Foot stomp / kick drum pedal

One of my favourite blues guys is the venerable John Lee Hooker. I was probably about 16 or 17 when I was first hit by this primal force of blues power, full of raw intensity accentuated by it’s simplicity. One man, a guitar and his left foot was all that was needed to create a hypnotic syncopated beat and that left a deep impressionable on me when everyone else all around me was looking up to Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Van Halen and Yngwie Malmsteen.

When I got around to doing acoustic blues gigs, I wanted to recreate that sound and make more racket, so here’s what I did:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s basically a crudely-cut plank with what used to be a headphone transducer glued on and soldered to a 3.5mm socket. You can probably get similar results with a piezo element but I didn’t have one lying around, so the old headphones became a gracious donor. Rubber strips were a necessity to keep it from wandering around on it’s own all over the stage.

I’ve used it at gigs through a DI box or plugged straight into the mixer with the high and mid frequencies turned all the way down to get more of a kick drum sound. IĀ could have gone with one of these but hey, this is the Cheapskate Engineer and we just don’t do that sort of thing here.

Here it is in action:

 

Together with the bottle cap tambourine pedal:

 

At this gig it was going through a DI box. Be sure to work with your soundman/lady to get it (and everything else) sounding right.