“Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first atomic stomp box. Right Foot will be that man. Better than it was before. Better…stronger…LOUDER.”
Anyone who has seen my live act has experienced “Right Foot,” my amplified soda pop crate that I use as percussion in my one-man act. The concept is simple: Nail a few floor boards on top of the crate and affix a contact pickup on the underside of the floorboards. When you stomp on it, the stomp box gives a proper THUD… or so it seems.
The original Right Foot was built from an old 7Up crate with some floorboards I found in the rafters of my garage and a piezo pickup purchased from a guitar parts supply website. It was as simple as it could get. Unfortunately, the little piezo would only deliver a puny *click click* when run into the PA system. In order to attain a good, driving THUD! live sound, the signal had to be run into other guitar effects. This meant I had to bring various pedals or my massive pedal board to every gig.
I needed a way to have one unit with the stomper and effects combined for easy hauling. That’s when I built the new Right Foot. It took the original concept and added a hinged top with an internal compartment for my effects.
I started with a Coca Cola crate (it’s dated 1969 and originated from Tennessee) and added door hinges and brass clasps. A thin piece of plywood became the hinged top. I took the original floorboards and piezo from the old Right Foot and nailed/glued them to this top (which means I got to keep the original mojo from the old stomper). A simple piece of foam was placed inside to cradle the guitar effects that drive the instrument. Power cord and XLR cable are fed out the side handles of the soda crate. Everything is contained. Perfect. I can carry the single unit and not be bothered with pedal boards or loose pedals.
Here’s a rundown of the signal chain. I’ve tried many different pre-amps, but nothing can top a BBE Sonic Stomp pedal for THUD! I run the piezo into the Sonic Stomp first, with it’s “Lo Contour” knob on full and the “Process” knob on zero. On its own, this is a powerful bass sound. Unfortunately, it also produces a noisy hiss. To kill the hiss, I send the signal into a 1970′s MXR Noise Gate Pedal. I keep the filter knob at about the halfway point, just enough to kill the hiss, but not enough to cause me to slam my foot on the stomper to get any kind of THUD.
I got to try the new Right Foot out at a show in Baltimore at the Ottobar Lounge which is known as a loud venue that hosts heavy metal, alternative and other acts. The soundman was blown away by the THUD I got from this. “You have a better bass drum sound than most drummers I work with,” he exclaimed. He had the stomper so loud that it delivered a pounding Hulk-smash into the chests of every audience member! It was glorious.
One more note: I have a certain pair of boots that I wear in concert that deliver the proper THUDS and TAPS needed for my act. On some occasions, I perform barefooted when I need to be properly grounded.
See Shane Speal perform live with the new Right Foot. Shane Speal concert listings.
Here’s a clip of the old Right Foot in action