We’re into week 2 of our focus for the month, Spring Cleaning & Replacing, and in this week's blog we’re tackling the tasks of repairing, replacing and cleaning, head on. Repairing and cleaning your equipment is a vital process to undertake to make sure your equipment doesn’t just work as intended, but also to make sure it lasts.
So, without further delay, let’s dive in!
Repairing, Over Replacing
We’ve spoken before on this blog about the many wonders of soldering irons, but if you’ve still not pulled the trigger on buying one and learning, then take this as a sign. Soldering is a super easy skill to learn the basics of, and comes in way more handily then one might think. Not only does it allow me the chance to repair my cables when they break before I look to buy a new one, but I can use a soldering iron to replace pick-ups in a guitar, change the speakers in a guitar cabinet, or if I was confident and had the time I could even create my own pedals!
This week in the JZ Mics Members Area community the topic of the most expensive investments to start off any studio have given some surprising results, but the ones I expected to make an appearance were cables, room treatment, and mic stands. But what surprised me more was that more people hadn’t considered making their own room treatment (it’s incredibly easy to learn how to) or people who had been replacing a cable each time it broke rather than fixing it themselves.
If you’re unsure where to start in the work of soldering, or you missed the last blog where we went into more detail about it, then here’s a video below to get you started, and if you click here, I’ve also found my soldering iron I personally use for everything I need to repair:
Maintaining and Donating
A crucial undertaking for all of us, is maintaining our equipment or instruments properly, to make sure that when we use them they work as intended. Unfortunately, many of the bands I’ve worked with in the past don’t have the same outlook, and it’s clear to see on their own instruments that they bring in to record with, which inevitably require a decent amount of work to make sure they can be used properly before recording anything at all.
Simple things such as, having cleaning solutions that aren’t abrasive, solutions to maintain gold or metal connections in general, microfibre cloths, guitar oils and cleaning supplies for various finishes, etc. are all easy to get a hold of and even easier to get in the habit of using. My personal preferred brand for many studio cleaning products is Goby Labs from Hosa Pro Audio - they have a range of various solutions I use on an almost daily basis to make sure my equipment lasts a lifetime, but there’s many other brands that do a great job too such as Dunlop or D’Addario. The main thing is just making sure you have a good supply on hand for any situation and general maintenance when you come to need them.
These are some of the basic cleaning solutions Goby Labs have to offer, however there's many more that a incredibly useful too.
Lastly, I wanted to touch on when you inevitably replace old or non-working equipment, or simply decide it doesn’t get as much use as you once got out of it. It’s a natural part for any musician to upgrade or buy a new instrument, or an engineer to move onto preferred methods of working (such as using more plugins than outboard gear), but then those pieces of equipment are often sold or kept in storage only to collect dust for years. When I found myself in that situation a few years ago, I remembered how difficult it was for me to learn when starting out, and although the college I was attending at the time had some good outboard, we weren’t really taught how to use it.
There’s many up and coming engineers and producers out there that would jump at the opportunity to take old or unwanted studio gear off of someone else's hands, even the things you don’t think would sell for much - which is an even more prudent reason to donate those things instead! Next time you find yourself in such a position, post into a forum or on your local musicians marketplace online and find someone you think will give new life to the things you no longer need. I assure you from being that person back when I was 19, and asking if people had anything they were willing to donate any equipment, that it could end up starting someone down a career path they never expected, just like me.