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Give the Gift of Silence

November 21, 2012
By ART LIMANN - Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

ST. CLAIRSVILLE - It not only is a gift that keeps on giving, but could be a gift appreciated by the person giving it as well. The gift of silence - musicians making silent music only they can hear.

CA House Music in St. Clairsville has a variety of just such unique gifts appropriate for some brass players, string musicians, drummers, and guitar and keyboard players.

Band instrument specialist Pam Mencer explained the Yamaha Silent Brass for trumpet, cornet, flugel horn and trombone allows musicians to play their instruments silently by inserting an electronic mute. Musicians hear themselves play with headphones.

Article Photos

Photo by Art Limann
CA House Music keyboard specialist, Kevin Brosh, left; guitar and bass specialist, Matt Penhos, center; and band instrument specialist, Pam Mencer; display some of the products available in the store that allow instruments to be played silently.

"It's essentially a mute, which allows you to play with headphones," she explained. "It's a mute but it doesn't blow like one. In other words it feels like you are playing without one in. With headphones, it lets you hear it but it doesn't change the tone.

"It's a perfect gift for anybody from beginner to pro. It's great for use in an apartment, hotel room, even at home when you don't want to disturb others," she added.

According to guitar and bass specialist Matt Penhos, electric guitar and bass guitar players have a device they can plug into their guitars that will allow them to play silently as well. It is called a Vox amPlug. It runs on batteries and is strictly for use with headphones so no one else can here it.

"The neat part about it is it offers several tone options," Penhos said. "It can also run an MP player through it so you can play along or have an accompaniment."

For the drummer, CA House Music has a product called HQ Sound Off that allows drums, as well a cymbals, to be played at 5 percent of normal volume.

Co-manager of the drum department Eric Dulick said the specialized rubber pads come in a wide variety of sizes and are put right on the drum head including bass drums.

"The rubberized pad stops the drum head from ringing. The best part about these pads," Dulick emphasized, "is they feel just like the drum head when you play on them. They cut the volume by 95 percent."

Keyboard and string players also have silent options with the use of electrical instruments.

Keyboard specialist Kevin Brosh said a clavinova, basically an electronic piano, can be set up for use with headphones, which allows it to be played silently.

"These days pretty much everything can be made quiet," he said.

For the string musicians, electric violins and cellos, are also available, which can be plugged into headphones, to be played silently, or amplifiers to be played loud.