DIY Piezo Stompboxes

Written by anthony crowley
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DIY Piezo Stompboxes
A stomp box is used to add percussion to musical performances. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

A Piezo stomp box is a simple, enjoyable way to add rhythm to solo music performances. The Piezo pickup acts like a microphone inside the stomp box, amplifying the rhythm and producing a sound that is surprisingly loud and rich. The simplest type is a wedge-shaped box with a sloped top, requiring nothing more difficult than a foot-tapping motion to play. For a fuller, louder sound, you may opt for a full, box-shaped stomp box operated with a bass drum pedal.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Plywood
  • Measuring tape
  • Saw or jigsaw
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Pine or softwood, thin lengths
  • Hammer
  • Small wood pins
  • Drill
  • 3/8-inch drill bit
  • 1/4-inch audio socket
  • Adjustable spanner wrench
  • Piezo pickup
  • Tape
  • Guitar amplifier with 1/4-inch audio cable
  • Wood screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Carpet
  • Scissors
  • Bass drum pedal (optional)

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  1. 1

    Cut plywood to the desired stomp box dimensions. A large box produces a loud, deep sound with high levels of reverberation (reverb). A small box produces a higher tone with lower levels of reverb and volume.

  2. 2

    Construct the box using wood glue and clamps to keep it together as you work. Keep the bottom panel of plywood to one side to have access to the inside of the stomp box to solder a Piezo pickup later. Use thin lengths of pine or softwood to create a strengthening structure inside the box. When all the elements are in place, join them together permanently using a hammer and small wood pins.

  3. 3

    Drill a hole at the bottom of the box's back face for a 1/4-inch audio socket, using a 3/8-inch drill bit. Remove the audio socket's tightening nut, and push the audio socket through the drilled hole from the inside.

    Replace the tightening nut, and tighten it fully to hold the device in place.

  4. 4

    Mount the Piezo pickup on the inside the box's striking surface according to the pickup manufacturer's instructions. Solder the pickup's wire to the connectors on the audio jack. Tape it to the inside of the box to prevent it from making unwanted noise.

  5. 5

    Test the box by plugging it into a guitar amplifier with a 1/4-inch audio cable. When you are happy with the sound, attach the box's bottom surface to the rest of the box using wood screws so that you can easily access the electronics inside the box if you need to adjust them.

  6. 6

    Cut carpet to the same size as the box's top or front striking surface, and attach the carpet to the box using evenly spaced wood pins at the edges.

Tips and warnings

  • Experiment with the pickup's position inside the box. Changing the position produces subtle changes in tone and sound quality.
  • Carpet muffles and deepens the stomp box's sound. Carpeting only one-half of the striking surface allows you to change between a muffled and non-muffled sound.
  • Adding a sound hole to the back of a large stomp box allows the sound to carry farther.
  • You may build a stomp box from any wooden box, such as a cigar box.

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