Neighbor noise complaints

Lefty Phillips

Well-known Member
I could not possibly care less, never have, and never will. Call the cops, see how that works out for you. Lulz.

That said, I've lived in apartments and houses, and I have never once received a complaint for practicing/rehearsing with 50 watt amps, PAs, and now drums. In my current situation, the two closest neighbors have noted that they can hear me play, but it doesn't bother them.

I always stop at 10pm, so there's that, I guess.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
I think it depends on what you’re practicing. Hand independence with Jim Chapin jazz exercises? No problem. Sextuplet patterns with both feet, forward and backwards, left and right leading, miked drums into a PA system with death metal vocals as a backing track? Get ready for shotguns and a 911 call.

And are you any good? How old are you too? Who wants a 60 yo man practicing death metal who’ll never see the light of day?
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
My beat lab is underground in our walkout basement.

My wife says she can hear from upstairs, not overbearing, and inaudible when she’s in our garage or drive way directly above my room.
In that, at anytime, my wife can be inside and I can go down to play with no questions or resistance to remain hushed inside our home.
I am super fortunate and grateful to have a similar space that allows the same freedoms you mentioned. Three walls are underground and the other one is an inside wall bordering an additional room between my studio and the outer/walkout wall.

When we first moved in I asked my wife to go outdoors and walk around the house while I played. Afterward, she told me my drums were barely audible. It was then that I knew we had purchased the perfect home.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
I am super fortunate and grateful to have a similar space that allows the same freedoms you mentioned. Three walls are underground and the other one is an inside wall bordering an additional room between my studio and the outer/walkout wall.

When we first moved in I asked my wife to go outdoors and walk around the house while I played. Afterward, she told me my drums were barely audible. It was then that I knew we had purchased the perfect home.
But are you able to practice rim shots on the snare with reckless abandon? And at any time of day? Now THAT'S a perfect home! :)
 

cbphoto

Diamond Member
But are you able to practice rim shots on the snare with reckless abandon? And at any time of day? Now THAT'S a perfect home! :)
Yes.

Happy Birthday Cake GIF by Storyful
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Platinum Member
But are you able to practice rim shots on the snare with reckless abandon? And at any time of day? Now THAT'S a perfect home! :)

I am lucky that for the past 15 years, my drumset lives in the band room at school, so I can practice any time I want, with reckless abandon...and my step sons drum set is at home, so if I get the immediate itch, I can go up there too...but his set up is way different than mine...
 

wraub

Gold Member
where i live, the ordinance is something like this: between 7am and "dark", any noise can be made as long as it isn't above 90dcb at 100 yards for an extended period of time

when I move in to any place I live, I print up a flyer with this ordinance on it, as well as with the rules I have for myself, which are : I WILL NOT make noise that can be heard outside of my house before noon, and after 8pm....this includes lawn mowing etc.

I then put my e mail address on it, and also ask that anyone who needs quiet time for children or religious reasons should just e mail me to let me know.

I then make copies of these and go door to door in the immediate neighborhood and hand them out.

Because I am old school, I also make a point to greet and talk to all of my neighbors, just to try to keep the old school notion of keeping your community as a tight social group to enhance community comfort and awareness. My wife calls me the "mayor" of our circle.

We have 3 different drummers in earshot of my place, and we all know each other as well...on many weekends, it sounds like a rock concert. In the past 20 years, I have never had an irate neighbor come to my door

at school, we get the cops called on the marching band all of the time, and they can't do anything about it. We are not breaking any laws. The police have to show up, and there are many weekends where I will put chairs out for the cops to sit in and chill when they have to come back. And I also spread flyers around the neighborhood the school is in with all the practice times that we will be out there. We have A LOT of nasty, sad, irritable people in that neighborhood....the also complain about the whistles during sports practices, and the traffiic....i mean C'MON, you moved in next to a high school....that has been there for 60 years...get over it

At my previous residence, my band played every Tuesday, stopping at 8pm. Had done for a long time, no issues, all the neighbors were cool. Then one night, a little before 7, a cop showed up. Said there was a complaint, but I think it being older guys instead of kids made him say, "Just keep it under control" and and he left. We start playing again, and about 20 minutes later a different cop shows up, and pretty much repeats what the first cop said.
We start playing again, go about another 20 minutes, and another cop shows up- this time it's the Shift Supervisor, older guy and seemingly very no-nonsense.

He asks some questions- and then hangs out for a couple of songs. Then he says, "You guys are okay, just keep it down. We may have to come back, but if this is all you're up to you're good. You're lucky you guys don't sound terrible.", gave us a smile and left. Never had another visit.

