Boss RC-50 Loop Station And Violinist, Megan Berson Of Linfinity

November 05, 2010
Megan Berson of Linfinity

Linfinity’s Megan Berson plays the violin. Initially we wanted to talk to her about that instrument but instead she chats about something she uses with her violon, the Boss RC-50 Loop Station. She has been using it for a couple of years and felt it was a natural progression since, earlier, she worked with a Boss RC-20. She also uses it for more than just performances.

“I use it live with the band to layer string sounds and trigger samples. Some of the samples were used for practical jokes on tour (thanks to Adam Turla's voice from Murder By Death). I use it solo for my own looping show,” she says. “It is also a great practice tool for working on harmonies, as well as a great teaching tool. I teach a few string programs and instead of playing the usual ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ for our concerts we do a looping version of Michael Jackson's “Billy Jean.” I even used some electronic beats that I imported to spice it up a bit. The kids love it.”

The Loop Station does require a little effort to master.

“It does have a bit of a learning curve since it is packed full of features. Looping in general takes practice to make it interesting,” says Berson. “I am still learning all the time and have not used the pedal to its full potential yet.”

And this is after two years.

Even with all the features, Berson can pick one thing, for her, that is the single best thing about the Loop Station.

“Generally the violin is limited to being a melodic instrument, but I love being able to create lush harmonies by layering it with the RC-50 so that I can sound like a string quartet,” says Berson. “I always say I wish I could clone myself and this is the next best thing. I also love how this pedal has 3 separate phrases that can loop individually or in sync. It is like having 3 loop pedals in one.”

But it is also not without some problems.

“Even when the guide is off it will still play when you try to lay down a loop unless you turn it on and off again or pre-program it not to. This can be a little embarrassing if you just pull up an empty bank and try to lay a loop down live and a cheesy drum machine beat blasts out,” says Berson. “I would also like it if there was a way to let some of the layers fade naturally while stacking parts similar to what happens with analog delays and a few other looping devices. You can however fade an entire phrase in and out which is nice.”

Berson also has found some “new” ways to use the Loop Station.

“Sometimes I run my LR Baggs preamp directly before the loopstation. Instead of running a quarter inch out to the loopstation and draining my battery in the preamp I can use an xlr out to the mic input and use the built in phantom power,” she says. “Kind of a cool feature since 9 volts are expensive. I typically run my whole pedal board before the loopstation so I don't get to use this feature that often but it is nice when I can.”

Linfinity just finished shows at CMJ and are gearing up for a two week Northeast/Midwest tour. They also released two new singles which included versions of Talking Head’s Road to Nowhere and Ben E King's Spanish Harlem. You can find both on the band website along with a track from the band’s debut record, Martians Bloom. When the tour is done they start working on their second record.

Patrick Ogle writes for Gearwire

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