Here is some general info about gear I have used when I was using hardware solutions.
The Lexicon Jamman was bought from a wonderful looping guitarist called David Allison. This has the full (32 seconds) of memory and allows both looping and echo. I upgraded it using a Bob Sellon chip, to offer a few extra features, including seamless transition from loop to echo. It comes with 2 footswitches for controlling the basic features, but to get real control, you need a midi controller – I use a behringer FCB1010 or a rolls midi pedal.
To add some zing to the final mix, I picked up a very cheap zoom reverb unit, the studio 2100. This is run from the effects send of the mixer, either a tiny Phonic MM1002, or the mixer of my Yamaha MD8 midi-disk recorder. The bonus of the latter is the ability to tape the gig without faffing about with microphones, although I regularly manage to hit a button pausing or canceling the recording.
Another rack addition is an Alesis Akira – multi-fx with amazing pitch & mod settings. If only you could combine patches…
A frankly wonderful device is the Zoom G2. The latest in a series of Zoom pedals, this one finally seems to have all a looper could reasonably require. Firstly, you get 5 seconds worth of ping pong, tape echo or delay, each of which can be frozen using a non-latching footswitch. Longer review here.
Another natty device is the Alesis AirFX, which allows you to control three parameters by waving your hands over the device, kind of like a theremin. Sadly, no midi or foot control options are available. Although everything is preset, the interaction of the effects is sensibly chosen and allows you to inject some welcome real-time variation to loops. It’s currently sitting between the powertran and the mixer, usefully converting a mono feed into a stereo’d signal.
Power (if needed) comes from a marshall 2020 power amp into a stereo Marshall cab, or a pair of mini PA speakers on stands – perfect for churches etc where I want decent stereo projection. An awful lot of volume available from a relatively lightweight amp. I’m never short of volume! One side of the amp did die on me, but I suspect the speaker cables had been shorting slightly. new cables, new transformer, it’s been right as ninepence since.
Another fascinating unit is the Red Federation FX Pro – an amazing piece of discontinued gear. It has 4 sections – echo, flange/filter, pan and cut (gate) which can be beat-synced to incoming music. Needless to say, there’s not much discernable beat in mine, so I tap the tempo. I’ve not really got it under control, but this means there’s a welcome element of randomness in using it. It has presets, but I’ve not started used them yet. A joystick in the centre allows me to fade between the effects and each can be switched off. The effects it provides are subtle, but moving 😉
I cannot find a perfect sound, so every few months I try a new combination. Since my early days, there has only been one guitar, the Strat. Anything without a tremolo arm seems half a guitar. My long-term love is a white Strat with a rosewood neck. I’ve retro-fitted lace sensor pickups and some replacement “low friction” saddles, since which I’ve yet to break a string. It also has orange knobs, since I was in a band called “Satsuma”!
Here are some earlier looping rigs, before I went down the laptop route.