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Old 02-15-2010, 08:12 PM   #1
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Re: Making a band tour bus: is it a good idea?

Your gear will eat up lots of room. Have you considered pulling a small cargo trailer & just using the bus for people? Figuring two or three guitars, a bass, a drum set, two or three amps, and at least 2 Sterilite totes of assorted gear, you probably have enough to fill a medium-sized cargo van to the gills.

Beds, plugs, tunes, seats, tables, and a shower aren't that hard. Microwave isn't hard, but will require a generator (you could carry that in the trailer, too) or being plugged in someplace. A closed-off storage area would certainly be possible, but I think a trailer would be easier. Also: six people? Plan somewhere to tie down a good-sized cooler!

3-high bunks in a stock-height skoolie might be pushing it...unless the bottom bunk is essentially on the floor, you'll have about 3" between your nose & the next bunk. I'd figure three double bunks, maybe two doubles & 2 single beds with storage above & beneath. You will want a way to separate the bunk area from the living area. In fact, I'd put the rehearsal space & the bunks on opposite ends--every band has ONE guy who suddenly gets a chord progression or a melody in his head and HAS to play it RIGHT AWAY! If you say your band doesn't...well, you sure you're not that guy? Seriously, maybe put the closets between the "studio" and the living area..hung clothes muffle noise well. Also, the back of a bus is bouncy...if you keep instruments there, they will NEED to be in padded cases and secured in place.

I can't see why a soundproof room wouldn't be legal.

However, a biggie here: make ABSOLUTELY SURE you have everything legal! This WILL be a commercial vehicle! Insurance, you may need a CDL (if over 26,000lbs), the driver will probably have to keep a drivers' log and follow DOT regulations.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:31 PM   #2
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Re: Making a band tour bus: is it a good idea?

Welcome. I am in process of my conversion and have found this site quite helpful. When researching my layout/design I found the Slab Cabin layout which sounds to have several of the items you are looking for. Here is a link to their conversion photo gallery.

http://www.skoolie.net/gallery2/v/Skoolies/Slab_Cabn/
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:50 AM   #3
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Re: Making a band tour bus: is it a good idea?

hey man. i toured in a school bus a few years ago for 3 different tours. worked great. we didnt do a hardcore conversion. we blacked out all the windows, built 4 bunk beds, put in a set of lockers we scored from an old school for luggage, and put in a couple old couches. worked great for what we needed. we showered at truck stops. most of the larger ones have em, and they are actually really nice and clean usually. we built one wall in the back for our gear. the wall was about 6 feet from the rear of the bus. that would be plenty of space for your gear man. its effectively an 8 foot enclosed trailer at that point (6 deep by 8 wide by 6 tall). we had a 4 piece drum kit, two half stacks, my ampeg 8x10 (i played bass too), 4 guitars, 2 basses, a rhodes piano, and various other gear including our merch. still had extra room. then we used the back emergency exit as our gear door. i think we spent all of 3 days building to make it work. knowing what i know now, i would have added a decent electric system to it. we ran an extension cord and had it run into a couple different power strips where we needed em. the bus im converting now actually has a storage room like that in the back too. you can see it here http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=4789. whats your band name and info?
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Old 02-16-2010, 08:10 PM   #4
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Re: Making a band tour bus: is it a good idea?

Sweet, you are playing Detroit!

Ok, so, how are you making this diagram?
I gotta learn how to do this.


FWIW, I sleep in a hammock whenever possible. It's the bed that wads up and fits in a bag, Because a bed is really only a bed, and it can't be much else unless you fold it against the wall. But a hammock can be slung on top of all kinds of stuff.
If anyone of you can sleep in a hammock, I recommend it, because it saves a TON of space, and it disappears neatly for partying, or playing instruments, etc.
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Old 02-16-2010, 08:48 PM   #5
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Re: Making a band tour bus: is it a good idea?

What the heck is a crunk?
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:14 PM   #6
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Re: Making a band tour bus: is it a good idea?

So...does that mean I was right, and you ARE the guy who has a chord pop into his head and HAS TO play it RIGHT NOW?

Never heard of crunk rock before.

What about keeping merch, extra clothes, and non-fragile band stuff (cords, stands, tables, signs, etc.) in the trailer instead of the instruments? Maybe toss in a bicycle or two for when you DON'T want to bring the whole bus someplace?
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:56 PM   #7
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Re: Making a band tour bus: is it a good idea?

Synthesizers huh? I happen to have picked up an old Ensoniq ESQ-1 last summer. Very sweet classic synth! Also got a couple bass guitars, one 4 string and one 5 string. 400W Fender bass amp, and a smaller Orange bass amp. Three or four 6 string guitars including my baby, a brand new classic white Gibson Flying-V. As well I have a Randall RM100 all tube half stack and a Randall RM100 all tube combo amp. Maybe I am nutz, but why not, life is short!!! Rock on!!!
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:15 PM   #8
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Re: Making a band tour bus: is it a good idea?

Having been a light man for a several bands I know what you are going through, and really agree with the idea of an enclosed cargo trailer for the equipment. Your going to find that space is not on your side. Most of the buses are going to be around 35' unless you get really lucky and find a 40'er or so. Ideally you'd be better off with a used MCI hiway bus with the 3 huge cargo bays underneath them. Of the 3 cargo bays, one of them could be used for coach works (Generator, holding tanks, tools & equipment). They are usually a little longer, wider and have a toilet in the very back and already have a holding tank with discharge valves. These also usually have coach A/C's where most skoolies don't, and have some built in overhead storage and more comfortable seating. You can typically find older MCI's for around $5,000 (about twice what you might pay for a typical school bus).

And that toilet will be very necessary if you are going to spend lots of time on the hiway... 6 people have to pee every few hours and probably not everyone is going to have to go at the same time.

School bus is only going to be around 90" wide, and placing bunk beds on each side of the isle will make your best use of space 30" wide bunks and a 30" wide isle to walk down...very narrow beds and you won't be sleeping with 2 people in anything only 30" wide, so a girlfriend or two is not likely to work out too well.

If you build RV style dinettes they can fold down to make a couple more beds, and a sofa is about as sleepable as a 30" bed.

As for a practice room, the only thing that would really need to stay set-up would be the drums, the guitars can be played sitting on the available seating/sofa's etc... not sure about the keyboard. You'd be better off practicing & writing while your are being driven down the road. You start making a racket in the back of a bus (even with sound proofing) at 3-4 in the morning and you'll be run out of the campground or truck stop probably in very short order!
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:11 AM   #9
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Re: Making a band tour bus: is it a good idea?

When and where are you playing here in Kato...and where are you from down here?
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