Bedroom level playing, what the heck is that?

miguelalmeida

Tele-Meister
Joined
Apr 25, 2021
Posts
294
Age
45
Location
Portimão, Portugal
I understand the frustration of guitar players who can’t turn the volume up at home.
My rig is set at a corner of my living room, luckily it is a big one and far from the main door of our appartment. I can crank my small tube amp for distortion or use pedals and haven’t had any complaint so far.
I also play when I know people in the building aren’t home or indeed are but during active times like preparing dinner or so. If it’s past 10pm I will turn the sound down, respect.
On the other side I had the pleasure of visiting one of my best mates who lives in Dublin, also in a apartment.
He has his glorious rig set in a small room, only two people at a time can fit, yes, that small.
So, great guitars (mostly American originals) a beautiful blues deluxe, a blackstar, audio recording equipment and all.
It feels great to be surrounded by all that cool gear and when I get to test it I had to play quiet... I mean he had an attenuator and sure I could play overdriven guitar...
The other option was headphones...
I felt so disappointed and sorry for the dude. If it’s not the neighborhood then it’s his lovely wife or daughter that complain and we kept going through his amazing pedal board and different guitars while at the same time how I was missing my Bjunior...

Sound must travel as free as possible to truly enjoy playing guitar . When I go loud I don’t have to hurt my ears but I got to feel something, the rush, the depth.
 

Blikjeham

TDPRI Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2020
Posts
44
Location
Amsterdam - The Netherlands
I live in the city centre of Amsterdam. We all live closely packed together in old houses with bad isolation. With so much people in such a small space, you need to be considerate of each other. I don't want to get bothered by our neighbors, and I don't want to bother my neighbors.

When my neighbor plays his opera's during cooking, I don't mind. And I hope they don't mind that I sometimes play guitar. But I do not crank the volume, only slightly louder than the string noise, but well within "stereo" levels.

If I want to play loud, then I have to rent a space to do that. While playing at home, I try not to be a ****, as I expect my neighbors to not be a **** too.
 

thelighterthief

TDPRI Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Posts
29
Age
48
Location
United Kingdom
I live in a terraced house in the UK. Every room touches a part of a neighbours house (bar one small downstairs room with no windows. I can hear the neighbours talking and their TV through the wall. I know I don't play too loud as they say they rarely hear it (mostly play when they are out.)

I always used to use the amp for drive, but I've recently moved over to pedals so I can have a *similar* sound at home to a rehearsal room. Playing at lower volume (or even unplugged) has tidied up my technique significantly.

My wife was playing the piano (digital) with headphones the other day and complained she could hear me over her headphones volume even though my amp was on 1.

So too loud is whatever reasonably upsets others. sure they can hear it, but when they can't do anything *but* listen to me it is too loud.
 

naveed211

Friend of Leo's
Joined
May 16, 2009
Posts
3,754
Location
Iowa
It’s all dependent on where you live, your neighbor and family situation, size and setup of the room you’re playing in, etc.

I remember in a past thread I said at our last house I regularly peaked at around 95-100 dB, and guys on here were clutching their pearls at how loud that was. That basement absorbed sound like you wouldn’t believe, and it wasn’t like my ear was up against the damn speaker.

IMO, if you’re not playing loud enough for the guitar to interact with the speaker and for the tubes to be doing their thing, then a solid state amp or software with headphones are just as good. And they all have their place.
 

Jared Purdy

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Posts
4,205
Age
62
Location
Toronto, Ontario.
I have the same two amps and play pretty much the same way and probly similar volume. When I wanna crank it, I go into a bonus room that shares a wall with the living room and another wall with the master bedroom. I crank my little 5 watt Tweed Champ and that just sounds amazing. Sometimes you need to dime an amp for inspiration, creativity and motivation. It is hard to describe but when an amp is the right volume it puts a smile on your face, you get goose pimples, the hair on the back of your neck stands up. You sound better, your playing improves and you come up with better ideas and phrases.

