Live bass guitar looping - how DID he do it?
October 18, 2009 3:01 PM   Subscribe

A little while back I heard a bass guitar player with some kind of amazing live looping set-up - what on earth was it? I keep wondering what he was doing. All I could see was that he was grabbing (sampling) things he was playing, as he was playing them (ie while he was continuing to play), using foot pedals of some sort, and then incorporating those loops into the rest of the track. Amazing. But how?
posted by monster max to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (20 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe it was a Boomerang?
posted by krisken at 3:13 PM on October 18, 2009

Best answer: Loop pedals!. They are loads of fun.

There are other processes that can accomplish the same thing, but the loop pedal sounds right. Also, look for "Sample and Hold" stuff.
posted by sundri at 3:13 PM on October 18, 2009

Best answer: He was likely using a "loop pedal."

They behave just as you describe: Hit the pedal -- record. Hit the pedal again -- stop recording and play from the beginning, looping back when reaching the end. More sophisticated machines allow multiple layers (i.e. hit the pedal AGAIN or hit a different pedal -- start recording a new track.)
posted by GPF at 3:14 PM on October 18, 2009

Best answer: Check out this video of KT Tunstall and her explaining it.
posted by tumble at 3:19 PM on October 18, 2009

I don't know what gear is used either, but Imogen Heap is pretty good at looping-on-the-fly fun.
posted by ctmf at 3:21 PM on October 18, 2009

You can also rig up some rad stuff with a midi foot controller and ableton live.
posted by CharlesV42 at 3:30 PM on October 18, 2009

A lot of gear will do this. Some of the pricier Boss digital delay pedals (the DD-5, and the later DD-6, I believe) have some neat looping functionality.

There are also things like the Electrix Repeater, the venerable Echoplex, and...oh hell, just read this.
posted by ixohoxi at 3:30 PM on October 18, 2009

Here's another video, of Kid Beyond explaining how he uses Ableton and his voice for this kind of stuff
posted by mannequito at 3:30 PM on October 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you're old school, you can use tape recorders.
posted by flabdablet at 3:43 PM on October 18, 2009

Yossi Fine does this on the bass.
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:57 PM on October 18, 2009

Was it Victor Wooten? If so, this article says he uses the Boss RC-20XL Loop Station.
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:27 PM on October 18, 2009

Richard Buckner does whole solo shows like this, laying down a track with one guitar, then switching to another, accompanying himself for uninterrupted hour-long sets. Really cool--see him if you can.
posted by MrMoonPie at 5:22 PM on October 18, 2009

I knew someone who could do amazing things with a guitar loop pedal. Basically it was just hit a foot switch, it starts recording, hit a foot switch, that interval starts looping. It's been so long I can't recall if what he had could do multiple tracks or what but I know some can. It looked to me like the kind of thing that can be made to look easy but is damn hard to do really well.
posted by nanojath at 8:13 PM on October 18, 2009

Yeah, you can do some pretty mind-blowing stuff without a ton of effort with loopers. My all time favorite performance is this Reggie Watts bit that was posted to Metafilter a couple years ago.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:44 PM on October 18, 2009

I've got to say for live looping, Beardyman is one of my favorites.
posted by Phineas Rhyne at 3:03 AM on October 19, 2009

Not Bass, but check out Frippertronics. Robert Fripp has been doing loops for ages.
posted by Gungho at 4:47 AM on October 19, 2009

The original run of Don Caballero (circa the album American Don) used Akai Head Rush pedals to sample and loop guitar and bass parts to make up for losing band members.
posted by macdara at 9:31 AM on October 19, 2009

Also not bass, but check out Yoav, he does the same thing wonderfully well. He's got an official YouTube channel.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:26 AM on October 19, 2009

Can't believe no one's mentioned Andrew Bird, who does some absolutely jaw-dropping looping, especially in his live shows. Again, not bass guitar (violin), but SO GOOD.
posted by atayah at 5:27 PM on October 19, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for explaining and WOW some amazing videos here!
(Almost makes me want to learn bass ... heh heh...)

Seriously - thank you.
posted by monster max at 3:27 PM on October 21, 2009

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