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Loops. If you have a synth player, what's the big deal?

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  • Loops. If you have a synth player, what's the big deal?

    Here's a great article on loops:

    But as I have listened to worship music that may be using loops, they sound no different to me than what a synth part might do.

    So my question is, if you already have a synth player, what's the big deal about loops? (percussive loops excluded)

    I don't use them because I can't see a need for them on our team and I think we sound as modern as any other CCM worship group given the talent/abilities on our worship team.

    Perhaps some can enlighten me?

  • #2
    We don't use loops either, but a guy that guest lead for us before I became the worship leader used them and I thought I was going to hate it. Frankly it is not a problem to me, but I still didn't see the need for them. When I attended last years LIFT Conference, one of the breakout sessions was with Passion City Church's Matt Gilder and Nathan Knockels. They shared how they use loops that not only included musical parts, but even backing vocals.

    The only thing we use that started approximately a year ago was a click track to keep our drummer (and band) on time. That was a huge improvement.


    • #3
      You're right - if you have the people to cover the parts live, then they're completely redundant. But if you don't...

      Most weeks we don't have any live keys in our band. Loops go a LONG way to fill out the sound. When we do have a live keyboard player, he usually handles more of the piano/organ end of things while we let the loops cover pads, etc.
      Eric Frisch


      • #4
        I agree with the potential for tracks to be redundant. If you use a premixed track or use ALL of the stems in a package, the arrangement can become overcomplicated. I run sound and train operators for my full-time gig and trust me, trying to mix a band in with a stem mix containing a bunch of redundant instruments is less than ideal.

        Loops are like any other element in the arrangement. They need to complement every other part. We tend to take a stem package and take out what is already on stage. With a full band (drums, bass, 1 acoustic guitar, 1 elec guitar, piano, pads and organ, Worship lead, and BGV's) that usually leaves perc, additional synths or pads, string arrangements or solo cello, and 2nd or 3rd elec guitars.

        So if the synth player is playing organ on a song, we put pads in the track, or vice versa. In other words, we add in missing elements with the tracks. It's a good idea to buy a multi-track package of a song and see what you get. The sophistication of the arrangement and how different multiple instruments are layered or move in and out is often surprising and always an education.

        Another benefit we find with the stem packages is that we can give players some specific isolated parts that they can practice their parts from. The elec guitarists love it! It's a lot easier than trying to pick out a guitar part from a layer of multiple guitars and synths.


        • #5
          Hey Gang, Just chiming in here - we use loops quite a bit. One thing - about redundant tracks --- it CAN be OK if you're looking to just reinforce some big power section of a song. But, I would encourage everyone that anytime you include stems for an instrument that is already being played live, you communicate why ... you want to make sure that the live players feels validated and doesn't feel like they are just competing against a track. I often will ask my guitarist, for example, which part are you playing, and work with them to ensure that the parts they are playing are muted in the stems. They see it as if I'm working with them and another guitar player, and appreciate that I'm making sure their part they've worked on is not being covered up w/ a track.
          Fred McKinnon, Pianist/Composer/Worship Leader
          blog: www.fredmckinnon.com

          Please check out my piano/instrumental music at: