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Thread: Absolute Silence

  1. #51
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    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    Another inexpensive option is to use the elastic strap from an acoustic guitar capo wrapped around the bridge. Not perfect, but a significant volume reduction...
    Chuck

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  3. #52
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    Quote Originally Posted by NDO View Post
    Good luck Sherry! I spent the week with Julie and the grandkids and Julie made me play on the balcony because I was too loud
    On the bright side, I had three random strangers stop by to thank me for playing and tell me how great it sounded, and a person across the street stopped his car in the driveway and listened for a half hour
    How cool is that! It's nice when people appreciate our efforts.

  4. #53
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    You can make a mute from a freezer bag clip and some dense foam. It isn't perfect but you do get a thunk from the pick on strings. It's a bit like applying a firm palm mute without having to keep your hand there. You can use bits of rubber from an old windshield wiper blade instead of the foam.
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    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

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  6. #54
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    Quote Originally Posted by Beanzy View Post
    You can make a mute from a freezer bag clip and some dense foam. It isn't perfect but you do get a thunk from the pick on strings. It's a bit like applying a firm palm mute without having to keep your hand there. You can use bits of rubber from an old windshield wiper blade instead of the foam.
    I really like the looks of that. If I need to make a change from my T-shirt fabric, I'll give it a try.

    I hope someone else is benefitting from all the suggestions and will share their experiences.

  7. #55
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    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    It could be worse - the defininition of a Scottish gentleman is someone who can play bagpipes, but doesn't.

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  9. #56
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    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    Even with all the muting techniques people suggest, I don't think they will work perfectly quietly. They would be fine, say, if you were in a different room from the listener, but side by side, they are going to hear the pick on the strings. I do have a couple of suggestions:

    1) Before going to a lot of effort of muting the instrument, try a really aggressive palm muting, to see if your husband finds it too annoying. I use the meaty part of the hand below the pinky, and push them firmly against the strings, so the only picking noise is the pick+string going "thunk thunk thunk," with no resonance at all. That's not a good way to practice, but that sound might be annoying on its own, and if so, none of the muting methods will help: you are still going to have the pick plus string sound. If that is too bothersome, you should not continue to try this practice by using some sort of mute.

    2) There is a way to practice silently, and that is left hand chording practice. Keep the right hand against the strings, and use the left hand to move between different chord positions. An advantage over playing the strings is that you can move slllllooooooowwwwwwwlllllyyyyyy between chords, which would be annoying if someone could hear you. Or even practice one chord, you can slowly getting your fingers in position, *then* pressing the strings, *then* releasing the strings, *then* moving away from that chord position. Slow, deliberate movements, even slower than you think, are worthwhile. Key factor is trying to get you fingers ready and in position, so you can train them to all arrive at the chord shape at the same time. Otherwise, you are trying to finish making the chords as you are playing the chords, which doesn't seem to work well. That practice isn't as good as strumming the chord as one of the steps, so you can hear if you are buzzing, but it could still help. And maybe you could add a strum during the commercials.

    And there are always new chords and chord voicings to learn.

  10. #57
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    Quote Originally Posted by Beanzy View Post
    You can make a mute from a freezer bag clip and some dense foam. It isn't perfect but you do get a thunk from the pick on strings. It's a bit like applying a firm palm mute without having to keep your hand there. You can use bits of rubber from an old windshield wiper blade instead of the foam.
    That looks pretty nifty but would it work just as well to slip foam under the strings near the bridge?
    Jim

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  11. #58
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    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Yep! I believe I'm done. Tomorrow is the husband test. Am hoping we pass.
    No comment from the recliner, so the Harmony transition was a success!

  12. #59
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    Quote Originally Posted by NDO View Post
    Good luck Sherry! I spent the week with Julie and the grandkids and Julie made me play on the balcony because I was too loud
    On the bright side, I had three random strangers stop by to thank me for playing and tell me how great it sounded, and a person across the street stopped his car in the driveway and listened for a half hour
    So it was four to one, thumbs up for your mando playing. Not bad

    Awesome for you, Sherry!

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  14. #60
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    What would be wrong with playing as quietly and softly as possible?

    I cannot speculate if learning to play softly helps you play loud, (as learning to play slowly does really help you play fast), but.... learning to play softly helps you learn to play softly, which might come in handy.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

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  16. #61

    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    Way to go Sherry!

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  18. #62
    Registered User Strabo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    I have tried to mute the bridge, but the big adjustable mandolin bridge does not mute nearly as well as the thin violin bridge. My fiddle is easily muted with the black paper clamps.

    I have an electric mandolin is indeed nice and quiet, though its single strings feel different from the double strings of the acoustic mandolin.

    My best mandolin solution is to place a roll of foam under the strings in front of the bridge. It's the expanded material that is used to line the bottom of kitchen drawers, and a longer or shorter strip of the material produces a fatter or skinnier roll. Easy and cheap, also comes in colors.

    One time I was on an extended trip where it was not feasible to carry a full size instrument. I was working on some relatively challenging (to me) music so I bought a cheapo plastic ukulele and restrung it with classical guitar strings so it would play in fifths. The feel of the instrument was very different, but it enabled me to continue practicing in any hotel room and I didn't lose much proficiency while traveling. Of course, the rig was quite dorky and the customs officials looked at me somewhat strangely, haha.

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  20. #63
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    Jim, i used to do that with a rolled up bit of towelling. I wasn't too keen on shoving it in underneath and rolling it tight enough to get pressure under the strings, as long term it might have made a patch in the finish there. My main need was for weeks away at work so as not to disturb my friends I stay with.
    I liked the idea of being able to clip it on and off, without taking up much space in the case.
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

  21. #64
    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    Just a thought, Sherry. Even with a nearly silent mandolin in your hands, when you sit down with your husband to watch television have you thought that he might find the silent playing quite a distraction in itself? You are sitting there picking away and he becomes interested in what you are doing, which distracts him from TV. Could this cause some friction between you? My wife used to tell me that she never needed to look at any videos I posted on YT or the Cafe SAW group as she had just been listening to the tunes for the past several hours while I was practising or recording! And that was with us in different rooms.
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  22. #65
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    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    I guess I'll just invent clawhammer mandolin since I one of the few if any that likes playing with their thumb often

  23. #66
    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    I can find a lot of left hand practice that can be silent: Ffcp patterns while silently identifying notes of scales and arpeggios; playing double stops while identifying which chord tones are involved and practicing chord progressions using those challenging 3 finger chords. Iím sure your husband will have get up occasionally to take care of things and you can quickly grab your pick and get after it remaining circumspect for his return. That sounds like fun!

  24. #67

    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    Treat yourself and your regular mandolin to a set of Thomastiks, and when they start to sound dull (takes a couple of months), put 'em on the Harmony. A db here, a db there...

  25. #68
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Absolute Silence

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Hall View Post
    I can find a lot of left hand practice that can be silent: Ffcp patterns while silently identifying notes of scales and arpeggios; playing double stops while identifying which chord tones are involved and practicing chord progressions using those challenging 3 finger chords. I’m sure your husband will have get up occasionally to take care of things and you can quickly grab your pick and get after it remaining circumspect for his return. That sounds like fun!
    There are lots of things that can be practiced silently. I definitely need to work on those you mention, Jon. Just now I worked on crosspicking and strum patterns.

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