Monday, November 30, 2009

BOSS RC-20XL loop thingie

In disappointment over the apparently failed purchase of a used KoAloha D-VI (he never got back to me with a video) I bought myself a sympathy gift.

In the unlikely case that you don’t know what these things do, they can record a phrase of music on the fly and essentially allow you to do unlimited multi-tracking – live. So the curse of the solo uke guy (that is, a thin orchestration with no bottom end) is somewhat removed, and you can impress the drunk guy in the front row with your mighty one-man-band skillz.

I bought it intending to chunk out a rhythm track, lay down a basic chord progression and then sing and solo over that in live performances. It works like a charm for that, although I’ll need a bit more practice and guts to get it just right for the stage. The margin for error is pretty small, and if you make a mistake, it’s repeated endlessly. I can hit it about 70% of the time. Good enough for open mic, but I’m still not quite ready.

I expected to use it on maybe 2 songs – it was a total impulse buy and I was already having a little buyer’s remorse after a few hours. But…

What I didn’t expect was the pure utility of the thing. By day two I realized that while live performance is cool (provided I can pull it off), for simply practicing and writing this do-hicky is amazing. The ability to lay a progression down and instantly hear it repeated while I work out melody was unexpectedly useful. And for practicing solos, it’s worth its weight in choco-tacos. With the batteries in (as opposed to the 9v converter) all I need is a pair of headphones, a cable, and my uke and I can practice my face off anywhere – No amp required.

So while I may never get the balls to perform with it, it’s surprisingly handy as an everyday doo-dad. I expect I’ll use it at least a few times a week even if I never put it on stage.


Mugambismonkey said...

Loopers a great fun! I own a Digitech JamMan Looper and I really like it. Made a YT video with it a while ago:

John Irving said...

I want one sooo badly. Gotta get Christmas out of the way, but that's the exact one I'm going for. Good buy man. Great write up too. Hope to see some vids with it.

RussBuss said...

i have the exact same model. bought it years ago with dreams of being that one-man-band guy. now it just sits on the shelf with my beanie babies collection.

maybe it's time to dust it off. (the beanie babies, not the pedal)

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