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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Dont practice with low volume

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by RedBarchetta, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. jjkrause84

    jjkrause84 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 28, 2009
    London, England
    Technique = unplugged

    Transcription = headphones (no one wants to hear the same damn 3 second of whatever song 15 times in row!)

    Rehearsal/Songwriting = plugged in

    That's me, at any rate.

  2. Suicideking

    Suicideking Friend of Leo's

    Nov 28, 2010
    Palm Bay FL
    +1 fezz I actually do the exact same thing..

  3. Telarkaster

    Telarkaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 25, 2007
    Although probably well intentioned, the dogmatic tone of the OP and the defensiveness of his replies has probably set some people off. Perhaps "IMO" or "my 2 cents" at the end would have taken the preachiness and know-it-all edge off. Or posting it as a question or poll to start a dialogue. Not everybody lives in a place where they can practice at volume. So practicing at low volume is better than not practicing at all. Playing with headphones can seriously damage your hearing. Please be careful if you play with headphones, you don't realize what you've lost until it's gone.

    Like Durtdog, I kind of see the OP's point but I call shenanigans on the reasons given. Normally if I don't agree with someone I let it go, but I don't want others to read the advice given and take it as gospel, especially since it could be harmful to one's hearing.

    If you need gain then there are options: master volume knobs, pedals, modelling amps, etc
    No, it doesn't mess with your head, it just doesn't sound very good.
    Not always possible, see above.
    Tell that to Wes Montgomery, he practiced late at night, playing with his thumb so that he wouldn't keep his family awake.

    Now, as a counterpoint to the Wes Montgomery example and in an attempt to be fair and not gang up on the OP, here's a quote from another great guitarist, Jerry Garcia:

    Jerry Garcia by the way was a real guitarist in a real band...

  4. Charlesinator

    Charlesinator Tele-Meister

    Jan 24, 2007
    Mooresville, NC
    Horrible post.

    1. Practicing with a loud or distorted tone tends to mask bad technique.

    2. The best live bar bands always play at a reasonable volume so as the vocals and lyrics are audible. This is especially important if you play original music.

    3. Seriously ear damage is a huge concern. It affects thousands upon thousands of lesser guitarists and plenty of famous ones as well.

    4. Playing loud elimates any dynamic range you may have. Dynamics add dimension to playing and are often very important for giving you an individual style.

    5. With todays amps playing loud is no longer necessary to acheive certain sonic tricks. Attenuators, master volumes, a multitude of effects pedals and low watt amps allow you to get anything you can get by playing at ear shattering volume.

    Hey I love to move air as much as the next guy but realize that if I do among others or in front of others I'm pretty much just being a jerk.

  5. RedBarchetta

    RedBarchetta Tele-Meister

    Mar 7, 2010
    Not sure what happened to TDPRI. I never used to see shady posts like this even as recently as a year ago. So I have a strong opinion but, even if I am wrong, I don't see why some have gotten personal. Anyway, I'm discontinuing my posts on this thread.

  6. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

    RB, don't back away. If it is what works for you, roll with it. If I somehow came off as antagonistic, I apologize. Hang in there dude. It's your tree, swing the way you like to swing.:D

  7. Suicideking

    Suicideking Friend of Leo's

    Nov 28, 2010
    Palm Bay FL
    Nobody got personal it was you that got offended if somebody didnt agree with you. Everybody has opinions and thats ok but a few of your posts have seemed like if somebody didnt agree with you then you thought they didnt know what they were talking about. I wouldnt blame the TDPRI for that but maybe look at the way you say things so you dont look like you are talking down at people. I think somebody said it right when they said a poll might have been better or maybe a more helpful approach. If you get upset everytime somebody doesnt agree with you here you wont last long...

  8. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

    Musically - the bottom line is dynamics - theres no loud without soft or quiet - and theres no control over dynamic without practicing your attack - and has many have said , you dont always need an amp to do that.

