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Top 10 Best Guitar Looper Pedals

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For a guitarist, my introduction to looper pedals was pretty strange. My band opened for local cellist Kristen Miller, who came out onto the stage with a mic, her cello, and a Boss RC-20. At first, I thought it was a Space Echo, which would have been a pretty cool choice, too. Instead, she used her looper to build up a one-woman orchestral arrangement and then sang over it. It was pretty spectacular. Years later, I saw Zoe Keating do the same thing. I even saw a fellow musician in the local scene use one with a ukulele. It was a good, long while before I actually saw a guitarist use one.

Looper pedals are incredibly versatile machines. They add layers of complexity to any song, allowing one person to play many different things at once. The premise is relatively simple, with each of these pedals offering the ability to record and playback a finite loop of audio. Where each of these differs comes down to what you can do with that audio or how many bits of audio you can use at one time.

Like anything else in life, even the seemingly obvious ideas can easily be built upon, and looping pedals vary from single-button nano effects to sprawling floor-bound workstations. Just as with any other effect, there is most certainly a looper to match your style of musician. It’s just a matter of deciding how much you want to be able to manage at once.

We covered the Line 6 DL4 in our previous post about delay pedals, so we’ve left it off of this list. It’s still great, and if you’re looking for a delay in addition to a looper, certainly one to consider. Likewise, we included the Hotone Wally Looper in our cheap effects list, though we have included a couple of other dirt-cheap loopers here.

For the guitarist who loves complicated arrangements, harmonies, and doing more with less, here’s our list of the top ten best guitar looper pedals.


1. Boss RC-30 Phrase Looper

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(Boss)

Naturally, since its predecessor was my first blush with them, we start our list with the quintessential multifaceted looper. Perhaps not a great choice for the absolute beginner, but the RC-30 has just about everything you will ever need. This unit is not only stereo, it includes an XLR mic input with phantom power. Audio, up to a ridiculous three hours of it, is recorded in 44.1 kHz/16-bit WAV files, which can then be downloaded via USB.

Controls are segmented by the part of the pedal they affect. The two footswitches control recording and playback, as well as Loop FX, which has a Type selector and a separate On/Off switch. Each track has its own volume, as well as a lighted Select button. The memory phrases — of which there are 99 — have an Up/Down selector, as well as a Write and Delete button. There’s a drum looper with ten different pre-loaded drum loops, selectable with the Type switch. You can control the output of the rhythm section, turn it on and off, and set the time with the tap tempo. Finally, when using a mic, there’s a dedicated input level. Just to top it all off, there’s an Aux In for ultimate jamming ability, or to feed samples in from other sources, like an iPad.

If that’s a bit overwhelming, you could also start with the Boss RC-1, which is still stereo and offers 12 minutes of recording time. As step up from that is the RC-2, which has ten phrases and the built-in drum patterns. The Boss RC-3 starts to look a bit more like the RC-30, minus the effects and mic in.

If all that isn’t overwhelming enough, you can always jump up to the supreme looping platform: the RC-300. If you like the core Boss looper, but want it to do everything short of make you a sandwich, they’re happy to oblige in this massive unit.

Need more options? Browse more Boss products here.

Price: $299

Buy the Boss RC-30 Phrase Looper here.



Specs:

  • Loop time: Three hours
  • Number of loops: 99
  • Effects?: Yes
  • Computer storage capability?: Yes, via USB
  • Stereo?: Yes

Find more Boss RC-30 Phrase Looper information and reviews here.


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2. TC Electronic Ditto Looper

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(TC Electronic)

Of course, none of that does you any good if you can’t figure out how to use the thing. (No judgement here; I just got the Digitech Trio and I’m still trying to get it to give me what I want.) If all you want to do is layer different parts from the same source, it’s hard to go wrong with this little unit. For up to five minutes of playback, you can loop an unlimited number of guitar riffs layered atop one another, while sacrificing less pedalboard space than you do for your tuner.

Controls on the Ditto couldn’t be simpler. There’s a single knob for Loop Level and a single switch that controls all your looping functionality. When it isn’t playing, it’s true bypass. Even when it is, there’s an analog dry signal path so whatever you’re playing over your loops is purely your guitar tone without interference. It’s pretty remarkable, if technically limited, and the price is certainly right.

