I had the honor of performing a live-looping arrangement of “Third Stone From the Sun” at the Thanks Jimi Festival in Wroclaw, Poland, on May 1, 2012. (Check out the spectacular photograph of 7,300+ guitarists gathered in Wroclaw's Old Market Square to play Hendrix tunes that graces the "Opening Shots" section of the August 2012 issue of GP.)
This is a video demo showing what I did and how I did it, shot in my studio. For looping, I used a Boomerang III Phrase Sampler and the accompanying Boomerang Side Car pedal, which adds several additional footswitches and other capabilities.
And here are some excerpts from my Field Test review of the Boomerang III and Side Car pedals that appears in the July 2012 issue of GP:
The Boomerang III has three primary loops. There are dedicated footswitches for Loop 1, Loop 2, and Loop 3, along with two Bonus switches—colored green and yellow—which may be assigned to various functions, including Stack (overdub), Erase, (play) Once, Octave (half-speed), Reverse, Play-Stop All, Fade, Undo, Copy, Reverse Solo, and Loop 4. The Bonus footswitches operate at two levels—Tap and Press—and with two exceptions separate functions may be assigned to each, effectively resulting in four footswitches. The exceptions are Loop 4 and Solo Reverse, which require an entire footswitch each.
To do my Hendrix thing I needed that fourth loop and the absolutely killer Solo Reverse function, which used up the two Bonus footswitches—but I also needed Octave, Reverse, Stack, and Fade at the very least.
Fortunately, the Side Car provides dedicated switches for Stack, Play-Stop All, and Erase/Erase All, along with two more assignable Bonus footswitches, which I assigned to Octave, Reverse, Fade, and Thru Mute (to kill the guitar signal when tuning). The Side Car connects to the Boomerang III via a MIDI cable, and is powered with the Boomerang III’s power supply using a splitter cable.
The Boomerang III’s other controls include six knobs with dual functions, two buttons labeled Play Style and Bonus Assign, and 20 LEDs—12 of which are arranged in a circular pattern called the Clock Display. The LEDs flash different colors at different intensities and speeds, as well as lighting solid, to indicate the status of various functions.
The Boomerang III offers four operating modes or “Play Styles”: Serial, Serial-Sync, Sync, and Free. When set to Serial, loops play one at a time, which allows you to create individual loops for each part of a song (verse, chorus, bridge, etc.), and switch between them. For example, if Loop 1 has been recorded and is playing, pressing the Loop 2 footswitch cues Loop 2 up for recording, and as soon as Loop 1 completes its cycle, it is muted and recording begins on Loop 2. There’s no need to press more than one footswitch, or to “punch in” accurately—everything is automated. Serial-Sync is similar, except that Loop 3 becomes the “master” loop, the other loops are synchronized to it, and Loop 3 can continue playing at the same time as any one of the other loops. Sync is a variation on Serial-Sync, which allows all loops to play together, synchronized to Loop 3. Free allows all loops to play together independently.
For “Third Stone From the Sun,” I set the Boomerang III to Sync mode, and first recorded a “bass” line onto Loop 3 (using an Electro-Harmonix Micro-POG for the sub octave), which became the master loop that all subsequent loops would sync to. Next, using a clean tone I recorded a two-chord motif on Loop 1, followed by the first half of the main riff on Loop 2. Then, I reversed Loop 1 for a cool psychedelic effect, and played a recording of Hendrix’s voice on an iPhone through the guitar pickup, using Stack to overdub the last part (“You’ll never hear surf music again”) onto Loop 1, over the reversed chords. After that, I used Octave to drop Loop 1 down to half speed, producing the slowed-down voice effect Hendrix used on the album. I then engaged Solo Reverse, tapped in a two-bar delay, and played what sounded to the audience like a real time backwards guitar solo. Next, I kicked in a Gore Pedals Ocho octave fuzz, and recorded the entire main riff on Loop 4. To get some of the flavor of the Hendrix original, I used a Strymon El Capistan delay pedal and my guitar’s tremolo arm to overdub spacy effects onto Loop 1. Finally, I engaged Fade, and played the main riff again as all of the loops gradually faded out underneath.
I hope that you dig the video!