DIY audiotape "scratching" device


1 Like

A cool idea but the main problem is a turntable/mixer setup has more uses than just scratching (turntablists do more than just make scratch sounds), whereas one couldn’t really play cassettes with this. I think sound artists or “noise musicians” would be more interested in this than dance music DJs, but then noise musicians are typically a very idiosyncratic lot, and if one of them came up with this device he/she would probably prefer it was the only one in existence, so it could be “their sound.”

Rather than kickstart a mass-produced version, just find mass-produced parts that can be easily hacked, then combine them into a kit that interested buyers can build themselves. Home Depot, electronics stores, hobby shops, you can probably find all the parts you need, just decide how to hack them with a Dremel and soldering iron.

Really nice sound. But as @generic_name points out, it can be quite limited. It would work really well together with a DJ though, adding fills, sounds and samples in addition to some good beats.

Thanks for checking out my video. I just wanted to mention that this version is just a very rough “proof of concept,” and that the real ScrubBoard will be much more functional. It will use a “conveyor belt” style tape loop, which will allow for straight playback. Also, the loop belt will be writable, so you can hand mark your audio. The two-fingered rocker will be right on top of the slider, so you can cut and scratch with one hand. There will be a stationary record head to the right of the sliding play head, so you can route other instruments into it and scratch with live audio in near-real time. Also, because the tape has two stereo tracks, you route two different audio signals to each side of the two-fingered rocker, and hocket between two different versions of a sample.


Cool, I want to make one now, but tape players are getting harder to find at my house. This has me in mind of Laurie Anderson’s tape-bow violin, but with more possibilities because you could have multiple tape samples.

As a matter of fact, Laurie Anderson was a big part of the inspiration for the ScrubBoard.

1 Like

prepare for a lot of incoming hate from DJs accusing you of cheating! It’s pretty neat, though, but I’m invested in the original method; both financially and, uh, I guess you would say culturally.

it’s a good idea for musicians that only want to cut samples instead of being a full DJ, though. with the planned upgrades, it sounds like you can get the full effect of turntable scratching without investing in all the equipment (and having to haul it all around–a Tech is big and fucking heavy!)

it might make sense to include a real crossfader, or have an input for one, for folks who feel comfortable with the traditional interface? I’m not sure your rig can do a crab scratch, for instance. it looks like you should be able to use your tap thing to simulate open-fader cuts as-is, but adding a hamster switch might make some folks happier and should be pretty easy to do.

it’s pretty neat!

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.