October 21, 2020


Book an Hourly Appointment Now!

210 Click here to book an appointment in one of our hourly rehearsal studios.

All hourly practice studios include:

-A full backline (includes a drum kit, 2 guitar amps, a bass amp, a keyboard amp, speakers, a mixer, and mics)
-Custom acoustic treatment in every room
-Instrument rental (guitars, basses, keyboards, and others)
-1/4″ & XLR cables in every room

Rates start at $5/hr per person – Solo & Student Discounted Rates Available!

To take a look at all of our hourly rehearsal studios, click here!

Book a Premium Rehearsal in Our Showcase Room

Showcase RoomThe Showcase Room at Music Garage is the most premier rehearsal room in Chicago. The custom sound treatments, secluded location, high-quality gear, and renowned staff make it the perfect rehearsal room for touring artists.

The showcase room is the perfect studio for artists who require the ultimate in performance, comfort, security and service. Our beautiful 1,000 sq foot, tuned room with 350 sq foot attached control room is the best rehearsal space to tune up for a show or get ready for your next big tour. We accommodate for anything from 4 hour rehearsals to multi-day lockouts. We can also provide an engineer to dial in your mix and get your rehearsal started right! For more detailed information and photos, click here.

In addition to all usual building amenities, (24/7 access, easy  load in, premium security, freight elevators, close location to downtown) the showcase room provides the following to create a truly beautiful work environment:

-Private security keyed elevator accessibility
-A multitude of backline package options
-Custom-tuned 1,000 square ft live room with wood walls and high ceilings
-Adjoining 350 square ft custom tuned control room also available, at no additional cost
-200 amp 3-phase Camlock service in both the Showcase and control room. For conventional power there are approximately 50 , 20 amp 110 outlets in the Showcase room.
-Experienced and professional staff – We’ll work with you to make sure all your sound and lighting needs are met
-Additional rooms available for production, catering, lounge, tech and storage
-Private off-street bus parking

To inquire about availability and pricing, give us at a call at (312) 997-1972 or email JIM@musicgarage.com.

Book a Tour of Our Monthly Studios

Engineering Suite 506Music Garage monthly studios are the best place for your band, recording studio or business. Each room includes custom sound treatments and can be customized for each tenant, depending on his or her needs.

Each room features “room in room” construction with 16″ triple-drywall layered floating walls engineered to minimize sonic bleed, heavy duty Mul-T-Loc deadbolts, free internet, more than 28 outlets on 8 circuits of clean 120v/100 amp power (no RF interference or power surges), central heat and air conditioning, 24/7 access, 2 full service freight elevators (available 24 hours a day), loading dock and carts available for easy load-in and load-out, and much more!

Monthly tenants also have access to our gear for rental (in- and out of-house) and hourly studios, both at a discounted rate.

To see the quality of these rooms for yourself, click here for a FREE tour.

JUST ANNOUNCED: We’ve added an 11th Hourly Room!

We’ve Added A New Rehearsal Room Specific to Hard Rock and Metal Clients


We’ve just completed the construction of a new hourly rehearsal studio. The custom space was designed, configured, and built for artists who specialize in loud and aggressive music.

“Room 210, our new room, is 300 square feet and was created exclusively for bands that crank their music up to 11 and beyond,” says Jim Gifford, (Showcase Room Manager). “It’s a well-tuned and well-equipped space that allows heavy-hitting bands to spend less time trying to get their sound right so they can spend all their time perfecting their songs and arrangements, and preparing for their live performances.”

Room 210’s gear, which was chosen for its quality, popularity, and appeal to metal and hard rock acts, includes:

 dual high gain half stacks (guitars)

 8 x 10 full stack for (bass)

 Yamaha drum kit with Paiste cymbals, a 6 1/2″ deep Tama steel shell snare, and an Axis double bass pedal

 PA system featuring 1000 watt JBL 15″ speakers and a DBX compressor

 acoustic treatments that offer a controlled yet lively sound, providing plenty of high end and lots of bass with good definition.

Artists who would like more information about Room 210 should contact Gifford at 312-656-9558.


