One of the reasons I got back into playing is that my wife has been bugging me about having a hobby. One reason she wanted me to have a hobby is to have a go-to thing for gift giving. Now she and other family can get me guitar stuff for Christmas/birthdays instead of the usual “I don’t know.” (haha I don’t think they realize what they’ve gotten themselves into.)

Anyway, looking ahead to Christmas for some ideas of what to get first. I’ve got a decent Takamine acoustic that I’ve had for close to 20 years but it’s still in great condition. I recently bought a cheap Strat-type electric from Amazon (I think it’s the same one or similar to the one that Justin did a video about, haha). I’ve always wanted an electric but wasn’t ready to spend a lot. My plan is to save up and buy a nicer one down the road. In the meantime, it’s really great. Plays great, good tone. I have 2 amps, a little cheapo that I got just to have something-it’s not great, but it’s ok. It has an overdrive switch that gives it some ok distortion/overdrive. The other amp, my father in law gave me. He really only plays his nylon string anymore (he’d already sold his electric). It’s a Behringer and sounds really great, but it doesn’t have any effects and the only way I can get any distortion/overdrive at all is to crank it to the max and crank my guitar to the max. Needless to say, my family and neighbors don’t love that.

I’m mainly into blues/blues rock, but also love lots of styles. Favorites include Rush, Eric Clapton, Hootie and the Blowfish, Dave Matthews (lots of 80-90s pop/rock), John Mayer (told you I was eclectic). So, I’d like something to be able to do some distortion/overdrive that would fit with blues/blues rock etc. A pedal would be ideal so that I can easily go back and forth between clean and distorted. But I’m also interested in a looper after watching a video Justin did on loopers. Would be nice to lay down some rhythm to practice soling over.

So, what are your recommendations? Which one to get first, looper or distortion? Recs for starter gear? I can always save up for nicer stuff, but want some reasonably priced stuff to ask for for Christmas.


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Here are my suggestions:

  1. Looper: Boss RC-5
  2. Overdrive Pedal: Boss BD-2 Blues Driver

The RC-5 has a built-in drum tracks, including a metronome sound, so it’s a great practice & have fun tool. You can dial in the exact bpm you want.

The BD-2 is a great starting point for your overdrive/distortion journey. It has a wide adjustment range and, as the name suggests, is good for Blues. John Mayer uses this pedal :smiley:

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Thanks! “John Mayer uses this pedal” is a sure fire way to get me!

I did research on loopers some time back and found recommendations to get a 2 button looper. Others said learning with a 1 button looper was tricky as you have to get the start / stop sequence just right. So I bought the Ditto X2 looper and found it very easy to get started with.

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Just remembered another idea. The digitech trio plus adds a looper to a box that simulates being in a band. If I didn’t already own a looper, I’d consider the trio plus as well.

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Trio also has a (old, I think) band creator pedal. Without the looper. You can often find them used.

@bryanboling have you thought of anything like the Positive Grid Riff? With the Bias 2 software, you can do almost anything.

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