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Old 01-18-2018, 05:28 PM
Ikki Ikki is offline
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Default Looper Station Riffs

Hello All,

This is my first posting to this forum. I've lurked for awhile and I like it here.

I've been messing with a looper station for a bit and I wanted to start a discussion about laying down riffs to play over. I haven't had much success with it accept when I do an open D tuning or something like that, and even then it's been a little marginal.

But lets give an example here and get some comments. Let's just take a simple 12 bar blues in E. So I start off with simple riff in an E chord. Next comes an A chord, but when I try to play the A over the E chord riff it doesn't sound so hot. So what I'm looking for is a simple base line that I can play into the looper that will sound good with an E, A, B chord progression. Am I just way off base here? I watch others on youtube putting in little riffs and playing over them, but I'm having a hard time understanding theory behind what they are doing that makes it all harmonize. So far it's just trial and error, with heavy emphasis on the error.

Thanks in Advance,
Ken
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ikki View Post
Hello All,

This is my first posting to this forum. I've lurked for awhile and I like it here.

I've been messing with a looper station for a bit and I wanted to start a discussion about laying down riffs to play over. I haven't had much success with it accept when I do an open D tuning or something like that, and even then it's been a little marginal.

But lets give an example here and get some comments. Let's just take a simple 12 bar blues in E. So I start off with simple riff in an E chord. Next comes an A chord, but when I try to play the A over the E chord riff it doesn't sound so hot. So what I'm looking for is a simple base line that I can play into the looper that will sound good with an E, A, B chord progression. Am I just way off base here? I watch others on youtube putting in little riffs and playing over them, but I'm having a hard time understanding theory behind what they are doing that makes it all harmonize. So far it's just trial and error, with heavy emphasis on the error.

Thanks in Advance,
Ken
Welcome to the forum

Not quite sure I understand what you are saying or trying to do .

So first off perhaps some clarification of terminology . So in order to be one the same page Lets call the basic element you are going to play over the (E ,A, B Chord progression with E being the 1 chord and the song is in the Key of E ) Lets call that a rhythm run. Then will can call any added elements played after that riffs. Because the term "base line" can be interpreted as either meaning the base line or basic element or it could be the Bass line or the low end progression

So if I understand correctly (which I may not)
If I want to do 12 bar blues then the first thing I need to lay down into the looper, The basic element is one continuous 12 bar rhythm run..... then start adding riffs over that

Which means I am not playing an A chord over an E chord.....

I am probably playing a pentatonic scale in E with the blue note added

In other words for example you would lay down and loop the first 12 bars of this "Practice loop " and then just hit the stop on the looper, on the first (1) beat of the 13th bar



does this help ?
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Last edited by KevWind; 01-18-2018 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 01-18-2018, 07:53 PM
Irish Pennant Irish Pennant is offline
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I've seen a few different ways of using a looper. I keep it basic. I'll play a 3, 4 or 5 chord progression and then figure out which scale fits that progression. I'll then play a melody over the progression. Something like this tremolo pedal experimental piece:
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Old 01-19-2018, 01:56 PM
Ikki Ikki is offline
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What I'm looking to do is create simple phrases that are only a measure or 2 long that I can then play over. I don't really want to record 12 bars. The problem is in getting it to harmonize with the whole chord progression. Does that make sense.

Ken
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Old 01-19-2018, 02:38 PM
Vancebo Vancebo is offline
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Try working out a pentatonic scale in E. The notes would be E,G,A,B,D. If you wanted the Blues note sneak a B flat in there between the A and B.

Come up with a riff that uses those notes.

It would be useful to lay down a 12 bar loop using the blues progression to help guide you in the creating process for your riff. It just keeps you on track.

Now, I am just a hack but that's maybe a possible start.

Another idea is learn someone else's riff to get you going.
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Old 01-19-2018, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ikki View Post
What I'm looking to do is create simple phrases that are only a measure or 2 long that I can then play over. I don't really want to record 12 bars. The problem is in getting it to harmonize with the whole chord progression. Does that make sense.

Ken
If I am understanding , you want to fit an entire chord progression into one or two bars and then play over it. ?

Why ? maybe I am still not understanding but that would require either rapid fire chord changes and 2 or three chords max, wouldn't it ?

If your trying to learn how to loop, make it easier on yourself and just do a slow three chord progression which will likely require at least a 3 or 4 bar loop


OR
Lets back up a bit... can you post a youtube video example of what you would like to emulate ?

