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Unless you live in a remote part of the world where people don’t surround you, you’re probably not able to play the drums at any time without inhibition.
If you’d like to maintain a friendly relationship with your neighbors but still play your drums, you need to find a way to stop your neighbors from hearing all the noise you make.
Also read: Guide to Building a Soundproof Drum Shed
How To Stop Your Neighbors From Hearing Drums
Here are 7 tips on how to stop your neighbors from hearing drums:
- Invest in professional soundproofing.
- Block out sound leaks.
- Pick the right location to play in.
- Get drum mutes and cymbal pads.
- Use carpets and blankets to absorb the sounds.
- Consider playing electric drums.
- Swop drumsticks for hot rods or brushes.
Let’s look at these tips in further detail to help you live in harmony with your neighbors while enjoying your jam sessions.
1. Invest in Professional Soundproofing
If you can afford it, soundproofing your practice room is a guaranteed way to contain the sounds of your drum. Professional soundproofing is not a quick fix and usually involves renovating the floor, ceiling, and walls.
You would need to replace the sheetrock with a denser and more absorbent material. Another option is to build a room within a room. This will prevent sound waves from traveling to walls connected to other parts of the house and neighboring houses without being dampened first.
Since professional soundproofing is a lengthy and expensive process, only consider it if you are a committed drummer and in it for the long haul. Building a soundproof room for a teenager going through a grunge phase will likely leave you disgruntled when they decide drumming is no longer for them a few months down the line.
If you don’t want to entirely transform a room, strategically placing a few soundproof panels on the walls can make a huge difference. It won’t block out all of the sound, but it will definitely reduce it.
2. Block Out Sound Leaks
Sound leaks are little gaps in your room through which sound can escape and travel to everyone around you. Think of the crack between the door and floor, windows that aren’t tightly sealed, and any other little gaps where sounds can escape. While these are standard fixtures in all homes, blocking these gaps when you’re drumming will go a long way in containing the sounds of your drum.
You can close the gaps by placing mats or rolled up towels in the gap between the floor and door and any cracks in the window or wall
3. Pick the Right Location To Play In
Where you play your drums affects how much of it your neighbors will hear. If you have a basement or attic, it should make for an ideal location.
A basement is perfect because the ground naturally isolates the sound and lowers the volume that travels. An attic that doesn’t have many windows also traps sound and is usually far away enough for the sound to not cause too much trouble.
If you don’t have an attic or basement, play your drums in a room with no windows or as few windows as possible.
Ideally, there should be a room between the room you’re playing in and the neighbors. More air between you allows less noise to travel. If you live in an apartment with neighbors below, set your drums on a podium or platform to minimize the volume of the sound moving down.
4. Get drum mutes and Cymbal Pads
You can buy drum mute pads that are specifically sized to fit your kick, snare, toms, and cymbals. While practicing drums with the mute pads on isn’t as fun, it is an easy and efficient way to drown out the sound so you can play without disturbing those around you.
5. Use Carpets and Blankets to Absorb the Sounds
A cheap way to semi-soundproof your practice room is to use thick carpets and blankets. Place thick shaggy rugs or blankets on the floor and attach heavy-weight blankets to the walls.
This is definitely not an aesthetically pleasing look, but it effectively prevents the sounds from reaching the homes around you.
You can also place a thick blanket over your drums. The more blankets you use, the more effective they will be at drowning out the sound, but it will become more challenging to practice your technique.
6. Consider Playing Electric Drums
Many drummers may feel that playing electric drums doesn’t offer the same authentic experience as playing acoustic drums. However, electric drums allow you to adjust their volume, and if you play them while wearing a headset, you can turn the volume up as loud as you want without anyone else hearing it.
You might think that electric drums are more expensive, but shop around. Various options are available, and you can pick up an affordable set. Some come with additional features like extra sounds over and above the standard snare-tom-kick-cymbal combination.
7. Swop Drumsticks for Hot Rods or Brushes
As a drummer, you probably have a set of drumsticks that you’re comfortable with, but these may also be very loud. If you want to make your drumset less noisy, try using drum brushes. The sound produced by hitting the drum with a drum brush is snappy and bright.
Alternatively, you can also use hot rod drumsticks. These are softer than regular sticks but louder than brushes.
The great thing about using different sticks is that you get to create different sounds and vary your technique while keeping the neighbors happy.
Avid drummers and their neighbors can co-exist in harmony. You don’t have to give up your drumming passion, but it will help to make little tweaks to keep the noise levels down.
Some of the things you can do are create a soundproof environment—either professionally or by using blankets and carpets to drown out the noise—, block leaks so that sounds don’t escape as much, play in a room with no windows, use hot rod drumsticks or brushes, and invest in drum mutes and cymbal pads.