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re: first looper reminiscence


   Does anyone remember those ancient answering 
machines which used a standard sized cassette with a 
looped 1 minute reel on it for the greeting?  When I 
was a sophmore in high school, I got a hold of a few 
extras.  My crap boombox had a built in mic, and you 
could disable record while the tape was still playing, 
so I'd record myself, then jump out of record and play 
over the loop.  I had an even shittier boom box to 
record that with, and still have these ancient relics 
lying around somewhere.  This was just when I started 
playing, but I think, in many ways, looping taught me 
to play, and trained my ear.  Because before I knew 
what scales were, I figured out what notes sounded good 
over what kinds of fucked up chords I had invented (to 
my mind, anyway). 

  A little more than a year later, a friend of mine 
pilfered an Ibanez rackmount multi-effects unit for me, 
which had a 6 second delay at the longest setting, 
which you could tweek in real time with these tiny 
levers for mix, regen, and speed.  That's when I 
started figuring out how to layer, though it was just 
long delay layering, and the earlier stuff would slowly 
fade out, unless I maxed out the regen.  I also had a 
four track with an effects loop, so I would be able to 
drop vocals, bass, and casio in.  I was in lo-fi heaven, but still wanted 

   In 94, my second year in college, I got a hold of a 
Digitech echo plus and everything changed.  Battery 
powered, a knob for tweaking speed, and CONTROL CONTROL 
CONTROL!!!  I wrote so much music at this period, I felt like I was 

  A little later that year, I found out about a 
non-gender-specific-jam-device (at the introductory price of $350) and was 
forced into the world of midi control routing and all that other left 
brain stuff.  The echo plus died on me, so I really was stuck there for a 
while.  The line-6 I got last year brought me back to where I was with the 
simplicity of the digitech, but with the limitations we're all well aware 

   I was bumbed about the lack of regen control and time tweaking, until I 
heard rumour of an amazing device JUST AROUND THE CORNER.  Little did I 
know it was a very long corner, but my Repeater should arrive in a few 
weeks.  I suppose it's back to midi routing for me.  

    When they get to the point of having a four-track floor mounted 
battery powered looper with real time stretching and pitch whammying that 
will sync to midi or tap tempo, I will buy 10, mark my words.