When we first started doing the retreats in Capon Springs, WV, I had the idea of adding some DIY gear building workshops. I did not know if it would be popular, but I thought it would be valuable for creating a well rounded program. So I reached out to Peterson Goodwyn from DIYRE (DIY Recording Equipment) and asked him if he would be willing to come down and run some DIY workshops at the retreat. Much to my surprise, the DIY workshops ended up being wildly popular. Way more people signed up for the beginner’s intro to workshop than I would have imagined, and most participants immediately wanted to do the more advanced projects. I am amazed at how many attendees from that first year, that had never really used a soldering iron before, have now become DIY gear building enthusiasts all year ‘round.
The retreats at Capon Springs are geared towards adults, but one year, one of the retreat mentors could only make it if he was able to bring his 8-year-old daughter. This young girl thought that building audio equipment seemed interesting and wanted to take the intro to DIY workshop. We agreed to let her do it, under the condition that her dad supervise her at all times, for safety. Much to everyone’s surprise, she not only enjoyed it, but really excelled and moved on to one of the more advanced projects. By the end of the retreat, she had built a 500 series EQ, which actually worked the very first time it was tested… something that several of the adult builders did not accomplish on the first try.
The Song & Sound Retreat is still a program for adults, but if you have ever thought about building your own gear to either have fun or save money, but you thought it seemed too intimidating, just remember that an 8-year-old was able to do it, so you probably can as well.
Peterson Goodwyn will be back again this year along with some other folks from his company to run our “DIY Playhouse” (we are converting a children’s playhouse into a DIY workshop). Featured and guided DIY projects this year will be the L2A Passive Re-Amplifier kit for beginners and the G Buss SSL style compressor for advanced participants. Please note that there are additional materials fees for these projects.
So if you ever wanted to try out DIY gear building, the Song & Sound Retreat provides a great opportunity to dive in with step-by-step guidance and peer support.