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Jan 11, 2021 - 12:20:10 PM
1053 posts since 2/6/2006

Now that some of us are spending (perhaps) time indoors picking our BG/resonator banjos, & w/o the benefit/context of playing w/ others, I’m wishing for a solution to the volume. In consideration of other household members & lack of indoor spaces (garage?) to practice & not disturb others. I have some standard mutes (Mike’s & Gold Tone Iucci ‘24), but don’t care for the sound, tone, or extra sustain. Any one discover a solution? Thanks, Brian

Jan 11, 2021 - 12:26:56 PM

Algy23

UK

1 posts since 10/11/2019

I roll and fold a thick dishcloth (unused) and wedge it under the bridge between the skin and the rod. That reduces the volume but does take a lot of the bassier frequencies out too.

Edited by - Algy23 on 01/11/2021 12:27:35

Jan 11, 2021 - 12:30:48 PM
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Bongshang

Scotland

2057 posts since 3/12/2006

Be careful not to mute too much. You can end up playing really hard as you can't hear the proper tone, which can lead to muscle problems. Been there.

Jan 11, 2021 - 12:54:41 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

55625 posts since 10/5/2013
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I roll up a snotrag and shove it in front of the bridge under the strings. Not much tone but you can still here the pitches. Saves marriages,, dogs don’t leave home,, cats quit clawing the furniture, ....


 

Edited by - chuckv97 on 01/11/2021 12:56:57

Jan 11, 2021 - 1:01:54 PM

1053 posts since 2/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by chuckv97

I roll up a snotrag and shove it in front of the bridge under the strings. Not much tone but you can still here the pitches. Saves marriages,, dogs don’t leave home,, cats quit clawing the furniture, ....

In front of the bridge...?
Is that behind the bridge...on the tailpiece side, or in front of the bridge...towards the neck? Thanks 
Jan 11, 2021 - 1:17:01 PM

26 posts since 10/12/2018

I roll an old T-shirt to put between the head and coordinator rod under the bridge, leave the resonator off, and use a gold-tone mute on the bridge.

Jan 11, 2021 - 1:39:21 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

55625 posts since 10/5/2013
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quote:
Originally posted by rupickin5
quote:
Originally posted by chuckv97

I roll up a snotrag and shove it in front of the bridge under the strings. Not much tone but you can still here the pitches. Saves marriages,, dogs don’t leave home,, cats quit clawing the furniture, ....

In front of the bridge...?
Is that behind the bridge...on the tailpiece side, or in front of the bridge...towards the neck? Thanks 

 


In front ,,towards the neck,,,you'll just get a very thumpy sound, but still recognizable notes. I've never had the hand muscle issue that JJ mentioned. (my photo didn't come through?) 

btw Brian, did you play with Tommy Wade & the Country Rebels back in the 1970's?  I met him at the Canadian Banjo Competition in 1975. Nice guy.  I still sing "Rebels You Rest" at jams. yes

Edited by - chuckv97 on 01/11/2021 13:46:35

Jan 11, 2021 - 2:28:45 PM
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1053 posts since 2/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by chuckv97
quote:
Originally posted by rupickin5
quote:
Originally posted by chuckv97

I roll up a snotrag and shove it in front of the bridge under the strings. Not much tone but you can still here the pitches. Saves marriages,, dogs don’t leave home,, cats quit clawing the furniture, ....

In front of the bridge...?
Is that behind the bridge...on the tailpiece side, or in front of the bridge...towards the neck? Thanks 

 


In front ,,towards the neck,,,you'll just get a very thumpy sound, but still recognizable notes. I've never had the hand muscle issue that JJ mentioned. (my photo didn't come through?) 

btw Brian, did you play with Tommy Wade & the Country Rebels back in the 1970's?  I met him at the Canadian Banjo Competition in 1975. Nice guy.  I still sing "Rebels You Rest" at jams. yes


Hey Chucky, I'll experiment w/ suggestions made here. I may try alligator-clips w/ painters tape...to prevent marring the bridge.

Not I w/ Tommy Wade during the '70's. I did play & record w/ Earl Taylor at that time & then did a 27-show stint w/ Jimmy Martin...the King of Bluegrass

Jan 11, 2021 - 2:38:41 PM

chuckv97

Canada

55625 posts since 10/5/2013
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.yes  cool

Edited by - chuckv97 on 01/11/2021 14:39:02

Jan 12, 2021 - 6:53:40 AM
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3665 posts since 3/28/2008

quote:
Originally posted by chuckv97
quote:
Originally posted by rupickin5
quote:
Originally posted by chuckv97

I roll up a snotrag and shove it in front of the bridge under the strings. Not much tone but you can still here the pitches. Saves marriages,, dogs don’t leave home,, cats quit clawing the furniture, ....

