Ed Sheeran has exploded in popularity over the last year. His catchy song, Thinking Out Loud, is stuck in my head even as I write this sentence. The great thing about him is that he’s getting a lot of people to dig acoustic guitar, fingerpicking, and looping.
A lot of great players, like Phil Keaggy, have used looper pedals for effect, or to build out a solo show.
But Ed Sheeran is the man of the hour. Equipboard.com has a terrific breakdown of the system Sheeran uses now. Amazingly, it required 6 months of research and even still is a mashup of custom gear, off-the-shelf gear, custom-written software, and requires a sound engineer to “keep an eye on things” to prevent mistakes.
This, unfortunately, is a bit beyond the average guitar player.
What was more interesting to me is that Sheeran started out doing most of his early gigs on a simple Boss pedal – the Boss RC-20XL. So if you’re looking to gear up for some solo acoustic work, this is originally Ed Sheeran’s looper pedal – and it’s worth checking out.
The Boss RC-20XL Phrase Looper Pedal
The Boss RC-20XL Phrase Looper pedal is great because it combines a few key things:
- Long recording time: up to 16 minutes
- Lots of loops: up to 11 loops at a time
- Easy to use: The built-in auto quantize makes for simple and accurate loop timing
- Fixable: Undo function makes it easy to create perfect loops
It helps that it’s a foot pedal. I’ve used some rack-based looper systems. But even with the attachable foot pedals, these systems don’t seem as intuitive. Something in a guitar player’s genetic code trusts a foot pedal.
The RC-20XL is actually a discontinued model, but you can find some used ones hanging around.