US3510566A - Foot operated walking string bass plucked by toe and tuned by heel - Google Patents

Foot operated walking string bass plucked by toe and tuned by heel Download PDF

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US3510566A
US3510566A US504794A US3510566DA US3510566A US 3510566 A US3510566 A US 3510566A US 504794 A US504794 A US 504794A US 3510566D A US3510566D A US 3510566DA US 3510566 A US3510566 A US 3510566A
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string
frog
channel
pedal
heel
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Clyde J Mckenzie
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CLYDE J MCKENZIE
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CLYDE J MCKENZIE
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G10MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; ACOUSTICS
    • G10HELECTROPHONIC MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
    • G10H3/00Instruments in which the tones are generated by electromechanical means
    • G10H3/12Instruments in which the tones are generated by electromechanical means using mechanical resonant generators, e.g. strings or percussive instruments, the tones of which are picked up by electromechanical transducers, the electrical signals being further manipulated or amplified and subsequently converted to sound by a loudspeaker or equivalent instrument
    • G10H3/14Instruments in which the tones are generated by electromechanical means using mechanical resonant generators, e.g. strings or percussive instruments, the tones of which are picked up by electromechanical transducers, the electrical signals being further manipulated or amplified and subsequently converted to sound by a loudspeaker or equivalent instrument using mechanically actuated vibrators with pick-up means
    • G10H3/18Instruments in which the tones are generated by electromechanical means using mechanical resonant generators, e.g. strings or percussive instruments, the tones of which are picked up by electromechanical transducers, the electrical signals being further manipulated or amplified and subsequently converted to sound by a loudspeaker or equivalent instrument using mechanically actuated vibrators with pick-up means using a string, e.g. electric guitar

Description

May 5, 1976 c. .5. MCKENZIE 3,010,566
FOOT OPERATED WALKING STRING BASS PLUCKED BY TOE AND TUNED BY HEEL Filed oct. 24, 1965 C/yde J. McKenzie,
7 INyEN'TOR.-
/F//GURE 55 ATTORNE Y.
United States Patent Otltice 3,510,566 Patented May 5, 1970 3,510,566 FOOT OPERATED WALKING STRING BASS PLUCKED BY TOE AND TUNED BY HEEL Clyde J. McKenzie, 2818 E. Hoffman, Spokane, Wash. 99207 Filed Oct. 24, 1965, Ser. No. 504,794 Int. Cl. 610e 3/14; G10d 1/02, 3/14 U.S. Cl. 84-L16 S Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A foot operated string'instrument providing a taut string which may be vibrated by an agitator pedal operated by the forefoot and varied in tension, to vary tone, by a notation pedal operated by the heel of the same foot to provide a musical instrument that simulates the sound of a bass violin with an electro-magnetic pickup device associated with the string to provide an electrical signal -(responsive to string tone) that may be amplied by traditional methods for audio display. The vibrating string is carried between a movable frog, mechanically linked to the agitator pedal, and a floating bridge mechanically moved by the notation pedal.
This invention relates generally to a foot operated string bass instrument and more particularly to such a device that simulates the audio output of a bass violin but yet may -be operated by one foot of a musician.
Heretofore the bass violin has become a popular rhythm instrument, especially in small combination dance bands. The operation of the instrument is relatively simple but the type of instrument in common use generally has required the full time services of a musician for its operation. The instant invention seeks to provide a musical instrument that simulates the sound of the plucked bass violin but yet may be operated by only one foot of a musician while his hands might be otherwise engaged, as in playing some other lead instrument. ln so doing, it is:
A principal object of my invention to provide a foot operated musical instrument that simulates the sound and tonal qualities of a bass violin, particularly the sound of the plucked instrument. c
A further object of my invention to provide an instrument of the nature aforesaid that may be set into vibration as desired by the foot and may be changed as to frequency of vibration by appropriate manipulation of the same foot.
A still further object of my invention to provide an instrument of the nature aforesaid that operates through an ordinary magnetic pickup system commonly used with electric guitars and presents its sound through a normal amplifying system used with such instruments.
A still further object of my invention to provide an instrument of simple and practical construction, of efficient and reliable use, of neat and attractive appearance, of relatively inexpensive manufacture, and otherwise well adapted to the purposes for which it is intended.
Other objects and advantages residing in the construction and operation of my invention are more particularly set forth and described in the accompanying drawings, specification and claims which form a part of this application.
