The Scrub Board - DJ Scratching on Cassette Tapes

This is straight up gangsta.  *wicky wicky skerra*  If you're like me, you've tried to invent a new type of musical instrument and failed.  You've laid in bed trying to figure out a new way of making sound, but it's all been covered.  Plucking strings, vibrating air, slapping membranes... it's all been done.  Jeremy Bell realized all of the new methods would have to be digital to some degree, and that led him towards his invention of the Scrub Board

The Scrub Board

Jeremy Bell has been refining his personalized scratching device, called the Scrub Board (not to be confused with the wash board instrument), which allows him to perform disc jockey style scratching without records or a record player...

So how does he get it done?  With audio cassette tapes and a deconstructed tape player!  Check out this early version that he demos in the video below.  He has a newer prototype you can view too if you scroll to the bottom of this post and check our newer post on it.

The coolest part is his newest addition of "The Rocker" which allows him to access both layers of the stretch of tape.  He records sounds onto the cassette, marks of the positions, and away he goes.  The newer version of the rocker allows him to switch back and forth between another instrument, like a guitar.  It's come a long way.

This is literally one of the coolest things I've seen.  It makes scratching very accessible for almost anyone.  He just needs to refine it, package it, sell pre-recorded strips of tape, and bam he made a clean million bucks I bet.  I might have to hit him up about it...

Extra points to Jeremy for the Mr. Bungle shirt!

With almost all new instruments coming out being based on MIDI, it's incredible for this genius to have found a unique path forward.  Every attempt I've seen has been either a new version of a MIDI keyboard or input source, or some remix of a synthesizer.  Jeremy reached back in time a bit to keep it analogue and yet still digital.  I'm envious of the idea, honestly.

Check out how he intends on building the final result, making it more like a guitar / keytar type of instrument.  It will ultimately include a lot more options to be customized specifically by the player, like tape speed, cross-faders, ways to inject your tape, and more.  The picture explains it far better than I could.

scrubboard beta

I await the release of the Scrub Board and can't wait to see people start uploading videos and beginning to master it.  It'll result in some interesting performances, especially if integrated into a full band in a live performance.  It would be a perfect secondary instrument to set up for a keyboard player.

Edit: Make sure you catch up with Jeremy and his progress in our newest post about The ScrubBoard and catch a peek at his new performance featuring not one but two guitar loops on the rocker!  It's happening, he's getting closer to an official launch.