The less space it takes up on your pedalboard, the better.

Analogue Dry Through

If you’re an absolute tone hound, another thing to consider in a looper pedal is Analogue Dry Through. All this means is that your original guitar signal stays analogue, rather than being converted to digital and then back to analogue. This can happen in all types of digital pedals, and when it does, there’s always a noticeable dropoff in tone, at least to my ears.

True Bypass

All True Bypass means is that when you’re not using the looper pedal, your guitar signal travels through the pedal completely unaffected. If your looper pedal has a buffered bypass, that buffer will slightly affect your guitar tone even when the pedal is not engaged. This might not matter to some, but it does tend to matter to the tone hound.

Recording Quality

Next, we have sample rate and bit depth, which basically refers to the quality of the guitar looper’s recording. The higher the sample rate and bit depth, the better your loops will sound. Especially with overdrive and effects. Most decent budget looper pedals run at around 16 bit / 44.1 kHz. Anything above this in the budget realm of loopers is a plus.

Recording Time

And finally, we have recording time, which refers to how many minutes a looper pedal allows you to record. Some looper pedals go way overboard with this, and in my opinion, 5 minutes is more than you’ll need. 

My Recommendation

Tallying up everything that I’ve said above, I’d personally recommend the TC Electronic Ditto Looper.

It’s as simple as a looper pedal gets. There’s just one little light that does what’s needed, and one volume control which controls the level of your loop. 

The Ditto also has a very small footprint and mine has withstood me stomping on it for the past 9 years or so absolutely fine, so it’s pretty robust.

It has analogue dry through, true bypass, and a very good recording sample rate of 24 bit / 44.1 kHz. Oh, and it has 5 minutes of recording time, which has always been more than enough looping time for me.

The Ditto looper also sits at £75 which definitely falls into the more budget-friendly category for guitar looper pedals.

If I were to lose my Ditto Looper, I’d replace it with another Ditto Looper!

Next: Powering Your First Looper Pedal