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Thread: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

  1. #1

    Default Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    I would like to be able to "play" a mandolin that is virtually silent so I don't drive family crazy when I'm practicing, especially scales and exercises. I can palm mute, but then I can't hear myself play.

    I've never played an electric mandolin before, but I'm guessing they are pretty quit when unamplified.

    One idea I had was to purchase something like this

    https://www.amazon.com/Ktone-Acousti.../dp/B00CQBTVYW

    (in case that link goes away, it's a $99 acoustic/electric cheapo on Amazon)

    and fill it with spray foam. There is one for $80 on CL near me right now.

    Or see if I can find a really cheap, possibly broken mandolin and add a pickup AND fill it with spray foam.

    Any thoughts about if that would work?

    Alternative, if any of you play or have played a solid-body electric mandolin, how quiet are they when not amplified? They are just a lot more expensive.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Registered User Roger Moss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    Do you already have an amp? I have never played a ktone mando, but I have played a ktone guitar, and it was absolute sh--te. I would bide my time and save up some more for a solid body. Sometimes you can find one cheap on ebay. Filling the body with foamy goo will pretty much completely deaden the vibrations which won't leave much to be picked up by the piezoelectric pickup. But maybe somebody here has tried it and can counsel you better on the matter than me.
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    Registered User Roger Moss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    If you do go with that option, this would be way more playable than a garbage ktone. It's nominally more expensive but miles better.

    https://www.amazon.com/Oscar-Schmidt.../dp/B002AKKO72
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    Just tape up the sound hole on an acoustic Mandolin.

  5. #5
    fishing with my mando darrylicshon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    You can get a used solidbody electric for around the same price, just have to keep looking, they do make some sound when not plugged up, but it isn't much
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    @Davey Unfortunately, that won't work. Sound holes are not necessary for sound, they just enhance it. The sound will be deader, but not not quite enough to preserve family sanity.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    @darrylicshon That makes sense. I should keep my eyes open for that.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    +1 on a solid body
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    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    The most effective mute for an acoustic is a rolled up washcloth or piece of fabric under strings in front of bridge. It will be really plinky, i.e. kill sustain, volume and tone so while you can hear pitch, it's not really that enjoyable. But a lot cheaper than buying anything else
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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    +1 for a solid body. Get a headphone amp for it and hear yourself fully, while others hear almost nothing. Have all the sustain in the world.

    I advise against that spray foam idea, though - ruins the sustain, even for the headphones.
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    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    Not long ago someone posted a picture and description of a cool little number he had made by —— I think Mowry. The body was basically a block of nice looking solid wood with a regular mandolin neck attached. No pick up at all. Just a small solid block body. I have been looking for that post because I was thinking about having a local luthier do the same for me. It looked like the ideal hotel room or noiseless practice mandolin. Haven’t had any luck finding the post though.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    Headphones for your electric.

  13. #13
    Mangler of Tunes OneChordTrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    Just gone the solid body route for exactly the same reason. Does what I expected so I can play without driving the family crazy. This is what I went for https://www.thomann.de/gb/harley_benton_hbma500_sb.htm. Needs some setup work but that easy with the supplied tools, just turn the bolts to set the action and intonation.

    Lots of useful information - from other members not me! - on my threads here https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/s...quiet-practice and https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/s...I-need-to-know

  14. #14

    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by gtani7 View Post
    The most effective mute for an acoustic is a rolled up washcloth or piece of fabric under strings in front of bridge. It will be really plinky, i.e. kill sustain, volume and tone so while you can hear pitch, it's not really that enjoyable. But a lot cheaper than buying anything else
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    generally, a warehouse discounter ships unopened cartons are a Lucky Dip chance, so it may be unplayable,
    and then you ship it back,
    or add the cost of the skilled setup labor..
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    HERE is a thread I started some years ago about the Wedgie - the quietest pick ever made.

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  17. #17

    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    you should practice on the instro you normally play, not a different instro. as mentioned several times already, just wedge something soft under the strings near the bridge and plunk away. this isn't about tone, it's all about playability on yer main mando.
    Oh mandolin, "subjective" is thy nickname!

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  19. #18
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    Or invest real money in a good solid body electric,

    small amps cut off the speaker when you plug in headphones..
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    Registered User Bauzl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    A solid body mandolin (in my case: solid body airline mandola, tuned as octave) + efx pedal with amp and cab simulation and head phone out (Dapper AMP Mini is quite cost efficient, many alternatives are available) + phones is a nice hotel room compliant practise setup for loensome midnight shredding.

    I only wish the Dapper AMP had an aux input for inserting backup tracks and so.

    But of course a solid body instrument is a different beast with its own role compared to an acoustic hollow body instrument.

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    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    How about a strip of dark foam tucked under the strings in front of the bridge? Cut it larger at first then adjust to get some sustain. Hardly noticeable, easily removed and likely free.

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    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    Choose a room that is isolated from the family or better yet, tell the family to go out shopping for a hour or two !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain

  23. #22

    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    Solidbody electric, small amp, looper (+ other pedals just for fun), and headphones is the way to go. Got in a steady 1.5 hour practice session just last night after 10 PM jamming over myself on some tunes I'm trying to nail down before Bibey camp next month. Didn't wake a soul in the house, not even the dog.

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    Registered User Perry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quiet, practice mandolin. Electric?

    An electric can be used for silent practice but for me the whole feel is so different that it would not be the same benefit as practicing on your main axe. However for learning chords scales etc.. sure it's fine...but not so much to perfect one's tone and technique.
    YMMV

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