I am following the Fretboard Theory book by Desi Serna. And when learning the pentatonic scale I thought it would be good if I could record some chord progression and try to play melodies in the pentatonic scale to better understand the patterns on the fretboard.

I currently have a classical guitar (doesn't have a preamp) and that's all I have :). What equipment would I need to achieve the above?

It would be great if you can tell me as much options as possible. For example with looping device/with preamp etc.. but still keep the process interesting (recording on the phone and playing it in my opinion is not very interesting). I am also thinking of buying an electro acoustic classical guitar so please tell me how I will be able to use that for the above purpose. (I am asking all the options because then I can choose the most economical but interesting one)

Thanks in advance!

3 Answers 3


I realize some people will probably not like this answer, but I am going to say it anyway: I am a very strong believer in simplicity for recording short jams. You need to have a method to get a rough draft recording down very quickly without much thought.

Therefore, I highly recommend simply starting out with a tape recorder, digital meeting/voice recorder, or even a recording app on your smartphone. Practice your rhythm progression, turn on the metronome, and simply press play go for it. I know, this probably isn't what you want to hear. However, if you take my advice, you will quickly find that is actually takes much discipline, accuracy, and trial and error to record a halfway decent take using the tape recorder, which is all part of the learning process. Once you become proficient at recording using this simple device, you can move on to more complicated and sophisticated recording measures -- but I would take a look at gear related websites for advice on where to start with that.

My friends and I have gone through many spectrums of recording, both analog and digital, and when we are trying to get a final, polished recording, of course we will use a Tascam, Pedal which features looping/recording, or record using our other gear into a DAW on the computer. However, for small jams and bursts of inspiration (when improvising), you need a method that is simple, guarenteed, and easy. In fact, I will usually at the start of a jam turn on my smart phone app just in case we miss anything or can't figure out exactly what was played that we liked so much.

  • Hey! Thanks for your answer. But are there tape recorders that allow looping? And also, what phone application do you use? The problem I had with phone looping app is that the sound might not be loud enough. Did you not come across this problem?
    – Can't Tell
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 3:44
  • @Can'tTell, you can loop with the Micro-BR I link to in my answer. Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 15:29
  • The answers below are just as valid, just simply different pieces of gear for doing so. If you are willing to make the investment, picking up one of those would be just as good (pretty much exactly the same thing) as using the smartphone app or digital voice recorder. I forgot to mention specifically, I personally use a Sony ICD-AX412 (in addition to the smartphone app, I use this for meeting at work as well) and have been meaning to get one of the many plug-in-able microphones to increase the sound quality.
    – Musicode
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 19:33

The Boss RC-30 is a very good looper that has an XLR input for a microphone and stereo/mono input for when you get your electro-acoustic. It is a dual track looper, with some effects, 99 memory slots, up to 3 hours recording. You can also connect this to your computer and save/load your loops. For putting down a phrase and then playing over it etc, I would totally recommend this.

I would still recommend recording your jam as well though, the output of the above could be connected to your computer or a separate recorder (Tascam DP-004/8 are really good, also the Zoom R8/16 or even a tape recorder). Depends how much you want to spend and what your commitment is. From my experience, a multi-track would be a good investment. The RC-30 would also plug straight into these multi-tracks.

In total (Sorry, only have prices in GBP), you are looking at £199 for the RC-30, about £180 if you went for the 4 track Tascam DP-004 and then extra for cables/microphone etc if you haven't already got them. This is probably the more expensive option, but if you are committed to what you are doing then it's more of an investment and I couldn't recommend the above enough.


I use a Boss Micro-BR for doing this kind of practice. (At the moment, I just select a random page from a Real Book, record the chords, and then use this backing to sight-read the melody over and practise some improvisation.)

The recording quality of the Micro-BR isn't that amazing, but the functionality is. Off the top of my head: 4 track multi-track recording; effects; tuner; drum machine; stereo/mono inputs. You can mix-down to WAV or MP3. You can store MP3s on it to play along with (and you can change the playback speed of these too…)

The Micro-BR has it's own microphone, so you can record acoustic or classical guitar. The quality of this microphone is, again, not amazing. But, it is much better than you'd expect. I use the microphone for recording classical guitar pupils all the time, so they can listen back to their playing after lessons.

It's really small and is very inexpensive (I just saw some new ones on eBay for $89).

I like these so much, I have one on my desk at home, and one in my teaching guitar case. I've recommended them to loads of pupils.

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