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What Are the Best Tips for Making DIY Stompboxes?

By Alex Newth
Updated Feb 11, 2024
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Making do-it-yourself (DIY) stompboxes is usually simple, but there are some tips that can help builders get the perfect sound from these instruments. When builders look for wood for DIY stompboxes, they should try the wood out by stepping and stomping on it. The wood can be wrapped in materials such as wool or carpet to make different sounds. Depending on how builders will be using the stompboxes, microphone positioning can be optimized to best pick up the sound. While DIY stompboxes can be made with legs, much like a small table, a flat unit usually is easier and more versatile.

Each type of wood has a different sound, either because of how the wood is glued together or because of the wood’s grain structure. To make sure DIY stompboxes will be satisfactory after they are built, builders should test the wood before construction starts. This can be done by placing the wood on a flat surface and stomping, dancing or slamming objects on the wood, depending on how the stompboxes will be used once completed.

Another way in which builders can alter sound is by wrapping the wood in different materials. This warps the sound — usually by making it lower — and adds some durability to the DIY stompboxes. Some common materials are wool, carpeting and sheets of newspaper. Builders should use textured materials, especially if they will be dancing on the stompboxes, to provide better traction and prevent slips.

Microphones pick up and amplify sound from DIY stompboxes, and positioning them correctly can lead to the best audio. If builders are stomping or dancing directly on stompboxes, then placing a microphone on a corner is usually best, because this gives the user more room in which to move. When objects are slammed against stompboxes, the microphone usually works best in the center, because this helps it pick up the sound of the object colliding with the wood.

Some DIY stompboxes are made like little tables with legs, while others are just flat pieces of wood. While legs change the sound and may help builders achieve the perfect audio, the flat version typically is more versatile. This is because, unless the former has very strong legs, users cannot dance or step on the stompboxes without potentially cracking the wood. If builders only plan to slam objects on the stompboxes, then either version can be built, depending on which one offers the best sound for the particular builder's needs.

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