From Music Think Tank
Garages make the perfect jam room. If you’ve got a garage that’s leading a boring life, home to the second fridge and unloved folding chairs, it’s time for a transformation. That extra space is potential, waiting for you to make the most of it.
Converting your garage into the perfect practice space for you and your bandmates to jam out is simpler than you might think. With a little determination, you can do the job yourself in a few days and have a space that’ll make you and your neighbors much happier than when you used to play in the backyard.
Make a Plan
You wouldn’t jump into a remodeling project without a plan for what you want to accomplish long-term. Nor should you decide to convert your garage into a rehearsal space piecemeal. If you’re going to create a usable space, you need to think ahead.
Add Sound Insulation
To keep your neighbors from calling the cops and allow for accurate sound, you’ll need to sound-deaden the entire room as best you can. That means eliminating hard surfaces and “leaks,” such as windows, that can let external noises in.
There’s no hard-and-fast rule to the type of sound you want from a room, so you’ve got some options as far as how much insulation you add. Typically, more is better and produces a more defined sound. However, if you want to emphasize the double bass backing your metal show, it might benefit you to leave some sound-reflective hard flooring in place.
Stage the Band
Most musical outfits have at least three members, each with an instrument of some sort. Of course, you might be like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and have a lead singer who doesn’t play, but they’ll still need plenty of room to move.
Identifying where in the space you want to perform will help you shape the sound and accommodate for things like power. Many bands like to have soft carpet squares or other insulation to play on. The powerstrip you use for your gaming computer might not cut it in this application, and the last thing you want is a fire hazard, so it’s smart to consider where you might run an extension cord to provide adequate power. A fire extinguisher is always excellent to have on hand, too. When you’ve got that much power going to an electric guitar or bass amp, you should be on the safe side.
Consider whether your practice space will double as equipment storage. There is the problem of moisture, which we touched on earlier, and also security. If you’ll be leaving several thousands of dollars worth of drums, amps and other equipment in that space, you don’t want it stolen. Consider installing some locks and a surveillance system. You could even take out insurance on your musical equipment if it’s of significant value.
Complement your sitting space with a table, so you can make notes as a group. A mini-fridge in a place where it won’t ruin sound too much is a great addition that’ll let you stash a few jam-session beers and some leftover pizza so you can fuel a long night of dedicated practice on your journey to future stardom.
Finally, make it home. Put that over-the-top Pantera poster your spouse doesn’t want in the main house up on the wall. Gather some memorabilia from your favorite bands and musical figures. Have a picture from your latest gig? Why not stick it to the fridge and show off a little? You should feel proud to be in this space, and excited about where your musical career is going. Nowhere is that more appropriate than in your jam room.