Building a Single-ended Stereo Tube Amp

My hi-fi audio line took shape after years and years of servicing musical instrument amplifiers and using these devices endlessly. To me it is simply second nature to plug into the front of an amp and reach around to the back to flip up a switch to turn it on. It’s just natural.

My speaker outputs are on the back as is my fuse holder. This allows for a straight flow of the signal path from front to back. Laying out the parts was almost automatic with two channels flanking a central ground bus. The amp is dead quiet. You can see images of finished stereo tube amp here.


Eight-foot Horn Speakers Under Construction

After the initial process of establishing a shape, the next logical step was to enlarge it by 400%! This resulted in a rather unwieldy construction going together but once the last seam was closed, the final shape was amazingly rigid. We added reinforcement layers and a quick finish for Andrew Bird’s Millennium Park Labor Day show in 2008.

This was a test run for Andrew to see how a horn this large would work on a large stage. The results were amazing. I was in the audience about 200 feet back from the stage and the sound projection was stunning. After the show Andrew ordered a pair and I had a mold made of the prototype. The original prototype was shredded to bits coming out of the mold, but the mold lives on an we are able to produce these magnificent horns for special applications. You can see images of finished horn speakers here.


Building a Solid-body Electric Uke

Well here we want to shrink things down a bit and enter the realm of soprano land. Everything is smaller in soprano land. Smaller but the tension is greater. Carbon fiber splines are used to reinforce the three piece maple necks.

Epoxy is the glue of choice here. This construction enables the structural fortitude required for steel strings on the jumping flea proportioned neck. “The Uke must feel like a Uke, not a big chunky something” the client said. A Uke is a microcosm of sorts. All of the typical appointments and geometry apply in the regular fashion, but the tolerances are so much tighter and deviations from the spec have such a greater impact on playability. Building a Uke is a perfect boot camp project. It culls the wheat from the chaff. Separates the men from the boys. Sweats the whinny off the shins. If you can build a Uke, you can build an empire. If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball. You can see images of the finished instrument here.

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