I've been learning playing guitar (classical nylon-string) for 4 months and I practice in my dormitory room. As it has nylon strings and I don't play too much rhythm guitar, I don't think I've disturbed the other residents. I'm playing it in a small separate room with thin walls.

But I'm planning to buy a steel-string acoustic guitar. I'm not sure if I can play it without disturbing others, especially with a pick.

What is your opinion about that situation? Do you think it will make much more noise than nylon-string one? What if I use a soundhole cover?

Edit: I have tried a compact acoustic guitar, similar to a classical guitar body. There is a significant difference between dreadnought body and that in volume. I guess I'll go for a standard acoustic one, but just an update for other readers.

Update: I have found some solutions after buying a standard acoustic guitar. As usual, others have already come across this problem before me. Stuffing a sponge/sock between bridge and strings or putting some clothes inside the guitar seem like simple solutions. I have also seen something called a "guitar mute", but I didn't buy it. You can find other ideas by searching for "playing guitar quietly" on the Internet.

Update2: Because the question took interest again, it needs an update. It's been a year, if I play in the evening, I play "softly". Nobody has asked me to stop playing it until now.

  • 3
    My friends at college with guitars would sometimes play in the laundry room while doing laundry, or even other times. It was fairly soundproof, and away from people's rooms. Not quite the solution you were looking for, but an option Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 4:18
  • 1
    My classmate in college practiced in the stair case between floors.
    – steve
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 18:40
  • 2
    nylon strings are definitely quieter. that said, in college nobody cares either way.
    – user34288
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 0:53

7 Answers 7


A sound hole cover will make a minimal difference.

If you are really worried about it then what I would recommend is introduce yourself to your neighbors and let them know that if there is an issue to just talk to you about it. That way you are not worrying about it if there is not an issue, and you know right away if there is.

Truth is you can't know ahead of time no matter what someone says, and, if you haven't yet, it will give you a chance to meet your neighbors.

  • I have tried sound-hole cover, and interestingly it worked for me, because what I wanted to do is keep that huge resonance coming from the body. Now it sounds closer to a small sized guitar which won't bother anyone.
    – Melih
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 12:24
  • 1
    You're assuming it won't bother anyone. In reality someone could be on the other side of the wall, stressed out by hearing you learn guitar while they're trying to study. The best course of action in these situations is to run it by your neighbors like this answer suggests. Noise that otherwise would be bothersome might end up not being a big deal if you have the courtesy to let your neighbors know first. My opinion as someone who has dealt with plenty of noisy, oblivious, discourteous neighbors.
    – John
    Commented May 26, 2018 at 18:44
  • I asked this question because I am also a person who has dealt with crazy neighbors. It has been a year I'm playing and nobody came to my room to ask me stop playing. Even my roommate is sleeping in the same room when I'm playing. Mostly it's because I learned how to play softly when somebody is around me. As we are all considerate university students, I'm assuming if someone had a problem with my playing, he would have asked me to stop it.
    – Melih
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 7:53

This sort of problem crops up regularly on this site, and it is a problem for which some answers are already available. You may be fortunate enough to have a room next to your neighbours' room that is rarely used. Bathrooms come to mind. If they are adjacent, they offer a good place to play in. Failing that, if you're fortunate to own a vehicle, play in that, anywhere you won't disturb folk.

As far as keeping the noise down, there isn't really a solution,. unless you buy a solid guitar and use earphones. The sound defeating equipment for acoustic guitars is not good enough for your situation, really, short of stuffing a cushion into the belly and taping up the soundhole, which is somewhat desperate.

  • I have seen those answers on the internet, but in my case, I've played a nylon-string one for 4 months, and we were all happy. I'm trying to figure out that will steel-string one make a huge difference that'll annoy people. Actually I'm thinking to go for an electric-guitar instead of acoustic one, but that's not directly related to this question.
    – Melih
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 18:40
  • 2
    You say it's not directly related, but electric guitars make far less noise. Plug that baby in and use headphones and your neighbors will never know. Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 20:34

I think the Yamaha silent guitar may fit your needs perfectly. I have no idea of what it costs or whether it fits in your budget but it is a solution.


  • 2
    These are very expensive for me and for a beginner in my opinion, if I had that much money, I could make money-made earbuds for my neighbours.
    – Melih
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 17:56
  • Gonna have to get me one of these :) Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 2:31

The best option to avoid disturbing others is a solid body guitar with some sort of pre-amp that you can plug into headphones. A compact multi-FX unit with speaker emulation need not be that expensive and will also give you a lot of different sounds to play with. While the sound of a cheap unit will not be amazing and won't perfectly emulate an hollow body acoustic it will be perfectly adequate for practicing. I've got an old Line 6 pod which I use for exactly this reason and while there is now much better technology available it is perfectly fine as a compact, portable and quiet practice unit.

If you want something a bit more sophisticated there are now many solid body guitars with pizo pickups which do a very decent job of emulating an decent acoustic sound through an amplifier or preamp.

  • Actually I wanted to play an electric-guitar, but I had that nylon-string guitar at my house, so I decided to practice it until buy an electric one. However, now I like that pure acoustic sound, and I find it more useful to practice fundamentals( which is a really another discussion topic). So, I'm looking for a way to play an acoustic guitar.
    – Melih
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 5:32
  • 1
    You know there are electric guitars that will sound just like an acoustic, if that is what you want. See the Line6 Variax range and the Parker Fly as well as others. Piezo bridge pickups allow some lovely acoustic tones.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 19:08
  • Good to know these for future, but right now they are beyond my budget.
    – Melih
    Commented Jun 3, 2017 at 13:13

I found this trick on accident. I was playing my nylon string guitar and my low strings had no "body" or volume. I had just changed strings to a different brand and tension so I was ready to blame the change. Then I noticed that there was spongy packing foam rolled up and wedged inside the body of my guitar above the sound hole and just a little toward the neck. I laughed at the practical joke and moved the foam to the lower part of the body and I lost a lot of treble response - the loss of high end was even more pronounced then the low end.

I would imagine, if you can find some packing foam, filling the body of a steel string guitar would have the same quieting effect as it did on the nylon string guitar. The foam was about an inch think, very spongy and rolled up. It looked like it was packaging I have seen from electronic devices.

This may be an inexpensive method to try and quiet the instrument...

  • 1
    ...of course you need to loosen the tension or remove your strings before trying to access the sound hole.
    – Cyrcuit
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 16:39

Find out if your school has a music department. If so they probably have practice rooms available specifically for that purpose. They are probably open during the day and I doubt anybody would notice or care if you used one.

Besides that and the solid body recommendations, I'm wondering if your dorm mates are as respectful in keeping the noise down as you're trying to be? I remember nothing but bass-filled music blasting in my dorm. It was bad enough that I used headphones not to avoid bothering others but simply so I could hear myself over all the noise. So maybe don't worry so much if others aren't?

  • Yes, I'm living in a room/dorm who respects others, I can tell that anytime there's someone in the room studying high level engineering lessons.. But our sleeping-part is seperated with thin walls, so I can play it on my bed if I'm silent enough.
    – Melih
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 12:31

Bubble wrap.



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