A bass you play with your foot?

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Issue 264 June 16, 2016

Visiting Blue Eagle Music Shop, Dan Erlewine comes across an unusual instrument from the 1970s: a foot bass. While he’s in the shop, Dan checks in to see what’s happening with Blue Eagle’s young setup tech, Raj.

About the guitar in this video: The Mike Miller Foot Bass is something we’ve never seen before. It was patented in 1973 by Mike Miller, Lockbourne, Ohio.

In this Trade Secrets video:
  • A foot bass! Who knew?
  • Raj’s solution for a knob that’s too big for the control pot

Video Transcription

[on-screen text reads: Stewart-MacDonald Trade Secrets! A Bass Played with your Foot?]

A Mike Miller foot bass

Dan Erlewine: Hey, Frank.

Frank McDermott: How's it going, Dan? [on-screen text reads: Dan Erlewine Guitar Repairman, Author]

Dan Erlewine: Good. What the heck?

Frank McDermott: Got a real oddball here. I've never sold one of these before.

Dan Erlewine: What is it, like a Ted Nugent machine gun guitar or something?

Frank McDermott: Looks like it. But, nah.

Dan Erlewine: I know.

Frank McDermott: Mike Miller Foot Bass. It's actually a bass that you play with your foot.

Dan Erlewine: Gawd. Get out.

Frank McDermott: We'll put it down here and do a quick bluegrass demonstration.

Dan Erlewine: The way you play guitar, you could have a one-man band right out on the street.

Frank McDermott: Absolutely. [on-screen text reads: Ohio builder Mike Miller patented this in 1973]

Trick for fixing knobs that turn crooked

Rajhara: What's up, Dan?

Dan Erlewine: Just visiting. What are you up to?

Rajhara: Oh, I've got a Les Paul Money Bass up here. [on-screen text reads: Rajhara Blue Eagle Setup Tech]

Dan Erlewine: What are you doing?

Rajhara: This guy brought it in, said he doesn't like the original knobs because his fingers slip off, and he wants me to replace them.

Dan Erlewine: Yeah. I never liked those either.

Rajhara: So he brought me these flat-top knobs [on-screen text reads: P-51 Knob Puller - stewmac.com]. But the problem is that the hole's too big for the shaft. So when you put it on there, it turns crooked.

Dan Erlewine: Yep. I think we have some of these that look like that with a smaller hole that might fit this down at StewMac.

Rajhara: Well, he just wanted a cheap fix, and I already figured out how to do it.

Dan Erlewine: You already did?

Rajhara: Mm-hmm.

Dan Erlewine: What is it?

Rajhara: You want to see?

Dan Erlewine: Yeah.

Rajhara: So the problem is that this is put in here with a set screw, unlike this original one that just pushes on there. You could take this, and you could spread it apart, so it's big enough to fit there in that hole, but you could break your pot doing that.

Dan Erlewine: I know. I've done it. You can never get this tight because the hole's too big, so if you tighten it, it's never going to be straight. It's going to pull off-center and always turn like that.

Rajhara: Well, I think I found a fix, and it worked really well on this one, but I'm not sure if it's right.

Dan Erlewine: There is no right for something like this.

Rajhara: So I found a pick that's just the right size for this. I'm just going to take it and cut it down [on-screen text reads: StewMac Fret Cutter - stewmac.com]. Get it nice and square. Just put it right in that crack.

Dan Erlewine: Oh, cool. I get it.

Rajhara: Just going to take these pliers and tighten this up a little bit. It's not going to break because I've got that pick wedged in there. Take my little piece of straw. Put it right over the pot. Put that on there. Tighten up the screw [on-screen text reads: Guitar Tech Screwdriver Set - stewmac.com].

Dan Erlewine: This is the perfect quick and dirty music store fix that you do all day long.

Rajhara: No more wobble.

Dan Erlewine: She's a winner, Frank.

Frank McDermott: Yeah.

[Dan and Frank playing the foot bass and Mandoline]

Dan Erlewine: I want it.



Dan Erlewine

Guitar Repairman and Builder

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