The return of the cassette tape scratching ScrubBoard

Cast your minds back almost two years to the first showing of the ScrubBoard, a pretty unique take on using cassette tape as a medium to scratch with. It ended up on Kickstarter (the video really is worth a watch for all the ideas), but sadly didn’t make it into an actual product. Undaunted, Jeremy Bell has continued to evolve the project and has sent me a video that I dub as musician meets mad scientist.

One of the key elements of the original ScrubBoard idea was a rocker switch that aimed to deliver the ability to replicate fader clicks. And that’s exactly what Jeremy has made for this version. In this clip, the rocker switch is essentially a couple of reed switches that cut the audio in time with your finger movement. Clever stuff.

ScrubBoard cassette tape scratching (2)

The actual ScrubBoard hasn’t moved on so much — the principle is still the same, but Jeremy’s skills certainly have moved on. While it’s a bit bonkers, I really enjoyed the clash of sampled and looped audio, tape scratching, and the general held-together-with-gaffer-tape-and-graphite-dust ethos of this project. It’s made with love, and Jeremy has turned a mad idea into some sort reality — I wish more of us did. I still stand by my original assertion that the ScrubBoard idea should be digital (who the hell is going to record and cut cassette tape these days?), and that the rocker switch shows some promise as a fader alternative.

I hope that Jeremy continues to work on this. I’m really intrigued by the idea, and love the performance. Good work sir!