must play quietly for awhile, tips?

Registered User
Joined: 07/05/20
Posts: 222

I am hoping someone can give me advice on how I can play quietly for awhile. I might even have to hault my playing temporarily at some point.

I have a rare ear disorder and symptoms have grown worse the last few months for whatever reason (possibly from being around more sound/guitar than in the recent past). I have extreme sound sensitivity (hyperacusis) and even the smallest of sounds can be very painful to my ears so you can imagine what a guitar can do.

I have many tests coming up in order to find an ultimate solution but for now my (amazing) Dr has advised me to either not play at all, play quietly, or play with legit musician ear plugs that are molded. That last option is completely out of my price range now so I must alter my practice routines.

First, I'll let you know where I'm at. I'm in Fundamentals 2, most recently having a blast with playing and memorizing my power chords. I have been practicing for hours on and off most days. I have been working on songs to strum, some of the Made Easy songs on here, some melodies, and changing chords smoothly and without interruptions. This has all been on acoustic but I also have an electric guitar I haven't played in awhile.

On playing quietly, I have heard you can put something like a cushion or tshirt in the body of the guitar but that does not sound like something I'd want to do! That just doesn't sound like a good idea. Is my best bet to put down the pick and use my fingers on strumming songs so it's quieter? Is there anything else I can physically put on the guitar to make it quiet?

If strumming is just not something I can do, I was thinking of shifting my focus to melodies and perhaps the fingerstyle that I love so much as that can be played much lower.

And my third option if I can't play at all for a short period of time because of surgery or symptoms worsening is to really focus on the music theory. I have watched Christophers Music Theory: A Brief Overview lessons and am studying and playing everything I learned. And I have the fretboard almost completely memorized. Perhaps I can still learn more about music theory and just use my guitar when locating notes, scales, etc.

Do you have any tips for me? Something I haven't thought of yet perhaps? I was even thinking I could play my electric and practice things on there and just not use the amp.

Thank you so much for any response! Learning how to play guitar has been such a joy and an exciting time these last few months and I surely don't want to stop now. It is so therapeutic and even my dr understands why I wouldn't want to give it up. So I'm willing to do anything so that I can a) get my ears/skull repaired and b) keep learning and playing. I understand I'll have to do alot of experimenting and careful judgement to see what level is too loud for my poor ears.


“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

# 1
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Joined: 02/17/18
Posts: 1,422

IDK which electric you have, but IME all my electric solid bodies have sufficient acoustic properties unamplified that they are subtlely audible in the immediate proximity of the player. That may be a pragmatic solution permitting you to work through this?

All the best with it.

# 2
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Joined: 05/13/20
Posts: 327

you can gently arpeggiate on chords and try your finger picking

you can practice strumming and strum patterns with muted strings.

Can you wear headphones with very low volume on your new Squire

Just so you hear whether a note or a strum is clear or duff.

Hope you get everything sorted .

# 3
Registered User
Joined: 07/05/20
Posts: 222

Thank you for the replies.

I think that will be my play my electric guitar unamplified, continue on with Fundamentals 2 and begin the Acoustic Fingerpicking lessons with Lisa. Can't wait to to try out the Electric today. It is a 3/4 size Ibanez so it's even easier for me to do anything on it. :) I love the closer frets.

“Often, what seems like an impossible climb is just a staircase without the steps drawn in.” Robert Brault, American Operatic Tenor

# 4