Making a Stomp Box

My son and I went to the Great Btritish Guitar Show yesterday.

It was great to see so many people trying to sell me stuff, and show off their new toys. Not to say that there weren’t more than a few real gems.

Pride of the show must be Line 6 and their Variax guitars. The guy demonstrating it was a bit legendary to begin with, but to witness him totally fail to press anything on the floor and do everything on the guitar was unnerving. The banjo sound is scarily appropriate to Deliverance. My son was impressed.

Another lovely find was the stand from Chickenbone John cigar box guitars. They showed me their wares, including some genuinely excellent three string efforts in open tuning.

We were both impressed with the stomp boxes, and I’d read somewhere you could build one with a cheap piezo pickup, a wooden box and a jack socket.

We picked up some things from Maplin, and set to work. It was a spectacular failure, due in part to my inability to work out the mechanics involved. The wood wasn’t the right sort of flexibility and dimensions. In addition, I have the horrible feeling I have purchased the wrong type of piezo device.

The great thing is, my son reckons we’ve had proper success. He loved the sound coming out of my keyboard amp when I tried to wrestle the pickup off the plank while it was still live, and the grinding noise of my teeth as I tried to make this thing work. It simply wouldn’t do the stomp thing.

Even with the gain up and run through a pre-amp, there was no dice.

So I’ve wasted £5 on bits, and about half an hour of my own sanity, but he thinks it’s been great and we’ve spent time together trying to achieve something.

In fact, that must be yesterday’s headline. Father spends time with son, builds a stompbox. In true tabloid fashion, we don’t need to report the success rate of the stompbox. Truly, doing it was the thing.

Today’s lesson is in this post.


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