How many times have we heard after eating …? “Stop playing the guitar, it’s not hours, people are taking naps …” or at night, “You have to finish that tomorrow there are people who get up early.” You even wake up early one day on a weekend and want to take the time to study when everyone is sleeping.
Sometimes it is very difficult to reconcile our responsibilities with studying music, and many times these moments of the day are the only ones we take out to study and we must take advantage of them.
The solution to all this is very simple, a soundproof study area, but not everyone can afford this. The price of completely soundproofing the floor, wall, ceiling and window of a 10 m2 room with 2 meter high walls exceeds € 5000. And if we are living for rent, then soundproofing would be totally ruled out.
Another solution would be to rent a soundproof room to study. I have been looking at prices and from € 10 / hour it is possible to find some. This option has the drawbacks that it would imply travel time and a significant constant financial investment. In my case, I discard it.
Since I started playing the guitar, I have been looking for a way to get a few extra minutes a day to study … and I am still looking for them. Because I work and also study Engineering at the University.
At the request of several students I show you the different solutions that I have tried, from the most expensive to the most economical and I give you my opinion on each one of them.
1.- Silent Guitar
It is the most expensive option of all, but the most complete. If for you the price is not a problem, it can be an interesting solution.
- Silent practice with both hands
- Ability to hear what you play through headphones
- Some have audio input (Very useful for learning songs or studying with bases and metronome without disturbing)
- You can use it as an amplified guitar (There are people who go bowling with them)
- They usually have a small equalizer
- Some allow you to add various types of reverb
- Various possibilities of use (Connected to alternating current, with ACC battery)
- It can be a good travel guitar option (Some of them are usually foldable and take up little space to take them on trips)
- High price (compared to the other solutions)
- Different playing posture (If you are a classical / flamenco guitarist, the playing posture will vary a bit, since these types of guitars do not have a sound box)
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My experience with Silent Guitars
When I started living in a rented apartment, I decided to buy a second hand Yamaha Silent Guitar (Yamaha slg200s), and in this way try to take advantage of all my free time and avoid having problems with the neighbors. The truth is that I used it a lot and the main use it gave it was to learn new things, since with the headphones and the audio input, I could play on top of the original fragment that I wanted to learn and listened to both my guitar and the original. For this I recommend it 100%.
I always had it without the cover, placed on a guitar stand next to the sofa and visible. So, every day I played it, even in the recesses of a movie. When I go on vacation I also take it with me, since it takes up very little space and allows me not to lose contact with the instrument.
2.- Silent pocket guitars
Speaking clearly, they are not pocket guitars, but people call them that. They are devices that serve to specifically practice each of the hands separately. Some are designed to practice the right hand and others the left hand.
- Reduced size
- Ease of transport
- Not very high price
- You can practice anywhere
- Some carry chord trainer
- It is not a totally real practice, since you cannot practice both hands at the same time
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My experience with pocket guitars
I have had a Guitar Mute for about 5 years now. In the beginning I used it a lot, but since I bought the silent guitar I use it very little.
At times, it has been useful when I have had to machine some new technique. The next day when I played the guitar I saw good results. It can be useful in the beginning and a quick way to internalize the different mechanisms of the guitar.
3.- Silencer accessories for your guitar
Small utensils that will allow you to minimize the volume of your guitar: The sponge or mute of all life and a mouth cover.
- They are the cheapest
- The practice posture is real
- They take up very little space (You can carry them in your guitar case)
- Silent practice of both hands
- You can make them yourself
- The amount of reduced volume is usually not enough not to disturb
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86mm diameter jaws
100mm diameter jaws
My experience with the mute and the guitar mask
Above I have left you some straps to silence the vibration of the strings, but you can also take a kitchen sponge, and cut it to size to insert it between the strings and the resonance box next to the bridge. Another option is that you go to see an upholsterer. They use sponges to fill sofas and armchairs. So you can make your own mute.
Masks are a bit more difficult to make and I opted to buy them.
I think these accessories are mandatory for every guitarist, but we should not depend on them! Why? Because with a sponge or mute to cover the strings, everything usually works out better, since the errors are heard less and also the strings are more stable.
I use them often, also for heating, when we are still a bit imprecise.
In my opinion we should all have a sponge in our cover to cover the strings and at home, a cover for the mouth if we practice after hours.
Now, if you can afford it, buying a silent guitar is a very good option. The possibilities it offers are many, and there are some of them that can be folded, you can take them anywhere. You can also buy some second hand, who knows? you may find some at an attractive price.
In relation to the exercisers, they do not seem so useful to me, I learned to strum in the seams of my jeans while driving, and with an empty plastic bottle of water when I was walking down the street. Also, to practice the right hand exclusively, you can tie a shirt to the mast and start practicing mechanisms.
Finally, I would like to advise you: If you can study with your guitar, and without any type of silencer, the better. The study will be more real and will be much more profitable. Now, if what we want is to take advantage of those hours of the day when we cannot study normally, then choosing one or more of the options that I propose in this article will be the best alternative.