Bass Drum Contraption 1.0

perc_jdbassdrum1-788338Inspired from a gig at Brews N Bytes… I liked theirs so much that I made a mental note of its construction and began shopping for parts that night when I got home.

I’ve been wanting to build a stomp board, and in fact have done some experimentation with pickups, wood and cardboard boxes (see http://www.mindspeak.com/stomp.htm), but so far I have not found the sound I was looking for.

Many old blues guys have used different types of foot stomp boxes to get a beat, but I was surprised to see that there wasn’t much info on the web about how to build the one I was using at Brews N Bytes. So here it is – possibly the first description of its kind. The bass drum is actually a cheap 10″ x 10″ tom drum from Ebay (new $10.59, but $25.54 after shipping).

The footpedal ($9.99, but with shipping $20.65) and tom mount ($6.50, but $12.49 with shipping) are also from Ebay. I used a few old screws and a couple braces from Lowe’s (maybe $3). I had the board lying around from another project. So all told, before the shipping nonsense, my investment was $30.08. It took about 30 minutes to build. The tom drum came with a couple pieces of hardware, one of which I bastardized slightly to make work for this application. Ideally I might want to just use a piece of pipe of the appropriate diameter and length, but it worked out pretty well and gave me the option of mounting something inside the drum if needed.

perc_jdbassdrum2The one at Brews N Bytes had a removable tambourine inside, but for now I just wanted the thump – so I used an old throw pillow to deaden the drum. Otherwise, the drum actually sounds pretty bad! (though I did purchase a tuning key to help tweak the sound a bit). I’m happy with the results, though it almost looks too good. My original idea was to go as cheesy and cheap as possible on this little project. So maybe I need to distress it or something. Still, this thing ROCKS on tape! Just slap an SM57 in back of this thing with some compression and you’ve got a THUD that doesn’t take up the whole room, but does give you something to work with in the mix. (Just beware that your neighbors may think you are insane stomping away at this thing too much.) Along with my brother’s old snare drum, this makes a partial kit that is nice for jamming. Future enhancements will be something non-stick for the bottom because this thing will slide if you get too vigorous with it. It also doubles as a cardiovascular workout if you are a wimpy guitarist like me.

Feel free to reference this article if you like (just give credit of course). There’s at least two guys in Australia who build stomp boards using pickups, but that has a different sound of course: http://www.jupitercreekmusic.com/stomper.html
http://www.ellisguitars.com/stomp_box_faq.html

Other options:
http://www.farmerfootdrums.com/
http://www.rhythmweb.com/homemade/
http://www.windworld.com/

Enjoy! (PS: The BDC is featured on my CD Catch the Squirrel).

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