The good news is, your child has listened to your advice and finally decided to embark on their new musical career. Now the next step is guitar lessons.
The good news is that they’re practicing the guitar regularly in their room, but the bad news it that they’re subjecting you, as well as all the neighbors, to all of their wrong notes.
Electric and acoustic guitars can both play a wide range of notes, which can be really low and cause vibrations, or really high and resonate throughout the neighborhood. Having someone in your house learn guitar can be a nightmare for your neighbors.
To protect yourself from lots of noise (not to mention potential complaints from your neighbors) it’s essential to take a few extra steps.
Today at Superprof we’re explaining how you can limit all the sounds from your child taking private guitar lessons at home.
Before we consider all of the annoyance that music could cause for your parents, brothers, sisters, and neighbors, let’s start by considering the noise from the student’s point of view.
Why would it matter to the musician?
Here we’re speaking directly to the budding guitarists – you too, inside your bedroom or your practice space, could benefit from a bit of insulation.
Rolling Stones or silence?
Essentially, your sound will be better with a bit of soundproofing around you. By insulating your walls and ceiling, you’ll start to get a much better quality of sound as the sound waves move better through the room.
You’ll also be able to hear your notes more precisely.
For any musician, this is a definite advantage as you’ll be able to hear your playing more clearly. It’s especially helpful if you’re playing guitar, where the notes tend to be higher.
Once you’ve bought your first guitar, soundproofing is a good option to consider to help you improve faster.
It’ll be really good for you to take some guitar lessons and then be able to practice your scales in a room that has been properly soundproofed. Once your fingers have learned to slide along the strings, your ear will learn to hear all of the notes. But it’s better when you’re hearing them properly.
If you’ve ever found yourself next to an amp vibrating with bass notes, you can understand your neighbor’s suffering when you’re playing low notes on your guitar.
As you know, low notes often cause some major vibrations which are often the source of complaints about noise pollution.
If you haven’t installed your soundproofing properly or if you don’t have any, those vibrations won’t just be annoying your family.
Even you may end up annoyed, and it may make it difficult to identify the quality of the sound you’re getting in return.
Does the sound of your guitar bother you?
The best advice to counteract the vibrations from your bass notes is to use plywood, about half a foot (at maximum) from your wall.
Between the wall and the plywood, we’d recommend adding wool, which will help stop vibrations and kill the sound.
Unfortunately, if you take guitar lessons at home, you’ve probably never had the chance to play guitar in a proper auditorium. Your room may already be a little small, so use the technique below to try and considerably reduce the amount of space you’re using.
If you want to practice your guitar playing in a small room and limit your noise, an easy solution is to make a sound-shield around the room. Once again, we’d recommend using thin panels of plywood, and some wool to go behind the panel. Place your panels up high where the ceiling meets the walls.
This way, your space at the floor level will stay the same, even if you lose a bit of height in some places.
If the noise remains a problem, you can repeat the method in all four corners of the room.
When you take guitar lessons or join a music group, one of the most common solutions to reduce the noise are egg cartons. It’s really easy and might seem a bit strange, but it definitely works.
To reduce your midrange notes, egg cartons are perfect.
A rustic but effective method!
Of course, you’ll have to eat quite a few eggs in order to paper over your whole ceiling, but the quality: price ratio is still really good.
With your egg cartons on the ceiling, you’ll reduce the noise from your guitar as you move onto higher notes.
In any case, the cartons will help break the sound waves, and reduce the overall volume of your playing.
You also get great results if you’re playing and singing at the same time.
If you’re taking guitar lessons, you’re obviously also concerned by the noise from the high notes. It’s true for an acoustic guitar, but even more so for an electric one!
To stop the high notes and avoid bothering your family, the combination of plywood and wool that you put on your walls will also be really useful. But that isn’t all!
Soundproof your room!
You can also protect your floor by using porous materials. To do so, there are two popular options – you could fully carpet the floor, which has the advantage of covering the whole floor. Or you could just put down a thick carpet.
As you progress in your guitar lessons, you will gain confidence with your new instrument.
Joy will quickly take the place of the frustration you felt when you were first starting out and your playing will soon be up to scratch!
But as you play more and more, you risk annoying your neighbors, and so it might be a good idea to also do some work to your windows.
There are several options for the budding musician.
Insulate your windows!
For a start you could insulate your hinges. For about $15 you can pick up a resin that will harden and cut back on nuisance noises by up to 10 decibels.
There’s also another option, although it is a lot more expensive – super insulated windows. You can find these from specialist window producers, and they insulate from both heat and sound. They’re made up of a special ‘low viscosity’ glass, a small air pocket, and then soundproofed glass on the inside. This double glazing is made up of two thin pieces of glass, about 4mm thick, separated by sound dampening material that’s 1 or 2mm thick.
There’s also a third option for your windows, and one that’s somewhat more affordable – keep the window that is already in the room and just add a second one. Buy a basic window pane, and install it about half a foot from the other window.
In this case, it’s important to be quite careful with the placement of the window – you can’t just install it any which way. If you aren’t careful, the noises will continue and your home-made double glazing won’t make any difference!
Take a minute to think about the different soundproofing techniques that we’ve discussed in this article.
Will they suffice?
Will your upstairs and downstairs neighbors, your parents, and your siblings be safe from noise?
Not really. There’s one thing left to do now that you know how to play the guitar.
Don’t let the space get you – furnish your room and reduce noise!
What we’re trying to say here, is that even with your soundproofing efforts, some noise is still likely to escape your room or music studio if they are only lightly furnished.
It’s especially important if you’re playing the guitar frequently.
The sound waves will continue right through the walls and ceilings, which will still be passing on some slight vibrations.
Therefore, it is important to finish your work by placing furniture in the four corners of the room to help break the sound waves.
And if you have any questions, one of the advantages of having a guitar teacher is that they can give you advice!
Noise and their problems always have a solution. And a bit of extra work is easily balanced by the advantages of guitar lessons for children.