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How Josh Wilson Became a 'Loopy' Guitarist
How Josh Wilson Became a 'Loopy' Guitarist

Though he's put out a few fine albums (including these two) and had some hits on Christian radio, Josh Wilson may be best known for two things: His "loopy" music (more on that in a moment) and a viral video of him leading stranded travelers at the Newark Liberty International Airport in a rousing round of "Hey Jude."

As for that "loopy" part . . . Wilson is known for playing multiple instruments on the same song. That's one thing in a recording studio, when you can play them one at a time, track after track. But in a live performance, Wilson uses a "loop pedal," enabling him to record a timed segment on one instrument; tap the pedal, and that segment plays over and over. And then a segment from another instrument (or another riff from the same instrument), which plays along with the first. And then another, and so on until he builds a full song—multiple instruments, layered over each other. (To better understand it, check out this video.)

Wilson incorporates this practice into most of his live shows, by essentially digitally cloning himself. (If he could literally do that, the result might look something like this.)

For the last four years, Wilson has done a Christmas tour in which he really showcases his multi-instrumental talents. Three years ago, he did it with eight instruments. Two years ago, he bumped it up to 16. Last year, and again this year, it's up to 24. He's using more sophisticated looping technology, and he brings one bandmate along to help. Together, as Wilson explains, they "build arrangements of these Christmas songs that start very small and then grow to these big finishes. And Christmas songs—especially old carols— really lend themselves to looping."

So fans have clamored for a Christmas ...

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How Josh Wilson Became a 'Loopy' Guitarist
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December 2012

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