Step By Step Guitar Loop Pedal Guide

Want to try this out? Download the free 90-day Ableton Trial and purchase the Clip Slot Looper with a 14 day money back guarantee.

To put it simply, here are the steps:

  1. Add the Clip Slot Looper to your audio tracks in Ableton
  2. Add the Loop Clock to one audio track
  3. Plug in the Akai APC40 MKII
  4. Set up the foot controller

That’s it, you’re ready to start looping as shown in the videos on this site!

STEP 1

Ableton Live & A Computer

Laptop for Guitar Looping

In order to use this looping setup, you’ll need to purchase a copy of Ableton Live Suite if you don’t already have it. If you’ve never used Ableton Live before, start with the free 90 day trial. You can also purchase the Clip Slot Looper here on this site with a 14 day money back guarantee. This means you can try out out this looper without being financially committed unless you decide it’s something you want to keep using.

You’ll also need a laptop or desktop computer. I use an HP Spectre x360 with 16GB RAM and an Intel i7-8550U processor. This laptop has been powerful enough to run any musical project I’ve thrown at it in the past three years.

STEP 2

An Audio Interface

When considering what audio interface to purchase for looping, one way to break it down is by whether you’ll just be jamming by yourself at home or if you’ll be performing. Another consideration is how many instruments you’ll be looping.

audio interface for guitar looping

Guitar Looping at Home (or single instrument looping: keyboard, violin, vocal, bass, etc..)

If you’re just doing guitar looping by yourself at home, something like a Focusrite 2i4 will get the job done nicely. I’ve had on of these for maybe 8 years now and it has held up very well and I’ve been happy with the sound quality. With two, single line inputs, you can plug in:

  • A guitar and a mic
  • A guitar and a bass
  • Stereo outputs from a keyboard
  • An acoustic guitar and a violin mic

You get the idea. Two inputs. The Focusrite 2i4 will also work for solo performance situations. For example, it would work well for a singer / songwriter with an acoustic and and a vocal mic.

The Focusrite has a headphone jack, two line outs as well as RCA outs – for plugging into your stereo for example.

advanced audio interface for multi instrument looping

Mutli-Instrument Looping

Multi instrument looping requires a sound card that has 2,4,6 or 8 inputs.

STEP 3

The Clip Slot Looper for Ableton

The Clip Slot Looper for Ableton is where the magic happens. This device turns all of the “clip slots” in Ableton into loopers. When combined with the midi controllers below, the Clip Slot Looper allows one touch looping in Ableton. “One touch looping” means that you trigger the start of the loop and the loop closes automatically based on the loop length you’re working in (i.e., 2 bars, 4 bars, etc..).

You’ll need to purchase the Clip Slot Looper. There is an audio version and a midi version. If you’re just doing guitar looping, you only need the audio version. You can get both the audio and midi versions, along with the loop clock, as a pack.

Once you’ve downloaded the Clip Slot Looper for Ableton, just add it to the tracks you want to use it on.

14 Day, Full Money Back Guarantee

Audio Clip Slot Looper for Ableton

Clip Slot Looper for Abelton Live Audio Tracks

If you’re just doing guitar looping, this audio clip slot looper for Ableton is all you need, though you may want to have the loop clock as well.

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MIDI Clip Slot Looper for Ableton

Clip Slot Looper for Abelton Live MIDI Tracks

This version is for looping MIDI instruments. Both the audio and midi Clip Slot Loopers are available in the looper package at a reduced price.

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Loop Clock for Ableton

Loop Clock for Ableton Live

This loop clock gives you a large display that can be seen from a distance. It shows where you are in the loop cycle, responds dynamically to different loop lengths, and works in any time signature.

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Guitar Loop Pedal Package for Ableton Live Suite

Guitar Pedal Looper Package for Ableton Live Suite

All three devices are available together with some savings included.

Purchase »

STEP 4

MIDI Controllers

Set up the hand and foot controllers to control looping. I use and recommend these controllers.

usb foot switch for guitar pedal looping

The Akai APC40 MKII is plug and play so just plug it in to your computer and you’re all set there. Use this device to trigger loop recording. Because you now also have the clip slot looper in Ableton, each button on the APC40 is now a one-touch looper. What I mean by that is that you trigger the recording of the loop and it automatically stops recording after the chosen number of bars.

For the foot switch, this article will give you the script needed and explain how to use it:

PC Users Click Here for the free AutoHotKey Script»

The foot switch is totally customizable. I use the three switches as follows:

Left: Restarts a loop recording – either during recording or right after
Middle: Start/stop playback
Right: Restarts a take recording in Ableton’s arrangement view (this could be called the songwriting mode)

As you become familiar with Ableton, you can customize the foot switch to send whatever keystroke commands to Ableton that you need.

APC40 as a guitar loop pedal

Conclusion

So to wrap up, here are the steps:

  1. Add the Clip Slot Looper to your audio tracks in Ableton
  2. Add the Loop Clock to one audio track
  3. Plug in the Akai APC40 MKII
  4. Set up the foot controller

That’s it, you’re ready to start looping as shown in this video:

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