Where I am now I play in a room that faces a large back yard, on the far side of which is a parking lot. On one side of the yard I have the back walls of three or four neighbor's back yards, and on the other side is the back yard of a guy I used to drink beer with. He used to come check out the band here too.
No worries about noise really, but I still use the "10ish to 8" rule.
 
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Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Platinum Member
At my previous residence, my band played every Tuesday, stopping at 8pm. Had done for a long time, no issues, all the neighbors were cool. Then one night, a little before 7, a cop showed up. Said there was a complaint, but I think it being older guys instead of kids made him say, "Just keep it under control" and and he left. We start playing again, and about 20 minutes later a different cop shows up, and pretty much repeats what the first cop said.
We start playing again, go about another 20 minutes, and another cop shows up- this time it's the Shift Supervisor, older guy and seemingly very no-nonsense.

He asks some questions- and then hangs out for a couple of songs. Then he says, "You guys are okay, just keep it down. We may have to come back, but if this is all you're up to you're good. You're lucky you guys don't sound terrible.", gave us a smile and left. Never had another visit.

Where I am now I play in a room that faces a large back yard, on the far side of which is a parking lot. On one side of the yard I have the back walls of three or four neighbor's back yards, and on the other side is the back yard of a guy I used to drink beer with. He used to come check out the band here too.
No worries about noise really, but I still use the "10ish to 8" rule.

yeah...the few times that the cops were called on my high school bans, we would just leave the front door open, and they would let themselves in and out. mom would sometimes level lemonade and snacks for them too...

the ywould ALWAYS say :" we are glad you guys are in here playing music, rather than being out there stealing cars and breaking into places..."
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
But are you able to practice rim shots on the snare with reckless abandon? And at any time of day? Now THAT'S a perfect home! :)

Well, there’s an additional component that makes such 24/7 recklessness possible: My wife can easily sleep upstairs at one end of the house while I practice downstairs at the other end. So it really is perfect. I’m happy to know yours is as well!
 

Ransan

Senior Member
I am super fortunate and grateful to have a similar space that allows the same freedoms you mentioned. Three walls are underground and the other one is an inside wall bordering an additional room between my studio and the outer/walkout wall.

When we first moved in I asked my wife to go outdoors and walk around the house while I played. Afterward, she told me my drums were barely audible. It was then that I knew we had purchased the perfect home.
Exactly!

One afternoon, I had my daughter play whilst I stood on the driveway right before coming into garage.
Standing for a few minutes, I came in the house to softly prod her to start playing.

When I told her to play when I’m outside as I don’t have a signal, she said “I was playing daddy.”
I replied “how loud, show me?”
She commenced to long shaft the sticks wailing about.
I was like ok that’s good, when I get upstairs just start playing.

So she did as I walked out, and after just several steps away the sound became very faint, then, as I was essentially outside garage, I could no longer hear her banging and clanging about, just a soft thud of the kick, a huge smile swept across my face.

Another time, was when we first met our neighbors who are elderly, after a few minutes into the conversation, seemingly guilty I blurted, “ I’m sorry if my drums are loud.”
He said “you have drums?!” “That’s awesome! I play a little guitar myself, but yea I haven’t heard anything.”

My mind went straight for the emphatic fist pump ala Tiger Woods sinking the Masters winning putt.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Platinum Member
If only Drummerworld was a geographical location where drummers could live in bespoke drummer friendly houses, surrounded by live venues that paid a decent wage, and drum shop malls, where we could all try new gear, hang out and discuss drum related matters in peace. :unsure:

as long as it was near a Great Lake and some woods, I am in!!!!

Well, there’s an additional component that makes such 24/7 recklessness possible: My wife can easily sleep upstairs at one end of the house while I practice downstairs at the other end. So it really is perfect. I’m happy to know yours is as well!

damn...do you live in a mansion? :cool:
 

Benthedrummer

Well-known Member
I guess what I'm trying to get at is this: Why not fight back against the complaining neighbor if it's my own house?

I think we should fight back and not let some curmudgeon dictate what we do. Screw being nice. They aren't being nice to me, why should I be nice to them (hypothetically)

I'd rather struggle with the neighbors than roll over and assume I'm in the wrong when I may not be.

I may be able to chime in on this post.

I have fought back and won actually.

While I was at University, I moved to the only suburb in which I had a complaining neighbour.

I did the usual thing and spoke to all the neighbours near my house and spoke to them about the drums.

All good, no worries.....I received a letter from one house that said I needed to talk with them after my first practice.

