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Muting for the conscientious player in apartment or during nighttime

Discussion in 'Accessories [DB]' started by shappenfit, May 10, 2012.

  1. shappenfit


    Apr 26, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    I spent a while searching the forums and found bits and pieces of advice, but nothing that really fully answered the question of how to mute your bass the most. I live in a basement apartment, directly below my upstairs neighbors bedroom, and given the house is over 100 years old, the insulation is not the best. So began my search for how to quiet my instrument.

    This is the solution that I came up with, and am actually quite proud of, and wanted to share for any other's in a similar situation:


    Seriously, I cannot stress how much this quiets the bass. Even arco can be done during the night and my neighbor can't hear a peep. Obviously, the I wouldn't expect a very complex sound from it, but hopefully this will help anyone who is trying to dampen their instrument as much as possible.

    Also, if you have any ideas to make it even quieter, chime in!

    Attached Files:

  2. Thanks for posting. My new schedule has forced my practice time to move to 6-7 am daily. Not good for an apartment. I'll give this a try
  3. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    Do you find muting the after length helps?
    Was the foam just cut to size?
    Cheers Geoff
  4. bass_study


    Apr 17, 2012
    I've saw someone playing with a capo thing that he put on the nut of his upright. The notes are then less sustain and a little bit more quiet.
  5. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    A rug under the end pin helps too.
  6. shappenfit


    Apr 26, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    Definitely for those not living in a basement, though for me it doesn't have the same dramatic effect.

    Tried with a elastic folk guitar capo, but was no where near long enough to fit around it. I would imagine this would do a lot to help too though, maybe even just a centimeter strip of cloth under the strings on the fingerboard snug against the nut.

    The foam in the afterlength/tailpiece definitely have the least effect, but every little bit counts. I cut the foam into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide and shoved them in just about every place that would allow it.
  7. bass_study


    Apr 17, 2012
    I believe the thing I have seen is specially made for bass. It fits completely the string spacings. Let me ask him next time.
  8. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    I use the plastic mute and a towel weaved through the after length pushed up against the bridge. That has worked great for AM practicing.
  9. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    A thick piece of foam wedged between the top and the tailpiece/afterlength might be worth trying too.
  10. shappenfit


    Apr 26, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    especially if it was stiffer than mattress material. actually a lot of these would do better with thick foam, but i had the mattress pad laying around already
  11. Rocky

    Rocky Banned

    Jul 21, 2000
    Los Angeles
    I am moving soon, and will be losing the ability to practice uninhibited. :(
    I already have the big rubber mute, and will be watching this thread for more ideas. Thanks everyone.
  12. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Here is what I do. Still loud enough to hear yourself, but pretty soft.

  13. I have a pillow wrapped in a bathroom rug (inside out) contraption I put under my endpin...its not enough...I still get "feedback" from my downstairs neighbor in the form of knocks on the floor. I started playing on my stand (hercules) because it keeps my endpin off the floor. This wasn't enough either. My next step will be to place the rug under my stand and play.
  14. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    My latest findings...

    1) Ideally the floor needs to be decoupled from your neighbors. If you play the bass and it stands directly on a floor above another tenant or the floor is connected to a wall shared with another tenant, they will hear it. There's a chance that regardless of how you mute the bass, the effect is minimal. I've never gone as far as building a false floor with rubber dampeners that disconnects my bass from the actual floor. I play now in a room that stands on stilts and isn't shared with neighbors and they stopped complaining.

    2) An EUB like a Silent Bass makes for a decent substitute but costs $$$.

    3) These days I do more practice away from the instrument, or practice that doesn't require sounding the strings in a loud manner. Still very effective.

    I've gone as far as just focusing on working on my left hand by itself to work on fingerings and what not.
  15. What sort of rubber dampers did you use? I'm going to be living here for awhile so it would be worthwhile for me to build something...but I don't want to build a new floor and then still have problems.

    Does your bass sit on the platform alone or is it big/strong enough to hold you too?
  16. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I didn't build anything. Just search the web on soundproofing a room and pay attention or filter your search to include dealing with low frequencies. I did the research a few years ago and there's rubber things you can buy to help isolate a false floor.

    EDIT: You can also blow alot of money in a sound proof practice booth. A friend of mine has one and I've played in it. Very effective for bass.
  17. JGoldberg


    Jul 10, 2011
    Westchester, NY
    Also, there is a lot of info on the web on how to build one. Seems a little extreme though.
  18. My current setup includes a 1/4" board inside a pillow case with a pillow and a bathroom rug turned upside down on top of that (primarily to keep the endpin from slipping.)

    I think it's been working...I haven't heard any knocks in awhile.
  19. bejoyous


    Oct 23, 2005
    London, Ontario
    We've installed Sonopan last week and it has made a huge difference in the peace between our attached neighbours and us.

    We nailed it to our existing wall then put a layer of 5/8" gyprock over that. We didn't the floor though as we didn't want to rip out our basement ceiling.
  20. If anybody is still seeking a solution, check out more discussion about de-coupling your floor here.