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How to make an acoustic guitar quiter

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MoonChild
(@moonchild)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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Topic starter  

Hello,

I play acoustic guitar and the neighbours sometimes complain that I'm too loud at night. So I have tried to find a way to make my guitar quiter. I know that when the strings vibrate, the vibrations travel through the saddle to the bridge to the soundboard and that the body of the guitar forms a hollow soundbox that amplifies the vibrations of the soundboard. I have tried for example to stop the soundboard from vibrating or to put something in front of the hole but that did not work too well (I guess some people will laugh when they will read this... :( ).
So I guess my question is: do you have any trick to make your guitar quiter? (note that I'm not looking for a trick to make my guitar playing quiter, but the guitar itself, because I want to play quiter at will without having to change anything in the way I play... but maybe this just is not possible?)

Cheers,
MoonChild


   
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Metaellihead
(@metaellihead)
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I haven't tried this myself, but you could try sticking an old t-shirt in it....

-Metaellihead


   
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Anonymous
(@anonymous)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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A thought.
If at all possible.
Can you soundproof a small room in your house?
Some acoustic tiles or even a layer of foam insulation?


   
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PappaJohn
(@pappajohn)
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It doesn't do much for the tone you'll get, but if you have a soundhole humidifier, you can leave that in. It will quiet the guitar a bit.

Also, there was a discussion here not long ago (last couple of weeks) on this subject - several good ideas as I recall.

-- 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


   
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Ricochet
(@ricochet)
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Play it with bare fingers and pick softly.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Mike
 Mike
(@mike)
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Before you take your strings off to stuff a t-shirt in there, try cutting a piece of cardboard that will fit around the soundhole and LIGHTLY tape it down. Don't use "duct tape"! Use something LESS aggressive so you don't mess up your guitars finish.

That should do the trick.


   
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Slydog
(@slydog)
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I once started plucking before taking the humidifier out of the soundhole. It was very quiet.

Blame it on the lies that killed us, blame it on the truth that ran us down.


   
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Musenfreund
(@musenfreund)
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Welcome to the musical madhouse.

Can't you buy a muting shield that fits into the soundhole? I know sometimes the acoustic is muted in live performances -- you can see that the soundhole is blocked.

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


   
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Ricochet
(@ricochet)
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That "muting shield" in the soundhole is called a Feedback Buster. It's used with acoustic-electrics in noisy live settings, not to quieten the sound coming out of the guitar, but to limit what comes back in for the purpose of reducing feedback problems. It would surely quieten a guitar acoustically, though.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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DemoEtc
(@demoetc)
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Here's a similar thread with other good ideas. Check it out :)

http://forums.guitarnoise.com/viewtopic.php?t=9974


   
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HughM
(@hughm)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 39
 

Ricochet's got it right.

Use extra-light guage strings, play with your fingers, and play softly. The last bit is the hardest. It takes quite a bit of feel to get the pop out of your instrument and do so softly; it's a matter of right-hand deftness and subtle fret-hand damping. You can stuff your guitar with . . . stuff, if you like, but that's going to give you a lousy sound. I think it's just a matter of expertise.

If your style does not lend itself to this kind of technique, you might try to learn a new style for the quite times. A very fine style, one that will impress all who hear it and which will make you a much more flexible player (in a couple of senses), is a jazzy blues emphasizing a walking bass with various 7ths and 9ths popped in at nice swingy intervals. Check out Bass Line Basics for Guitar (Mel Bay) for a course on this, or go to http://www.intimateaudio.com/psycho_licks.html for a four-lesson session, complete with a pleasing amount of theory. The lessons are called "walking bassline" or some such thing. You'll know it when you see it. This stuff, played acoustically, can be done very quietly indeed and will make you a true kitchen guitar stud.

Have fun!


   
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DemoEtc
(@demoetc)
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Here's another idea: maybe use those foam 'peanuts' they use for shipping things. Fill the guitar up and cover the hole with one of those feedback reducer disks. It might just work.


   
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joe momma
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A thought.
If at all possible.
Can you soundproof a small room in your house?
Some acoustic tiles or even a layer of foam insulation?

egg boxes will do the trick


   
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Ricochet
(@ricochet)
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Posts: 7833
 

Do consider fire safety. Remember the Great White tragedy?

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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