Playing amplified music outside

We’ve talked about lawnmowers, I wondered what your opinions were concerning the propriety of playing amplified music outside in a residential area.
Is it ever appropriate? If so, when, how loud, and at what times?

I’m not talking about occasional live music for a party, but instead, practicing on a somewhat regular basis. It appears that my neighbor is putting together a small combo - at least 2 guitars, playing cover tunes. Eagles, Allman Bros., Jimmy Buffett, etc. Last Sunday eve they played in their garage, the wall of which is maybe 12 feet from the wall of our family room where we were watching a movie. My wife went out and told them that it was very loud in our house. They wrapped it up maybe 20 minutes later. Today, they have been playing in the backyard since maybe 4 p.m. - it is now 8:30 and getting dark.

We live in a suburb, with lots maybe 50-75’ wide, and 150-200’deep. To fully set the scene, we do not get along with these neighbors - we have had a couple of disputes in the past - the guy and I haven’t spoken for maybe 5 years since he threatened my wife and she called the cops on him, and when I went to talk to him about it he closed the door in my face. So, even tho the music isn’t all that loud, I really don’t like hearing him. They are not completely without talent and the music, tho not my favorite, is pretty bland. I’d just as soon not have listening to him become the regular end to my every summer Sunday evening.

I guess I’m coming from the position that amplified guitars and such are to be played in basements, or behind closed doors and windows. No matter how much you enjoy your music, you shouldn’t assume your neighbors share your view.

So, whaddya think? Are they completely in the right and I am being unreasonable?

Having lived next door to a struggling and not very good band, I feel your pain. In my opinion, there are certain noises that cannot be controlled as an everyday part of maintaining or improving your property, things such as lawn equipment, power tools, hammering nails, etc. On the other hand, there are noises that can be taken elsewhere and practicing musicians can do that. In my case, another neighbor took the offensive and obtained a restraining order against the band. They had to practice indoors at a reduced volume, no more than 75 DB’s at the street.

Your location almost certainly has a noise ordinance. If they will not heed the polite requests of neighbors, you’re going to have to report them.

I love these simple ones.

There are no super clever solutions here, unless you want to try to figure out untraceable murder schemes for you neighbor or his band.

Putting that aside, you have 3 choices and only 3 choices:

  1. Do nothing.
  2. Talk to your neighbor.
    3 Talk to the cops.

The only ones in a position to give you an informed opinion on whether the music is annoying enough to call the cops are your family and the other neighbors. If you’re looking for moral suport for your position, talk to them.

You yourself sound somewhat conflicted about how much of your annoyance is the actual music as opposed to the asshole making it. Given that, maybe let things simmer and settle in your mind until you feel a bit more certainty.

Well, I guess I was asking for people’s “opinions” on whether or not they would be bothered by such a thing sufficiently to do anything. I know that it bothers me, and not only because the guy is an asshole. Was wondering if you folk would do something about it, or if you figured it sounded like the kind of thing you just grin and bear when living in a community. I guess I am surprised at the number of times I fear coming across as the cranky intolerant neighbor. I wonder what - if anything - I do that annoys my neighbors.

I guess I was raised that you should generally try to avoid having your recreation impose upon your neighbors’ quiet enjoyment of their property. It is one thing when a bunch of teenagers lack the maturity to know better (tho their parents should.) But this guy is a 45 year old parent of teenagers. And his house has a full finished basement in which they could play. Yes, I’m sure it is fun to play outside on a lovely summer evening, but even if the law does not specifically prohibit some things you enjoy, I think respect and consideration for your neighbors - even neighbors you don’t particularly like - should factor in.

As I said, my wife told them last week that it was very loud in our house.
Also, our village has very ineffectual noise ordinances - especially during daytime hours, tho if you call the cops they will certainly talk to the “offending party.”

Given that so many folk had strong opinions on the proper use of lawnmowers, I thought some more would have opinions about hearing 2 erlectric guitars playing Rocky Mountain Way, Cheeseburger in Paradise, and Freebird for hours on end on a lovely Sunday night - especially if it seemed like it might become a regular weekly occurrance.

I, for one, would prefer a lawnmower.

I have more to say about this kind of thing than you would ever want to hear. My tolerance for this is capital “Z” zero. By that I mean the daily occurance you’re talking about. Anytime I can hear someone’s music for an extended amount of time through my closed windows, I’m gonna make a mental note that they are somewhat of an ass. If it happens frequently, I’m going to make my best effort to ask them them nicely to adjust their volume. Once they’ve pissed me off, “cranky neighbor” rep be damned, all bets are off. There is no reason you should have to put up with *constant * noise pollution. I realize we’ve all got to suck it up occasionally, but it seems you’re saying this is ongoing. I say ask all your other neighbors and see how they feel. If the police get enough complaints, they will address the problem.

If they serenade us again next Sunday, I figure my first phone call will be to them, with my second to the police. Or else I might just pull out my lawnmower, put it as close to the property line as possible, crank it up, and go back inside!

When you put it THIS way, HELL NO! I’d call the cops!! Now if they were playing Rush, or maybe Ozzy, or even Neil Young - maybe something off of Decade - that’d be different! I’d probably throw money. :smiley:

Serious answer though, I’d talk to the neighbors - if you can’t speak with them face to face due to previous issues, write them a note. Perhaps a compromise can be reached? No music after 6:00 or something? If they won’t work with you, then you call the police. And you continue to call the police until something is done. Even one ticket should get your point across, I would think.

Your other option would be to pack up the family and hang out by our house on Sundays - you could yell at MY asshole neighbor instead of my husband having to do it all the time. :wink:

Why be a spoil-sport? Join in. Bring out the ol’ stereo and/or lead guitar and bass. Obviously, it’s a free form jam session. Let them hear how you can wail on the instruments!!! If not, just plug in a little “One” by Metallica just as they are beginning “Desperado.” Consider it a sampler kind of thing.


Coming from a family of musicians, I know they have to practice, and it’s their right. However, that doesn’t mean they can practice in their yard. My dad is a drummer and he set up in the garage. Practice seldom went more than an hour. The whole neighborhood could hear it, but it wasn’t forever. Now that he’s got the house to himself, he’s set up in the bedroom. It doesn’t bother anyone anymore (and he probably only goes 1/2 hour a day now).

My brother and I shared a house that was not in a neighborhood, so his band played in the basement 3 nights a week. The only person he annoyed was me. It was REALLY LOUD. But I’m a little more tolerant on account of he’s my brother.

Call the cops. Why waste your time trying to deal with him directly when he’s made it clear he doesn’t want to work with you? Tell the cops you’re willing to work out a fair schedule. If they need more practice than that, they can drag all their shit to another band member’s place and annoy his neighbors a couple days a week.

That’s what kinda bugged me. The first week, the wife said they were practicing for an upcoming gig or something. With it happening for a second week in a row, I just don’t want to have my every weekend wind down with this background music.

Haven’t heard Desperado yet. Maybe I ought to make a request…

I play bass myself, tho my amp hasn’t been out of my basement in over a decade. Other instruments regularly getting a workout in our house are violin, flute, piccolo, fife, piano, trumpet, clarinet, bassoon, and mando. The trumpet is the loudest, and he always plays in the basement. Not sure if any of them can be heard beyond our property lines.