I finally finished my Stick amp. I took it with me to the Interlochen Chapman Stick Workshop, but it was clear very quickly that something was wrong with it. I had to finish it in a hurry before we left and I had wired up something wrong. It had no power and made horrible noises if it was turned up very high. I knew it would be a quick fix if I could only open it up and do it! I hadn’t brought any tools so I had to just wait until I got home. For the technically inclined here’s what was wrong. The woofers have dual voice coils and each voice coil is 8 ohms. I had to wire them together in a series/parallel configuration that had to end up being 8 ohms. I had accidentally wired them at 2 ohms. Grr…
I was disappointed that I couldn’t get any feedback from all the Stick players there. There was nothing to be done so I just played it very softly during the workshop sessions so I could just hear what I was doing. Once fixed it sounds really good! I’m actually surprised at how well it turned out. I started building it during Spring Break and finished during Summer Break. Here’s a front view of the amp. (You can click on the images for a larger view.)
Here’s another view showing the top cavity that holds my Alesis mixer. The mixer can also be removed when I don’t need it in the amp.
The drivers are high-quality parts I had lying around. This was a budget project and I used as many parts as I could that I already had. The drivers are not instrument speakers, rather they are more like studio monitor quality. I used two of each to increase the power handling of the amp.
Here is the rear view showing the back of the mixer, the twin tuned ports, and the power amp. The power amp is a bi-amped unit with a built-in electronic crossover at 3,500 Hz. It only totals about 60 watts, but is loud enough for my purposes. I can also use the amp as the high end of a tri-amped rig and then 60 watts is plenty.
The finish was an experiment, as usual for me. I don’t like wood stains as they kill the luster of wood. I have used wood dyes on furniture when I did that for a living. I wanted a dark amp so I decided to try a black dye on this amp. The wood is Baltic Birch plywood and is very light in color. The dye went on evenly and the hand-rubbed poly varnish finish on top of it looks great. The birch still glows like real wood, it’s just black with the grain showing. Here’s a closeup where you can see the finish better.
I also wanted to experiment with box joints with Baltic Birch plywood. I had to make a heavy duty jig with a very fine adjustment. Once I had the jig it worked great. I think the joints look great after being rounded, dyed, and varnished. Here what they look like.
The amp weighs 32 pounds so it is not a lightweight. I don’t mind since it is a very handy shape and sounds so good. It is nice and compact. Here’s a picture of it with my Chapman Stick. I got the Stick last December.
Since I had setup to take pictures of the amp I thought I should get some more of my Stick. This is a great instrument and I’m having a blast with it. It’s made out of bamboo and has 12 strings. The pickup is the classic old Stickup which has one fabulous sound.
Here’s a closeup of the head and the amp together.
Here’s a picture of it by itself.
And here’s one final picture of the head of my Stick. I really like the color of the dark bamboo.
This was a fun build and I’m really looking forward to my next one.