Featured Interview with Jim Gifford


While it may be easy to gather your friends and start jamming in your basement, there are a lot of actions that need to be taken when forming a band. Without talking about everyone’s level of seriousness or how to handle the expenses, you might be vulnerable to losing members along the way.

With 38 years of drumming experience, Music Garage’s own Showcase Room manager Jim Gifford is a founder of multiple bands. In addition to talking about the changing lineups in his numerous musical projects, Jim shares his advice on how to build your band on solid ground as well as where to turn if you need to find a new member for your group.

One of Jim’s biggest points about forming a band is that it is like forming a business. You need to decide if you’re playing shows just to have fun or if you want to make this a long-lasting profitable venture. It’s important to have an active conversation about the expectations you have for your band right up front. “Make sure everybody agrees on the purpose of the band,” says Gifford. “Whether it’s fun or money or girls, have a common purpose and common level of dedication.” By discussing your goals and dedicating time to work together, you are increasing the permanence of your lineup and setting the tone for your band to succeed.

When getting the band together, talking about money and ownership is crucial. “Whatever your goals are in starting something, you should always treat it like a business in the terms of who owns what and who gets what, or when the money doesn’t roll in, who pays for what.” To prevent any rifts over finances, keep track of who is paying for the assets of your band. From printing flyers and ordering merchandise to buying gear or a van, you’re making an investment in your band when paying for these items. The members who invest in the band stake their ownership in the project. “The ownership situation is based on who is actually invested in the band and who gets to decide what happens,” says Gifford. Even if you’re just looking to jam, every band should discuss the money situation. “The bands that are formed for fun should still be looked at as a business. In the event that things go well and you make money, everyone knows who is responsible for what.”

Gifford also talked about his experiences with lineup changes throughout his musical career. He has been playing in bands since 1996 when he formed the Jim Gifford Trio. He remains the constant member of the group but if another member’s schedule gets too busy, they can always bring someone new into the mix to play a show. Jim also drums for Chicago Soul Revue, who you might have seen perform at our monthly artist showcase at Double Door in September. The other two constant members of the Motown music group are vocalist Felicia Patton and Tom Ogunribido on bass guitar while the rest of the large lineup is made up of the horns and rhythm sections. “[The band] can be anywhere from nine to twelve people depending on the venue. If any other member can’t do it, we have subs for them.”

Jim also plays in a jazz-fusion band Polcat, one of his favorite things. They recently experienced a change in the lineup when their bassist Sean O’Bryan Smith stepped down from the band to focus on his work in another field. Gifford shared that networking within the members’ musical contacts was key in looking for the person who would replace Smith. “Someone in the group knows someone who has played with the people involved before. This guy is a great player who fits well musically and personally.” These characteristics were very important to the members of Polcat when considering a new band member. “Everyone has their own reputations and careers, so the addition of the new guy has more of an impact.”

By working with someone that has a mutual connection within the band, you can gain firsthand knowledge about their track record and how well they work through the relationship they have with the mutual link. “Talk to people that you have a connection to because ultimately how well they play and how well they fit into the culture of the band are two of the most important things,” says Gifford. “It’s much easier to know these things from people who can vouch for them and you’re less likely to be surprised.” Jim highly recommends using your network to fill any replacements. “Work the friends network; talk to friends of friends. Personal relationships are by far the most valuable thing you can have in this industry.”

If you’re starting your adventure as a new band or tweaking your lineup with a new member, make sure to discuss the basics during every step of the way. Determine the reasons why you’re getting together in the first place. Treat your band as a serious business and work with all of your members to contribute financially to the band. If you’re working hard and investing in the band, there’s a better chance you’ll end up playing album anniversary shows instead of farewell shows.

The Show Must Go On: Tips for Replacing a Band Member


Being in a band is like being in a committed relationship. There are breakups and there are make-ups but when a member is truly ready for a divorce it can leave you hanging and in need of a new member. Once you exhaust your contact list of friends and family members looking to live the rockstar lifestyle, the task of finding someone becomes increasingly difficult. Where do you even start? Lucky for you, we came up with a (nearly) foolproof list of ways to find a perfect musical match.