View attachment 923231 View attachment 923234

Ah, I see that you have excellent taste!
 

howardlo

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Feb 16, 2011
Posts
1,399
Location
Hobart, IN
My playing is never loud at all. I can easily still hear the dialog on TV while playing my electrics. Actually my acoustics are louder than I play my electrics. I have never seen any reason to need to play any louder than that. Even when I jam with four of five old high school buddies we never play so loud that we can’t talk and be heard at normal conversational levels.

Never have understood the reason for needing to play loud. Do those that do so also normally have their TV, etc. volumes at the same level?


I do know that I am very glad that some of you are not my neighbors. If you see the need to play loud and live in a condo, townhouse or apartment you should be looking for a house in a rural area with no close neighbors.
 
Last edited:

Bluego1

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Aug 3, 2018
Posts
2,198
Location
Spokane, Washington
I can sympathize with those who can't play loud because of neighbors or a wife.
But we chose where we live and who we live with!

Of course some guitar playing really doesn't need volume.
But guitar playing that needs volume like the kind that all the small amps/ attenuators/ headphone amps etc are made for, that playing needs a place to do it.
Find a place to play loud if playing loud is part of what you do!

Just because the market is full of fake loud gizmo's doesn't mean we have to buy them!
Rent a rehearsal space or garage.
Find friends who live away from dense areas.
Soundproof a little in basement or garage.
Work out a schedule with neighbors and agree to only play loud when they are out.

The electric guitar is not just an amplified acoustic.
The speaker drives the strings which creates the complete sound loop.
You need volume for that to happen.

Or, you CAN use the electric guitar as if it was just an amplified acoustic too.
But if your style is the distorted sustaining thing, those little fake boxes are fake.
Feedback volume cannot be faked!
Perfect. The house I moved into earlier this year I had built around the music room. Wife was cool with it because that’s who she is. I can’t play unless my T-shirt is flapping from the air. I’ll put earplugs in, but I gotta feel the speakers.
I’m exaggerating a tad, but a lot of why I play is to see what I can get out of my equipment. Why did I buy an Eminence Wizard if I’m not gonna stretch the paper? Ah, retirement. And home-playing.
 

telemnemonics

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2010
Posts
31,553
Age
62
Location
Maine
Perfect. The house I moved into earlier this year I had built around the music room. Wife was cool with it because that’s who she is. I can’t play unless my T-shirt is flapping from the air. I’ll put earplugs in, but I gotta feel the speakers.
I’m exaggerating a tad, but a lot of why I play is to see what I can get out of my equipment. Why did I buy an Eminence Wizard if I’m not gonna stretch the paper? Ah, retirement. And home-playing.

So given that at least some of us make arrangements for electric guitar in our lives, it's clearly a fact, not an opinion, that we are not all forced to play quietly by some dictator or an armed militant society?

I do play quietly at times, like when my wife is sleeping in the next room, because my particular solution set doesn't include a soundproof studio space.
I've also used headphone amp rigs like the Pod, and while they have their application, back then I found a rehearsal space share for $40/ month with some new friends after an old friend bought a house and put a studio in the basement there, so he didn't need the rehearsal space rental any more.

Of course marriage is a challenge and we all have our cross to bear, but choosing to marry someone who hates loud guitar is a choice.
Nobody is forcing us to marry into a silent hell!
Well, maybe a few did the shotgun thing and my condolences if that's the case!

As for how loud exactly?
Your "T-shirt flapping" volume is a bit higher than I need these days, but I used to run old four input 100w Marshalls for jamming at home, without dirt pedals!
Now a little 15w amp with good distortion and MV is pretty loud and delivers the feedback thing nicely, but I can play daily all summer on my 50x150 foot lot and never have neighbors complain.
Some do comment, they can hear me, but I'm not ruining their dinner.

No special gear required, and not out in the sticks away from society either!
I did have to (or choose to, but in order to get what I got I had to do what I did) marry a girl who likes Rock and other popular music styles, and even likes it loud.
I suppose some certain special girl might have convinced me to marry her despite intolerance toward loud guitars?
Glad I didn't have to make that choice!
 