In front of the bridge...?
Is that behind the bridge...on the tailpiece side, or in front of the bridge...towards the neck? Thanks 

 


In front ,,towards the neck,,,you'll just get a very thumpy sound, but still recognizable notes. I've never had the hand muscle issue that JJ mentioned. (my photo didn't come through?) 

 


I do something similar. I take a standard-size bandana (18"x18"), fold it on the diagonal, roll it up, and put it under the strings on the picking side of the bridge with plenty hanging down. Then I take that  hanging-down part and pull it under the strings on the tailpiece side of the bridge. So the bridge is muffled on both sides, and the strings are muted, too.

Obviously this isn't useful if you're practicing for tone, but it works fine when you're just practicing the basic mechanics of a lick or tune. I lived in an apartment back when I was practicing for Winfield in the early '90s, and never got complaints from my neighbors, even when I practiced like that until 1:00 or 2:00 AM.

Jan 12, 2021 - 4:39:51 PM
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126 posts since 11/2/2009

OP “ Saves marriages,, dogs don’t leave home,, cats quit clawing the furniture, ....”

See, that’s the thing, a spouse will leave, a dog will leave. A cat wants YOU to leave.

Jan 13, 2021 - 6:59:36 AM
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2531 posts since 2/10/2013

Angry felines have been known to abuse open instrument cases. And I don't mean scratching.

Jan 13, 2021 - 7:01:23 AM

62 posts since 2/7/2020

I know some might think this sacrosanct, but why not just practice without picks?

Jan 13, 2021 - 7:31:16 AM
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1053 posts since 2/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by earlstanleycrowe

I know some might think this sacrosanct, but why not just practice without picks?


I love playing w/o picks! But, if you only put on the picks in band/jam settings you'll wish you'd been spending sufficient time w/ picks on

Jan 13, 2021 - 7:55:08 AM
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phb

Germany

2439 posts since 11/8/2010

quote:
Originally posted by Richard Hauser

Angry felines have been known to abuse open instrument cases. And I don't mean scratching.


Glad our cat is gone. Just to be sure: has this sort of behaviour been reported from angry spouses, too? 

Jan 13, 2021 - 1:38:08 PM
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656 posts since 2/15/2015

I should play with picks more...

Jan 13, 2021 - 1:52:15 PM
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438 posts since 10/4/2018

Learn to pick softly. You should be in control of the dynamics of picking. Master the art of picking at whatever volume you wish and you can pick as loud as possible or very softly. It will take time, but with practice you can do it up to speed and control the tone as well without bothering others at home.

Edited by - Good Buddy on 01/13/2021 13:52:50

Jan 13, 2021 - 2:35:26 PM
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5909 posts since 10/13/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Good Buddy

Learn to pick softly. You should be in control of the dynamics of picking. Master the art of picking at whatever volume you wish and you can pick as loud as possible or very softly. It will take time, but with practice you can do it up to speed and control the tone as well without bothering others at home.


laughRead the OP's (Lappin) resume. His ability to use dynamics is not in question. He is a top level pro. Here is some of his playing that he referenced in this thread. It is real and GREAT bluegrass and he shreds the banjo on it. HOT! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45SwUCJf4hU

Enjoy the great music but maybe don't tell him how to play? winklaugh

Ken

ps love his backup!

Jan 13, 2021 - 3:39:39 PM

438 posts since 10/4/2018

I apologize for, instead of reading the resume of the OP to just jump into giving my opinion on a way that has worked for me. Certainly he is a much better picker than I am or ever will be. I was trying to be helpful, not disrespectful. It took me about 10 years of stuffing my banjo to finally work on playing softly. It takes time to control your picking while playing so softly, but it does work. Sorry again for sounding like an idiot.

Jan 13, 2021 - 3:53:26 PM

5909 posts since 10/13/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Good Buddy

I apologize for, instead of reading the resume of the OP to just jump into giving my opinion on a way that has worked for me. Certainly he is a much better picker than I am or ever will be. I was trying to be helpful, not disrespectful. It took me about 10 years of stuffing my banjo to finally work on playing softly. It takes time to control your picking while playing so softly, but it does work. Sorry again for sounding like an idiot.


