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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 disturbing anyone.

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 Line6 GuitarPort.

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 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 a watt. These are modeling amps that use as 12AX7 tube in the power section to simulate power tube saturation.

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.

Line 6 GuitarPort RiffTracker
Line 6 GuitarPort

THD Hot Plate Attenuator 8 ohm
THD Hot Plate Attenuator 8 ohm

Weber MassTHD HotplateFender Champ

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