Maplin bass pedals

After experiments with playing the synth with my feet I was hooked on the idea of adding to our sound this way. This probably went back to before Mic entered the picture and I was still thinking of ways in which the two of us could produce a reasonably complete live sound.

I was aware, of course, of the musical excesses of the Prog era and the image problems of bass pedals, but, at least unlike Mellotrons and double-necked guitars you couldn't usually see bass pedals on stage.

I'd somehow got the misapprehension the The Doors had used bass pedals and imagined Ray's legs swinging about all over the place to keep those bass riffs going. I only found out later he had a mini keyboard bass thing which he played with his left hand while tinkling the organ with his right.

I'd never seen any bass pedals in a music shop and had only once seen a set onstage, used by a Led Zeppelin covers band. It never occurred to me that I might lack the musical skill, knowledge, or sense of balance to play them.

Maplin bass pedalsMaplin featured a pedal mechanism in their catalogue as part of their build-your-own-home-organ range, and included a circuit board and design so that you could drive an organ IC from the thing. There were a range of switched voices which were basically filters and preset envelopes to emulate some organ sounds and their idea of a bass guitar…which was actually not bad.

I'd have been happier if it had had trig. and CV outputs so I could drive the Transcendant from it, but never mind.

I was too skint to buy the casing for it and built my own, which fell apart in no time, of course. I interfered with the "action" by chopping bits off the switch plungers which made it very easy to play the wrong note as your foot swung sideways over the keys, brushing past the one you didn't want and sending out a fearful dissonance.

Not all of the voices worked properly and this was another occasion when my bodgy assembly technique spoilt something that could have been great, given enough practice and gigs. But since we never had any transport to speak of and went to most gigs by coach or train the pedals usually stayed at home.

They were another item that proved - a few years later - to be rarely used and not worth selling when the band was no more and I had to leave some stuff behind in a drastic life-laundry moment.

More recently I got a massive set of organ pedals from the skip behind a music shop and intend to midi them up so I can complete those alt-prog fantasies of yesteryear (along with my quadraphonic bass noodling, of course).

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