A tried and true method is first putting an ad on craigslist or for the truly old-school, an ad in the paper. Pay a few dollars and you can have an ad in any local paper, but with the risk of little to no one responding. Nevertheless, this has been a method for many simply because it’s very straightforward. For the slightly more technologically advanced, put your ad online to increase its reach. Places like Craigslist and Bandmix act as virtual classifieds section that are no fuss and straight to the point. It will be a waiting game, but you can do it from the comfort of your own couch. In the mean time you should be…

Working within your extended music network. You’ve likely already made many connections within your music community or know some seasoned veterans who would be willing to connect you with the right people. The music world is a revolving door of people constantly leaving and entering for various reasons and you will run across many of them. So keep good karma and don’t burn any proverbial bridges because you never know who will be willing to help a brother out in a time of need. Chance are there’s something looking to start fresh or get out of their current gig. Which leads to our next point.

Find someone who is unhappy with their current situation. This approach could be for the bold, as convincing someone to jump ship from their current group may not come off very well. It’s easier, however, to extend the offer to a friend or acquaintance who you suspect is looking to enter a better situation. Whether it be artistic differences or clashing personalities, this is bound to be the case for many artists. You never know, that act of sticking your neck out could lead to an awesome long term member for your band. What we’re getting at here is that you’ll never know unless you ask! Even your mother could tell you that. To make this happen you should…

Start frequenting places like your favorite music store, rehearsal space or the local open mic night. Keep your eyes and ears on high alert. It’s acting as your own reconnaissance mission, checking out the talent before you have to muster up the courage to approach them blindly. This also mitigates the chances of putting up an ad and having the response be from someone too inexperienced or just plain crazy. You never know what kind of talent will show up while you’re rehearsing with your newly fractured group. Invite them to a short jam session and you have a built in audition without all the hassle. Mind you this involves more risk and intuition, but while you’re there…

Check out the community board. It’s difficult to think of any business that doesn’t have one of these posted up on a wall somewhere. It may be a waiting game, much like posting an ad online, but it gets more directly to the source. Places like music rehearsals spaces and music stores get a lot of foot traffic, generally from the kind of people who are active musicians. So it’s a safe bet that there are plenty of talented and dedicated musicians looking at your ad. This also gives you a good, neutral place to set up a meeting or audition, without having to give out too much personal information. The music garage encourages people to post on our bulletin board and has a space in the newsletter dedicated to musicians seeking members because we know how difficult it can be to reach the right audience!

There’s a good chance that you reading this article all the way through means you’re looking for a new addition to your music family. If you’d like a shout out in our newsletter, send an email over to elisen@musicgarage.com.

Music History Lesson: Famous Fractured Bands

Pink Floyd

Starting on any musical endeavor is a leap of faith. Some are in it to simply have a good time, while others are committed to make it to the big leagues. But what happens when some members aren’t in for better and for worse?

Throughout music history, groups have gone through the natural ebb and flow of fame and fortune, often losing members along the way. It’s a situation we see time and time again, whether it happens through tragedy, substance abuse, conflicts of interest or simply movement on to solo careers. Here we’ll take a look back at a few of many groups that have faced this dilemma:

One of the most recognizable dissolutions of a band, if tragic, was with Lynyrd Skynyrd. In 1977, the band lost three of its core members, Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines, and backing vocalist Cassie Gaines after their plane crashed just three days after the release of their latest album at the time, Street Survivors. The group disbanded after the tragedy, until 1987, when they returned for a full-scale tour with five of the original members, Gary Rossington, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson and Artimus Pyle, as well as guitarist Ed King, who had left the band before the crash. Ronnie Van Zant’s younger brother, Johnny, took over as the new lead singer and primary songwriter. The group has since lost several original members, but still continues to perform with Gary Rossington, as well as Johnny Van Zant.

More recently, Paramore dealt with a messy breakup from two of its founding members. In 2010, the group announced the exit of the Farro brothers, then guitarist Josh and drummer Zac, following the release of their album Brand New Eyes. This had come after months of speculation that the brothers would eventually leave the group. The split became heated after Josh made many accusations toward front woman, Hayley Williams, including a blog post where he stated that the band members had “always been treated as less important” than Williams. The brothers have since tried to patch up their relationship with their former band, saying they were still proud to be a part of the group. Paramore continues to tour with Hayley Williams at the helm as well as bassist Jeremy Davis and guitarist Taylor York.