I went over there and they explained to me that they had an elderly mother living with them and the drums were bothering her.

The son told me that she wasn't chronically or acutely ill, she still drove a car and was a member of various community groups that had outings.

So I thought to myself it's basically a case of an old woman who wasn't willing to compromise with me.

I stated that I wasn't going to put my life on hold for an elderly mother who just didn't like my drums......I left with no emotional concerns.

So I increased my practice time by half an hour and practiced before 5 in the evening and after 1030 am.

Never had an issue from anyone after that.

Bloody old grumpy bag.

It just seemed to me that they were using the "elderly person" card for no real fair reason.
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
as long as it was near a Great Lake and some woods, I am in!!!!



damn...do you live in a mansion? :cool:

I’m actually a 30-minute drive from Lake Michigan.

No, not a mansion but just north of 3700 square feet. I grew up in a family of seven, living in a tiny house before "Tiny House" living became a cool thing. Back then, squishing your large family into a house that is tiny because that’s all you can afford? Not a cool thing. I’d always wanted the experience of living in a big house and bought my current home in 2017.

But you know, after living in this house for 5 years now, I have to honestly ask myself, "Is living in a big house with all that extra room really as great as you always told yourself it would be?"

My answer?

You bet your sweet reso head it is! Even better!
 
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Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
I haven't played at home for nearly a decade due to space and noise concerns. The house that I live in now (and am fortunate enough to own) is well-insulated semi-detached and we can't hear our neighbours through the party wall at all despite them having two small children that make a lot of noise. However, I don't have space for my kit. We're getting an outdoor room constructed in the next few months which may give me some space for my kit (it'll be my office, I work in IT full-time from home) but I'll probably end up getting low-volume cymbals and some silent-stroke style heads for it. It's just how things are in the UK and as a kid, living in a detached house with understanding neighbours was a blessing that I didn't realise at the time.

Even if I'm playing a quietened kit, just the prospect of being able to play at home has rekindled my enthusiasm for playing. I have played in the last decade. In one job, I used to play regularly as part of it, but there's been no substantive playing improvement in ten years.

We don't have the same kind of space and building layout as some other countries do and it's quite unusual for a drummer in the UK to have a kit set up home permanently, whereas it seems more commonplace in places like the US. Even if you're relatively well-off, buying a house in the UK that gives you the freedom to put up a kit is a challenge in many areas as it's expensive to live here.

With that all said, my brother owns a terraced house of the same design as mine (new build, for my sins) near Wigan and he has a 3/4 Grand Piano in his living room that he plays. So it's not all bad!
 

moxman

Silver Member
i guess it depends on the local noise bylaws. Here its 7am-7pm for construction.. so if you’re less noisy than a jackhammer then no problem. Also they have Decibel meters they hold outside and if it exceeds the threshold then you get a warning. Before a ticket..more likely if its late at night. Pretty rare though..
 

eric_B

Senior Member
Soundtests

I thought it would be intersting to do a couple of sound tests with my dB meter in my (small) home studio and with the help of my girlfriend.
It is in a detached house with a gable roof on the first floor (where the slanted roof starts).
The ground floor walls are made of bricks and concrete blocks (so fairly soundproof) but the roofs are 15 cm sandwhich sheets (mostly eps with an extra plaster board on the inside for soundproofing), covered with roof tiles.
The studio is in one of the corners so with one slanted ceiling (see the picture).

My results - outside measured on the ground floor, about 3 meters next to the house and (diagonally) next to the studio:
  • with drum mutes and silent cymbals
    • inside: around 90 dB average (95 dB hitting hard)
    • outside: around 55 dB max (although mostly environment noises)
  • regular acoustic kit and cymbals
    • inside: around 100 dB average (over 105 hitting hard)
    • outside: around 65 dB
When the neighbour kid drove by with a radio pretty loud in his car the sound of my kit already was drowned out by it.
I'll probably hit a little harder than my girlfriend - who put her best effort into it :p - but I think the sound level of the acoustic, measured right next to my house is fairly mild when played at reasonable hours (say 10 AM to 8 PM) - so acceptable.
I would say the gas lawn mowers, weed wackers, power washers, etc used in my neighbourhood are louder.

Edit: of course I played with the window (and door) closed and I also put a thick sheet of acoustic foam in the window opening to block (mainly high frequency) noise.
 

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Vintage Old School

Gold Member
No Doug I'm having no neighbor problems. It's just a discussion topic, not a real life scenario...for me anyway.
Crap! Read twice type once. Got it!
 
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