Skip to content
Learning on an elec...
 
Notifications
Clear all

Learning on an electric without an amp

15 Posts
12 Users
0 Likes
2,458 Views
zube
 zube
(@zube)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4
Topic starter  

I turned 35 this year and I've decided to take up the guitar as a hobby. About 4 weeks ago I bought a MIM Standard Strat and a Marshall MG10CD amp.

Here's the deal, I can only practice at night and I need to be quiet so I don't wake anybody up (I tried the headphone option but didn't like it at all). Since it is very quiet when I practice I actually prefer no amp as I can still hear the guitar very well. Is it all right to practice without an amp or is this a no no which is going to lead to poor technique down the road?

I'm planning on returning this amp and buying a much better one in a few months when I can actually play.

Suhr Standard
Roland Micro Cube


   
Quote
king07
(@king07)
Active Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 8
 

Hi Zube,

I'm in the same boat as you. I'm 34 and just took up the guitar in the last 12 months. I can really only practise at night too so when I bought my amp I looked for one which sounded good through headphones. After much discussion with salespeople and players and testing a few amps, I ended up going with the Roland Cube 15 and don't have any problems with the sound through the headphones (although I may upgrade my headphones soon). When I bought the amp I also bought a MIM Standard Telecaster, which after waiting for 9 weeks arrived on Thursday. What a great sound. The wait was well worth it. Luckily a friend lent me his old electric in the meantime as I don't think I could have coped having an amp sitting unused in the spare room for that long.

I also bought a ZOOM 505II effects pedal and that also sounds good when you plug the headphones into it. I find using the Acoustic patch (B5) gives it a good clean sound.

I could be wrong but in my limited experience, I haven't found that playing without an amp affects my technique.

Cheers,

Kingsley


   
ReplyQuote
forrok_star
(@forrok_star)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 2337
 

I've spent many a nights till the wee hours of the morning practicing without an amp, I like setting on the steps of the stairways in high rise motels.

joe


   
ReplyQuote
sunsetN!nja
(@sunsetncnja)
Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 40
 

I do this all the time. The only thing to watch out for is that when you plug in, it sounds very different than when you're not. Little harmonics and things you can't hear get way louder. Other than that, everything should be fine as long as you get a little plugged-in time every now and then.


   
ReplyQuote
Dagwood
(@dagwood)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1024
 

The only thing to watch out for is that when you plug in, it sounds very different than when you're not. Little harmonics and things you can't hear get way louder. Other than that, everything should be fine as long as you get a little plugged-in time every now and then.

Hey guys,

Yeah what N!nja said: Electric is allll about making those 'sounds' you don't or can't on an acoustic guitar. My instructor strongly advised me "NOT to play my electric without pluggin in" and hes right, "it doesn't take much effort to make noise/sounds/music with an electric and if you don't plug in...to something.. you'll never learn that."

Myself I bought a Kustom 16 Solo with my LTD F-100. It has a few effects on it which are pretty cool and I too tried the headphones through the amp,but almost blew my head off once.

The solution I found was, I went out and got a Digitech RP100 Multi effect box and you can plug in headphones through it. Best $100 I've spent. It has 120 different settings 40 you can program yourself of all kinds of effects plus amp/cabinet sims. Go read about it. It also has some 30 drum patterns too.. helps learning to keep time.

I'm so new that I'm a lil shy bout pluggin in to the amp and letting all my nighbors hear how much I suck at this point so the headphones through the pedal helps alot and its a blast to Wham-Fuzz-distort this guitar.

ROCK ON guys/gals :)

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. - Wernher Von Braun (1912-1977)


   
ReplyQuote
zube
 zube
(@zube)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4
Topic starter  

Thanks for all the responses.

I returned the amp today. I'm gonna practice for a few months without the amp and if I feel the need I'll plug into my computer.

