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experimental phase: muting the whole guitar

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(@sunnydunes)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 19
Topic starter  

Hi people! I like to play (classical) guitar at night, and because i have neighbours on both sides as well as above me, I'd like to dampen the sound as much as possible, while still hearing the difference between notes.

The first thing i tried was to stuff a shirt into the body of my guitar. To my shock, this made only a very subtle difference in sound. I thought this was the part of the guitar which produces the sound!

The second thing i tried was stuffing a plastic bag (one in which bread comes) underneath the strings, up against the bridge. That gave the sort of effect i was aiming for, but it was more pronounced on some strings rather than on others. Also, the bag itself made quite a lot of buzz. Is there any accessory which does this? Can you reccommend any DIY methods to get a muted but still audible tone? Or do you have any other improvised guitar modifications you'd like to share?


   
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(@blue-jay)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1630
 

For sure use all silk strings, though technically some will be nylon and others are metal wound, look for roundwounds. Insert a rubber Feedback Buster into the sound hole, that's all I can think of, yes I know the strings at the saddle into the bridge activate the top or soundboard, but the rubber sort of dampens it or kills it for me, so I don't use the things myself, but own one on standby as it is a necessity if there's feedback, but that never happens to me either and I like to make as much noise as possible. Therefore, I suggest that you do the opposite of me, if I am indeed doing what I think: making noise. :?

The other thing to really nail that darn noise, and I mean nail it decisively, would be to stick a thin layer of foam, sponge or rubber on the whole top, like a placemat, or wrap the entire guitar, in like a sweater, blanket, quilt. Ask a drummer!? :D

http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-MIS-MG

Wedging sponges into the centre of the guitar between both back and top like the sound post of a violin should quiet the thing, and act similar to a car muffler's technology, which I also disregard in cars or guitars - I'd drill holes in either one if it was the right thing to do. I like my tummy and my ummm... backside massaged and tickled when I play, or drive? :wink:

Seriously, I've had a classical guitar in the household as a permanent fixture, (so am giving the best advice I can think of based on their construction) and many were owned by friends for decades and the dumbest thing I ever did was to try and put a magnetic pickup onto one and what do you know, there was no magnetic field from non metallic strings! :(

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.


   
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(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

.
The 'Smart' solution would be the Cone of Silence.

Max and The Chief may have finished with it by now.

Apparently you can buy mutes but making something with a strip of foam seems popular. You'd probably need to experiment a bit until you found something that reduced the volume without stuffing up the pitch and tone too much.

Good luck.

Chris


   
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(@fleaaaaaa)
Prominent Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 680
 

Er honestly, if a classical guitar is too loud for your neighbours it's time to move, I have an electric guitar with a massive Marshall half stack and I have NEVER had any complaints :P :lol:

together we stand, divided we fall..........


   
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(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

Er honestly, I have an electric guitar with a massive Marshall half stack and I have NEVER had any complaints :P :lol:

:mrgreen:

You must be that "Dead Man Walking" guy that I've heard the neighbours talk about down at your local gun and ammo store... :lol:

Now, Sir, if you'd just like to hand over that Marshal stack, and come quietly please, I'd be prepared to say a few words in your defence... It's for the best. Just pull the lead out and push the cab across to me.... nice and gently now.... I'll look after it for you..


   
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 Crow
(@crow)
Honorable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 549
 

However you mute the guitar, make sure you can pick with full necessary force. Don't sacrifice your touch for your neighbors. (I ruined my piano career by practicing at night, when I couldn't really dig into the keys -- never could overcome the habit.)

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream." - Frank Zappa


   
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(@fleaaaaaa)
Prominent Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 680
 

Er honestly, I have an electric guitar with a massive Marshall half stack and I have NEVER had any complaints :P :lol:

:mrgreen:

You must be that "Dead Man Walking" guy that I've heard the neighbours talk about down at your local gun and ammo store... :lol:

Now, Sir, if you'd just like to hand over that Marshal stack, and come quietly please, I'd be prepared to say a few words in your defence... It's for the best. Just pull the lead out and push the cab across to me.... nice and gently now.... I'll look after it for you..

Hahaha! Well I'm in the UK so the local knife gang at the knife store have been sharperning their blades I assume! The rest are just jealous musicians like yourself, hands off my marshall stack! You are welcome to come over for a jam, but the amp stays within my view the entire time and I check your pockets on the way out (well I doubt you could fit it in there but it's my prerogative!)

together we stand, divided we fall..........


   
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