The wonderful world of loopers and switchers. Where would we be with out them? These are pedals that can really be secret weapons for us. Not every pedal on board has to function as an actual effect pedal, no sir. A couple of the pedals I use on my board are actually used as tools for either combining sounds or helping certain pedals sound better. With the pedal boom came an array of different catch phrases that many of us got hooked to, one of them being "True Bypass". For those of us who did our homework things like true bypass can be a useful and excellent tool for our sound. Throughout this past year I have been noticing that many more cats are getting into the science of true bypass loopers and swicthers, you'd be impressed at what some cats are doing with this simple yet useful idea. One of the companies that has stood out to me is Loop-Master, a independent pedal company with some tasty little tools. Loop-Master is run by one Brian Price, it is apparent by looking at Brian's range of gear that it is his goal to help us sound better, make our playing easier, and give our setups some special little tricks. On the Loop-Master website you will find a sea of cool gadgets that will make your setup a much easier ship to steer. We had a chance to try a few of these pedals... now both of them live on my small gigging board.
Ever since tap-tempo first landed on the scene it has been a huge must, this is an option that now comes on most newer delay units. Tap-tempo not only makes using delay much easier, but has also been seen in a number of other style effects pedals such as tremolo and vibrato. When I first spoke to Brian about which pedals to feature on our site I mentioned this little gem, it is a perfect little tool for those of us who have tap-tempo inputs in our pedals, and it's size makes for one awesome space saver. The Loop-Master Mini Tap Tempo Pedal does not require any power to operate, simply plug it into whichever unit is compatible with it and that's that. The pedal can also work to access certain amp's effects and amp channels. The Mini Tap Tempo comes housed in a solid aluminum enclosure, sports a momentary switch, a Switchcraft jack, and a sub-miniature Polarity toggle switch for calibrating to your delay unit. For a tiny little pedal this baby can do a lot. To run this pedal I plugged it into my Boss DD-5, used a Tele, and played through my Deville. The DD-5 is a delay that lives on the upper level of my small pedalboard, I was able to run a George L cable down to the right hand corner of my board which made it perfect for working in my delays when playing live. I set the Polarity switch to it's proper setting and was ready to go. If you do get one of these and you notice that the swing of the delay effect is backwards, simply flip the toggle switch and that should take care of it. If you've ever used the FS-FU footswitch that Boss makes you know how big and dinky that thing can be. The Loop-Master Mini Tap Tempo makes things much much easier and the pedal is built to last. I pumped it down a few times and low and behold I had the exact delay time I needed, it was absolutely wonderful to finally be able to use this option on my DD-5. Another super cool use I got out of it was by plugging the DD-5 into a true bypass looper and leaving the pedal on. Not only did my signal stay cleaner but I was able to set delay times ahead of time. My guitar player also pulled his DD-20 out and the Mini Tap Tempo worked killer with it as well. The tap switch itself is smooth, consistent, and spot-on. As far as which other pedals it can work with I am not sure, I do know that there are a bunch of pedals out there with 1/4 inch input tap tempo options. For the price, the size, and it's ability you can't beat this little pedal. This makes for the perfect gift for anyone in need of a tap-tempo switch. Other than the Mini Tap Tempo Pedal Loop-Master also makes 2-Way Duel Tap Tempo switch which lets you set tempo on two effects at the same time, very very cool if you as me. Brain also makes a Channel Switcher/Tap Tempo pedal which works beautifully for saving space, this way you can switch your amps effects/channels, and control your pedal's delay time on the fly. I highly suggest you make a stop and check some of these out.
Clean/Dirty Effects Switcher
Next on the horizon from Loop-Master is the Clean/Dirty Effects Switcher, one of the baddest little gadgets I have ever had the pleasure of using. This thing is almost magical with what it's capable of doing, once you plug into one of these you'll never go about any other way. The first time I plugged into this pedal I was stuck for hours trying different combinations of sounds, I was hooked from the get-go. This here my friends is the perfect little box for those of you who use multiple effects out of one amplifier, and use different combinations of effects for your dirty and clean settings. Ever set up the perfect combo of pedals for a clean sound, then need to switch into a combo if effects for a dirty sound? Not easy is it? You'll end up dancing on stage instead of playing guitar, and look silly too. I had this problem for a long time... that is until now. The Loop-Master Clean/Dirty Effects Switcher lets you switch between 2 channels of different pedal mixtures, and let's you bypass the pedal entirely if you want, it's freakin genius! It's like playing through two different amps in one! Before I saw this pedal the only other way I knew to do this was an A/B/ switcher into two amps. Who has two amps to carry around to gigs? Not me, it's a pain in the ass. You might think setting this pedal up is tuff right? Well you're wrong. The pedal's layout is actually quite simple, a Bypass switch for engaging the pedal, a Loop 1 0r 2 switch which lets you choose between two setups, and two loops to set your effects in. In less than a few minutes you'll have the ability to do what you've never been able to do before. The Clean/Dirty Effects Switcher is built into a tuff-as-nails diecast aluminum enclosure, has two 3PDT switches, six Switchcraft #11 jacks, DC jack for 9V power, and is wired with extra heavy-duty 22 gauge silver plated military spec wire. Can you say built to last? The pedal also has three LED's which in order to function must be powered by a 9V Boss style power adapter. The unit will work fine without the LED's and this will not affect the tone of the pedal. When you order your Clean/Dirty Effects Switcher you can also choose from a rainbow of different colors for each LED, this gives your pedal a bit flavor and keeps things in order if you already have a color scheme going. Ok now to the pedal's capabilities. First I used the pedal on it's own, by which I mean I set up two different loops and plugged straight from my guitar into my amp, not before or after any other pedals. In the first channel I setup a lush, swimming clean tone by mixing a vibe pedal with a compressor. In the second channel I set up a dirty rhythm sound by plugging in a overdrive and a delay pedal set low. With this setup I was able to get three different sounds, the straight clean tone from my amp, the spacey clean tone from channel 1, and the dirty rhythm tone from channel 2. How cool is that!? I did it without letting my partner know what I was doing, when I flipped in between each sound with a stomp of one switch he couldn't figure out how the hell I was doing it. I finally had to show him how I did it and he was quite impressed. Really you can set up even more sounds with this pedal by plugging in a bunch of different pedals and switching them on and off in different combos. Example: If I wanted that same dirty sound I had set up only without delay all I would have to do is shut the delay off, easy as pie. Next came the real thrill, plugging the Clean/Dirty Effects Switcher between a bunch of other pedals, here is where the possibilities became endless, literally endless. Here you can run an effect you use with both a clean and dirty sound, simply set it after the Switcher and leave it on, it will blend in with both channels. This way you can set an effect like delay after the pedal and when you switch from channel 2 to channel 2 you will still have delay in both sounds. There are so many more things that are possible with this pedal I'm sure, when I sit down and start thinking about it my mind starts getting excited. I really have to give to Brian for this one, an automatic two thumbs up for this puppy. This makes me want to raid his website of everything he has available, I can only imagine what else he has in store for us. So if anyone is looking for that two amp sound, or needs a way to pull an army of sounds from one amp, this is your pedal. The Clean/Dirty Effects Switcher will most likely deliver a sound all your own, and keep you busy forever more... all you have to do is sit down and plug into it. Enjoy kids.
For more info on Loop-Master products go to www.loop-master.com or click the little direct link in our sidebar. Make sure and support these indie pedal companies guys, they are the real backbone of our industry. Remember, let'em hear you scream!