Part I: Building the home music studio that won’t drive your neighbors crazy
My entry from Monday about my clients with pianos and drums brought me this email from M.R., a long-time reader:
I'm a landlord in Somerville (I have two 2-family houses), I'm a long-time reader of the Globe RE blog, and finally, I'm a basement drummer. I've spent a few weekends' worth of time sound-proofing the basement drum room in order to keep the sound from travelling to the 2nd & 3rd FL unit (we live on 1st-FL unit). I feel that windows are easily treated (which you mention in yr piece), but doors & walls are harder to treat, but are the larger problem. Especially if uninsulated, drywall or plaster walls w/ studs in between resonate like a snare drum itself & pass the sound very readily. Studio solutions to this are to double the drywall on a given wall (w/ butt-joints offset from on another), and to use "resilient channel" to hang the drywall (imagine a spring-clip to hold the drywall, rather than screwing it to the studs/joists). For doors, solid-core doors w/ weather-stripping compressable-foam around the jam is a good solution. Dense-packed cellulouse (as subsidized by Mass Save!) is a decent solution to deaden hollow cavities between drywall/plaster, where cheaper & easier-to-install fiberglass-batts can't be used (like in an attic or existing wall).
I spent small money (~$150) to drywall & insulate my basement room. There's much more that could be done for another $150 & a weekend's worth of work which would make drums on the 1st floor lightly audible, and completely inaudible on the 2nd/3rd FL. If a contractor was involved, I'd estimate a $2000 bill for double-drywalled-&-spackled 10x10 room w/ solid core door & fiberglass insulation. Attic? Due to difficult-to-drywall surfaces & spaces which take lots of blown cellulose... $8000.
Is there any other studio-building advice that you’d like to share?
Part II: What piano fits with apartment living?
I had an appointment with my grand-piano owning buyer, who is under agreement but not yet closed. I asked him about his piano. He told me a couple of things:
As a renter, he could not get insurance for his piano. As a property owner, he can.
He has his piano move scheduled with very little fuss and bother. There are some excellent, experienced movers who he has lined up. The move will involve a crane at both ends. He was surprised at the cost, which was under $1000.
I told him about the conversation going on regarding Monday’s entry. He disagrees about an upright piano being a better choice for apartment living. There are both moving and placement issues with an upright. A grand piano is easier to move, because the legs come off and the harp can be moved in sideways. An upright moves in a single unit and may not get into the apartment as easily. An upright does not do corners nearly as well. Also, once it is in, you need a wall that is both long enough and away from heat to place the instrument.
One grand-piano owner down, one more to find a house for…
The author is solely responsible for the content.