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I want to loop a bass line and then layer guitar loops over it.

This picture shows what I am trying to achieve:

bass+guitar through a stereo looper to two amps

I have the blocks shown in the diagram, including a Boss RC-1 which does have stereo inputs and outputs, but it blends the signals. I don't want my bass signal to play through the guitar amp, or vice versa. I'm not gigging or recording; this is just for hacking around in the basement mostly in the style of live performance looping.

My questions:

  • Is my goal achievable by replacing the RC-1 with some other looper?
  • If so, what description/attributes/keywords do I need to be looking for? (I.e. I'm not looking for a specific product recommendations, just for how to go about finding the right bit of gear.)
  • If not, can I do this by adding a small amount of extra gear that doesn't require a huge amount of complexity and/or budget? In particular I'd like to avoid running through a laptop and mixing software.

Possible solutions I've considered:

  • I briefly thought about getting a second looper pedal and running completely separate signal chains but getting the timing right seems challenging at best. Using a single looper at least makes it so that the loop start/end matches up for the two instruments.
  • Single guitar+amp, using an octave pedal for the bass loop. This works but the sound isn't quite the same.
  • Boss RC-300 looks like it might support this and I'd get one if I was certain it will work and is the only way to solve this, but it's at the top end of the budget. If I can get away with a more lightweight solution that would be ideal.

FWIW I'm also open to an answer that tells me I'm asking the wrong question and there's a better way to play over my own bass line without big piles of complexity/budget.

Related questions:

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    It's 'RC-1 blends the signals' that confounds it all. Unless you can pan hard l/r when recording, this won't work.
    – Tim
    Oct 15, 2022 at 15:42
  • While reading the manual for a different pedal, I realized that maybe only the RC-1's A output is blended, so I just tried reversing my inputs so that guitar is on the A and bass is on the B. This is the case, so I can at least isolate the bass. This makes my current setup usable but I'm still interested in having fully separate outputs.
    – bstpierre
    Oct 15, 2022 at 16:37
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    I feel like the best answer to this question is to recommend a specific looper that can do what you want, and that would be off topic. Maybe you just want to have two loopers that can be synchronized via MIDI? Oct 15, 2022 at 16:43
  • If you want to loop different kinds of signal together your probably best off not plugging the looper into a guitar amp at all. Better mic up the guitar amp, send that into the looper as well as the (DI-ed) bass and play it back directly over the PA. (Honestly though... what's the point of all these looping shenanigans? It's so much more fun to just have a different player play the bass, and use loops either only on the guitar or only on the bass, or not at all.) Oct 16, 2022 at 12:39

2 Answers 2

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I do this myself using a looper with stereo inputs and outputs. Guitar goes into input A and out output A. Bass does the same via in/out B. Simple and easy, but not an inexpensive piece of gear, at least not the one I chose.

When I only had a 2-channel input, 1-channel output looper, I would mic my guitar and bass amps separately, then run those mics through the looper and into a PA. This worked but I prefer the stereo outputs to each amp.

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In the setup you drawn it seems that the looper has no way to know to which amp it is supposed to send the signal. You need another A/B before RC-2, directing the signal to its desired input.

enter image description here

The main inconvenience is that you would need to switch each of the two A/B boxes whenever you switch instruments. Perhaps some more advanced A/B or selector type units could allow to switch the routing in both places by pressing a single button, but they wouldn't necessarily be cheap.

If price is a significant concern, maybe the cheapest would be to make by yourself a selector that would switch the signal routing in two places, e.g. based on a 3PDT switch?

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  • Not at all sure, but I reckon this could work. There's no need to press both pedals simultaneously, is there, though? The looper can be set to overdub, both A/B selections made, then hit the looper overdub.
    – Tim
    Oct 16, 2022 at 8:46
  • @Tim indeed you don't need to press them simultaneously, but it adds up to things that may ruin your performance. Oct 16, 2022 at 16:46

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