Live Looping

Sometimes, a song sounds best with just an acoustic guitar and vocals, but, there are other songs where you can add some cool textures, rhythm and depth by using a looping pedal. For those songs, I’ve started using a new setup that adds a cool element to my live performance.

With a 3-track looping pedal, my acoustic/electric guitar and a drum machine that can also produce bass sounds, I can construct a whole song in moments on stage to enhance the dynamics of a the show. 

The Process

Typically, I start with my acoustic/electric guitar, patched into my one of the tracks of my looping pedal, a Boss RC-300 3-track looper, where I loop one part of the song (either the chorus or verse). 

Next, I add the core level of the percussion or drums, using an Alesis SR-18 drum machine, which I perform into one of the other tracks. 

In the case of a song with a few different chord rotations, I throw a bass part, using the SR-18, into the same track as the guitar part (on a repetitive chord rotation songs, I’ll sometimes use the 3rd track). 

Finally, for the songs with different chorus/verse parts, I’ll use the last track to play the guitar and bass, and sometimes add some additional percussion for more texture. 

The Result

So, sometimes the end result is something like below, which I can use my feet to switch, while I sing and play lead guitar.

Track 1

Verse Guitar
Verse Bass

Track 2

Chorus Guitar 
Chorus Bass

Track 3


Here’s a list of songs I do that work well with this setup, so far. This is far from an exhaustive list of cover songs that I perform, just one’s that I’ve arranged for this setup.

Alex Clare – Too Close
Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know?
Barenaked Ladies – Pinch Me
Bastille – Pompeii
Beck – Jackass
Better than Ezra – Good
Bill Withers – Grandma’s Hands
Blackstreet – No Diggity
Blur – Boys and Girls
Bob Marley – No Woman No Cry
Bruce Springsteen – Streets of Philadelphia, Secret Garden
Cake – Frank Sinatra
Cat Stevens – Father and Son
Chris Issak – Wicked Game
Chumbawamba – Tubthumping
Citizen Cope – Sideways
Coldplay – The Scientist, Yellow, Viva La Vida, Lost, Clocks
Collective Soul – December, Run
Cracker – Low
Crowded House – Don’t Dream it’s Over
Damien Rice – Cheers Darlin’
Dave Matthews Band – Crash Into Me, Say Goodbye, Big Eyed Fish, Everyday
David Gray – Babylon, Please Forgive Me
Dean Martin – Sway, I’m Gonna Change Everything
Deep Blue Something – Breakfast at Tiffanys
Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus
Dirty Vegas – Days Go By
Eagle Eye Cherry – Save Tonight, Falling in Love Again
Ed Sheeran – Don’t, Happier
Edwyn Collins – Girl Like You
G. Love and Special Sauce – Recipe, Cold Beverage, Baby’s Got Sauce, Booty Call
George Michael – Father Figure, Faith
Gorillaz – Kids With Guns, Feel Good Inc, Clint Eastwood
Hooverphonic – Mad About You
Howie Day – Ghost, Sorry So Sorry
Imagine Dragons – Radioactive
INXS – Need You Tonight
Jack Johnson – Rodeo Clowns
Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
Len – Steal My Sunshine
Love and Rockets – So Alive
MGMT – Kids
Montel Jordan – Get it on Tonite
Natalie Merchant – Carnival
New Order – Blue Monday, Bizzare Love Triangle
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand
Nirvana – Lithium, Dumb, All Apologies, About a Girl
Oasis – Wonderwall
Paul Simon – 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
Primitive Radio Gods – Standing Outside a Broken Telephone Booth
Prince – Gett Off
Psychedelic Furs – Love My Way
R. Kelly – Feeling on Your Booty
Radiohead – Creep
Rag N Bone Man – Human
Santana – Smooth, Evil Ways
Soul Decision – Faded
Soup Dragons – I’m Free, Divine Thing
Space – Female of the Species
Squirrel Nut Zippers – Hell
Steely Dan – Dirty Work, Any Major Dude, Brooklyn
Stereophonics – Handbags and Gladrags
Steve Earle – Galway Girl
Sublime – Caress Me Down, Doin Time, What I Got
The Cranberries – Zombie, Dreams
The Church – Under the Milky Way
The Cure – Love Song, Just Like Heaven
The National – I Need My Girl
The Smiths – How Soon is Now
The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony
The Verve Pipe – Photograph
Tom Petty – You Don’t Know How it Feels, Walls
Tom Waits – Jockey Full of Bourbon, Way Down in the Hole
U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday, With Our Without You, One, Where the Streets Have No Names, Numb, Mysterious Ways
UB40 – Don’t Break My Heart
Wallflowers – 6th Avenue Heartache
Wang Chung – Dance Hall Days
White Town – Your Woman
Wilson Pickett – Mustang Sally, In the Midnight Hour
X Ambassadors – Jungle