DJ Scratches Out Club Music With Tape, Not Turntables

It goes without saying that not everyone has the same taste in music, and what sounds amazing to one person will be the next person’s noise. But even if you’re not into hip-hop and the whole DJ scene, it’s hard not to be impressed with what [Jeremy Bell] has done here with his homemade tape loop “scratching” rig.

Most people have probably seen a DJ in a club using dual turntables to scratch or “scrub” a vinyl record back and forth to create effects that add to the music. Part musician and part performance artist, DJs and “turntablists” tend to be real crowd-pleasers. [Jeremy]’s “ScrubBoard” uses a loop of 2″ audiotape, the kind recording studios once used for multitrack recordings. The loop is driven across a wide platen by a motor with a foot pedal control, which he can use to quickly reverse the direction of travel and control the speed of the tape. A pair of playback heads are wired into the amplifier and can be positioned anywhere on the sometimes moving, sometimes stationary tape. The sounds he can create are rhythmic, percussive, and at times frenetic, but they’re always interesting. Check it out in action in the video below.

This version of the ScrubBoard is far from the first [Jeremy] has built. You may recall his first prototype from our coverage in 2014; that one used just a few feet of 1/4″ tape fixed to a board. He was still able to get some great sounds from it, but this version should really change things for him. 

20 thoughts on “DJ Scratches Out Club Music With Tape, Not Turntables

  1. Tape “scratching” using open/reel-to-reel tapes, although a bit niche, was a thing in the 80s already. Some even used modified cassette players.

  2. Holy cow that is immense 😂 scratching using a tape never would I og thought that was possible big up to the guy that done this shown above hes brilliant

  3. I’ll be honest, most novel musical ideas on HaD are cool conceptually, but don’t sound great on the demos. This sounds amazing, and it’s not even a style of music I’d normally listen to.

  4. What the heck? That was amazing.

    I have no idea if it’s easier or harder than using records. You trade linear markings for circular ones. You trade a fader for placing/lifting a hand. Probably all a wash.

    But that bit where he adds in the foot for direction control instead of spinning backwards with a finger — I think that’s gotta be a tricky coordination to pull off. Respect!

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