How To Practice Guitar Quietly – 3 Simple Tricks to Keep Everyone Happy

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By Guitar Pick Reviews

All great guitarists know that it’s important to put as much steady time as possible into your guitar practice. However, in some situations, that’s just not possible-. If you work late and need to avoid keeping neighbors up, or if you’re in any other situation where the sound of guitar practice is a big negative, you might find yourself unable to practice the guitar as much as you’d like to. Here’s a look at a few ways to practice the guitar quietly.

How to Make an Acoustic Guitar Quieter

There are a few different methods to make an acoustic guitar quieter. You can either incorporate some quieter playing techniques into your practice routine or use some accessories made to help you lower the volume of your guitar.

How To Mute An Acoustic Guitar

There are two main ways to mute an acoustic guitar. You can either prevent your strings from moving freely by using a guitar muter or use a feedback dampener to prevent the guitar’s body from amplifying the sound.

Guitar Muter

Guitar muters are usually made from rubber, and sit on or below the strings. They absorb as much of the strings’ movement as possible. Here’s the one I’m using, It’s a lifesaver.

Silicone Guitar Muter

The way this guitar muter work is by making it harder for the strings to vibrate. This makes the sustain shorter and the initial volume lower. It also cuts a lot of the higher frequencies, mimicking the sound of a palm muted guitar.

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Acoustic Guitar Feedback Dampener

The Screeching Halt was originally made to eliminate feedback, but since it does that by limiting the amplification of the sound hole, it’s very effective in lowering the volume of acoustic guitars, too.

D'Addario Screeching Halt Acoustic Guitar Feedback Dampener
D’Addario Screeching Halt Acoustic Guitar Feedback Dampener

I have one of these for each of my acoustic guitars. I like it so much, that I also included it in my article about the best guitar gadgets.

Quiet Guitar Exercises

Well, there are some silent guitar exercises that can definitely help you practice the guitar quietly. They won’t make a full practice session, but it’s a good start. By modifying your practice routine, you can focus on your louder exercises when you don’t need to be quiet, and on your silent ones when you do.

Right-Hand Exercises

Your rhythmic hand, the right hand for most guitarists, is incredibly important to your playing style. You can easily practice rhythms in the right hand without making much noise on your guitar at all; mute the strings with your left hand and plug some headphones into the metronome of your choice. If you don’t own a metronome, you can find plenty of free metronomes online, and you can greatly improve your sense of rhythm with some simple exercises. Try setting a metronome to a slow tempo, then strumming two beats for every beat that the metronome plays. You’ll practice guitar silently, and you’ll quickly get quite good at noticing where the beat is in a piece of music.

Left-Hand Exercises

Most guitarists focus on the left hand, as that’s the hand that frets the notes. Practicing with the left hand is more fun. Again, you can practice the left hand silently. In this case, you won’t be strumming. Instead, pick the air above each string as you move your hand through scales and other exercises. You might also consider practicing hammer-ons and pull-offs. Invest in a guitar finger exerciser, which runs about $15 and allows you to get your left hand up to speed without even using a guitar. Each finger on the exerciser will provide some resistance, so you’ll quickly build amazing speed by keeping one in your pocket at work or school.

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Going Electric

As you might have figured, you can practice guitar silently quite easily by switching from an acoustic guitar to an electric one, since most amps have some sort of headphone out. For the best results and minimal amp noise, check out a mini practice amp. These amps often contain a speaker smaller than 5 inches and can be worn on your belt buckle while you jam out silently.

Do you know of any other ways to practice the guitar silently? Post in our comments section below.

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