Scratching Audio Tape With The ScrubBoard

In this video, Jeremy Bell demonstrates his DIY “alpha version” of the ScrubBoard – a new instrument designed for scratching with audio tape. 

Bell’s vision for the ScrubBoard is part audio scratching and part musique concrète.

He is developing a more advanced version of the ScrubBoard, illustrated below: scrubboard

Bell is currently raising funds, via a Kickstarter project, to work with a design firm to develop a working prototype of the ScrubBoard.

19 thoughts on “Scratching Audio Tape With The ScrubBoard

  1. I like how it is analog. But skratch DJ’s are left and right handed either one hand on fader, and one hand on record. This would be similar to making a double sided violin. Useless to a violin player as one hand is used to the bow, one hand the neck. Not hating, just not fixing any kind of problem, we are content with our instrument (a turntable, record, mixer). Also why does everyone who is trying to pretend to skratch always use the samples skratch DJ’s use? Ahhh, fresh etc to legitimize their products? Remember Beamz? Same deal. Also there are already people skatching with tape, nothing new there either. Kind of confused. A quick internet search for tape deck skratching could have done wonders.

  2. Who said this guy was trying to fix a problem or reinvent turntable-ism? You say you’re not hating but you bring this up in the same paragraph as Beamz and ask why people use the same samples to scratch (which he isn’t).

    Someone obviously peed in your Wheaties.

  3. I LOVE this and would love to mess about with it myself some day – really fun idea and I have some 35 year old tapes Mum & Dad made of me telling stories as a child… The possibilities could be a lot of fun!!!

  4. He should put a little momentary switch on each tape head assembly. That way he can do lightning fast switching between the two.

  5. I saw a much better version of this almost 10 years ago… In a club in Munich called Pathos Transport Theatre… they had 10 panels on the walls made of 20 or 30 bands of tape each… and in the center of the room there was a rack setup with a crapload of cables with audio heads.. so 10 people could randomly grab snippets ..and all going through delays.. and reverb etc

    It does get old after awhile.. but still interesting

  6. Good for Jeremy for Making. That’s called “having fun and being creative”, and I enjoyed seeing someone else’s hard work. I hope this project reaches success.

  7. I wanted to make something similar since I saw Laurie Anderson replace her violin bow with a tape and the strings with a tape player’s head, but I never bothered dismounting and soldering old cassette players. And the idea of putting 2 tapes on the board is great, you can even put as many tapes as you want and redesign it in a way that you can change these sticks in seconds.

  8. Nifty! I had ideas for a similar instrument, but I never followed through on them. The head enclosure to line up the heads is a great idea too. My device would have had several strips of random audio tape glues to a board and the head just randomly rubbed over it. I had also considered putting the tape strips on a rotating drum, a bit like a Mellotron.

  9. thats a great idea!
    i wanted to make something like this with two cassette heads and the disk from a computers harddisk.
    then i read that harddisks are not that good for audio recording and never tried it out.

  10. This is seriously awesome! I’m thinking it could be like the view master was for slides, a toy where you could buy tape segments to slot into your scrubber and bobs your uncle! Way more fun than an etch-a-sketch!

  11. As a school kid in the early 80s, I explored the AV closet of the library. I found a box with an old 60s or early 70s tape deck of some sort. It was bulky and medical-equpiment-green, certainly not of the era. Clearly it was some failed educational format, but there were still stacks of rubber-banded flash cards, each one with a strip of tape glued to the bottom.

    The cards were reading aides, with a few seconds of a word being pronounced by a male or female narrator. The machine would grab the card with rollers and pull it through right to left and, the word would appear in a window near the tape heads, as the speaker warbled with the lo-fi audio.

    The machine would work even if you didn’t hit the “play” button – you could force the card into the machine and scrub the tape back and forth like the scratch DJs that were appearing on TV. You could look through the deck and find a cool or funny word and that would be fun for the entire library period. I was briefly famous and popular with 10 or so kids after discovering that tape machine. Probably my career peak.

    This video is great. Everyone, on the count of 3, stop negatively commenting on things you don’t need to watch and are not paying to watch and have no stake in.

  12. I applaud the man’s creativity and ingenuity. But just like ‘real’ record scratching, it got boring and annoying after about fifteen seconds.

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