While it is common to see an electric guitar with headphones plugged in, can you plug headphones into acoustic guitar too?
There is a saying- practice makes a man perfect, and that aptly fits when learning guitar. The more you practice on it, the better you will be at playing it. If you are a beginner, you would need a lot of practice before you can play in front of others.
However, sometimes you would not want to disturb others with your practice, or you may want to practice guitar at your convenience at any time you want and at any place.
Using headphones is the best way to practice guitars without disturbing others. But with different types of guitars, it can get confusing whether you can use headphones with them or not.
Guitarists, who own acoustic guitars often wonder: can you plug headphones into acoustic guitar? This article will discuss whether you can plug headphones in an acoustic guitar or not and what other ways are there to silence an acoustic guitar.
Can You Plug Headphones Into Acoustic Guitar
No, you cannot plug into an acoustic guitar as it does not have any electronic component or a jack to plug headphones.
Can You Plug Headphones Into Electro-Acoustic Guitar
Suppose the guitar you are using is electro-acoustic. In that case, it can be played as an acoustic guitar to plug an amplifier and used as an electric guitar while performing onstage.
In such a guitar, you can use headphones, but even then, you can not plug the headphone directly into the guitar. You would need to plug an amplifier in the guitar first and then plug your headphones into the amplifier.
Can You Plug Headphones Into Electric Guitar?
Another type of guitar in which you can use headphones would be an electric guitar.
If you want to use headphones or other electronic components in an acoustic guitar, you need to get a pickup installed in the guitar. Any professional with experience in doing this can drill a hole in the guitar to install a pickup in it.
If the only reason you want to use headphones with an acoustic guitar is to practice in silence without disturbing others, then there are many ways you can do so.
Let’s discuss some of the ways which can dampen the sound produced by an acoustic guitar.
What Can You Use To Muffle An Acoustic Guitar?
Using An Old T-Shirt Or Another Cloth
This might be the simplest solution for silencing an acoustic guitar. You can noticeably reduce the sound coming from an acoustic guitar by stuffing something into the soundhole to absorb the sound. All you need are some old clothes, preferably t-shirts.
Take one or two t-shirts as per your requirement and stuff the soundhole on the guitar. The cloth will work as a dampener and absorb some of the sounds. With this technique, you won’t have a silent guitar as some sound will pass through the t-shirts.
One downside that I found in using this technique is removing the t-shirt out of the guitar. Every time you have to practice, you need to stuff the t-shirts in and get them out once you are finished. Do not use smaller clothes like socks as they will be harder to remove.
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Using A Feedback Dampener For Acoustic Guitar
Another technique you can use to lower down the volume of your acoustic guitar would be utilizing a feedback dampener. A feedback dampener comes cheap, and it is relatively easy to use. You can place it upon the soundhole of the acoustic guitar.
Usually, the bass frequency of the guitar sound is the most annoying part and something that can be heard even by your neighbor next door.
Using a feedback dampener will lower the bass and the sound enough so that no one else gets disturbed by your practice. Using a feedback dampener also allows you to hear the sound that you are playing without disturbing others.
Palm Muting Technique
Another way to dampen the sound of an acoustic guitar without needing any changes in the guitar is the technique of palm muting.
Palm-muting is a technique that is used in a lot of genres like heavy metal or classic. It makes the notes more defined and shorter. You can also use it to lower down the guitar’s sound so as not to disturb the neighbors.
You need to work on how to palm mute a guitar. The primary purpose it serves is to stop the playing sound instantly or to cut short the extra noise. You use your strumming hand to pressure the string to either dampen the sound or eliminate it, depending upon where you place your palm.
In this technique, the outer side of your palm sits against the strings. The pressure from the side of your palm softens down the tone, and the sound made by the string is short and precise instead of a long buzzing. You would need to learn how to palm mute just enough so that you can dampen the sound and not completely shut it off.
Using A silencer For Acoustic Guitar
The most efficient way to silent an acoustic guitar would be to use a silencer. All you need to do is wedge something beneath the strings, and that will mute the guitar.
You can buy a silencer or use a cloth or foam material to place beneath the strings. You can consider this technique as a palm muting technique but on the highest level.
You can reduce the guitar’s sound as much as you want by changing the positioning of the silencer. Place it closer to the bridge for maximum sound reduction and further from the bridge for some reduction in the sound.
This technique is the best to silence an acoustic guitar. However, if you wish to practice, you might have trouble hearing the sound you are playing.
Replacing The Strings With Thinner Or Lighter Strings
One of the things that help with dampening the sound of an acoustic guitar is thinner strings. You can swap out the thicker strings on your acoustic guitar with thinner strings. Thinner strings offer a more high-end sound rather than the heavier sound made by thicker strings.
