A guitar looper is a type of effects pedal that lets you accompany yourself. By repeating a sampled phrase or musical passage, the looper creates real-time live backing. Artists including the Ting Tings and Ed Sheeran use the looper pedal to creative effect. For a looper to work, you must connect to an effects loop on your amplifier. The signal is then sent from the pedal to the amplifier and back to the pedal, creating a signal loop. You can build your own looper pedal using a self-assembly kit. This approach allows scope for customisation and also saves you money.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Pedal chassis enclosure
- Blank circuit board
- 1/4-inch jacks
- Battery snap
- Soldering iron
- Wire cutters
Inspect your parts. Check the chassis for cracks and the diodes, cathodes and resistors for corrosion.
Populate the blank circuit board. Fit the cathodes, resistors and diodes into their respective turrets. Typically each turret will be labelled so you can be sure that the each component is going in the right place. Push the components in so the connector pins protrude through to the base.
Turn the board over and gently press the connector pins down so they sit flat against the metal trace strip on the board. Some kits don't incorporate a circuit board. Instead, the various cathodes and resistors are mounted straight onto the base of the chassis.
Put a small amount of solder onto the tip of your soldering iron. Press the soldering iron against the connector pin and the metal trace strip on the base of the board. This fuses the connector pin to the board so the current can be conducted across the circuit.
Mount the circuit board. Use a small Phillips screwdriver and the supplied circuit board screws to fasten the board to the base of the chassis.
Mount the 1/4-inch jacks into the predrilled holes on the side of the chassis. Use a 3/8-inch wrench to tighten the washers around the jack to fit them securely.
Cut seven 1-inch pieces of wire and strip approximately 1/8 inch from each end of each piece to expose the metal.
Mount the battery snap. Solder the red wire connected to the battery snap to the positive end of the nearest resistor. Solder the black wire to the negative end.
Solder a piece of wire to the output terminal of each 1/4-inch jack. Solder the loose end of each wire to the respective cathode. The specific order varies according to to the model of looper. Consult the supplied schematic for wiring advice.
Tips and warnings
- When soldering, observe your work from the side. This reduces the chances of the flux rising into your face, which can cause irritation.
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