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Electric Guitar Apartment Setup

Who else wants to learn about electric guitar apartment setup?

It’s no secret that living in an apartment means you have to set up your electric guitar and amp differently.

Living in a house means you can isolate yourself from your neighbors, but in most apartments, you have to consider your neighbors.

A small practice amp placed away from any shared walls and facing your door or window will go a long way in keeping your neighbors pacified.

But what other options do you have?

Today we’ll go over some ideas and look at ways that you can play guitar with lots of volume without driving your neighbors nuts.

Check it out!

Electric Guitar Apartment Setup: Playing Without an Amp

If you’ve got an electric guitar, you can always play without using your amp.

This isn’t ideal and can have some negative consequences, but it’s an easy and cost-free option.

Practicing without an amplifier can cause you to pick too hard in an effort to get enough volume.

This can cause problems when you play plugged in because you’ll be used to picking too hard which can distort your sound.

(Angus Young claims this is how AC/DC get their tone.)

It can be easy to fix this with a little conscious effort, but developing bad habits is never a good idea.

Some types of electric guitars are easier to play unplugged than others.

A hollow body or semi-hollow body guitar will give you plenty of volume to play unplugged just due to its hollow design.

With solid body guitars, the more naturally resonant the guitar is, the more volume you’ll get when playing unplugged.

This means that a guitar with a Strat-shaped body and a neck-through-body design will be louder than a smaller, flying v style guitar.

But, after everything is said and done, as long as you can hear yourself play you should be fine.

Pros

  • Doesn’t Cost Anything

Cons

  • Not Really a Good Long Term Solution
Electric Guitar Apartment Setup
Image by TheArkow from Pixabay

Electric Guitar Apartment Setup: Play Using Headphones

Nowadays, most practice amps come with a headphone jack that bypasses the speaker.

This is a great option because you get all the benefits of playing through your amp without bothering your neighbors.

There are some caveats to this solution though!

You must have a good pair of headphones.

You want to experience as much of your tone as possible, so over-the-ear headphones will probably serve you better than earbuds.

Headphones that have a long cord are a MUST.

If they don’t have a long enough cord then get an extension.

There’s nothing worse than having to lean over your amp, keeping your head at a weird angle while you’re playing because your cord isn’t quite long enough.

With a long cord or extension, you can stand, sit, and even walk around while you’re playing.

Finally, playing with headphones isn’t always conducive to jamming.

Depending on what kind of playing you’re doing, you may feel restricted by wearing headphones.

If you’re practicing scales, or just sitting on your couch practicing, headphones are an excellent option.

Pros

  • Easy Way to Practice Without Loss of Volume

Cons

  • Can Restrict Creativity
  • Need an Amp With Headphone Jack

Headphone Recommendation:

Koss UR20 Over-Ear Headphones

Koss UR20 Over-Ear Headphones
Koss UR20 Over-Ear Headphones

These headphones are inexpensive and have a surprisingly good sound.

Plus, they have a long cord which is perfect for an electric guitar apartment setup since you’ll be able to stand and walk around a bit while playing.

Click here and get yours today!

Pros

  • Affordable and Durable
  • Long Cord

Cons

  • Tends to be Bass Heavy

Electric Guitar Apartment Setup: Play Through a Smaller Amps

If you don’t already own an amp, or the amp you own is larger, buying a smaller amp to play through can be a great option.

Smaller amps, like the Blackstar Fly 3 1×3″ 3-Watt Combo Amp, are usually battery-powered and allow you to play at a much quieter level than a regular practice amp.

Plus, they usually have a headphone jack so you can play through headphones when staying quiet is an absolute must.

There are a few trade-offs to this option, however.

A smaller amp won’t give you the full tone and volume of a larger amp so you’re not getting the full guitar playing experience.

Also, the options on smaller amps are usually limited since they’re meant to be portable and battery-powered.

However, if you’re living in a tiny studio apartment where space is at a premium or you only need the very basics to practice, they can be a great option.

The fact that smaller, battery-powered amps are very portable also means that you can take your practice session to work with you, into a bedroom closet, or even practice in your car!

Smaller amps have their drawbacks, but they can be a practical and affordable alternative for the apartment dwelling guitar player.

Pros

  • Portable and Affordable Option

Cons

  • Smaller Speaker Means Smaller Sound

Small Amp Recommendation:

Blackstar Fly 3 1×3″ 3-Watt Combo Amp

Blackstar Fly 3 1x3" 3-Watt Combo Amp
Blackstar Fly 3 1×3″ 3-Watt Combo Amp

Battery-powered and portable, this amp is loud, compact, and has some nice features.

Even though it’s small, it has a lot of volume as well as a headphone out jack so you can practice in silence.

It includes gain, volume, and ISF EQ controls so you can create a lot of different tones with this amp.

Plus, a tape delay effect and overdrive switch lets you add some effects to your tone and expand your playing style.

