The largest community for DJ and producer techniques, tutorials, and tips. Traktor secrets, controller reviews, a massive MIDI mapping library, and more.

ScrubBoard Is Back; DIY Scratching With Tapes

Remember that era just after turntables, and just before CDs, when magnetic cassette tapes were the music medium of choice? While tapes never took off as DJing tools, the ScrubBoard uses the same technology for a unique hybrid tool. Watch a brand new video of it in action in today’s article.

The ScrubBoard is Back!

If you missed it the first time around, the ScrubBoard was a concept that debuted back in 2014 by innovator Jeremy Bell. The basic idea was to use magnetic tape as an alternative to a turntable, with a moveable tape head that you can slide across a strip of tape. It allows a more precise level of control than on a moving turntable platter.

The bonus here is that Jeremy has also added a kill switch to the unit that can act as a transform switch, tagging the audio on and off. It’s a serious evolution from the original ScrubBoard concept – and rubber bands hold the whole thing together. Watch it in action:

Jeremy writes:

“[..,] I’ve also been spending a lot of time practicing, so now I actually have some solid skills, unlike in my previous videos! I’m looking for a good live venue to show off my newfound ScrubBoard chops, but in the meantime, please enjoy this video excerpt of my live set.”

Unfortunately when the ScrubBoard went to Kickstarter status it didn’t end up getting funded, falling about $9,000 short of the goal. We’d love to see it get another crack at making it big time – which is why we’re featuring it here on the DJTT blog.

Classic Tape Scratching From 1991

Jeremy Bell is of course only the most recent innovator to cut it up on tape. There’s a classic performance (embedded below) from the 1991 DMCs where the Latvia’s Mr. Tape scratched entirely on magnetic tape. If you’ve never watched it – take a few minutes and witness the magic (along with those annoying disco whistles):

And who could forget Ruthless Ramsey – scratching on two boombox-style tape players, complete with body tricks?

[h/t to Mark at DJ Worx for being the first to share Jeremy’s new video]
  • CUSP

    Yep, that’s good stuff right there. Kinda’ was expecting a Midifighter in all that, but the guy has chops.

    Thinking electronically, there’s no reason a long slider could not be used to indicate position of the play head while a computer handles sample playback.

  • Anthony Alonso

    Well I know what Im building this weekend.

  • Doug

    But why??

  • Eonkenshi

    Very impressive from Mr. Tape. Especially if know tapedecks, never played on them like that, but goofed a little bit around with them.

    • mr_yan_art

      Mr Tape is from Latvia, and he started using tape decks, because that time Latvia was under ussr, and was very difficult get any DJ equipment, and records. But party must go on so guys decide use tape decks. there is one more guy who still plays on tape decks

      • Eonkenshi

        Massive respect!