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I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby VOLOVIA » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:39 am

Moved in new apartment armed with my top-sounding classical guitar.
The sound carries across the whole building (continental apartment block with tiled/marble floors...).

I stuffed my love with a clean, but old towel and the sound has been tamed by, let's say, about a quarter.

Need more! Avoiding the obvious jokes (fill it with concrete, cut off the back, don't play, etc.), can anyone suggest a better material/technique to dampen the sound output by more than 50%?
Cheers all.
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Re: I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:47 am

I think you'd be better posting this on the DIY Studio Design etc forum where lots of knowledgable folk will give you tips to soundproof your room and thereby remove the need to commit wanton guitaricide. 8-)
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Re: I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby VOLOVIA » Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:15 am

Yes, that would be the obvious solutions, never had this problem, but for a couple of months I will be staying in this shared accommodation (think student house), so I can't do much to the 'walls'..
Thanks anyway..
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Re: I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby Richie Royale » Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:51 am

Some cheap rugs for the room perhaps?
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Re: I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby grab » Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:58 am

Some kind of damping at the bridge, so long as it doesn't completely stop the strings and affect pitch. A lightweight woman's scarf, tights/stocking, something like that. I've used a shoelace before now, but that's a bit too heavy and affects the pitch and tone. It's not a great solution - I don't like the sound it makes - but if you're desperate for a guitar fix without people beating your door down then it'll do the job.

This is the kind of situation that the Yamaha silent guitars (and their imitators) are designed for. Probably not much help for you though, because I doubt you want to spend money on an alternative guitar, especially if you're only going to be there for a short time..
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Re: I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:04 pm

I will be staying in this shared accommodation (think student house), so I can't do much to the 'walls'..


How about wearing gloves when you play, then?
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Re: I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby zenguitar » Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:22 pm

It really is the building not the guitar.

Spend a week playing electric guitar at incredibly high volumes. Then when they complain volunteer to just play acoustic ;)

Andy :beamup:
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Re: I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby zenguitar » Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:33 pm

A more practical option to add to the mix...

The saddle acts like a pre-amp. The higher it is, the more gain you have. By lowering the saddle height you reduce the 'drive' (to continue the amplifier analogy) into the body which is the power amp.

Of course, this depends on whether you have scope to lower the action on the guitar. But if there is room to lower the action by 1mm at the 12th fret, you can reduce the saddle height by 2mm. This will reduce the drive by about 15% on a typical guitar. In conjunction with your towel, that could be enough.

If you try this, and it is possible to reduce the action that much, I would recommend making a second saddle and keeping the current one original. That way you can restore it to original in minutes.

And be careful with the towel. It should be fine, but just keep a check on humidity. You don't want to end up with a damp towel inside the guitar.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby Frisonic » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:09 pm

zenguitar wrote:It really is the building not the guitar.

Spend a week playing electric guitar at incredibly high volumes. Then when they complain volunteer to just play acoustic ;)

Andy :beamup:

Easy to say from the wilds of Devon Andy! I have a very similar problem. Its absolutely the room AND the building. I live in a sound box. And I rent too so there is a limit to how much one can spend on room treatments. I really didn't want to alter any of my instruments so what I did instead was sell my biggest amp, which I never played anymore anyway, and used the money to buy another decent acoustic. This means although I never use my amplifier after nine at night I always have a choice of acoustic instruments to reach for in the wee small hours - both steel strung in my case. I also invested in some rugs and other soft furnishings, and these have helped considerably. Plus I have made a point of communicating with my new neighbors so that I keep relations good and manage expectations about when I am going to be making a little noise. One of the acoustics is noticeably louder then the other, so I tend to reach for the quieter one if its very late, and finger pick rather than use a plectrum ditto (those sounds seem to carry less easily - so this classical guitar must be mighty loud)! Finally, if its very late and I feel like I want to really thrash something I just play one of my electrics unplugged. To my surprise I have found I enjoy this almost as much as playing them plugged in, as it has led me to far better appreciate/learn the tonal characteristics of each individual guitar. I swear after I've done that, the next time I play them through my amp there is noticeably more nuance in my playing.

If I really need to make some noise I take all my gear elsewhere! My biggest challenge recently has been learning to play the drums properly. I'm taking lessons in a treated studio but for practice at home I have a high hat which is duct tapped to reduce noise (can't open the cymbals like that, obviously), a snare with a damping pad and a bass drum pedal which hammers an upholstered stool and makes almost no noise. Assorted cushions make up the toms if needed. So far no complaints. Fingers crossed. (note: as a home recordist learning to play a drum kit properly has been one of the most useful new skills I have acquired - I really enjoy it and when it comes to writing my own drum tracks in logic I'm able to say "this is what a real drummer would do" - I have found what is possible sounds far more plausible).
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Re: I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby Frisonic » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:14 pm

zenguitar wrote: ...if there is room to lower the action by 1mm at the 12th fret, you can reduce the saddle height by 2mm. This will reduce the drive by about 15% on a typical guitar. Andy :beamup:

That's more than interesting. My 'louder' acoustic is the new one and its due a 'settling in' set up, and it has a higher action than the older one. Some scope there for improvement me thinks...
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Re: I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby Darren Lynch » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:47 pm

If you can top play your top sounding classical guitar, then it's hardly an imposition on your surroundings! Is any one actually complaining?
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Re: I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby VOLOVIA » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:47 pm

Thanks for all your posts so far! Just as a curiosity, where do you put the damping material near the bridge? As a string 'mute' (i.e. Tele) or actually where the string rest (saddle).
Besides, my (un)wet towel inside could be improved I think. Acoustic foam? Paper? An unwanted Christmas jumper?
Overall, is it possible to kill an acoustic sound at all (temporarily), this could be of great use for live sessions, where you want to keep the feel of your instrument of choice but behave 'like' a silent guitar?
I ponder from a -15 degrees Chermany.
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Re: I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:30 pm

Bearing in mind Andy's damp towel disaster scenario (we've all had one) remember you're trying to stop the top of the guitar from moving rather than just soaking up a few early reflections so 2 towels packed a little more tightly and physically restricting the top should be better. A rubber 'feedback buster' soundhole plug should finish the job nicely.
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Re: I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby 4TrackMadman » Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:18 pm

I think there was a plastic plug for the soundhole, I've seen live performers use it so their guitar doesn't feed back when plugged.
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Re: I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby Richie Royale » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:44 am

Build a tipi using duvets?
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Re: I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby permanent_daylight » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:50 am

well there must be something similar to a mute for bowed instruments.

i had this problem with cello, and bought a large heavy rubber practice mute. it doesn't actually touch the strings but dampens down to 1/2 to 1/4 sound levels. changes the sound a lot, although it still sounds nice and will probably still if its a nice instrument.
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Re: I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby VOLOVIA » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:33 am

Where does it go on the instrument, on the bridge or as a Gretch/Tele's style? In this case, doesn't it kill the sustain dead too?
Cheers folks!
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Re: I need to kill my classical guitar..

Postby . . . Delete This User . . . » Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:05 pm

feedback buster


heavy rubber bung for the soundhole.


job done
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