As with Boss, TC have a few other options for you to consider. First is the Ditto X2, which adds stereo and reverse and half-speed effects. The Ditto X4 gives you a second playable loop and seven effects, as well as the ability to import pre-recorded loops. While not exactly a looper, they also offer the WireTap Riff Recorder, which is basically just a micro recorder with eight hours of recording time and Bluetooth connectivity to capture long jam sessions.

Need more options? Browse more TC Electronic products here.

Price: $93.94

Buy the TC Electronic Ditto Looper here.



Specs:

  • Loop time: Five minutes
  • Number of loops: 1 with unlimited overdubs
  • Effects?: No
  • Computer storage capability?: No
  • Stereo?: No

Find more TC Electronic Ditto Looper information and reviews here.


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3. Digitech JMSXT JamMan Solo XT Stereo Looper

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(Digitech)

Speaking of Digitech, the original JamMan was designed to compete with the Boss of a similar layout, but had one key advantage in that it had expandable memory. With the use of an SD card, you could double the recording time and number of phrase banks. For the money, I think the best bet is to go for the Solo XT, which edges its rival by offering 200 on-board memory phrases. You can expand this to a total of 400 with a 2GB SD card, which will also increase the total recording time to 16 hours, far surpassing the Boss unit.

Controls include Loop Level, Tempo, Setup, Store/Delete, and Rhythm Level. Like the Boss, there are ten rhythm tracks included, all recorded by Pat Mastelotto of King Crimson. One unique feature of this is that you’re able to change the timing of your loops without, according to Digitech, degrading the sound quality. The free JamManager XT software will keep track of your enormous assortment of loops and let you organize them easily. It’s a pretty powerful unit that should provide all the straight-forward looping power you’ll ever need.

For about the same price as the Ditto above, Digitech also offers the JamMan Express XT with ten minutes of looping time, unlimited overdubs, and stereo outs.

Need more options? Browse more Digitech products here.

Price: $129.95

Buy the Digitech JMSXT JamMan Solo XT Stereo Looper here.



Specs:

  • Loop time: 35 minutes (16 hours with 2GB SDHC card)
  • Number of loops: 200 (plus 200 with card)
  • Effects?: No
  • Computer storage capability?: Yes, via USB and SD card
  • Stereo?: Yes

Find more Digitech JMSXT JamMan Solo XT Stereo Looper information and reviews here.


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4. Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper

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(Electro-Harmonix)

If you’re an EHX fan, they have a looper for you, as well. In many ways, this is a simpler unit than the ones above, offering a total recorded time of 12 minutes across all ten loops. That should be more than enough for most people, especially in live settings, when you know what your setlist will be each night. Still, you have a few features here that might come in handy.

For controls, you get Level, a multi-function knob, Reverse, 1/2 Speed, and Loop and Stop/FX switches. By pushing the function knob, you can change between P, L, and F modes. P lets you see where you are in the loop progression, by counting out your measures. L is the loop selector. F is a fadeout, which will change the double-tap of the Loop switch from an abrupt stop to a long fade if you want your loop to carry on without you. This one seems a bit more geared toward performance than storage or practice and creation. It’s a bit cursed by the standard EHX pedal size, though.

You can get a simpler option in their Nano form factor with the 360 Nano Looper, which offers six minutes of looping time across 11 loops for less than $90. There’s also the EHX RC-30 rival in the massively cool-looking 22500 Dual Stereo Looper.

Need more options? Browse more Electro-Harmonix products here.

Price: $137.45

Buy the Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper here.



Specs:

  • Loop time: 12 minutes
  • Number of loops: 10 with unlimited overdubs
  • Effects?: Yes (reverse and half speed only)
  • Computer storage capability?: No
  • Stereo?: Yes

Find more Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper information and reviews here.


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5. Pigtronix SPL Infinity Looper

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(Pigtronix)

This Pigtronix unit appears, at first glance, to be a familiar two-loop layout pedal. As the price tag and controls indicate, however, it’s quite a bit more than that. It’s an incredibly detailed, incredibly powerful machine that focuses on live playing by introducing series or parallel loop interactions. The manual is about 50 pages long and believe me when I say it doesn’t include a whole lot of detail even at that. To really get to know this pedal, you’ll have to spend time with it.