Having a careers spanning decades, you would expect a band like Pink Floyd to have run the gamut when it comes to band dynamics. Aside from Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Richard Wright all started out studying architecture together at London’s Regent Street Polytechnic School. After gaining popularity and honing their signature psychedelic sound performing in London’s underground scene, they released two charting singles and a successful debut album. David Gilmour joined as a fifth member in December 1967 and Barrett left the band in April 1968 due to deteriorating mental health from drug abuse. Waters then became the band’s primary lyricist and songwriter, for albums like The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here. Wright left the group in 1979, followed by Waters in 1985, wanting to go in different creative directions and saying the group was a “spent force”. This left Gilmour and Mason as the only members of Pink Floyd. Former members Syd Barrett and Richard Wright have since passed and the group recently announced the release of their 15th studio album Endless River, without the help of Roger Waters.

There are countless examples that are lessons in themselves for all musicians, showing us how truly difficult it is to stay dedicated to a band, especially when dealing with adversity, ego, artistic temperaments and an ever changing music scene. Keeping a collective ambitious attitude, being unwilling to fail and having a love of the music are likely a few reasons these groups have been able to continue on through the years. Not everyone makes it through, but when you have something good going, you should do anything to make it last.

Tips For Making It On The Road

By: Kristi Agne

● PLAN AHEAD! Do the math. Estimate how much the cost of gas, food expenses, and sleeping arrangements will be. You don’t want to be stuck hoping you make enough money from a gig so you can eat a burger off of the McDonald’s $1 menu or need to pass a jar to get gas money home. Work out a budget with your band and how expenses will be divided among members.

● Rent a van! You don’t need to try and cram yourselves into that old, rusty mini-van your mom used to drive you around in.

● Hotels aren’t necessary. If you plan your sleeping arrangements ahead of time, you’ll save yourself a lot of money and a lot of last-minute stressing.

  •  BetterThanThe Van is a site that connects bands with “hosts”- nice people who live in the town you’ll be playing in that will let you sleep on their couch for free!
  • CouchSurfing is a social network for travelers similar to BTTV, but not specifically aimed at bands. Another free option.
  • AirBnB, though it costs you some money, is often times cheaper than a hotel or even a motel. People list out rooms in their homes for nights and single-week long rentals. If you’re lucky it might be a whole place to yourself. Cost depends on the owner, but this is another friendly option.
  • Got a lot of followers on social media? Use it to your advantage! Hit up your fans on social media and find those who are willing to let you crash at their place for the night.

● Create a driving schedule. Having someone drive who is too tired, or intoxicated is never safe and accidents can easily be avoided with responsibility. Depending on how long the tour is or how far away dates are, split up driving hours amongst members. Set specific day shifts and night shifts to make it fair for everyone.

● If you have merch sell it! And use the money wisely. This could be used towards “emergency funds”, or gas, food, etc. but don’t count on this to pay your way. You don’t want to be one t-shirt sale short of the cost of a room! Decide how profits will be used and stick to it.

● You never know when something outrageous will happen. Flat tires, engine trouble, even van break-ins are all things that have happened before. Be prepared. Do some research and make a list of car-repair services for each date, have an emergency fund, and also make a list of emergency care centers or hospitals. People get sick, accidents happen, you don’t want to be scrambling to find out where to take someone who needs help.

● Speaking of break-ins, help prevent this by keeping your stuff secure. If you’re leaving your gear in your van or trailer, try to back up/park against walls so it is harder to open the back door. If you have another car, use that to block it in. Keep your windows covered at night so no one can see what you might have in there. Park where it’s well lit. If you really want to, give someone “night guard” duty. Have a member or two stay in the van for the night. Your vehicle is less likely to be broken into if someone is inside of it.

Don’t Try This At Home!: Featured Interview with David Taylor

By: Jasmine McFarlane

I sat down with Music Garage guitar tech David Taylor to get a better idea of his take on repairing instruments, some general tips for keeping your instruments in the best condition and to hear some disaster stories that he has encountered while touring.

