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A mature guitarist doesn't need to practice loudly I've come to notice. After 4 years of jazz school, I noticed the best guitarists in the program during my time there practiced rather quietly while the lesser guitarists practiced obnoxiously loud. I try to practice at a talking volume these days. It's just annoying when the girlfriend still complains it's too loud at 10pm

What do you gents think?
 

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Having spent 8 years in a relationship where my wife wined about any level I played at, I can confidently say that its the attitude, not the volume that is important. If you can play dynamically rather than constantly trying to hold back so as not to piss the family off, all the better for your skills. I love loud, but it is significantly easier on the ears and the ears of those around you to practice at a talking level or so at home. Band practice is where you can amp it up.
 

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It will depend on WHAT one is practicing. Some players have a style and tone that depends very much on the amp being loud enough to elicit specific characteristics from the guitar. I'm sure that Jeff Beck also practices unplugged or at volumes one can talk over, but we also know that a lot of his sound - and especially his ability to get it on demand - arises from playing loudly. It would be unreasonable to expect any player to have skill in squeezing out those amp-x-guitar interactions in a (for them) predictable way unless they'd had practice doing so. But if all one is doing is mastering the turnarounds, chord fingerings, etc., low volume and even unplugged is probably adequate.

The other day, my wife was out and I decided to turn up. The amp sounded entirely different than what I was used to. I'd had that experience before, finding out that the volume levels at band practice bore little resemblance to the tone produced at gig levels. So, in some respects, while a person doesn't need to practice loud to know their fingers, once in a while they need to practice loud to know their amp.
 

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When recording my amp with a mic, I have to turn it up else the signal is too low and it doesn't sound right. Boston songs don't sound right at low levels. Some songs need volume. Especially rock.
 

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The iPhone adapter for GarageBand I find to be very useful for practicing.

I find when someone purchases their electric attire unplugged too often their tech can be too strong as a habit as they seek to get volume out of it unplugged electric guitar which is very difficult at times.
 

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Anybody here have a guitar with a Fernandes Sustainer, or work-alike? I wonder if the ability to hold notes as if standing in front of a Marshall stack means one can practice pretty quietly.
 

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I agree with Mark. It depends on what you are practicing.

If you are practicing finger exercises or chord progressions or whatever, quiet to unplugged is fine. If you are practicing using your rig, I think that needs to be at gig levels. The whole system is different at those levels, IME, from tone settings to delay and mod effects settings and on and on. Plus the interactivity of the guitar with the rig at volume.

It's funny that the same thing @BigMoney noticed with people practicing is what I see all the time at music stores. The best players keep it quiet, knowing they will have to use the equipment as intended outside of the store to really tell what's what - with the exception of short bursts of volume just to see. It's the newer wankers that seem to want everyone in the store hear them play chords slightly out of tune or use waaaaaaay too much reverb for an hour or two. My first two years out of school were working in a music store, and it was the longest 5 years of my life.
 

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Anybody here have a guitar with a Fernandes Sustainer, or work-alike? I wonder if the ability to hold notes as if standing in front of a Marshall stack means one can practice pretty quietly.
I use an E-bow occasionally. Totally different thing, but - while it does help get sustain at low volumes (monophonically), it behaves much different at gig volumes. Again, the necessity to practice as I would actually use it was required. That was back when I was an apartment dweller, my neighbors must have wondered what they hell that racket was.
 

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The other day, my wife was out and I decided to turn up. The amp sounded entirely different than what I was used to. I'd had that experience before, finding out that the volume levels at band practice bore little resemblance to the tone produced at gig levels. So, in some respects, while a person doesn't need to practice loud to know their fingers, once in a while they need to practice loud to know their amp.
Agreed. I also find I need to practice loud to know my pedals. Some sound terrific in my living room, but with the band I have often need to adjust in order to cut through the mix.

Generally though, I practice at conversation levels or just above.
 

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Agreed. I also find I need to practice loud to know my pedals. Some sound terrific in my living room, but with the band I have often need to adjust in order to cut through the mix.

Generally though, I practice at conversation levels or just above.
One of the idiosyncrasies of speakers, in particular, is that their frequency response can vary considerably, depending on how much power is being pumped into them. Some speakers are more consistent at varying power levels than others. One of the things I used to hate about the speakers in my old 1st-issue Peavey Classic was that they turned into entirely different beasts between band practice and gig. I'd frequently have to run back to the amp to turn the treble way down. I suppose once a person comes to know their amp well, it becomes simple enough to know where to set the tone controls at personal practice, band practice, and stage levels. Although some of the folks here seem to go through amps so frequently that I don't know how they ever acquire that level of familiarity! :rolleyes:;)
 

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One of the reasons I got my Amplifire 3 was to be able to get a good facsimile of "cranked" sound at lower volumes through my XiTone cab or monitors. Even still, I often practice through headphones to help preserve the sanity of those around me.
 

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I'm of the mind that practice should be done primarily unplugged... if its just me practicing alone. Also handy to practice with an amp... muting will benefit plus there is a different interaction. In a band situation I don't like loud practices. I prefer to be able to practice with a band a raised voice volumes. I'm also the guitarist that gets asked to turn up a bit at sound check. There is also something to be said for practice at loud/full volume. I used to do this with a 100 watt full or half stack. Again a different dynamic but in truth its not practical. Practice at your playing volume when you can is probably the best advice.
 

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So what is the difference between practicing and playing if all you are is a "practicing" basement musician??

I play and practice at whatever levels I feel like and the only unplugged stuff is on an acoustic.
 

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Whatever the situation maybe.

Rehearsal=loud
No one is home=cranked
Late at night=headphones

I do love to play unplugged to! Whatever the given situation warrants!
 
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