I just got myself a GP-200JR multi-effects pedal, and one thing I was dying to try out was the looper pedal. I was really looking forward to using the built in drums, looping a chord progression, and trying out some improvisation.
Boy was I disappointed! Turns out that even though I thought I was pretty good at playing in time (I’ve played with a metronome and it feels like I can hit the beat pretty well) I’m actually utterly rubbish! Drifting before the beat, uneven rhythm, all sorts. Some of it may be because I’m not completely familiar with how the looper works yet (there’s a “Sync” setting for the loop and the drums, and I think setting that correctly matters, but I haven’t worked out how yet) but that’s mostly excuses - the truth is that I need to practice a lot more than I thought I did…
On the plus side, I can now highly recommend recording yourself while practising - it’s a sobering experience, but you learn a lot from it
OK, back to trying to work out how to improve my timing when I can’t actually hear the problems while I’m playing!
So Paul, when Justin told us this repeatedly in the beginning, the penny didn’t drop yet …
And I can still remember well the feeling like you have with that looper … I’m glad you brought up this “trauma” for me … I wish you a lot of fun and a quick learning curve with the pedals
What genuinely surprised me is that I couldn’t hear how off the beat I was when just listening to my playing. It’s bad enough that I really did think I’d messed up the looper settings somehow at first. Just to be 100% sure, I think I’ll plug my board into the computer and record that way, as a cross check.
But realistically, I think it’s just going to be about practice.
This is why a lot of people say the first pedal you buy should be a looper. Not much point having all these fancy effects if you can’t play in time.
The thing it also showed me was how rough my playing was. I’d try and record a loop, but there was always at least one dodgy note or chord in there. When you’ve heard it come around 10 times it gets very annoying.
Here is something to aspire to… (he gives a few tips along the way)
You definitely need to learn how to use the drum track/loop sync function. You’ll never be able to perfectly sync manually to the drum track. If your loop is off in comparison to the drum tempo by 1/100th of a second then after one minute of playing you will be out of phase by over 1/2 a second. That’s why they give you the sync function. The loop and drum track are quantised and synced.
Learn how to use the sync function. It’s critical.
Yep, he sure is. One of the guitarists I aspire to copy.
In his videos and tutorials he often talks about the need to be really '“tight” with your rhythm. As soon as it starts getting sloppy the whole thing will get messy very quickly. If you can work out how to sync the drum track to the loop then that is a great way to practice keeping it all together. Although, I see in the manual that “Sync requires the margin of error to be under 50ms” - that’s not very long.
Oh, and in case you hadn’t already realised… you only need to be super precise with the first loop. Once that is laid down, the loop length is set. From then on, you can hit start anytime before the loop and hit stop whenever you like. Just be aware that any extraneous noises you make will also be recorded.
This turned out to be the biggest part of the problem here. There are two “Sync” settings on the GP-200, one on the looper and one in the “Drums” section. The one in the drums section is not the one I wanted - all this seems to do is to change the drum bpm to match the bpm configured for the patch when you change patches.
The important one is the looper “Sync” setting, which needs to be on in order to make the looper and drums re-sync each time the loop restarts. Otherwise, as you say, the drums and loop drift apart quite rapidly.
Guess which one I’d set on.
I’ve now set the looper sync on, and things are a lot better. Not perfect - at least some of the problem really is that my timing’s worse than I thought - but it’s no longer a disaster.
I’m somewhat confused why the looper sync isn’t on by default (I don’t think I changed it from the factory setting) but that’s a minor point, as I have it set right now.
First time this happened to me was with an instructor. He told me to record myself and I sent him my a recording of my best playthrough for the week. Then he said, now the hard part begins…listen to it. WOW, it wasn’t how I remembered playing it. I think it is like singing while driving. Probably isn’t my driving causing stares.