We can all relate to the feeling of getting carried away while playing guitar at home. Bedroom volume starts creeping up until the amp is at 11, and your family, roommates, or perhaps worse, your neighbors begin to complain.
There are numerous ways to go about soundproofing a room. You could have it done professionally, or you could take steps yourself. Having a room professionally soundproofed isn’t only expensive, it’s also quite impractical for a room in your home. Unless you happen to have a dedicated guitar practice area, you’d need an intercom just to hear when the doorbell is ringing.
In this KillerGuitarRigs guide, you’ll be learning all about how to soundproof a room for guitar practice or recording with minimal effort, and a few relatively inexpensive items.
Locate the Source of the Sound Leaks
Sound is literally the movement of air, so by detecting where the biggest air gaps are in your room, you’ll know exactly where to start. Of course, to make a room 100% soundproof, you’d need to make it airtight, and create a vacuum within the room itself, which of course isn’t generally possible in a home setting.
The first place to check is any doors to the room. Turn out the lights in your room but leave the lights on the other side of the door on. If you see light coming through, then you’ve identified an area from which sound can escape easily.
There are two fixes for sealing your doors. The easiest is a draft excluder. This is a very rudimentary approach and will likely only marginally reduce any sound leakage. A better approach is to buy a weather sealing kit. This creates a gasket around your door frame, making a much better seal when the door is closed, dramatically reducing sound escape.
Windows are generally already weather sealed but can still be a significant source of sound escape. You can lessen this by installing a soundproof curtain. If you need help deciding, or don’t know where to start, take a look at our guide to the 5 best soundproof curtains.
Air conditioning vents are another regular culprit when it comes to sound escape. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot that can be done without blocking off your vents, which would make for a pretty uncomfortable space. Your best bet is to concentrate on reducing as much of the other opportunities for noise escape while keeping your room as comfortable as possible.
Upgrade Your Door
Modern houses are normally built with hollow interior doors, or doors with honeycomb structures inside. These doors are great for saving money during construction, but have poor noise blocking properties, and can in fact, amplify sound in a similar way to an acoustic guitar.
On the other hand, a solid wood door would provide much better sound dampening. This is likely to be the most expensive step, but if you’re serious about soundproofing, it’s one of the most important.
If you don’t have the budget for a solid wood door, or you don’t want (or aren’t allowed) to change the existing door, you could affix some acoustic foam panels to the inside of the door. They would have to cover the entire surface in order to be effective.
Soundproof the Walls
Like your interior doors, your walls are also likely to be hollow and will almost certainly transfer sound from one side to the other. The best solution here is to put up as much acoustic foam as you can. The more you put up, the more effective it will be.
Acoustic foam does an incredible job of absorbing sound thanks to the high density and the fact that the textured surface redirects and disperses sound around the room, rather than echoing it straight back.
If you’re able to, you can even put some acoustic foam on the ceiling. It might not be the cleanest look, but every square foot of foam helps.
If you aren’t able to put up acoustic foam, another great tip is to have as many soft furnishings in the room as you can. Things like couches, blankets, pillows, etc. They all do their part to absorb sound and will help to reduce the amount of escaped noise.
If your practice room happens to have hardwood or laminate flooring, this will have to be covered if you plan to soundproof the space. If you’re willing to install a full room carpet, this would be the most effective approach.
If you aren’t looking to cover up hardwood with carpet (completely understandable), then look to rugs. Placing some rugs on the floor, especially directly under your amplifier, will provide a noticeable reduction in the amount of sound experienced outside of the room.
There are also such things as soundproof rug pads, which are simply foam pads that slide underneath a rug to further increase its soundproofing characteristics.
Final Thoughts on Soundproofing a Room for Guitar
Committing a room solely to guitar practice is outside of the realm of possibility for most players, but by being able to modify a bedroom, office, or other multi function room within your home to better prevent noise from escaping, you’ll encounter much less frustration from those you live with and those who you live by.
You can take on a soundproofing project as a one-time job, or you can build up as you go. The beauty of taking your soundproofing project one step at a time is that you can add pieces of soundproofing slowly but surely until you’re happy with the result, then there’s no need to go further.