Axis29

Poster Extraordinaire
Silver Supporter
Joined
Jan 2, 2007
Posts
7,077
Location
Beaumont, CA
I haven't read all the replies yet, so if I repeat what someone else has, I apologize now... Hopefully, I'm still on topic! LOL

My story is probably a typical one. I was not a professional musician as a younger guy... I played at home, not out much, maybe a jam at a buddy's house... So many years of wasted practice time!

Anyway, because I wasn't relying on it for money, other things took priority. Silly things like raising kids, getting a marriage off to a halfway decent start, etc. But, work, and earning money always took priority. When the kids were little, I just didn't have the time or opportunity to play as much... So, the gear never got stressed much. The wife would complain about me playing too loudly... mostly because we also lived in a townhouse and our neighbors were literally 12" away, and the kids were trying to nap, etc. Most of all, I wasn't that good. I'm sure it sounded like injured cats, up to no good!

Eventually, I started playing more as the kids moved out and work wasn't as crazy... This turned into me earning good money as a musician. There were a few years, a couple years ago, where I earned more money making music, than my 40 hour a week day-job remodeling houses.

As music became more viable, and a more important aspect of my life, I got more freedom... Bigger houses, neighbors further away, fewer kids in the house, and eventually I spent more time playing during the day, when nobody else was home. At that point, volume became less important to others, and feeling stage presence became more important to me.

I still don't crank my 80 watt Twin up much... But, at band practice, at my house, every Sunday, the Bassman Reissue is usually kicking around 6 or higher. My wife never complains, my neighbors ask about coming over and watching practice.

It's all relative....


Funny thing is, thee days when I practice I don't really care if I don't have the exact tone I want on stage, or recording. I just want to sound halfway decent enough to keep motivated enough to keep my fingers moving and making noise... And those noises, when the band isn't in the house, are usually really low volume, or even unplugged. I want my sound on stage to be the best it can in the mix. I want my recorded tone to be exactly what I want to hear. In those situations, volume is key. Practicing by myself? Pshaw... I just don't stress it any more.
 

bottlenecker

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Dec 6, 2015
Posts
4,803
Location
Wisconsin
Everyone seems to be concerned about playing to loud, the neighbors, the wife, the cops, the kid, the cat, the dog, whatever. The trend towards low watt amps and attenuators. The only time I thought just maybe I should have been cool with the volume is when I blew an $800 window out of the house. That is what a 300 watt 8×10 bass amp will do. Now when the glass starts to rattle or things fall off the wall I may turn down a little or open the window. I never hear anyone complaining. What do you consider too loud?

Too loud is when I can't hear the accordion over it.
Or if it's too loud for an unmiked fiddle, or an acoustic double bass.
 

telemnemonics

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2010
Posts
31,553
Age
62
Location
Maine
If you’re bothering other people, you’re too loud. It ain’t rocket science. Some people really have a sense of entitlement. You want to play loud so the hell with everyone else. I would bet that more than a few squeal like stuck pigs when they are inconvenienced.

Well in society today, sort of like always yet much worse now: mobs are forming around all manner of "you can't make me" / "you can't stop me" / "I'm gonna make you" / "I'm gonna stop you" issues.

This division where one group is bothered by this and the other group is bothered by that; has made being bothered by stuff into a high art and full time job.

Generally if we stop at the cop shop and ask, they will give us some info on noise in their jurisdiction.
Within certain limits and certain hours, society is not run by the select few who are bothered by their list of things they refuse tolerate.
Music is a part of society.
Kids in school band practice saxophone so they can march in the parade next year.
Musicians that play at the VFW or the bar or their own friends & family gatherings practice and work on new music.

Individuals intolerance of any audible music is just not the definition of unacceptable music.
And in fact, grumpy intolerant people are a public nuisance!
Some carry their intolerance so far that they become the biggest problem in a home, a neighborhood, a community, a state or even a whole country.

As a guitar player I've checked laws and negotiated with neighbors in every community I called home.
I've had some VERY intolerant neighbors too!