In the accompanying drawings, wherein like numbers of reference refer to similar parts throughout:
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of the upper part of my entire invention showing its parts, their relationship and external configuration.
FIG. 2 is a longitudinal, cross-sectional view of the instrument of FIG. l, taken on the plane 2 2 of FIG.
l, in the direction indicated by the arrows thereon.
FIG. 3 is a partial, horizontal cross-sectional view of the rearward portion of the instrument of FIG. l, taken on the plane 3 3 of FIG. 2, in the direction indicated by the arrows thereon.
FIG. 4 is a vertical, cross-sectional view through the frog supporting mechanism of my invention taken on the plane 4-4 of FIG. 2, in the direction indicated by the arrows thereon.
FIG. 5 is an isometric view of the string and stringholding mechanism of my instrument, removed from the covering structure to show its configuration.
Referring now to the drawings in more detail and particularly to that of FIG. 1, it will there be seen that my invention comprises essentially rigid planar base supporting string box 11, which in turn supports in its upper part rearward notation pedal 12 and forward agitator pedal 13, with switch box 14 adjacent thereto on the base.
Base 10 is a flat, planar, structurally rigid member preferably of a substantially nonresonant nature such as wood. It serves no musical purpose but only physically supports my invention.
String box 11 comprises lower channel member 15 with bottom 16, elongate sides 17, and ends 18. It is rigidly attached to base 10 by laterally extending ears 19, preferably formed integrally with bottom 16 and having appropriate holes to receive screws 20 attaching the two members.
Upper channel member 21 comprises top 22, elongate sides 23 and end members 24. This upper member 21 is sized so as to slidably pivotably fit within lower channel member 15, with its lower edge some substantial distance within the upper edge of the lower channel to define a closure about the string chamber giving it protection against acoustical interference and physically deleterious substances or forces.
The bottom of lower channel 15 in its forward part is provided with hard rubber pad 25, immediately rearward medial electronic pickup device 26 and rearward rubber pad 27 protected in its upper surface from physical abrason by non-magnetic metal plate 28. Each of these members is preferably co-extensive laterally with bottom 16 of lower channel 15 and may be affixed therein, if desired to prevent noise, by gluing, screwing or similar fastening means. Forward end parts 18, 24 of both lower channel member 1S and upper channel member 21 are provided with aligned cooperative holes 29 to receive frog stud 49. An appropriate orifice 30 to receive the depending structure 42 of agitator pedal 13 is provided in top 22 of upper channel 21. Compression spring 31 is provided in the rearward part of the channel members to bias the two members away from each other but allow them to pivotably move toward each other by overcoming the tension in the spring. This spring is preferably maintained in proper position by opposed cooperating pins 32 adapted to fit within the central void of the spring and carried respectively by inner surface of top 22 of the upper channel and inner surface of bottom 16 of the lower channel. Notation pedal 12 is an elongate member having metalic body 33 carrying rubber pedal member 34 having its upper surface broken by grooves 35 to provide a nonslipping surface for the foot of an operator. The rearward portion of the pedal carries forwardly curving, upwardly projecting heel guard 36 maintained thereon by bolts 37 communicating through the rubber pedal to threadedly engage metalic body 33 to aid in maintaining a shoe in place upon the pedal without rearward slippage. The notation pedal is preferably rigidly attached to the upper surface of upper channel 21 by screws 38 extending with heads on the underside of top 22 through appropriate holes therein to threaded engagement with the metallic body of the notation pedal.
The agitator pedal 13 is of similar construction having central metal body 39 carrying external rubber pedal 40 with grooves 41 in its upper surfaces to aid in non-slipping maintenance of a foot thereon. This pedal has downwardly depending frog arm 42 communicating movably through orifice 30 Ain top 22 of the upper channel member into the string chamber.
Within the chamber of string box 11, vibrating string 43 is carried between forward frog 44 and rearward floating bridge 45 in such fashion that it is free to vibrate in its normal resonate fashion between such supports.
Forward frog 44 has forward body part 46 structurally communicating with rearwardly extending lateral legs 47 forming therebetween string support channel 48. Frog foot 74 depends from the body to contact forward pad 25. The forwardmost surface of body 46 threadedly communicates with frog stud 49 which in turn communicates forwardly through holes 29 to pivotably join upper and lower channels 15, 21, to their forwardmost surface where it threadedly engages first nut 50 and second nut 51 to form a rotatably locked juncture therebetween.
