I’ve been in Idaho for a couple of weeks with only my RP360XP for a looping device. The 360XP has a usable but limited looper: 40 seconds maximum loop time, can’t have more than one loop in memory at a time, can’t remove the latest layer of a loop (as you can with the JamMan Stereo and Solo XT), can’t save a loop for later use. So it’s really a live-only looper, and its usefulness there is hampered by the fact that you have to step on it twice in rapid succession to turn a loop off, which makes timing an ending pretty difficult. But for simple loops, it’s functional enough, and it records audio through whatever patch is running on the RP at the time. So it’s ideal for showing off what kinds of sounds you can make, and roles you can play, with the RP360XP.
I took this opportunity to learn what the looper will actually do to record a funky loop that uses the new Tenor Sax Wah patch I’ve developed for the RP360XP. When you bring this patch up, it’s a tenor sax sound with volume under footpedal control. If you step on the footpedal hard enough to trigger wah-wah mode, you get a very funky wah wah sound, which I explore here in a number of ways: as single note and chordal rhythmic device, as lead instrument high and low, and so on. We hear about 2 bars of the tenor sax sound followed by an extensive statement with the wah wah. Maybe I shoulda recorded a few more bars with the tenor sound. What can I say? I was really liking those wah sounds. This patch will be made available to current RP360XP patch set licensees very soon. All the other patches used on this recording are included in the most recent huntersounds patch set for Digitech RP360XP.
Funky RP360XP Loop Jam
I used my BASDSSLP patch, which has a Bassman amp and cab model, DS distortion, and slapback delay, with the delay turned off in this case to record the basic rhythm part. The harp I used in this piece is a C harp in Dorian Minor Tuning, meaning that 2nd position gives you a G dorian minor mode. You can get some nice 7th and 9th chords with this tuning in 2nd position, and it helps create the illusion of a guitar, not a harp, playing the chorded rhythms.
Next come double octave and octave down bass riffs, in that order. Then comes the tenor sax, followed immediately by a wah wah sax sound. Sounds new, different, and funky to me. One of the things I learned from Brandon Bailey and Son of Dave is that you can leave something out and it’s okay. They leave out any kind of bass; I left out the beatboxing and/or drums in this case. The initial rhythm harp part is really the drum in this piece.
This piece was recorded as I performed it with the stereo 1/4″ outs on the RP360XP running directly into the Zoom H4’s input jacks. I mixed and mastered the recording in Sonar X3 Producer, using Izotope Ozone 4 for various EQ, compression, and other processing duties. I made a few structural edits, like for example cutting the ending a little more precisely than I was able to do with the RP360XP’s looper controls. No musical parts were added to the live recording; everything you hear was played in real time.
I’m continuing to explore the range of emotional and musical material I can do with a looper, not only in terms of my own recordings, but in the things I hear from players like Bailey and Son of Dave. I’ve noticed that these artists don’t aim for the full frequency spectrum that I’m going for. In particular, they don’t use a pitch shifter, so they’re not attempting to put a lot of low end into the sound. That’s not to say they don’t use FX. I heard a piece by Bailey where he used a very prominent delay to distinguish a lead line from a looped harmonica rhythm. But in general, these artists don’t mind putting a couple of different harp licks into the same frequency range. It’s an interesting perspective, and one that I will surely explore.
In the meantime, enjoy this groove.