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DIY Poor Musician's Life Hacks

If you're like me you like to be cost effective and quality efficient. To me, just because something has a big price tag, you could just be buying a giant piece of flashy garbage.

My family rips on me all the time for MoM and my innate ability to coupon and penny shop, and furthermore my semi-hoarding of artsy things that I find uses for later, such as all of the props in the Tidal Waves music video.


So. If you have a band, or in-home studio, you might not have everything up to par like a professional studio. But say you want to make demos or descent enough recordings on your own to put out an EP. Some things you may have to come up with on your own, like this first little trick that I've seen in a couple of smaller to mid-level studios myself.


Cinder Blocks|Monitor Stands

Price Range: $79 - $800

In a quick Guitar Center/ Musician's Friend search, it's quick to find out that low end monitor stands floor or desk range from $80 - $800. Don't get too stressed if you have the buck in your pocket, because this IS for the pair. The point of these stands is to limit vibration so that you can get crystal clear sound out of you playback while in the studio. No muck, or keychains or pens rattling around on your desk from a bass or random low synth patch, just clear sound.

There is a "cheap route to this, which I have seen. cinder blocks."

Price Range: $1.20 - $2.20

This diagram shows how you would model it if you would place your speakers on the floor. Ideally, the bricks dampen any sound that your monitors carry out, which is essentially the point of the stands in the first place. To dampen sound on your desk, simply place them on top your desk sideways with your monitor on top and who can beat a price tag like a buck twenty a pop?


Isolation Vocal Shield

If you've never seen an ISO shield it's basically a pop filter that goes around the entire radius of your microphone, and if you don't know what a pop filter is, and you're trying this whole "music thing out"...kill yourself.

Price Range: $65 - $1000

Now even sells one of these thing, is it going to be the best quality? I'm not really sure, what I do know is that these things keep the clutter and the muck out, like if you have that computer fan humming in the background, or you have that home studio and you keep picking up the cars driving by or someone's feet walking around upstairs, this can eliminate some of that garbage.

Now with a quick Pinterest search, there's a slew of DIY's, this one in particular caught my eye.

Price Range: $20 - $30

This takes a little ingenuity.

Things to buy:

Storage Bin: $2 - $5

Memory Foam: $10 - $20

Tools: Measuring Tape, Exacto Knife, Pencil

Step 1: Measure and cut the memory foam to fit the bin

Step 2: Spray glue all over the inside and glue down foam

Step 3: Once dried cut a small hole through the bin and foam to feed your cables through (not shown)

Get your favorite tripod desk microphone stand and you're all set. If you don't have one, you're looking at maybe another $15 at most.

In regards to if this is a better method or not, I have yet to try this out, a number of Reddit users, and users on the Pinterest feed have tried similar if not the same method and it has given descent results when in a bind, or until they've gotten the funds to afford an ISO shield, this method is up to you. Let me know if it works. (comments.)


Guitar Stand/Rack

Price Range: $50 - $250

If you've ever been cruising through your favorite guitar store and saw one of these bad boys and thought "Wow this would be bad ass for my 3-4 guitars that I own, I can display them openly now." And then glanced at the crazy price tag and thought "I'm not paying $150 for this thing." In their defense it is holding up your mahogany baby, on the other hand, it's just some cheap metal and rubber.

There is again, an alternative, for much cheaper, and again it's going to take some work on your part.

Price range: $20 - $25


20ft. 3/4 inch PVC Pipe (comes in 10 ft cut): $2.47ea.

Tools: Saw, sandpaper, measuring tape pencil/pen

When finished you should have the following pieces:

•6 pieces x 2 inches long

•2 pieces x 3 inches long

•5 pieces x 4 inches long

•8 pieces x 6 inches long

•4 pieces x 12 inches long

•4 pieces x 15.5 inches long

•1 piece x 32.25 inches long

Here is also a diagram of your PVC pieces.

Warning. Whatever the fuck you do. DON'T glue your shit down until you get EVERYTHING built. Why? Because if you fuck up one piece, you're screwed.


Pop Filter

Price Range: $15 - $100

Hey what do you know it's a pop filter, remember that thing I talked about earlier? No? Alright, moving on. Anyways, one of these things is used to strain spaghetti and you can either spend $70 - $100 for a high end one, or make a cheap one with some of grandma's sewing stuff, a cloths hanger and some panty hoes. What you think I'm kidding? Check it out.

Price Range: $5 - $10

From what I understand the DIY version is no better or worse than the cheap ones you can find on



Price Range: $10 - $75

Ever look in the music shop and wonder what that little contraption is hanging next to the guitar pics and tuners? Well it's called a capo. A little devise that transposes the entire guitar by vise gripping the neck and placing it on the strings thus so.

These things can be made in different shapes in sizes, some look like the one in the picture, while others look like a C-Clamp.

These ones can tend to be a little pricier ($35 - $40) because the spring that vises the guitar tends to wear out, whereas the one that clamps screws on and doesn't have anything pushing it back. There is another kind of capo that I just vote against all together...

JUST LOOK AT THIS THING! Holy SHIT! You might as well be using a sock at this point, and worst of all, PEOPLE ACTUALLY PAY FOR THIS SHIT! ($4.99 to be exact).

There are also other ones that are pricier than that that do cool stuff that have like built in tuners, and others even yet that section off only parts of the guitar for the more advanced player for more intricate tunings.

However, if you're in a bind, and I DO NOT EVER recommend doing this, because for fuck sake, PLEASE IF ANYTHING BUY THE $4.99 capo. Here is this sad excuse for a poor man's capo.

....are you ready for it?'s we go...

Listen....I'm not mad, I'm just impressed at the ingenuity and the "get it done hustle" that this person had to find 2 fucking pencils and a couple of hair ties. They were like "yup, this's getting tracked TODAY. I do not give a SHIT about the fret buzz here." "Fuck that 14th fret."

Please go buy one if you're that broke, or learn chord structure a different way.


-Are you guys cheap? or on a budget?

-Ever find a DIY solution in a bind? And even better like it better than your other gear?

-Do you know of any other DIY solutions?

As always:


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