Other than that For starters I would suggest three chords and 4 bar loop.
Play the riff phrase overdubs in the pentatonic scale that starts on the note that the key of the chord progression is . The ending note of the riff phrase is the most important. So for example in 1,4,5 progression in the key of (E ) make the last note of your first overdub phrase end with an E note over the E chord . Then end the phrase over the A chord on an A note etc. That can sometimes vary (depending on other factors but rarely ) so start there . Make sense ? For now you might want to also start the phrase on the same note as the chord you playing over (That can change also) but for starters it will help hear the riff notes in relation to the chord
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Last edited by KevWind; 01-19-2018 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 01-20-2018, 03:26 PM
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This doesn't seem like a looper question, more of a music composition (or jamming) question. Take the looper out of it - if you were sitting with a buddy, is there some riff he can play over and over that you can play a 12 bar blues over and it will work? Maybe, that's for you to figure out. Generally speaking, I'd say no - you usually can't just come up with some short repeated figure that you can play arbitrary chord progressions over. You have to think about the whole picture when you compose - making the harmony, melody, and "riffs" all fit together is part of designing (composing) what you want to create. With riff-based 12-bar blues, the riff usually adjusts to fit the changes.

The looper's just a tool that lets you play multiple parts yourself. It's still up to you to come up with parts that work. A little music fundamentals might help clear this up, or do a bit of studying on how tunes you like are constructed.

There are lots of examples of people who build tunes based on repeated riffs using a looper - check out Phil Keaggy, Ed Sheeran and others. Lots of examples on You Tube. But pay attention to how the music is constructed, not just the looper aspect..
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Old 01-21-2018, 11:59 AM
Ikki Ikki is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vancebo View Post
Try working out a pentatonic scale in E. The notes would be E,G,A,B,D. If you wanted the Blues note sneak a B flat in there between the A and B.

Come up with a riff that uses those notes.

It would be useful to lay down a 12 bar loop using the blues progression to help guide you in the creating process for your riff. It just keeps you on track.

Now, I am just a hack but that's maybe a possible start.

Another idea is learn someone else's riff to get you going.
Hello All,

Thanks everyone for all your input. I didn't phrase my question very well, and I appreciate all of you trying to read my mind here. But Vancebo here comes closest to my solution. As long as I stay in a minor mode then all of these notes work for the E, A, B chords. So let's say I want to lay down a base phrase for 2 bars, all I need to do is stay on the open E,A,D strings. On top of that I can lay down some simple rhythm in any of those minor chords if I leave out C note in the Am chord or the F note in the Bm chord etc. I haven't tried it yet, but will soon and report back.

Ken
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Old 01-21-2018, 12:07 PM
Ikki Ikki is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
If I am understanding , you want to fit an entire chord progression into one or two bars and then play over it. ?

Why ? maybe I am still not understanding but that would require either rapid fire chord changes and 2 or three chords max, wouldn't it ?

If your trying to learn how to loop, make it easier on yourself and just do a slow three chord progression which will likely require at least a 3 or 4 bar loop


OR
Lets back up a bit... can you post a youtube video example of what you would like to emulate ?

Other than that For starters I would suggest three chords and 4 bar loop.
Play the riff phrase overdubs in the pentatonic scale that starts on the note that the key of the chord progression is . The ending note of the riff phrase is the most important. So for example in 1,4,5 progression in the key of (E ) make the last note of your first overdub phrase end with an E note over the E chord . Then end the phrase over the A chord on an A note etc. That can sometimes vary (depending on other factors but rarely ) so start there . Make sense ? For now you might want to also start the phrase on the same note as the chord you playing over (That can change also) but for starters it will help hear the riff notes in relation to the chord
Thanks Kev,

Yes this makes sense. Kind of what I sorted in my response to Vancbo. Yes, I'm trying to keep it simple for the bass line and simple rhythm riff mainly so that I'm not restricted to a strict chord progression, but can wander back and forth between chords. Not sure if that will work, but that's the goal.

Ken
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  #10  
Old 01-21-2018, 12:18 PM
Ikki Ikki is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
This doesn't seem like a looper question, more of a music composition (or jamming) question. Take the looper out of it - if you were sitting with a buddy, is there some riff he can play over and over that you can play a 12 bar blues over and it will work? Maybe, that's for you to figure out. Generally speaking, I'd say no - you usually can't just come up with some short repeated figure that you can play arbitrary chord progressions over. You have to think about the whole picture when you compose - making the harmony, melody, and "riffs" all fit together is part of designing (composing) what you want to create. With riff-based 12-bar blues, the riff usually adjusts to fit the changes.

The looper's just a tool that lets you play multiple parts yourself. It's still up to you to come up with parts that work. A little music fundamentals might help clear this up, or do a bit of studying on how tunes you like are constructed.

There are lots of examples of people who build tunes based on repeated riffs using a looper - check out Phil Keaggy, Ed Sheeran and others. Lots of examples on You Tube. But pay attention to how the music is constructed, not just the looper aspect..
Thank you Doug,

Yes, maybe this subject belongs in a different forum discussion group, but I'm not sure which one. And thanks for the Phil Keaggy tip. Had never heard him, and is exactly what I'm looking for. I'm just not sure just where to start though I'm getting there with some of the input here. I've heard lots of Ed Sheeran stuff and like it a lot, though not really my style. I'm more in the Phil K. world.

Ken
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