any ideas for low volume playing, maybe without an amp?

GBfun

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I dunno boys...I practice unamped and amped, and I lose a LOT of expression and dynamics and clean playing style UNamped, and I tend to overplay the picking UNamped. Playing amped opens up a whole palette of expression and sounds that cause me to play more and better. So I vote for an amped solution.

I haven't used the small $25 battery amps but I have used Pignose amps quite successfully. Alas one needs a floorboard or preamp with FX with this solution(Pig vol less than 6), so there's too many moving parts involved. Perhaps a better solution is a MicroCube(highly regarded) or some other small battery amp with FX. But those can get pretty loud.

I've also gone to Amazon and got a lithium battery powered bluetooth speaker that's fairly flat and not too bad for super small volume guitar practice. Mine cost less than $30. It needs to have a stereo 1/8th input because it also needs a preamp of some type that has FX for full enjoyment. I use an old Korg PX3, or Zoom505, or multFX pedal but any headphone FX should work too. Just run a 1/8(or 1/4) stereo out from the FX unit to the bluetooth speaker 1/8th and there you go, a (in my case) lithium battery powered raging 1 INCH Twin ! (or Marshall half stack ;). This rig struggles to reach more than a medium radio loudness though, and can easily be talked over. And you can use it for bluetooth functions with cellphones/radio stations. The advantage is a rechargable battery, a cheap price, a small footprint, and with some tweaking, a decent sound with extra bass designs.

A super minimalist package that's still fun, could be a bluetooth speaker, a cellphone set to FM stations, and an unconnected electric guitar. I can have lots of fun with just that ! And there are guitar apps to play with too. Just be aware that playing on a real amp is a lot...richer...and more demanding for clean technique.

And there's nothing better than getting paid while playing guitar imho...;)
 

bgmacaw

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I also in the school of thought of it's not great to play a solid body electric without an amp. If I don't want to use an amp, I have acoustics of various types handy.

This is my "take to the office" and travel rig, my headless Muslady kit and Vox Mini amp. The amp goes in the backpack with cables and such. If I needed to get smaller, I have the tiny (and not so good) Yamaha amp (on the table in the photo) or a Smokey amp.

20220522_085805.jpg
 

StoneH

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I think this thing was state-of-the-art for personal amplification around 1990. It had a wide range of effects (Clean or Distorted). I used it for about a month with a Backpacker, then quit playing again.

Head jammer.jpg
 

tap4154

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I use one of these - compact, low volume and similar to an electric:
fender-telecoustic-2000-2005-6688.jpg

Years ago I went through trying a number of small travel guitars, and still have a Pignose guitar, but what I ended up keeping in my motorhome is a Telecoustic that I've had for many years. If you take the time to set it up correctly, they really play well, and really have a cool little cigar box tone. They play just like an electric, the body is just a bit thicker than a Telecaster, and are not too loud so you won't disturb neighbors in a campground. They also really sound great plugged in, but I normally play mine unplugged.
 

BryMelvin

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1/2 size classical guitar sounds good. I don't have one but a Cordoba Dolce in my office (7/8) works for me.
 

regularslinky

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I play unplugged all the time. I never use an amp at home. I have some headphone solutions, but I’m usually too lazy to implement them. I just noodle on the couch while I’m watching TV. If it’s a quiet, which it always is at night after everyone goes to bed, I get along just fine.

If you really have trouble hearing it (I’m half deaf and I don’t have issues with it but YMMV) you could always get a hollow body.

Some of the cheapy Ibanez models are pretty sweet for the $$.
This. You don't want headphones or earbuds at work, and an acoustic will be too loud. If an unplugged solidbody doesn't work then pick up a cheap semi-hollow or hollowbody electric. Maybe you can even leave it at work. I have an old Epiphone Joe Pass Emperor at my office for exactly this purpose. It doesn't get much play, but it looks good. Ibanez also makes some great choices, and I used to have an Oscar Schmidt Delta King (335 style, under $300 new IIRC) that played way better than its price.
 

Call Me Al

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For the sake of simplicity I’d go unplugged.

But I do endorse the Blackstar fly. Tiny, cheap, sounds really good and plenty of volume for what you describe
FCAE197C-478F-4C52-82F1-72C7A96321E2.jpeg
 




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