    Physically the bottom line is your health - theres loud and then there's peircingly loud. Check with those (including me) who hit 45 and found out how much all of those loud gigs have punished your ears - AND - the rub is that if your ears start going - your dynamics are likely to follow.

  9. Canadiense. El

    Canadiense. El Tele-Meister

    May 21, 2008

    Then why not play unplugged and have at it?? If I'm practicing at night I play unplugged electrics - nobody gets woken up and I can work on fingerings, co-ordination, you-name-it.

  10. Dflo

    Dflo Tele-Meister

    Apr 21, 2010
    Kansas City
    practice ? was I supposed to practice ??

  11. 13ontheB

    13ontheB Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 16, 2005
    North West England
    I think the OP is perhaps refering to the difference in overall sound when the amp is played through at low levels V performance level. There is a big difference in tone between the two.If you want to know what you rig sounds like at performance level that is what it has to be at,once you have your EQ determined and your FX adjusted you can then "practice" at low levels although the overall tone may not sound as you require.Back when I first used a compressor I set it to sound as I wanted it while practicing low volume at home,disaster struck when I stomped on it on stage and the natural compression from the amp added to the compressor setting and muted the notes I was playing.

  12. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    To me, amps sound totally different in different size rooms. For example, in my bedroom or living room apartment, I really like the sound of my Blues Jr. However, when I have taken it to open mic nights where your on a patio deck or big open room, I get a darker, muddier tone.

  13. Mike Bruce

    Mike Bruce Friend of Leo's

    Apr 8, 2008
    Loud enough to hear the nuances of technique and style, quiet enough to protect one's ears and keep the public peace. That leaves a very wide range of volume at which to play safely.

    I agree with a previous poster that too much gain/distortion/whatever can mask technique issues and blur note articulation, at any volume. Acoustic (electric or acoustic) practice can refine note articulation.

    Peace, Mike.

  14. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 12, 2011
    Snellman MN
    It simple really. If you don't sound good unplugged. Please don't plug it in EVER !

  15. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

    Precision and clean playing IMO only comes about from acoustic/unplugged playing. Now if I could only play with precision...:lol:

  16. theGecko71

    theGecko71 Tele-Holic

    Nov 18, 2008
    Dayton (NYC Refugee)
    For what it's worth, unless I'm trying to practice some technique that "requires" high volume, I practice either at very low volume or acoustically. Who cares if you can hear your guitar acoustically even when the amp is going? I can't see that it messes with my head any.

    Typically my amp is loud only when I'm goofing off. I don't need to damage my hearing any more than I already have.

  17. sax4blues

    sax4blues Friend of Leo's

    Apr 14, 2006
    San Jose, CA
    I should really take this to heart. My non musical wife has questioned rhetorically the need to play some song or lick endlessly. :oops:

  18. Tim Armstrong

    Tim Armstrong Super Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 5, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    Admin Post
    I didn't really want to post in this thread, it's enough of a train wreck! But I guess I just can't resist in tossing in my two cents (flat, of course).

    I've been playing the electric guitar for, oh, 37 years, and I've found practicing quietly and cleanly forces me to get my technique right. A clean tone gives you nowhere to hide! The nuances of tempo, phrasing and pick attack are all out there to really hear. It's easy to lose a lot of that detail with a loud and distorted tone...


  19. TG

    TG Doctor of Teleocity

    Just to add another observation...

    In my experience, a sound that works well at home, at a band rehearsal or even at the soundcheck before a gig doesn't necessarily work the same when you are actually playing the gig. The room acoustics, the other instruments and even the number and position of people in the room will have an effect on the way your 'sound' feels and behaves.
    There is no practicing setup/rule that will prepare you for what your guitar and amp will be like to play in every venue/situation.

    This may be why particular songs will 'gel' when a band plays them in one venue but are a struggle the next gig somewhere else.

    I'll stick to my unplugged home practicing, and leave my amplified 'practicing' to band practices and gigs.

  20. wshelley

    wshelley Tele-Holic

    May 1, 2009
    Oxford, MS

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