Bands don't need to practice in garages anymore.
Drummers don't have to worry about waking the neighbors.
Aspiring vocalists can stop using their hair brushes as pretend microphones.
There's a place in Bluffton that caters to musicians and singers of all ages and abilities. It's called Your Sound Stage and it was started by three Bluffton musicians who want to give the musically inclined the benefits of practicing and recording at their acoustically superior studio. The owners, who became friends through the local music scene, each bring something different to their business.
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Spike Ivory, who relocated to Bluffton from Irvington, N.J., five years ago, is a guitar player and singer. He has toured intermittently for 25 years with his self-named band and also has played with entertainers such as Billy Ray Cyrus, Nancy Sinatra and Paul Revere and the Raiders. Peter Delgado has played drums for about 20 years, and Jeff Rigg is a longtime keyboard player.
"We're here to help the music community with whatever they need," Delgado said. "If a band is in search of a producer or an organizer to help become a better group, or if we can help a church become a better ensemble, we're here to give suggestions. We want to help the musicians become better and more organized."
The studio is in a warehouse behind Monster Pizza on Burnt Church Road. The owners, all with construction-work backgrounds, helped design and build the studio, which opened about six months ago. There's a practice and recording room, vocal booth and control room. Much of the materials and labor were donated to the nonprofit business by merchants.
"When you come here to record, it's record-ready," said Ivory, who also is a recording engineer and producer. "You can put your music on the Internet; you can take it to a place to get it pressed for your CDs."
Rehearsals cost $20 hour and record rehearsals cost $25, both with two-hour minimums. A comprehensive recording session cost $45, and there's a four-hour minimum.
Lessons in guitar, bass guitar, drums, horns, keyboards and learning the technical side of recording are available at the studio. The owners also have reached out to the community and are helping the 1-year-old Christ Church of Bluffton better develop its band.
"Right now, they're supporting us," said pastor Brian Rose. "But we're beginning to see -- now that the relationship is developing -- our people saying, 'Wow, they have a lot to offer. We want our kids to learn music there.'"
Marina McTernan has jumped at the opportunity. The 33-year-old Bluffton resident is taking drum lessons from Delgado.
"I had a drum set for a while but I'd never taken lessons," said McTernan, a member of Christ Church. "I'm learning how to play the instrument so I can be in a band, play for church, or just for me."