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. I 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.


About cheapskateengineer
Engineer by day, musician and hack by night.

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