The first question that many artists ask when it comes to repairing instruments is who should they take their guitar to? You basically have two options. Either take it to a professional guitar tech like David or learn to do it yourself. Both are doable, however, David told us why bringing it to a professional is the better option.. It boils down to two main things:

1. The experience techs have
2. The right tools for the job

David Taylor started guitar repairs professionally when he was trained by a master luthier. He spent 5+ years working with him, seeing a wide range of unique instruments, and learned firsthand through watching, learning and doing

When David first started out repairing instruments diagnosis was, “this feels weird” without knowing why it felt that way. However, through years of practice and working with musicians closely, David now can say exactly why it feels weird , isolate the reason and fix the problem.. As he says it, “it’s converting a feeling or sound into something tangible that I can adjust.”

The Right Tools
So…the tools used are important huh? Indeed! The tools that techs use play a big role in the quality of the repair. For instance, having acquired a high end tuner David can listen to an instrument more specifically than an iPhone app or a tuner that you can buy at a store for $12. The use of a ruler designed specifically to fit in certain spots on the guitar and make certain measurements allows the precise repairs necessary for the best sound. As well as tools themselves, subtle things like the right thickness or thinness of super glue used to glue on a nut is also another of the nuanced things that most people ignore.. After years of getting his hands covered with glue, he has learned that little things like this do, in fact, make a difference.

Lastly, bringing your instrument to a professional also saves time and frustration. It might take the average person a couple of hours to figure out what to do and then get it done. For someone with David’s expertise, it could take only 30 minutes because he’s been there before..

Emergencies on the Road— David’s Got You Covered!
David Taylor is on call so he’s definitely willing and able to help out touring groups that come in with whatever instrument repair and questions they may have.

“If someone is in town at 10 pm and something breaks down, it might be late, but we can figure out something f they call me and leave the instrument at Music Garage, I will tell them I will have it done at a specific time and they should be set.

Don’t Make These Common Mistakes
After talking with David Taylor, I was curious to find out if there are common mistakes that people make when handling their instruments. What I found was very interesting and beneficial for artists to know about.

1. Restringing problems. Just go to the internet, watch a video, or go to a Music Garage event and watch a demonstration. Be patient and make sure to give yourself time.

2. Don’t leave guitars in cars or trunks! Why? Well, there’s always the risk that someone may steal it and that’s never a fun thing. Secondly, the heat in your car acts as a greenhouse effect which does a lot of bad things to a guitar…things you don’t think about!

3. On tour? Think ahead at what you can do with your equipment to keep it safe. Take it in your hotel room, leave it in a secure spot at the venue, or bring it along with you. Just don’t drink too much that you forget it somewhere!

4. Guitar placement. Myth or not, if you lean your guitar against your amp or put it on top of your amp, there’s this thought since your pickups are magnets and speakers have magnets in them, that the speaker from your amp can affect the sound of your pickup.

“I haven’t totally experienced it but people that I trust tell me about it. The larger magnet will mess up the smaller one. I’ve had people come in with things needing to be demagnetized so it makes a lot of sense.” The best advice for this is to simply bring a stand. It reduces the chances of your guitar falling down and getting ruined.

Disaster Story

If you think these only happen in movies, think again. Things happen all the time and always at THE worst possible times. However, you just gotta keep truckin’ along! If you want to hear about a disaster story that David experienced keep on reading!

“I’ve had some pedal emergencies at the worst possible times. I was doing Carrie the Musical by Stephen King and you know, musicals are very specific. This note has to happen at this time with this sound and volume. If your pedal isn’t dialed in at the right time, people who have seen the show before will notice something is different. So I had a tour and it was a tender moment, I had 4 pedals, guitar and an amp. It started making this loud humming noise which is distracting the audience, the people delivering dialogue on the stage, the music director is yelling at me so I starting going through what it could be but it could be 15 different things. So, mid song I’m shifting things around and I found a way to get through the show and then eventually spent a day testing everything. Found out that the tuning pedal wasn’t grounding to the cord and there was a loose bolt. It wasn’t making a connection and if it’s shorted the wrong way, it will go to your amp…was something with that. Works well now!”