Aunular frog support collar 52 is threadedly carried on frog stud 49 between frog body 46 and the inner surface of end member 24 of the upper channel. This member has diametrically opposed substantially horizontal bores 72 to threadedly receive frog pivot screws 53 rotatably extending from the external surface of each channel side member through'appropriate rotatably mounting holes to the frog support collar. These screws 5,3 are preferably provided with an enlarged head 54 to aid in their manual adjustment when necessary.
Frog stud hole 29 in the forward end of the channels is slightly larger than the external diameter of frog stud 49 to allow slight motion therebetween, especially in a vertical plane. With this structure in mind it is seen that the frog structure described will be pivotably supported in the string chamber about an horizontal axis extending through frog pivot screws 53.
String holder 55 is pivotably supported in the forward part of string support channel 48 by string support pin 56 communicating between lateral legs 47 of the frog and pivotably through the support member. Preferably it is an elongate cylinder having a small hole '73 to receive the bent end 71 of a string; however, many string holders in common commercial use today adequately serve the lpurposes of my invention and the one illustrated is merely one of convenience. Rearwardly of string support 55 agitator frog arm 42 communicates with frog legs 47; this communication is preferably of a pivotable type with agitator pin 57 extending between frog arms 47 and through the lower portion of the depending agitator pedal frog arm as illustrated particularly in FIGS. 2 and 3.
Rearward fioating bridge 45 is carried by tension spring 58. This spring rotatably communicates with pin 59 carried in and by housing 60 structurally depending from the undersurface of top 22 of upper channel 21 in an appropriately positioned rearward portion. The tension spring is arcuately curved in a rearwardly, downwardly extending fashion as illustrated particularly in FIG. 2 and its lowermost portion is formed with an upturned edge 61 to prevent excessive wear from this member. Spring 5S has an appropriately located medial hole 62 for passage of string 43 to allow for fastening on the rearward surface thereof.
At its lowermost rearward surface spring 58 carries bridge member 45 with forward, upwardly extending string leg 64, flat central body part 65 and rearward curved portion 66 communicating with spring 58. A notch is provided in forward string leg 64 to slidably receive string 43 in afret fashion. On the rearward surface of spring 58 is provided string collar 67 to receive the rearward end of string 43 in its central channel 68 and releasably fasten it therein by means of set screw 69 extending from the exterior surface of the collar into the central channel. The abutting surfaces of bridge body 65 and plate 28 are in slideable engagement; this communication should be smooth and non-magnetic to prevent excessive noise in my instrument. I prefer to lubricate the juncture of these members and form at least one from material that is not magnetically susceptible to further this operation. A large bearing surface also aids a smooth slide action.
String member 43 preferably has hook 71 formed in its forwardmost extension to cooperate with string holder 55 as before provided. The other end part may be fastened in similar fashion, but with the collar-type fastener 67 specified, this end need have no special structure. Obviously the string may be fastened by many other means known in the art without departing from the essence of my invention. The string preferably is of the metal type, and with structures of a size of approximately eight inches, I prefer to use one-third of a standard E electric bass string, though obviously the nature and physical characteristics of the string could vary widely according to well known principles, depending upon the particular scale and tonal characteristics desired from my invention. \I have in this regard found a short piece of ordinary speedometer cable of commerce to be quite suitable in my instrument.
From the foregoing structure it is to be noted that string 43 will vibrate about a forward nodal point essentially at the rearward extension of string holder 55 and a rearward nodal point essentially at the contact of bridge leg 64 with the rearward portiton of the string. As downward pressure is applied to notation pedal 12, spring 58 will be moved rearwardly to change the positioning` of the bridge and the tension on the vibrating string tI change its tone. From this motion tension will be in. creased in the string to shorten the time required lc'- one cyclical vibration and thusly raise its tone; the bridy;` movement, however, tends to lengthen the vibrating put-- tion of the string and thus lengthen the time required for one cyclic vibration and lower the tone. The effect of tite tensioning is many fold greater than the lengthening effect, though, so the resultant of increasing spring tension is to raise the pitch of the string. The counteraction of these two effects is desirable in my invention, as it aids in making the instrument more easily and finely tuned. By this means then, the tone produced by string 43 may be changed, within limits generally of the same nature as the limits of an ordinary bass viol of standard construction.
