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How to Soundproof a Basement Practically for Free: A DIY Guide

Screencap via YouTube

Suburban basements underneath single-family homes are the natural habitat of rehearsing bands. Most of us have paid our dues in basement practice spaces and are familiar with the hazards of this situation: standing water on the floor, warping guitar necks, spiderwebs in your hair, and heartfelt acoustic numbers ruined by a loud furnace kicking on across the room. But the worst thing about practicing in basements must surely be noise complaints by frustrated neighbors. If you’re lucky, they’ll bang on your door to complain, but some just go straight to phoning the police.

Fortunately, there’s an easy and cheap way to soundproof that basement, and it can be done in an afternoon. Even better, this method can isolate you from loud mechanics like that rattling boiler and improve your acoustics at the same time. You might even be able record a demo without meeting any of your town’s finest.

Soldering 101 for Musicians

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In the coming weeks, we're going to be talking about some cool custom modifications and projects you can do for your studio or live rig. Some of these projects will include some basic soldering, so what better place to start than at the very beginning?

For many musicians, the idea of talking a soldering iron to your equipment seems daunting, but I assure you it's nowhere near as difficult as it sounds. If you have some patience, common sense, and a set of steady-ish hands, this can be a great way to save yourself a ton of money in the long run, and get exactly what you're looking for our of your gear.

Let's start with what you're going to need for a basic soldering setup.

How to Soundproof Your Home Studio or Rehearsal Space Like a Pro

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While this is a topic that's often covered by many online music resources aimed at the DIY crowd, there's a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding floating around on this topic. And like most of my articles, I'll try to minimize the amount of eye-glazing physics involved, but the reason that there's so much confusion regarding this topic is that it's actually quite a complex concept to tackle.

First, let's get one thing out of the way: abandon all hope here of building a truly 100 percent soundproof room. Unless you're working for an Ivy League physics department, you lack the budget and resources to even attempt to tackle this task. You also probably wouldn't be reading my article on soundproofing principles. Don't despair, though – we can do a really great job at keeping sound in (or out) despite being not absolutely soundproof.

Are You an Independent Musician by Choice or Out of Necessity?

DIY artist? Better get familiar with your ride and really familiar with a roll of duct tape. (Image via

It's a very exciting time to be a musician. The music industry model that has existed since the beginning of recorded music is in the process of being turned on its head, and the whole business is in a state of flux. There's a lot of uncertainty as to what the music industry of the future will look like, and that uncertainty has left a lot of room for creativity and innovation.

The most evident and visible change is the rise of the independent musician, the DIY artist that runs a small business and exists within a rising musical middle class. The power of the internet and other technology has allowed independent artists to not only distribute their music worldwide with a single click, but also educate themselves on everything from marketing and business to home recording. These days, you'll frequently run into bands that fundraise thousands of dollars, self-record an album, book a tour, and run all of the promo, marketing, and physical distribution from the road with a laptop.

Features, diy

Oct 29, 2014 12:30 PM

Bobby Moore

3 Tips on Making it Big Without Sacrificing Your DIY Spirit

The Black Lips return to their roots with an invite-only show at the tiny 529 Club in Atlanta. (Photo by Bobby Moore)

While many underground acts are content to live solely by DIY means, like playing house shows or releasing records on tiny labels (or self-releasing their music altogether), some have larger goals. But will playing larger clubs, having a publicist and booking agent, and signing to an independent label with wide-reaching distribution rekindle the old debate over what constitutes "selling out"? It shouldn't – if the band is unwavering about their goals and remembers their underground beginnings. The following three tips are for DIY musicians who have dreams of reaching a wider audience, but don't want to forget who they are or where they came from.