I’m currently on a musical pilgrimage around the USA. I brought my Digitech JamMan Delay unit with me, because I was attending Christian Howes‘ phenomenal Creative Strings Workshop in Columbus, Ohio, where I knew I would learn how to turn this gadget into a hugely useful practice tool. (Incidentally, I was not disappointed, and will blog more when I get time about how awesome Chris’ various educational offerings are. Until then, click the links!) Unfortunately at some point after leaving Ohio, the JamMan stopped working. I guess it didn’t like being surrounded by a bunch of smelly clothes and then getting thrown in the hold of a plane. (UPDATE Sept 22nd: actually it turns out that it was fine – the power adapter just needed the UK standard of 240 Volts, and the US standard of 110V wasn’t sufficient …)
So the other night I found myself desperate for a replacement. I do have a Boss ME-70 with me which has a built-in phrase looper, but it only stores 38 seconds which is barely enough to get to the bridge of Cherokee. Even worse, there is no way to undo/redo loop layers or store the whole thing after you power the unit off.
Then it occurred to me that I could potentially combine my laptop (a cheap Samsung N150 netbook) with a microphone, headphones (as a poor man’s substitute for an amp), and some software to achieve the same thing. At this point, those of you with a Mac will exclaim “sure – use GarageBand!” However, as shiny as Macs are, they are expensive and I also can’t stand Apple for philosophical reasons. (I can’t stand Microsoft either, which is why I use Linux, but I digress.) If you are interested in an alternative approach to looping with software, read on!