It is further to lbe noted that by rapidly depressing agitator pedal 13 with the forward or ball part of the foot, frog 44 will come into sharp contact, by its foot 74, with rubber pad 25, thus setting string 43 into vibration of a nature somewhat similar to that resulting from the plucking of the string of an ordinary bass violin, though not eliminating all of the inharmonic overtones that might be produced lby bowing such a string. In other words, the result is probably somewhere between a plucking and a bowing of an ordinary bass violin with some harmonic and some inharmonic overtones. The result is quite pleasing and produces a satisfactory bass tone when properly amplified.
The electronic pickup device 26 is of the ordinary magnetic field variety commonly used in electric guitars, and of a nature'well known in the art. This device is positioned as illustrated in FIG. 2, essentially in the central part of string 43 and immediately adjacent thereto. The field of the pickup device is disturbed by the vibration of the string and this resultant disturbance transposted into an appropriately corresponding electronic signal which is amplified by an ordinary electric guitar amplifier (not shown) of the nature well known in the art and therefore not herein illustrated.
Obviously the physical characteristics of my invention may be quite widely varied to produce various scalar tones and may be modified by various electronic methods well known in the art to produce modiiications of these tones.
The operation of my invention is apparent from the foregoing description. The player places a foot, preferably that of major dexterity, on the notation and agitator pedals with the heel of the foot against the heel guard of the notation pedal 12 and the ball of the foot resting over agitator pedal 13. The notation pedal 12 is then depressed with the heel to form the tonal characteristic desired and at the same time the ball of the foot is rotated downwardly about the heel as a pivot to cause an impact upon agitator pedal 13, the impact being transferred to frog 44 to set string 43 into vibration. Agitator pedal 13 then will be depressed correspondingly to normal plucking of the strings of a bass violin of ordinary structure to form the appropriate rhythmical melody desired. It is further to be noted that depression of the notation pedal 12 may at the same time lbe varied to produce varied desired tonal characteristics.
rIt is to be noted that my invention can be played by a musician with one foot while his hands may be otherwise employed and quite obviously they could be so employed in playing some sort of other lead instrument. The device does require some particular skill for its play, but a musician of any talent can learn to play it in a relatively short time, and at the same time play another instrument.
The foregoing description of my invention is necessarily of a detailed, particular character so that a specific embodiment of it may be set forth as required, but this is not to be construed as to prevent various modifications of detail and multiplication and rearrangement of parts which are included within the spirit, essence and scope of my invention as described.
Having thusly described my invention7 What I claim is:
1, In an electronically reproduced vibrating string type musical instrument of the type having a string suspended for vibration within a string chamber, a string suspension means comprising an adjustable frog communicating with one end of said string adapted to adjust tension therein and impart an impact type vibratory force thereto and a oating bridge communicating with the other end thereof adapted by spring means to change the vibratory frequency thereof in response to motion applied externally of the lstring chamber and transmitted by the spring means to move the floating bridge in a direction along the string axis.
Z. A vibrating string instrument for electronically producing audible sounds of the nature aforesaid, comprising, in combination:
a base mounting a string box having a lower channel member and a similar upper channel member pivotably communicating therewith to form a string chamber;
a notation pedal carried by the rearward portion of ysaid upper channel adapted to aid in moving it toward said lower channel against a tensioning force therebetween;
a string vibratorially carried within said string chamber between a forward adjustable tensioning frog and a rearward iioating bridge;
an agitator pedal communicating to said forward frog to transmit an impact motion thereto causing said string to vibrate;
spring means communicating between the upper channel member and said floating bridge to cause said bridge to move in response to motion of said upper channel member to cause varying tonal vibrations in said string; and
electronic means associated with lsaid string to convert musical vibrations of said string into audio sounds.
3. The invention of claim 2 wherein said frog cornprises a forward body part having rearwardly extending legs with a central channel therebetween with said agitator pedal positioned thereabove and pivotably communicating therewith by a downwardly depending arm rotatably positioned upon a pin carried between said frog legs.
4. The invention of claim 2 wherein said means of adjustably positioning said oating bridge comprise a downwardly and rearwardly arcuate spring rotatably journaled in the underpart of said upper channel member communicating to the upper portiton of said lower channel member and carrying on the lower rearward part thereof in slidable engagement with said lower channel member a bridge adapted to movably contact said vibrating string to determine the rearwardmost nodal point.
