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Trying to be a considerate neighbor

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fell
 fell
(@fell)
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So I live in a fairly old building that has been converted into condos. I live on the top floor, and there is a woman who lives directly below me. I've only been playing for a few months now, and just with a 15 watt practice amp at half volume. I was talking to this woman today, and I asked her if noise had been a problem. She said she could occasionally hear "sounds", but it hadn't become a problem for her.

I just ordered some new equipment (new bass and a much more powerful amp), and I'm concerned that squeezing appreciable volume out of the more powerful amp will turn me into a jerk neighbor. Headphones/turning it up when I know she's out are the obvious imperfect solutions, but I was wondering if there are any good suggestions for reducing how much noise travels down. Or are vibrations just vibrations and there's not much I can do to keep them contained? I've heard of soundproofing walls, but I don't really think I could afford to soundproof my floors (if such things are even done).

I'm not moving anytime soon and neither is she, so I feel it's best to "play nice" when I can. Suggestions? Thanks!


   
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Musenfreund
(@musenfreund)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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Keep it low. Unfortunately, I think notes in the bass range are the ones most likely to travel. Think of your entire apartment as one large speaker cabinet designed to amplify the sound. Headphones are probably the best solution.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon


   
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Vic Lewis VL
(@vic-lewis-vl)
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Keeping it low would seem to be the only solution....unfortunately, bass notes are the ones that stand out, you don't so much hear them as FEEL them.....and to anyone who's not a musician, it'll come across as a dull rhythmic thud.....

I don't actually have a good set of headphones - the cheapo ones I've got are all I need - so I can't advise on that, but it might be worth experimenting with....

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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97reb
(@97reb)
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Try and communicate with her as much as possible. Practice with the small amp when she's there and when you know she is not, crank the new amp a little bit. Being considerate is great. If there is any arrangement you can make with her, like taking out her trash or washing her car occassionally might make her more forgiving when she comes home and you are still jamming a little loudly.

It is a small world for metal fanatics. I welcome you fellow musicians, especially the metalheads!


   
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Bish
 Bish
(@bish)
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This isn't the greatest suggestion for yourself but more for your neighbor. If you explain that you may sometimes get carried away with the "mood" tell her it's perfectly OK to "let you know when you've exceeded her comfort level."

At least that way she'll know you are looking out for her interests, too.

Bish

"I play live as playing dead is harder than it sounds!"


   
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Rahul
(@rahul)
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Take her out on a date !


   
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fell
 fell
(@fell)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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Topic starter  

Thanks for all the suggestions! I was hoping there might be some magical technological solution (along the lines of super futuristic but cheap material that prevents vibrations from going down), but I guess this will mostly be proper people/playing time management. There are some shared responsibilities around the building, so I guess if I need bribes I could volunteer to take over some of hers.

As for taking her out on a date: I wish! She's a good chunk older than me (30, I'm 22), that doesn't stop her from being a smoking hot redhead! Sadly, I don't think an evening out is going to make her more amenable to me making her ceiling rattle, but fun suggestion nonetheless.


   
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Misanthrope
(@misanthrope)
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Place the amp on something soft - pillows, cushions etc. to lessen the mechanical vibrations making your floorboards act like a speaker. It won't really reduce the noise of the amp itself, but it'll make sure that the vibrations don't make the noise worse.

(I spent the best part of a day once swearing at my amp because it sounded a bit thin and weedy, and it had always had a really strong sound - turned out it was because I'd got it on a chair with a soft cover instead the usual one that was just bare wood :roll:)

Also, if you can angle it so the speaker points directly at you, it'll seem louder.

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


   
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Crank-N-Jam
(@crank-n-jam)
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I was going to suggest something like Misanthrope. Maybe try placing the amp on the couch or similarly thick and cushy chair. Point it at you and it will seem rather loud but the couch will help absorb some of the sound waves. Might help a littel anyway.

Jason

"Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"


   
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Dan Lasley
(@danlasley)
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Yup, cushions to damp the sound, and 4 small contact points (legs) that are farther away will also reduce the conducted noise, which is the real source of the problem. A couch or bed would be best, chairs and ottomans next.

Also, let her know that you got new gear and that you are trying to be careful. Communication and consideration (both ways) will keep everyone happy.


   
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97reb
(@97reb)
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And don't be scared that she is 8 years older than you. She might dig the fact that you are a musician. Confidence young sir will get you far.

It is a small world for metal fanatics. I welcome you fellow musicians, especially the metalheads!


   
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corbind
(@corbind)
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Back in my last year at grad school I bought a cheap bass and amp. I'd get home late at night after bang on that bass (not even tuned). Often my downstairs neighbor would pound on my floor with a broom to shut me up. :shock: I even woke my roommate a couple of times. :evil:

Bass guitars play frequencies that aren't nearly as directional as guitar. Those low frequencies go wherever they can.

Surrounding the amp with something cushion-y helps. Have lots of sound-absoribing items in the room (towels, tapestry, etc.)

Give your neighbor your number and have her call when it's too loud. That way she doesn't have to get out of bed.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


   
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