Controls are plentiful and include Master Volume, Preset, Loop Volume 1 and 2, Stop Mode, Input Split, Series Loops, Sync Multi, and switches for Stop, Loop 1, and Loop 2. The Stop Mode switch allows you to choose between five different stop types, including Trails and Fade. Loop 2 can be automatically lengthened up to six times the length of the recorded sample. The pedal considers a loop bank to be a pair of recordings, one for each loop, and gives you 50 of these slots on an 8GB SD card, which the unit relies on for memory. Getting a larger card increases the number of slots, as well as the recording time. There’s an expression pedal input that can be set to control various parameters, as well as a MIDI in.

The real key to this pedal is Series mode, which lets you switch between the two loops of a preset automatically, as in going between verses and choruses. Perhaps the one relatively minor drawback is that it requires 18V power, and so will need special attention on your board. This is made up for with an input for a momentary pedal that will let you Undo your last overdub, as well as an Aux Out so you can send a signal either to front of house or to your drummer’s monitors. It’s a beast of a machine aimed at professional-level looping.

Need more options? Browse more Pigtronix products here.

Price: $407.11

Buy the Pigtronix SPL Infinity Looper here.



Specs:

  • Loop time: Varies (uses SD card for storage; online sources say 8GB grants up to 2 hours of recording time)
  • Number of loops: 50 (per loop)
  • Effects?: Yes (reverse only)
  • Computer storage capability?: Yes, via USB
  • Stereo?: Yes

Find more Pigtronix SPL Infinity Looper information and reviews here.


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6. Line 6 JM4 Looper

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(Line 6)

If you love the DL4, but have ever thought that you would like the looping part of it to do more, this is the pedal for you. Line 6 separated the looper function and bulked it up with a ton of features. It even still includes delay, as well as reverb, chorus, echo, and 12 amp models. Line 6 cannot help themselves from shoving their amp models into every product. If that’s something you’re into, this is the looper for you.

If it can be controlled, the knob or switch exists for it on this unit. There’s a Record Select to choose between the guitar input or the mic/aux. There are buttons for Drums/Song, Inputs/Level, Settings/Tone, a large scrolling knob, a selector pad, a Save button, and a tap tempo/tuner button. Knobs include Amp Models, Drive, Bass, Mid, Trebel, Chorus/Flanger/Phaser/Tremolo selector, Delay/Tape Echo/Sweep Echo selector, Reverb, and Channel Volume. Switches include Record, Play/Stop, Undo, and Half Speed. For inputs, there is a 1/4 inch instrument, 1/4 inch aux, XLR mic with trim knob, and 1/8 inch aux. For outputs, you get 1/8 inch headphone jack, 1/4 inch mono and 1/4 inch stereo outs. In addition to all of that, you can call up over 100 jam tracks and drum grooves recorded by professional session players.

Given the immense arsenal of tones and backing tracks, this looper is aimed more at creation than live performance. Of course, you can certainly use it live, but I think this is more at home in the studio when you’re trying to encourage new ideas.

Need more options? Browse more Line 6 products here.

Price: $288.47

Buy the Line 6 JM4 Looper here.



Specs:

  • Loop time: 24 minutes
  • Number of loops: 100
  • Effects?: Yes
  • Computer storage capability?: Yes, via SD card
  • Stereo?: Yes

Find more Line 6 JM4 Looper information and reviews here.


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7. Vox VLL1 Lil Looper Multi-Effect Pedal

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(Vox)

On the other hand, if you’re anything like me, those ultra-powerful units are a bit overwhelming and tend to distract from the business of playing guitar. This Vox pedal is downright spartan by comparison, but offers an interesting blend of features cherry-picked from the larger and more expensive units.