Suhr Standard
Roland Micro Cube


   
ReplyQuote
StormyMonday
(@stormymonday)
Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 429
 

I didn't have an amp for about the first six months of my playing. I really didn't mind it at all, but once I got an amp I realized I probably should have bought one sooner. The mistakes I was making without an amp were not audible, but when plugged in, I definitely heard all those mistakes. With moderate volume if you just breath on a string, you'll hear it. I very quickly learned the importance of palm muting. Basically, I was being sloppy without knowing I was being sloppy since I couldn't really hear it. You can practice without the amp, but just make sure to pay extra close attention to what you're doing.


   
ReplyQuote
PappaJohn
(@pappajohn)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 533
 

Whether you feel the need or not, regularly plug the guitar in. It's more difficult to unlearn a bad habit and then get it right than it is to learn it properly the first time.

Practicing unplugged has it's place, I do it all the time. But without any amplification you really don't get all the feedback you should.

-- John

"Hip woman walking on a moving floor, tripping on the escalator.
There's a man in the line and she's blowin' his mind, thinking that he's already made her."

'Coming into Los Angeles' - Arlo Guthrie


   
ReplyQuote
spacedog03
(@spacedog03)
Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 120
 

I do this all the time too. I don't think it is harmful but you do certainly hear a lot more, including the mistakes, when you plug in. I'm looking to buy one of those little multi-effect things too, since it is so much easier to move to any room with one of those. I have a smallish amp
(Frontman 25) but it's still a hassle to drag it out and set it up since I don't really have a good permanent place to practice yet. I hope to do some remodeling in my basement this winter and that will give me a permanent room removed from all the sleeping people in my place. I read some positive things about the Behringer V-Amp 2. Anyone know anything about it?
Glad to see I'm not the only one that can't always plug in.


   
ReplyQuote
slothrob
(@slothrob)
Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 472
 

There's a related topic at the Discussion forum.


   
ReplyQuote
undercat
(@undercat)
Prominent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 959
 

What you're missing is that electric and acoustic guitar are very different instruments. If you want to play electric guitar, play plugged in, if you want to play acoustic, play an acoustic guitar, the middle ground is not pretty.

I think it's quite easy to spot someone trying out electric guitars who has been playing acoustic for 20 years, they tend to not account for the additional sustain, they tend to solo VERY differently, and they tend to be less capable of using distortion and effects to enhance their playing.

Head phones or a very low wattage amp are both great compromises between volume level and effective practice.

Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life...


   
ReplyQuote
zube
 zube
(@zube)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4
Topic starter  

Based on the feedback I have received and after giving it a lot of thought I bought the Korg Ampworks modeler. It's very simple to use and it meets all of my needs at this point in time. The sound of this through headphones blows away the amp I had.

If anyone is interested in more info on this modeler you can check it out here: http://www.korg.com/gear/info.asp?a_prod_no=AmpworksG&category_id=6

Suhr Standard
Roland Micro Cube


   
ReplyQuote
gnease
(@gnease)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

Good choice -- enjoy it!

-G

-=tension & release=-


   
ReplyQuote
zube
 zube
(@zube)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4
Topic starter  

Gnease,

Thanks. I happen to live off of Exit 8 on the NJ turnpike as well.

Suhr Standard
Roland Micro Cube


   
ReplyQuote
gizzy
(@gizzy)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 109
 

:) You will not regret it, You need to hear the notes that is how you learn, I know there were times I was playing a song and I thought it was sounding good then one day I played it and it just did not sound right anymore tuned my Guitar thinking it was out of tune wiped down my strings still just did not sound the same called a guitar repair shop and he told me that I have probably advanced in my playing and my ear now can hear somthing wrong he told me to go back to that song and try changing it until it sounds right again he then told me It will even sound better this time. So I tried what he said got to where it sounded right and then played it for my son and he told me it sounds great even better then before, So the guitar tech was right the more you play the more your ear gets trained to hear what each note sounds like, I can listen to some songs and hear the lead and have a good guess at what notes they are playing even more so when you reach the 12th fret and up. So you do need to truly hear what each note sounds like to learn.

:D


   
ReplyQuote