An audiotape-based alternative to the turntable, providing turntablists with a more versatile and intuitive way to scratch.
Support this project here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jeremyseanbell/the-scrubboard
If you’ve ever studied music history, you probably know that musical instruments don’t simply spring forth from the music community fully formed. Much like people, musical instruments evolve over time. Sometimes these evolutions are the result of changes in musical styles, and sometimes they are the cause of them. And either way, it’s hard to imagine an instrument that is more in need of a radical change than the DJ’s turntable.
Yes, there have been some changes to the turntable since it started being used as a musical instrument, but these changes still adhere to the same basic design — a design which, let’s face it, was never meant for cutting and scratching. Turntables are fragile and sensitive; that delicate needle sits precariously in the groove and bounces around with the slightest jostling. Scratching is incredibly difficult and frustrating. Now it’s certainly true that the things that make musical instruments difficult are sometimes the very things that give them their signature sound. But in the case of turntablism, I think that an easier user interface could open up a galaxy of sonic possibilities. Imagine instantly alternating between parallel playlists, or creating layers of sound by using each of your hands to do the work of a separate DJ. Imagine routing a singer’s microphone into a device that lets you scratch with live audio in near-real time!
Over the past few years, I’ve been developing the specifications for a more versatile and intuitive way to scratch, without the latency of digital or the fragility of vinyl. Your donations will be used to hire a product design firm to build a functional prototype of my device, which I’m calling The ScrubBoard. With The ScrubBoard, you scratch by moving a slider up and down a track, much like how you’d move the sliders on a standard mixing board. But the ScrubBoard’s slider doesn’t adjust volume levels; instead, it’s internally attached to a movable tape head that makes contact with a strip of audio tape inside the device. As you move the slider, the tape head moves up and down the tape, thus generating a true analog scratch.
Video used with permission. Video Copyright (c) of its respective owner.