This little guy gives you two loops of 90 seconds, which can be effected with effects from three banks, Pedal, Mod/Delay, and Simulation. Pedal includes drive type effects with Crunch, Overdrive, Compression, and Distortion. Mod/Delay has Phaser, Stutter, Chorus, and Delay, while Simulation offers Bass, Radio, Acoustic, and Pitch. The LED of the Effect button changes to indicate which bank the selector knob on the left is choosing. There’s a Loop Level knob, of course, as well as buttons for Auto Record, Metronome, and Clear. The Tap allows you to tap in your tempo, which will cause the unit to quantize the playing loop. The switches offer the standard controls for each loop, including Undo/Redo. There’s an Input, Output, and Extension Switch, as well as toggles for Standby and On and Mic or Guitar line level. You can also run this off of a battery, for some reason.

Need more options? Browse more Vox products here.

Price: $159.99

Buy the Vox VLL1 Lil Looper Multi-Effect Pedal here.



Specs:

  • Loop time: 90 seconds
  • Number of loops: 2 with unlimited overdubs
  • Effects?: Yes
  • Computer storage capability?: No
  • Stereo?: No

Find more Vox VLL1 Lil Looper Multi-Effect Pedal information and reviews here.


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8. ZVex Effects Hand Painted LO-FI Loop Junky

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(Zvex)

Let’s get weird for a second here. Part of the joy of looping is experimentation. It’s being able to coax ever stranger combinations of noises without degrading your live tone, so you can melt the faces off everyone in the first ten rows. More sound is always better. To that end, this looper pedal isn’t for stacking many intricate layers of technically-proficient playing on one another. This one is for making noise.

Controls include Volume, Tone, Record level, Depth, and Speed. These change the warped nature of the 20-second, single-loop playback, including getting some Leslie cabinet sounds out of the higher speeds and depths. There’s a Safe switch in case you’ve created a loop so amazing it can’t be easily repeated. The LED blinks once at the end of the loop, and you’ll have to get pretty good at hitting both knobs at once when you’re done recording so that the loop begins right away.

It’s a noise machine. Try it out.

Need more options? Browse more Zvex products here.

Price: $369.15

Buy the ZVex Effects Hand Painted LO-FI Loop Junky here.



Specs:

  • Loop time: 20 seconds
  • Number of loops: 1
  • Effects?: Kinda!
  • Computer storage capability?: No
  • Stereo?: No

Find more ZVex Effects Hand Painted LO-FI Loop Junky information and reviews here.


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9. Donner Looper

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(Donner)

Several Chinese manufacturers have gone straight-to-market with the products from local factories, including this model aimed squarely at the Ditto. For $30 less, you get twice the looping time in 48 kHz, 24-bit audio. It one-ups the Ditto in another way, too, including a USB out for saving loops to your computer.

There’s just the one Level knob and switch, but that’s really all you need. It’s also true bypass. It’s a pretty solid Ditto clone, though there is some question about reliability if the reviews are to be believed. You could also try the suspiciously similar Andoer version, or perhaps the Bonsai Music version, or even the Valeton version, which at least has different graphics.

If you find you like the simple looper, Donner also makes a Deluxe Looper for still less money than the Ditto. Let your ears be the judge.

Need more options? Browse more Donner products here.

Price: $69.99 (42 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Donner Looper here.



Specs:

  • Loop time: 10 minutes
  • Number of loops: 1 with unlimited overdubs
  • Effects?: No
  • Computer storage capability?: Yes, via USB
  • Stereo?: No

Find more Donner Looper information and reviews here.


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10. NUX Loop Core

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(Nux)

Returning once more to the standard pedal size looper hosting 99 memory phrases, this Nux unit is a low-cost alternative to the Boss RC-3 and Digitech JamMan Solo XT. Like those pedals, this is a stereo unit, complete with stereo aux in. The 40 included drum patterns are controllable with tap tempo, while the Ctrl In lets you switch between loops on the fly with an external switch.

For controls, you get a stacked Loop/Rhythm level, Phrase selectors, Save/Delete, Rhythm, Tap Tempo, and Stop Modes. There are three Stop Modes: Normal, Play to Measure End, and 10 second Fade Out. It has everything you need for a great price.

Need more options? Browse more Nux products here.

Price: $93.98 (15 percent off MSRP)

Buy the NUX Loop Core here.



Specs:

  • Loop time: 6 hours
  • Number of loops: 99
  • Effects?: No
  • Computer storage capability?: Yes, via USB
  • Stereo?: Yes

Find more NUX Loop Core information and reviews here.


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Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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