How to Make a Piano Sound Quieter

November 27, 2020

Blog - Music Lessons in NYC - Piano Lessons NYC

Have close neighbors? Like to practice during off hours? Acoustic pianos have an unparalleled live sound and are ideal for performing and practicing. But what can you do if your piano is too loud for your room? There isn’t a volume button that you can just slide down like on keyboards. You will have to try a few different methods which work to make a piano sound quieter.

What is possible and impossible to achieve in dampening your piano sound? You can make your piano a little quieter and and the sound in your room less boomy. You cannot stop the piano sound completely from going through the walls into other rooms unless you do a major – and we really mean “major”- construction. 

If you have an upright acoustic piano, put it against the wall or even better in the corner. Put the foundation wheels on top of the piano caster cups. Put acoustic foam or a thick blanket behind the back of the piano as well as underneath it. Doing this will significantly reduce the resonance between the piano and the nearby walls. It also helps if the piano is standing on carpet or on top of a thick rug. If you do everything right you can reduce the sound volume by about a third!

Grand pianos are harder to dampen and there are not really any easy solutions. But hey, you have a grand piano! So that’s awesome. You can keep the top lid closed and use a fold-able music stand for your sheet music. Place piano casters underneath the wheels to reduce sound vibrations into the floor. You can attach acoustic foam underneath the piano or place a large ottoman under it to disperse the sound waves that are coming straight down. We’ve seen some musicians keeping music and other books on top of the piano and it definitely helps to dampen the sound. If you do everything right you can expect a 15-20% reduction in overall sound volume. 

Much of the loudness and “boominess” in rooms with pianos occurs from the sound waves bouncing between the walls. For remedy, the softer the furniture you have, the better. Hang some curtains.

You can also purchase acoustic panels (they come in all different sizes) and hang them on the walls. The rule here is to put them on perpendicular walls to reduce the resonance both lengthwise and width-wise in the room.

To reduce the amount of sound coming out of the room with a piano into other areas: keep the doors and windows closed while playing the piano. Well, sorry if that’s obvious. Having double windows and double doors helps tremendously. You can also purchase an acoustic seal kit for your doors and install it yourself quite easily. 

To reduce the sound that is coming directly through the walls the only sure solution is to build another wall on top of the existing wall with a pocket of air in-between. You will find offers for “green glue” or vinyl for sound isolation but honestly, for the amount of work you will spend applying them, the return is very little. 

Going back to more affordable solutions, the last good option that you have is to have a knowledgeable piano technician attempt to make your piano less bright sounding. This can be done by needling the felt on the hammers and adjusting the action mechanism. Make sure to hire specifically a piano technician and not just a piano tuner, as these are different jobs. All piano technicians can tune the piano but not all piano tuners can do other things besides tuning.

We hope these tips can help you quiet your piano a little, when the time is needed. Otherwise, play as loudly as you feel!

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