However, I'd agree that if I feel I need a half stack, AND move into a condo, I made bad choices and need to revisit my priorities.
Interestingly though, sometimes if living for a while in those worst case scenario situations, talking with the neighbors on the other sides of adjoining walls and ASKING how I can play music without bothering them, results in some compromise.
Really, even in a condo, folks have to go to a job or the grocery store.
Give them a sense of power over the noise, and assurance that I will stop if the timing is bad, the almost always return the favor with times they are fine with some loud music. Usually of course when they are not there!

Maybe some of us are looking at retirement communities now or soon though.
Yeah, we all got our cross to bear...
 

telemnemonics

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2010
Posts
31,553
Age
62
Location
Maine
I live in a terraced house in the UK. Every room touches a part of a neighbours house (bar one small downstairs room with no windows. I can hear the neighbours talking and their TV through the wall. I know I don't play too loud as they say they rarely hear it (mostly play when they are out.)

I always used to use the amp for drive, but I've recently moved over to pedals so I can have a *similar* sound at home to a rehearsal room. Playing at lower volume (or even unplugged) has tidied up my technique significantly.

My wife was playing the piano (digital) with headphones the other day and complained she could hear me over her headphones volume even though my amp was on 1.

So too loud is whatever reasonably upsets others. sure they can hear it, but when they can't do anything *but* listen to me it is too loud.

My condolences.

When I need to play and it happens to be 1:am so my wife is asleep, I find my coolest dirty sounds with an MJM London Fuzz (FF) into an 18w Marshall on a Marshall 1960b cab. I never use that fuzz for anything else, but at super low volume it's a nice fat raspy grind that satisfies much more than any of my literally dozens of dirt pedals.
I use real tube amp dirt from my Orange OR15 at higher slightly above conversation volume, the 7w setting makes adequate grind.

Just mentioning the London Fuzz as it was a surprise how well it works at a whisper.
The popular notion is that a FF only works pushing a loud tube amp further into distortion, which is yet another untrue fact.
 

Jared Purdy

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Posts
4,205
Age
62
Location
Toronto, Ontario.
I have the same two amps and play pretty much the same way and probly similar volume. When I wanna crank it, I go into a bonus room that shares a wall with the living room and another wall with the master bedroom. I crank my little 5 watt Tweed Champ and that just sounds amazing. Sometimes you need to dime an amp for inspiration, creativity and motivation. It is hard to describe but when an amp is the right volume it puts a smile on your face, you get goose pimples, the hair on the back of your neck stands up. You sound better, your playing improves and you come up with better ideas and phrases.

View attachment 923231 View attachment 923234

I generally leave the volume level on the PR (I have the 64' Custom Hand Wired that I put a Eminence GA10-SC64 in) at 5/10 (treble at 5 and bass at 3.5) and adjust the volume on the guitar. If the guitar volume is dimed, especially on my LP, the amp snarls. It's loud at 5!! The Strat is a little tamer with that amp.

On the 57', I generally have the guitar plugged into Instrument input 1, with the volume control at 8/12 and the tone at 7/12. If either the Strat of the LP are dimed, anything that is not nailed down will rattle. That is the volume that will give me goose bumps. It's a riot doing some blues power chords, or riffing on Brown Sugar with it that loud. Incredible overdrive, and that Eminence Special Design really holds it together. They did good with that speaker.

I have to say, I love having the two of these amps, it's like the best of both worlds. They are so different sounding. I don't use any pedals on the 57. Just pure, unadulterated 57 goodness. I actually prefer playing my Strat (2011 Custom Shop) through it as opposed to the LP (which is a 60th Anniversary R9). The heavier mid range from the 57, paired with the scooped tone of the Strat's single coils is music to my ears. I like the sound of the LP through it as well, but it pretty much gets plugged into the PR most of the time. The opposite is at work with that pairing. The PR is mid scooped, where as the humbuckers on the LP are not. Happy camper. Wife is going to work for 3PM. Guess what I'm doing?
 




Top