While the sound produced by thinner strings is not the one you would want to perform with, practicing on them won’t be very different than the thicker strings. You can easily adjust with playing the thinner strings.
You can swap out the normal strings on your guitar with thinner strings when you need to practice without disturbing others. Another benefit of using thinner strings is for beginners as they are easier to play.
Make Some Alterations To The Room That You Play In
The room you play your guitar in can also serve a purpose if you wish to dampen the sound of your guitar. Consider the sound recording studios with acoustic treatment. They tend to kill the reverb to get a dry recording, but the acoustic treatments also serve another purpose. While reducing the reverb, they also reduce the volume.
It works in a similar way to stuffing your guitar with old clothes. But here, instead of stuffing the guitar to absorb sound, we make the room soundproof by altering it.
Actual soundproofing is costly, but there are some techniques that you can try on your own.
If you can, then choose a room that is smaller in size and has carpeted flooring. You can get some acoustic treatments to add to your room to absorb sounds.
Add as much furniture to the room as possible, and you can also try hanging some duvets on the walls to help absorb the sound.
Consider Some Alternatives
If you are a professional guitarist or aim to become one, then you would need regular practice. All the methods mentioned above do work, but they are not the complete solution. If you are serious about guitar practice, it would be better if you just switched to an electric guitar.
However, some people want to practice only on an acoustic guitar, and the best option for them would be to buy a silent travel guitar. This works well for guitarists who travel often and don’t want to miss their practice while traveling.
A silent travel guitar is completely silent like an electric guitar when connected to any output source. The silent guitar does not feature the guitar’s hollow body, allowing you to lay as low at night. You also can use headphones with the guitar; otherwise, you won’t hear any sound from it.
If you travel often, then it would be the better option for you, but people who only practice at home would find this guitar very expensive.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use headphones with an acoustic guitar?
No, you can not use headphones with an acoustic guitar as they don’t have any electrical components.
Many guitarists prefer to use headphones with a guitar while practicing to mute the sound so as not to disturb others. However, using headphones with guitars depends upon the type of guitar that you own.
If you own an electric guitar, then you can very easily plug headphones into the guitar amplifier. Nowadays, most amplifiers come with a 3.5mm headphone jack, and it is easy to plug a headphone in it.
Some amplifiers also have a 6.3mm jack output, and you would need to use an adaptor to connect headphones to your guitar.
If you own an electro-acoustic guitar, you can even use headphones with the help of an amplifier. However, the headphone will not completely silence the guitar as an acoustic sound produced by the guitar will still be heard outside the headphone.
Can you plug headphones directly into a guitar?
No, you can not plug headphones directly into a guitar. The headphones would not fit in any of the guitar’s jacks, and even if you managed to find an adapter that would connect your headphones directly to the guitar’s jack, it wouldn’t do anything.
If you plug the headphone directly into the guitar, you won’t hear anything in the headphones. Connect an amplifier to the guitar, and then connect your headphones to the amplifier. The amplifier will amplify the signal from the guitar before sending it to the headphones.
Can you plug in an acoustic guitar?
You can not plug anything into an acoustic guitar as it does not have any electronic components. If you need to amplify the sound produced by an acoustic guitar, you would need an additional microphone or a pickup for it.
If the guitar is electro-acoustic, the guitar is similar to an acoustic guitar with electric and battery components, and you can plug an amplifier into it. You can even plug an amplifier suitable for electric guitar into an acoustic guitar. However, the sound quality won’t be that great.
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Do acoustic guitars have output jacks?
No, an acoustic guitar doesn’t have any output jacks as they don’t have any electric components. You will find output jacks on electro-acoustic guitars and electric guitars, as they need a way to connect them to an amplifier.
If an acoustic guitar you own is irreplaceable for some reason, and you want to add some pickups to it, you would have to do it by DIY methods.
You can install one by the endpin by drilling a hole in the guitar.
This endpin output jack is easy to install. However, you can also take the help of a professional or someone with experience in it.
While it is pretty common for a guitarist with an electric guitar to use headphones, some people might wonder: can you plug headphones into acoustic guitar as well?
The fact is that acoustic guitars do not have anything electrical related to them, so there is no question of plugging headphones into these guitars.
That said, the main purpose of using headphones is to be able to practice in peace without disturbing those around and near you. If that’s your purpose, then the best way to practice guitar silently would be to use a silencer.
We have covered this and some other ways in which you can muffle the sound of an acoustic guitar and still practice at home.