#1
Hi there to all acoustic guitar fans.

I need your help/suggestions on the following problem.
"Studying acoustic guitar really quietly!"

I have thought of many things as a solution, but each one has its problems.
For example:
1) Buy a Yamaha silent guitar. Too expensive.
2) Buy an electric and use headphones. Different instrument.
3) Buy a very cheap acoustic and rip off the back. It will lose structural integrity.
4) Stuff the inside of the body with some sort of foamy material. Will this work?

Any ideas/suggestions will be highly appreciated.
#2
I suppose covering the soundhole of your guitar should to the trick, you could buy them or make your improvised own completely covering the soundhole. I don't use them so I don't really know but they should fight feedback and make the guitar quieter.

But I would recommend against this quiet practice. Go somewhere else if you can't play normally at your home or somewhere.
#3
Quote by old shatterhand
I suppose covering the soundhole of your guitar should to the trick, you could buy them or make your improvised own completely covering the soundhole. I don't use them so I don't really know but they should fight feedback and make the guitar quieter.

But I would recommend against this quiet practice. Go somewhere else if you can't play normally at your home or somewhere.


Covering the soundhole doesn't make much difference.
This is mainly done in order to reduce feedback between guitar and the amp.
The physical sound that the guitar produces doesn't change much.
Unfortunatle in this case

It is not recommended, it is also not dedired AT ALL but sometimes, you just have to
#4
As the other guy said you're going to have to find somewhere else to play, you've pretty much crossed out all your options. Muting your acoustic guitar would make it almost completely useless anyway, even if it's just for practicing if you can't hear what you're playing you won't get anywhere. The only other thing I can think of is heavily dampening the strings by muting them at the bridge, so you can try wrapping a hankerchief or something around them there.
#5
I am not going to try anything on my current acoustic.
I was thinking of buying a project-guitar (something REALLY cheap).

What if I bought a used electric-acoustic (with piezo pick-up) and fill the soundhole with foam material used for sound insulation.
The piezo pick-up should still function right?
Hence, if I wanted to listen, I could plug it in and use headphones, right?

How about that?

If not, it doesn't really matter. It will only be an emergency tool for special situations, nothing more and certainly not my main instrument

PS. Suggestions of the type "play more softly", "play elsewhere", "use a helmet", "cover yourself with a blanket", "buy your wife and kids a pair of earplugs" etc. are very cheerful, but . . . seriously . . .
Last edited by gogonias at Sep 12, 2014,
#6
but a cheap electric. it won't play quite the same as an acoustic, but it will be quieter.

btw, some of the guys on AGF stuff their acoustic with socks for much quieter practice.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#7
Quote by patticake
but a cheap electric. it won't play quite the same as an acoustic, but it will be quieter. . . .


Yep ^ ^ ^ ^ this is the best solution.

You could also fit a heavier gauge of string (something like La Bella Jazz Lights 12 - 52 or Mediums 13 - 56) and raise the action slightly. It will then approximate reasonably well to the playing style of an acoustic.
#8
Quote by gogonias


PS. Suggestions of the type "play more softly", "play elsewhere", "use a helmet", "cover yourself with a blanket", "buy your wife and kids a pair of earplugs" etc. are very cheerful, but . . . seriously . . .


Wes Montgomery developed his thumb only playing technique because playing with a pick was always too loud for his wife - maybe you should follow suit!
#9
Why do you want something quiet if you want an acoustic guitar? Rip off the back? You rip off the back and the entire thing will collapse. What about those slim, inexpensive mobile acoustic guitars that you can carry around with you wherever you go? They might be semi-quiet. Or a much better solution would be to soundproof your room.
Last edited by cool09 at Sep 12, 2014,
#10
I agree that you should really try and find a way to be able to play at normal volumes. Fingerstyle is not so loud. At first it is maybe louder, but you eventually want a soft touch.

But, if that's really not an option, then I would go the foam route. Find some cheap guitar. Shouldn't be too hard. It could even have a crack in it, who cares?

If you were really handy, what I would try would be some of that foam they use to fix boats, and stuff like that, or insulation foam but not styrofoam with the pellets stuck together the homogenous dense foam stuff. Then cut off the bottom the guitar, fill it with that foam cut to size, and then fill in the cracks with that expanding foam they use in construction, and I guess boats as well. Do a bunch of layers like that to the top. sand it down even, and then make grooves for the back braces, or just remove them, which ever is easier, and stick the backing back on with carpenter's wood glue.

