Every guitarist has wanted to jam along to some song in the middle of the night to practice licks and or "noodle" around for fun. We've also been through that moment when we would come up with a riff or chord progression that we'd like to jam to alone. Fortunately, looper pedals are a thing and allow guitar players to record a chord progression and play it back on a loop to jam to. This way, you can practice timing your licks or solos over a song all by yourself and without a band.
Looper pedals have grown in popularity over the years, especially since famous artists have amazed audiences with jaw-dropping solo performances using loopers. An example would be Ed Sheeran, performing on stage with only an acoustic guitar and a looper. These pedals allow musicians to layer riffs and licks over each other, as well as percussive sounds on their guitars to get the same feel and sound of a full band. This review will tackle the features of the Boss RC-3 and will help you find out if it is for you.
The Boss RC-3 Loop Station is a great choice for layering riffs and chord progressions to fulfill your dreams of becoming a one-man-band and be able to come up with creative, full-sounding songs all by yourself. Boss is famous for high-quality pedals, creating iconic models such as their Distortion and Overdrive pedals that are used everywhere by amateurs and professionals. Because of this, you can rest assured the RC-3 is one of the top-notch loop pedals out there packed with features to help you express your creativity with your instrument.
Boss has other loop stations such as the RC-10R, RC-505, RC-300, RC-30, RC-1, and RC-2 02. However, the RC-3 is one of the more affordable models, featuring more innovations compared to the RC-1. It is a great compromise between quality and value coming from one of the most famous and trusted brands in the effects pedals industry. If you would like to know more about this pedal, keep reading this Boss RC-3 review.
Should You Get It?
The Boss RC-3 Loop Station is perfect for amateurs looking for a reliable and easy-to-use loop pedal to learn the basics of layering and looping without sacrificing sound quality. However, this does not mean that it cannot be used by professionals. The RC-3 loop station is also great for those familiar with looping and has a variety of features to keep up with you as you develop your skills in layering as a solo performer. If you want a great-value looper that sounds great and durable enough to last several years of gigs and performances, the Boss RC-3 loop station is for you. You can learn more about its features with this review.
Features and Benefits
Compared to most looping stations, the Boss RC-3 looper has a lot of useful and practical features while keeping a relatively simple layout. However, using it can be very confusing for beginners and it takes a while to get the timing of starting and ending new layers or loops. It may take some time to get used to its controls, which will be discussed in the next section of this review.
The RC-3 can store up to 3 hours of loops and has 99 memory slots for storing all the layers you could need. This is especially useful for setting up some layers or loops before a performance to save time, to ensure consistency if you're having trouble getting a consistent rhythm live. It is also useful for doing multiple takes and working continuously without having to go through previous layers that you'd like to delete.
The stompbox has 2 inputs and 2 outputs, allowing you to hook up a microphone as one of the inputs, and connect the output to a stereo system to maximize your sound. It also has USB 2.0 compatibility to connect the stompbox to your computer and export or import .wav files. It even has an auxiliary input for external music or mp3 players.
Furthermore, the RC-3 looper also has a tap-tempo feature and a drum machine with 10 patterns. In the case that none of the drum patterns fit the song that you're playing or performing, you have the option to upload .wav files of drum tracks to the pedal. It also has an undo and redo feature, count-in, and auto-recording features that may be useful to many guitar players. The count in feature is great for those who are starting out and learning the timing when recording a new layer over a loop. This would have been useful for me the first time I used loopers as it allows for a friendlier approach to timing your new layers.
An even better feature for amateurs and professionals alike is the auto-recording feature. This feature allows you to add in a new layer without stepping on the pedal - it automatically records your layer when you start playing. While the stompbox can force you to work hard to properly pull off a jaw-dropping performance, it makes sure to leave in a few handy tricks to make the experience as convenient as possible. The same cannot be said about many of the other looping pedals in the market, and that's why the Boss RC-3 is one of the best loopers you can get without breaking the bank.
In terms of build quality, this looper is built like a tank. Like most Boss guitar effects pedals, this thing has a very solid and thick metal enclosure that will give you the peace of mind you need in the case that you drop this compact pedal. You can stomp on this pedal with all you've got and rest assured it won't break. It also has a 9V battery compartment, which is impressive if you realize that the stompbox somehow has room for a battery despite all its input and output jacks, features, and effects.
With all of the practical features of the RC-3 to help amateurs prepare a solo performance with ease or let professional performers use the stompbox conveniently, Boss truly nailed this one. It has a great value considering all the features you're getting out of it and is a true upgrade from the previous RC-1 model.
Despite having a multitude of effects and features for a looper station pedal, the RC-3 loop pedal is not riddled with plenty of knobs and buttons. Its control section resembles that of a digital pedal. The only knob found controls the volume of the Output Loop and Output Rhythm. This way, guitarists can adjust the level of the playback and the rhythm being played. There is an LED screen to display information about memory, and LED indicators for Rec and Play to indicate the current status of the pedal. Below the LED screen are buttons to scroll through memory slots. A write button allows you to store loops, and the rhythm button turns the rhythm on or off. Finally, there is the footswitch which is the main controller of the pedal - allowing you to record, playback loops, and overdub. You will have to take your time learning and getting used to this looper to maximize its potential - it's worth it.
As expected from a reputable brand such as Boss, the RC-3 loop station has very clear playback and sound quality. Looping or layering pieces really makes it sound like there's more than one performer even when you're jamming all alone in your room because of the high-fidelity playback produced by the pedal. Although the drum patterns are not exactly the most versatile collection, it is easily remedied by uploading your desired drum tracks in .wav files to the pedal. Besides, the pedal does a great job regarding its main function and the drum patterns aren't really a drawback.
For a demonstration of the pedal, you may refer to this video:
Social Proof of the Pedal
As a whole, we are impressed with the Boss RC-3 Loop Station Pedal, however, before you purchase this model, it is always wise to seek out reviews to ensure this model will suit your playing style. We have collected several reviews during our initial research stage and they help you get a sense of what other musicians have to say.
The only regret this reviewer has is in not purchasing it years ago! Without even knowing the full extent of the Boss RC-3's capabilities, they are still having fun! Showing that anyone can use and enjoy this pedal.
This reviewer could not be more satisfied in the absolute ease of use right out of the box. Within five minutes of plugging the unit in, they have a professional sounding beat and loop.
The next review indicates how the pedal adds a virtual member to their band. While this pedal has improved their performance, they will upgrade to one of the 2 or 4 pedal loop stations. However, for those starting to play guitar, this is a perfect pedal.
The Boss RC-3 loop station is an excellent loop pedal with huge recording time and great sound quality. With this high-quality loop station, you can make your own backing tracks in no time and get to jamming out that chord progression that popped in your head. It has a variety of features to maximize its practicality and versatility, such as dual inputs, stereo output capability, USB and auxiliary connections, and a virtual drum machine. It also has great implementations for convenience including auto-recording and count-in features that will make sure you're on time with your loop.
With the other Boss loop pedals out there such as the RC-1, RC-2 02, and others, the RC-3 is the perfect compromise between quality and value. It is the second most affordable in the manufacturer's lineup but does not compromise in sound quality and ease-of-use in recording loops. After a few days with this thing, recording loops will be quick and easy. The Boss RC-3 is an excellent looper and will help you become a one-man-band in no time.
You can check it out on Amazon and get one for yourself through this link: