Agency Auditions

Hey guys,
Thought I’d write a quick note to say that we’re holding auditions for covers bands, Soloists, Duos and the like at the studios next week! We still got a couple of slots available for it so read the blurb below, and get involved!

Calling all young talented west country musicians…..we are holding auditions at Firebird Studios, Bristol between 12pm and 7pm on Wednesday the 30th of September.

We’re looking for:

Soloist,duos, bands and DJs for well paid UK function work, winter tours in the French ski resorts, all year round week long residencies in Nice France, summer residencies in Portugal and well paid pub gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. 

The brief is party music and we’re looking for fun, high energy, talented acts that can do the standard covers stuff but also have a twist (with a DJ mixing/MC, 80’s covers, ‘80s cheese, funk, Soul, glam rock, rockabilly, classic dance anthems, some beat box, rapping, some Ska/Northern Soul/Motown……anything but brown eyed girls or sex on fire! That said, it still needs to have a mainstream element that will appeal to the masses.

Contact:

If you are interested in being considered for the auditions e-mail us some live audio or live video footage and any links to [email protected] and we’ll book you a slot!

New Stuff at the studio!

We’ve upgraded some equipment at the studio and also bought a new amp! It’s a Cornford Roadhouse 50 and it sounds sweet as! 50 Watts of raw power packed in a very discreet looking amp. Don’t be fooled though, it’ll rip your head off first chance it gets!

Firebird Studios Cornford Roadhouse 50 GuItar Amp
This little beauty is quite a beast!

Firebird Studios New Drum Skins
New Skins for the Yamaha Stage Custom and YD drums.

Firebird Studios Pearl Forum New SpursWe want to keep making this place better and better so you guys get the best rehearsal experience around! We’ll keep you posted on all the new developments we do. Hope you like them!
New Spurs for the Pearl Forum kit. NO more wobbly rehearsals!

How to re-valve a Marshall JCM2000 dsl100

JCM2000 what you will needToday I thought I’d run through how to change the valves and re bias a Marshall JCM2000 DSL 100. It’s important to say up front that if you’re a young un or haven’t had too much experience with electrical equipment then it’s probably not a good idea for you to tackle this job. The voltages that are running around an amp are dangerously high and could kill you if you touch the wrong thing. That said, the beauty with the JCM2000 is that everything you need to get at to change the tubes is visible and everything else is hidden away under panels.

Back Panel

Old JCM2000 tubesFirst thing to do is remove the back panel and gain access to the tubes you wish to replace. This could be a simple two in two out job (you should always replace tubes in pairs) or the full re-valve that I’m doing today. As you can see there are random tubes in the back of this amp that don’t appear to be matched which could have some bearing on the fact that the amp wasn’t very happy.

New Tubes

New JJ Electronics tubesOnce you’ve done this then you should install your new tubes. I’ve chosen the JJ Electronics Valve pack from Voc Rock Guitars. It contained the ECC83 pre amp tubes and EL34 power amp tubes, which are a classic combination for the JCM2000.
 

Replacing JCM2000 tubeGloves

As you can see I was wearing gloves when installing the tubes. This was to avoid any oils or muck from my fingers getting onto the tubes. It’s not necessary but I like to do it.
When installing the tubes there are very obvious ways to install them. On the preamp tubes there is a gap in the pins on the bottom of the tube. Line that up with the gap on the circuit board and they’ll slot in nicely.
With the power amp tubes, there’s a ridge on the centre pole underneath the tubes that lines up with a notch on the chassis. You shouldn’t have to force the tubes in, so if you are not getting them to sit properly, chances are you don’t have the ridge and notch lined up.

Marshall JCM2000 w/ JJ Electronic tubesAll in!

Here you can see all the tubes fully installed and ready to be biased, which is the next part of the process and a very important thing to do. A cool thing to note is that the lettering on the tubes all faces forward, which is another way to check that the tubes are correctly installed.

How to Bias

Marshall JCM2000 bias pinsThis is the bias test point, it is a set of three pins that stick out of the amp underneath the power tube section on the right hand side. You will be using a digital multimeter to test the voltages you are getting in a moment but the first thing to do is plug in your speaker cab and turn the amp on. You should then let it warm up for 15 minutes and switch it off stand by. DO NOT TURN YOUR AMP ON WITHOUT THE SPEAKER ATTACHED! You could blow tubes or damage the amp if you don’t have it attached.

JCM2000 bias pins tubesBias in pairs

If you’re wondering why there are three pins, it because on these amps you bias the tubes in pairs. The centre pin is the neutral and the ones to the right and left are for the two pairs of power tubes.

Multimeter

Testing Marshall JCM2000 biasNow you get your digital multimeter and VERY CAREFULLY touch the black probe to the centre pin and the red probe to ONE of the outer pins. The meter should be set to 2V DC current and you should get a reading of anything from 0.02 to 0.09. I was informed that .072 was a good number to go for as you get all the breakup and it doesn’t knacker your tubes as quickly.
Marshall recommend a value of 0.09 for these types of amps, which means the tubes will be running hotter and could wear out more quickly. In order to change this reading you’ll need a small flat head screwdriver that you slot into one of the mini pots that you find on either side of the test pins. Marshall JCM2000 Rock outYou only need to move it a little to make quite a big change in the reading so go carefully and be prepared to make an adjustment, take a reading and then make another adjustment until you get the desired reading. Do this for both pairs of tubes and then all that’s left to do is rock out!

New Promo video!

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We’ve had a promo video put together for the rehearsal studios to show you guys what we’re all about. Check it out below and let us know what you think!
 

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Nick Church Band Photographer

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We are very happy to announce that the amazing Nick Church Fine Art Photography is our resident photographer. He has tailored some photography packages for bands looking to take their image to the next level. Both location and live shoots are available as well as individual band member shots. You can find out more on our website: http://firebirdstudios.co.uk/band-photographer-bristol/
Check out his work here:
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Firebird Festival 2015

Firebird Festival 2015 PosterWe’re having a party and you’re all invited!
We’re coming up for our first anniversary of running the studios so we thought we’d have a mini festival to celebrate!
There’s going to be live music, great food, companies like Lindo Guitars and Mark Ireland Pianos showcasing their wares.
We’re also opening our studio up so you can come and take a look around and see for yourself what the studios look like. Maybe you’re in a band and would like to see what we’re all about.
Whatever the reason we’d love for you all to come along and join us in celebrating a year of running the studio and hopefully many more!
For more information click here

Maintaining Drums

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One thing that we pride ourselves on is the equipment you can hire at the studios so to keep them in good working order they’re all given an annual service in-house. One of the things we’re looking at today is how to clean up the chrome on our drum kits and this is something that’s really easy to do and can make your drum kit look factory fresh again. Check the slideshow below for how to do this with the minimum of fuss.
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Fancy a FREE rehearsal?

Firebird Studios - Free rehearsalHow would you like to get a FREE rehearsal? Well all you have to do is recommend Firebird Studios to another band. If they book a room with us and tell us you sent them then we’ll give you a free rehearsal to say thank you for spreading the word about Firebird Studios.
Terms & Conditions
All we ask is that the band book for at least three hours during the day or a full evening session and your freebie can only be a maximum of four hours long. Equipment hire isn’t included either.

Christmas and New Years Opening Times

We thought we’d write a little post to let you all know what we were planning on doing over Christmas and New Year into early January.
We’ll be open as usual up to the 21st December but from then we’ll only be open during the evenings right through until January 14th 2015.
We’ll be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Carpet madness

In my last update, I had just put up the new sound absorption panels in all the rooms. These were getting some very favourable remarks from bands coming in so I thought it could be a case of “Job done! That’s as great as the rooms can sound”. Oh how wrong I was!

It turns out that carpets are a rehearsal studio owner’s best friend when it comes to making a rehearsal room sound amazing. We’d always thought we would re-carpet the rooms just from an aesthetic viewpoint as the old ones had definitely seen lots of feet/cups of tea/miscellaneous dirt. The old carpets had been in there since the studio opened and were pretty much past the point of being carpet. They were essentially a second skin for the floor and nothing else.

Firebird Studios - MyBuilder image

I wasn’t too sure where to look for tradesmen for the job so I turned to My Builder to get some quotes. I ended up using them for several jobs that I had that needed to be done. They’re a very cool website and I’d recommend using it if you have any work that needs doing.

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Once we had decided who was fitting our carpets, we got a date booked in and that was when the fun started. Turns out that carpet men can be really tricky to pin down for cash jobs. Who knew? Several dates came and went, carpets were specced, chosen, mis-ordered (lime green anyone?) and finally we got to the day of reckoning. One of the most painful days of my life so far.

Have you ever pulled up carpet? Sounds relatively straightforward doesn’t it. Grab carpet, yank, job done. Unfortunately when you have 12 year old carpet that’s stuck to a concrete floor it gets a little trickier. We got to the studio at 6am to try and get all the carpet up before the guy came to lay the new stuff but we had only managed one room by the time he arrived. The stuff just wouldn’t budge!

20141017_122929Thankfully our carpet man came with a professional carpet pulling tool that made life a lot easier. I spent all day yanking, heaving, pulling, swearing and sweating. Several hours later than planned and with a mountain of carpet filling the reception area, we were done and the difference was incredible!

Everything sounded less harsh and more balanced. We had bands asking us what we’d done to make it sound so much better and we had to say “It’s the carpets”.