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How can I stop the vibration or sound proof my bass/drums/other instruments in my basement without spending a ton of money?

Asked by evolverevolve (520 points ) May 25th, 2009

I have a jam room in my basement in the house I bought, however there is no insulation, the music can be heard throughout the house. I have bass/guitar/drums/other instruments. Any suggestions on how to muffle the sounds without having to spend a ton of money? I am working on a couple of ideas, not sure if they are going to work, so I’d be pleased with any suggestions.

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12 Answers

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You might consider scavenging chunks of styrofoam and gluing them to the walls and ceiling of the basement to serve as sound insulation. You could cover the scraps with chunks of recycled carpet to keep it from crumbling and dribbling down on you. The carpet will also help sound proof things.

Otherwise, get some headphones and play your instruments through those instead of through the amps.

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Egg cartons, pieces of styrofoam, scraps of carpet – anything that can absorb the vibrations. Grab yourself a myriad of vibration-muffling stuffs, get yourself a nailgun/staplegun and have at it!

It won’t look pretty, but it’s way less expensive than buying those sound-proof kits.

P.S. just make sure you don’t staple a gas pipe or something, :P

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I’ve always found it easier to just muffle the instruments, which I do with towels over all of the drums.

But anyway, styrofoam and carpet are both good ideas, and throw some towels around the entryways and around windows to see if that does any good.

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bass drums and bass guitar put out alot of sonic energy in the rumble range of audio- very hard to mufffle. foam and sound proofing, because of physics, dampen high frequencies much better.

best to dampen the bass drum at the pedal and the drum itself (cut back on the source) and on the guitar, turn down the bass (turn up the treble).

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I use those bed mattress cover thingies that are designed to be like an egg crate. The come in king size (or smaller). They are remarkably like sound proofing material used in recording studios (although they are caucasian instead of gray).

I had an entire studio in the basement and with this stuff on the walls and ceiling you can really limit ambient sound. I found them at garage sales (wouldn’t want to sleep on one, but they worked great on the walls).

I did hate it for vocals because there is no fullness to the sound though . . .

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My son has an old pillow inside his bass drum to muffle the sound.

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@elijah: Yeah, same. It’s fairly effective, but won’t do it for complete soundproofing.

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I just did exactly what you are talking about for my drumkit. As far as bass, and other instruments, get isolation headphones and play with them on hooked up to the amp. Now it depends on what you qualify as cheap, because I spent about $30 doing this.

Buy drum mutes for $28, pretty cheap and you can can’t hear them outside the room. Only downside is that the toms have an electric effect, but it mutes the snare PERFECTLY.
For cymbals, no joke, tape 3 napkins stacked with electrical tape. It completely kills the reverb and if you hit directly on the napkin, it will dampen the initial hit as well.
As for the bass drum, a pillow or two will cut the noise pretty efficiently, but a solid piece of foam with tape should do.

If you are completely on the cheap (then why did you get into drumming?) you can just tape three or more napkins to your toms. As for the snare, chip in for a single mute. Trust me, its worth it.

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I can’t play with headphones, I got stacks that need cranked to 11.

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You could dumpster dive for some old rolls of carpet or some of those foam egg crate things and put them on the walls,ceiling, floors. That may help a little. And would kinda be on the cheap.

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A second layer of drywall on 1 inch spacers all around creating an airspace is pretty good at stopping the sound from working through the floor joists. just stagger the spacers so they aren’t directly connected to the joists. Then carpet or 2×4 ceiling tiles should suck all the sound out of the room. Shag or foam on the floor.

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There are plenty of cheap ways to soundproof, but the first thing you want to do is get your gear off the floor and isolated. Floors are the main culprit of sound transfer – you can hang carpets until the place looks like a showroom but it won’t get you anywhere if the floor is sending the sound to the walls. Foam on the walls is not effective soundproofing, what their function is is acoustic treatment i.e. stopping your loud amp sounding boomy in a small room. If you send me the floor layout and ceiling height of the room I’ll email you some cheap and very effective plans for diy soundproofing that are tailored to your space and budget.

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