This will let you keep the same feel and shape, but with much more quiet sound.

If you could find some sort of liquid stuff that expands and dries into foam cheap enough, I would just fill the whole body with that, or, not all of it, but the right amount so that some of it volcanos out the sound hole a bit, and then I'd sand that down flat, and cap it with maybe a soundhole cover, or something like that.

It would be heavier, but I think for what you want, that's the best way to go.

String noise can bother people also though. Idk how you wanna play, or what the situation is where acoustic guitar is too loud, but if playing more softly doesn't help, I'm not sure this will either.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Sep 12, 2014,
#11
Buy whatever takes your fancy and stuff it with polystyrene peanuts. That will make it fairly quiet, and the treatment is easily reversible.

Anelectric is good, but you lose that attack and sustain properties of an acoustic. You will anyway with my suggestion, but it will be too little rather than too much sustain.

Ripping the back off is a lousy idea.
#12
Strumming with your fingers is much more quiet. I live in an apartment so I just use my thumb instead of a pick and strum softly when I want to practice late night or early morning. A smaller travel size guitar is a also less volume. I have a soundhole cover but that doesn't quiet the guitar as much as you would think, only a tiny bit. The silent guitar is the best option but I agree it's too expensive for just a practice instrument. Unplugged electric is a good idea too. You could easily put heavier strings on it and set the action up a little higher to where your acoustic is at.
#13
Quote by Tony Done
Buy whatever takes your fancy and stuff it with polystyrene peanuts. That will make it fairly quiet, and the treatment is easily reversible.

Anelectric is good, but you lose that attack and sustain properties of an acoustic. You will anyway with my suggestion, but it will be too little rather than too much sustain.

Ripping the back off is a lousy idea.


This might work well. I would try this first. But I think you'd want to stuff it well, which means however you plug the hole will need to be somewhat clever to some degree, in order to withstand pressure and not damage the guitar, if you intend to reuse the guitar at some point.
#14
Quote by fingrpikingood
This might work well. I would try this first. But I think you'd want to stuff it well, which means however you plug the hole will need to be somewhat clever to some degree, in order to withstand pressure and not damage the guitar, if you intend to reuse the guitar at some point.


i thought I had repleied to this, but it seems to have got lost in cyberspace.

You don't need to pack them in tight, just shake the guitar well to settle them. You could use a feedback buster to plug the soundhole, or just a piece of cardboard stuck inside.
#15
Quote by Tony Done
i thought I had repleied to this, but it seems to have got lost in cyberspace.

You don't need to pack them in tight, just shake the guitar well to settle them. You could use a feedback buster to plug the soundhole, or just a piece of cardboard stuck inside.


I've never tried it, but I'm not so confident as you are on that one. I think the vibrations might make them hop around a bit in there, and the wood would still vibrate relatively freely, although the vibrating air might get trapped a bit, I think it might just vibrate peanuts instead.

I'm sure it would be an improvement, I would imagine the tone would change quite a bit, but I'm not sure if it would be enough. To be honest, idk how quiet it needs to be, and whether enough is possible at all, but I'm not sure how significant of a difference that would make.

Have you ever tried that?

I'm no luthier though, and I've been wrong about stuff like this before.

For example, I would have figured that filling the wine glass in this case, would make the pitch go up, not down.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2j8QUMLQtY
#16
Quote by fingrpikingood
I've never tried it, but I'm not so confident as you are on that one. I think the vibrations might make them hop around a bit in there, and the wood would still vibrate relatively freely, although the vibrating air might get trapped a bit, I think it might just vibrate peanuts instead.

I'm sure it would be an improvement, I would imagine the tone would change quite a bit, but I'm not sure if it would be enough. To be honest, idk how quiet it needs to be, and whether enough is possible at all, but I'm not sure how significant of a difference that would make.

Have you ever tried that?

I'm no luthier though, and I've been wrong about stuff like this before.

For example, I would have figured that filling the wine glass in this case, would make the pitch go up, not down.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2j8QUMLQtY


Yeah, what I meant was pack them in tight enough that they can't move, but not so tight it makes the body blow out like a balloon.

I'm confident it will damp the sound a lot, becuase most of the string energy will be converted into frictional energy in the peanuts. However, you will certainly lose tone and sustain. - An instant clunker, in fact. Those peanuts are cheap enough, as bean bag filler, so I would just try it and see.