Hey Mike:

laugh Man if that is the only time you sound like an idiot here you will be way ahead of me!crying And BTw, you did not sound like an idiot. you probably just came a little late into the thread and did not now all the particulars. But it is fun to be on the HO where guys that play like Brian post. enjoy and have St. Louis Budweiser! Maybe the Cardinals will do good for us this summer.

Thanks for your very humble reply.

ken

Jan 13, 2021 - 4:02 PM

chuckv97

Canada

55625 posts since 10/5/2013
Online Now

Well, I have learned years ago to pick quietly,,,,, I’m still single, my dog is long gone,, and I’ve got shredded couches and arm chairs.

Jan 13, 2021 - 4:11:01 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

55625 posts since 10/5/2013
Online Now

Thanks, Ken, for that link. Man, I knew Brian’s name was on an album I had, I'd forgotten about this LP. ...great playing!




Edited by - chuckv97 on 01/13/2021 16:15:21

Jan 13, 2021 - 6:04:12 PM

1053 posts since 2/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Good Buddy

I apologize for, instead of reading the resume of the OP to just jump into giving my opinion on a way that has worked for me. Certainly he is a much better picker than I am or ever will be. I was trying to be helpful, not disrespectful. It took me about 10 years of stuffing my banjo to finally work on playing softly. It takes time to control your picking while playing so softly, but it does work. Sorry again for sounding like an idiot.


Mike...& Ken, thanks for your replies to my post. I've played long enough to get pick-clad fingers to work as best I can even while spending some time pick-free! Working for the great Earl Taylor (talk about a resume!) was an honor. That was my 1st ever stint in a legit BG setting & to say I was nervous, on that recording session, is an understatement! Goal, as always: solid kick-off, respect melody (w/ appropriate dusting of "licks"), rhythm & tasty supportive back-up, solid exit. 
In current situation (Covid-19...no gigs or band practice) I'm trying to work-up some tunes that my old fingers can hopefully play: East Tennessee Blues & Cuckcoo's Nest. Easier to practice w/o picks...but that's not how I hope to play them...hence my original post. 
Mike...you're on target that playing & controlling one's attack, touch, & volume is critical. I'll continue to work on that! Thanks y'all & keep pickin'!

Jan 14, 2021 - 8:37:01 AM

phb

Germany

2439 posts since 11/8/2010

There also is the "silent practice" option for the tranjo (tranjo.com). It uses a mesh head like what drummers use for practice and a pickup and headphone amplifier. I tried a similar setup on my first cheap banjo when I got my good banjo. This was really soft but the head wasn't a good fit because it was a non-standard size for drums and thus custom made. I expect the silent practice setup for the tranjo will be just as soft and mechanically better because of the head being a standard drum size. But then it still is a very funky looking banjo.

Feb 3, 2021 - 8:01:11 AM

73 posts since 6/18/2017

I mute by using a cheapo thin elastic guitar capo, like the dunlop orange type. Single elastic, thin capo bar (btw these are otherwise almost useless for medium gauge guitar strings) . The blue double strap elastic capos are too thick to sit below the strings, fwiw.

I wrap this around the bridge, capo /bar section on the tailpiece side of the bridge, slid under the strings, and position it  so the strap end is toward and tucks under the 1 string.

These capos are about $5. The greatly reduce volume, are light and easy to stash. They also provide a unique tone, but don't reduce sustain. Not silent by a long shot, but similar to cloth.

I agree its also an interesting exercise to just try to play softly.

Edited by - stevedenver on 02/03/2021 08:06:19

Feb 3, 2021 - 9:49:04 AM

1053 posts since 2/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by stevedenver

I mute by using a cheapo thin elastic guitar capo, like the dunlop orange type. Single elastic, thin capo bar (btw these are otherwise almost useless for medium gauge guitar strings) . The blue double strap elastic capos are too thick to sit below the strings, fwiw.

I wrap this around the bridge, capo /bar section on the tailpiece side of the bridge, slid under the strings, and position it  so the strap end is toward and tucks under the 1 string.

These capos are about $5. The greatly reduce volume, are light and easy to stash. They also provide a unique tone, but don't reduce sustain. Not silent by a long shot, but similar to cloth.

I agree its also an interesting exercise to just try to play softly.

 


Thanks stevedenver...just ordered one...give it a try

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