5. The invention of claim 2 wherein said frog is pivotably journaled within the forward part of said string charnber by a collar pivotably supported for rotation about a horizontal axis in said chamber, said collar structurally communicating with adjustable tensioning means extending between lsaid frog and the forward part of said string chamber.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,622,219 3/1927 Bartholomae 84173.1 2,413,062 12/ 1946 Miessner 841.l5 2,514,835 7/ 1950 Bredice 84-297 2,824,478 2/ 1958 Shultz 84-267 2,917,963 12/ 1959 Lucchesi 84--282 3,382,749 5/1968 Watson 84-313 HERMAN K. SAALBACH, Primary Examiner WM. N. PUNTER, Assistant Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R. 84-1.04, 173, 274
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Cited By (9)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3919910A (en) * 1974-10-21 1975-11-18 Robert H Rust Electronic bass instrument
US4024787A (en) * 1975-12-29 1977-05-24 Larson Harold W Foot operated musical instrument
US20040261599A1 (en) * 2003-06-25 2004-12-30 Templeton Christopher N Tone control apparatus for guitars
US20120073425A1 (en) * 2010-09-29 2012-03-29 Yamaha Corporation Pedal device for electronic percussion instrument
US8802962B2 (en) 2012-07-01 2014-08-12 Loren R. Gulak Foot actuated percussion board
US20160258574A1 (en) * 2015-03-03 2016-09-08 Gregg Abbate Effects Pedal Mounting Bracket
US9761212B2 (en) 2015-01-05 2017-09-12 Rare Earth Dynamics, Inc. Magnetically secured instrument trigger
US9875732B2 (en) 2015-01-05 2018-01-23 Stephen Suitor Handheld electronic musical percussion instrument
US10096309B2 (en) 2015-01-05 2018-10-09 Rare Earth Dynamics, Inc. Magnetically secured instrument trigger

Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1622219A (en) * 1926-02-10 1927-03-22 Bartholomae William Musical instrument
US2413062A (en) * 1941-11-01 1946-12-24 Miessner Inventions Inc Apparatus for the production of music
US2514835A (en) * 1947-09-08 1950-07-11 Bredice Alfred Music string pitch regulator
US2824478A (en) * 1955-03-29 1958-02-25 Charles H Shultz Bass guitar
US2917963A (en) * 1956-09-21 1959-12-22 Lucchesi Luciano Mechanically operated violin bow and the like
US3382749A (en) * 1966-03-10 1968-05-14 John W. Watson Device for producing a tremolo effect on stringed musical instruments

Patent Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1622219A (en) * 1926-02-10 1927-03-22 Bartholomae William Musical instrument
US2413062A (en) * 1941-11-01 1946-12-24 Miessner Inventions Inc Apparatus for the production of music
US2514835A (en) * 1947-09-08 1950-07-11 Bredice Alfred Music string pitch regulator
US2824478A (en) * 1955-03-29 1958-02-25 Charles H Shultz Bass guitar
US2917963A (en) * 1956-09-21 1959-12-22 Lucchesi Luciano Mechanically operated violin bow and the like
US3382749A (en) * 1966-03-10 1968-05-14 John W. Watson Device for producing a tremolo effect on stringed musical instruments

Cited By (12)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3919910A (en) * 1974-10-21 1975-11-18 Robert H Rust Electronic bass instrument
US4024787A (en) * 1975-12-29 1977-05-24 Larson Harold W Foot operated musical instrument
US20040261599A1 (en) * 2003-06-25 2004-12-30 Templeton Christopher N Tone control apparatus for guitars
US20120073425A1 (en) * 2010-09-29 2012-03-29 Yamaha Corporation Pedal device for electronic percussion instrument
US8546676B2 (en) * 2010-09-29 2013-10-01 Yamaha Corporation Pedal device for electronic percussion instrument
US8802962B2 (en) 2012-07-01 2014-08-12 Loren R. Gulak Foot actuated percussion board
US9761212B2 (en) 2015-01-05 2017-09-12 Rare Earth Dynamics, Inc. Magnetically secured instrument trigger
US9875732B2 (en) 2015-01-05 2018-01-23 Stephen Suitor Handheld electronic musical percussion instrument
US10096309B2 (en) 2015-01-05 2018-10-09 Rare Earth Dynamics, Inc. Magnetically secured instrument trigger
US20160258574A1 (en) * 2015-03-03 2016-09-08 Gregg Abbate Effects Pedal Mounting Bracket
US9620094B2 (en) * 2015-03-03 2017-04-11 Gregg Abbate Effects pedal mounting bracket
US20170256245A1 (en) * 2015-03-03 2017-09-07 Gregg Abbate Effects Pedal Mounting Bracket

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