Click here and get yours now!

Pros

  • Can Be Used as Speakers
  • Includes MP3/Line Input Jack

Cons

  • Quality Ones can be Pricey When Compared to a Larger Practice Amp

Electric Guitar Apartment Setup: Headphone Guitar Amps

Headphone amplifiers are another great way to keep quiet and still get a good sound out of your guitar.

They work by plugging into your guitar’s jack socket and amplifying the signal to your headphones.

Often they come with a range of effects and offer tone and volume controls.

Some models can recreate the sounds of different amps which gives you a nice range of tones.

Simple ones are relatively inexpensive, although the price of headphone amps with the most features gets closer to the price of a decent 20-watt amp.

You still need a good pair of headphones or earbuds, but if portability is a must, it’s the best option.

Pros

  • Compact Design Takes up Little Space
  • Designed to be Portable and Offer Useful Features

Cons

  • Not a Replacement for an Amp

Headphone Guitar Amp Recommendation:

VOX AP2AC amPlug 2 AC30

VOX AP2AC amPlug 2 AC30
VOX AP2AC amPlug 2 AC30

This headphone amp takes up almost no space and is packed with features.

They include volume, gain, tone, and FX controls so you have a lot of control over your tone.

Plus, with effects like chorus, delay, and reverb you can expand and experiment with your sound.

It’s powered by 2 AAA batteries so it’s small enough to fit in your pocket.

Plus, the Aux jack means you can play along to your favorites songs.

Click here and get yours today!

Pros

  • Available in 7 Different Models
  • Auto Power-Off Function

Cons

  • Battery Life can be Short

Electric Guitar Apartment Setup: Playing at Optimal Times

Playing your electric guitar at optimal times is often the only way you can crank your amp up to 11.

The key is to figure out what your neighbors’ schedules are.

If you’re practicing for a short period of time, you keep your volume at a reasonable level, and it’s a Thursday afternoon, there’s no real reason for any of your neighbors to complain.

If it’s 11 p.m. and you’re playing your guitar, even if you’re playing at a reasonable level, you should probably expect a knock on the door.

Most people work during the day and sleep at night. (Shocking, I know.)

Taking some time to check with your neighbors can go a long way.

Plus, if you politely asked them about the optimal time for you to play guitar, they can’t really get mad or say anything if you play during those “optimal” times.

Having said that, there’s always the chance that you’ll have one of those neighbors that are impossible to keep happy.

Pros

  • Can Play Through Your Amp

Cons

  • Neighbors Might not Want you to Play
Electric Guitar Apartment Setup
Image by Lukas Prudil from Pixabay

Electric Guitar Apartment Setup: Soundproofing

Soundproofing seems like a natural way to be able to play your guitar without disturbing your neighbors.

All you’ve gotta do is buy some acoustic foam and soundproof one room in your apartment, and you’re all set!

The problem is, soundproofing is not very effective at keeping your playing from being heard by others.

In order to properly soundproof a room, you’d need to completely cover all of the windows and doors and any cracks where air can get out.

This is really impractical if you’re living in an apartment.

Plus, even basic soundproofing can be very expensive, especially when compared to buying a smaller amp.

Pros

  • Can Help Cut Down on Neighbors Noise

Cons

  • Not Very Effective
  • Expensive

Conclusion / FAQ

Electric guitar apartment setup can depend a lot on where you live and what you like to play.

If you play heavy metal music and want to jam at 3 a.m. you’re gonna face different challenges than someone who might want to play jazz tunes at 11 a.m. on the weekend.

If you already own a practice amp or are looking to buy one, the best thing to do is to buy a pair of headphones and use the headphone output when you need to practice quietly.

If space in your place is at a premium, or the walls of your apartment are paper-thin, a smaller, battery-powered amp is probably your best option.

A headphone amp is probably your best bet if portability is important to you, or if you think you’ll be playing your guitar most often when your neighbors are sleeping.

On the whole, if you’re mindful of your neighbors you should be fine.

  • How can I practice my electric guitar in my apartment?
  • Is an electric guitar too loud for an apartment?
    • It depends on your situation and the type of neighbors you have. I lived in a tiny studio apartment where I only every turned my amp on in the early afternoon. Why? Because the walls were so thin I could hear my neighbor sneezing. In another place I lived, I played a classical guitar at all hours of the night because the place was bigger, the walls were a little thicker, and no one really cared. 
    • Rule of thumb: As long as you’re playing at a reasonable volume and at an appropriate time of the day, you should be fine.
  • Is it OK to play guitar in apartment?
    • Yes, as long as you do your best to be respectful of your neighbors.
  • How do you record guitar in an apartment?
    • In a pinch, put your mattress over your bedroom window, tack some sheets over the door, and put some acoustic foam up. This will cut down on noise from your neighbors enough to get a decent recording.