Bedroom Volume Guitar Playing
One of the most frequently asked questions on many Internet forums specifically asks about bedroom
level amps or guitar rigs. For many people playing guitar only involves practicing or playing in
their bedroom or other small room within the house. Others who are involved with bands and live
gigging still need to practice at home and have much reduced volume needs. The goal is to get
power amp over drive but at quiet levels, not an easy task.
This article will focus on different aspects of reduced volume playing. Breakdown will focus on
- others in the house cannot hear anything
- quiet but not silent
- neighbors won't call the cops
Completely Silent Guitar Playing
Need to jam late a night or get that great idea that needs to be recorded at 1am but you don't
want to disturb the wife/kids? This is a very common situation and one I often find myself being
a member. I solve this by using a Line6 GuitarPort almost exclusively for playing at home. I can
get almost any sound needed for a particular song and can play at anytime day or night without
Any amp with a headphone out will work, be careful not to crank up the volume as it will have a
negative impact on your hearing. These amps tend to be solid state base amps as tube amps require
that speaker be plugged in or you will blow the transformer.
Review on the
Quiet But Not Silent Guitar Playing
Here's the catch, everyone wants quiet volume levels but still get that cranked amp sound that is
only achievable with a tube amp. The problem is low wattage tube amps like the Fender Champ is
still loud at 6 watts, heck even the ½ watt ZVex Nano is to loud to play without disturbing others
in the house.
This is where attenuators like the Hotplate or Weber Mass series comes into play. If you start
with a low wattage amp like the Fender Champ the amount of attenuation does not need to be as
great compared to a 50 or 100 watt Marshall. To much attenuation has a negative impact on your
tone and a sweet spot needs to be found.
Check out our review of the Weber eMiniMass being used with a Fender Champ.
Fender Champ Review
Another alternative are amps with built in attenuators like the Vox Valvetronix series. The
AD30VT, AC50VT and AD100VT have built in attenuators that reduce the final output to less than ½ a
watt. These are modeling amps that use as 12AX7 tube in the power section to simulate power tube
More information on the Vox Valvetronix line available here.
Reduced Volume Guitar Playing
Here the choices are start with lower wattage amps or use an attenuator like the Hotplate or Weber
Mass. Other strategies include turning up your master volume but keeping the preamp volume or
gain turned down for power amp saturation.
THD Hot Plate Attenuator 8 ohm
|Weber Mass||THD Hotplate||Fender Champ