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What's the Noise Bylaw in your neck of the woods?

 

The City of Guelph, ON (Canada) has noise bylaw restrictions that include stereos, televisions, and musical instruments that make noise. Yes of course, guitar amplifiers. No noise that bothers anyone is permitted, in effect twenty four hours a day, seven days a week in a residential area. But how loud is too loud? I mean can anyone who wants to demonized the greasy, hippy musician with the long hair, call the police with a complaint?

HOW LOUD IS TOO LOUD? (capital bold italics for the hearing impaired) ... imagine Gilbert Godfrey! hahaha

 

The police have no scientific measure of how loud is too loud. They are left to use their judgement based on having to serve a complaint. Without a device to measure loudness like an SPL (sound pressure level; decibel meter) both us and them will not agree on how loud is too loud.

Guitar amplifier speakers are roughly between 90-100 decibel output, measured at 1 watt of power at a distance of 1 metre. That's a demonstration of how loud something is. A chainsaw or thunderclap is about 120db and is regarded as painful. Jet engines rupture ears at about 150db. WhAt!?? A Fender guitar amplifier is about 115db at ten inches away at full volume. I said WhAt!?? WhAT? Uh, hey What, I think your Mom's callin' ya' ... (reference Tommy Chong for laughs). I think City Hall should have SPL meters available to loan to the public so we can measure how loud the television is and avoid possible disagreements with police officers regarding noise. We should be able to determine how loud is too loud!

 

So the next time somebody tells you to shut up, you better do it, or the electric company will get you!!!!

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Its all got to do with the "rights of others" around here. Some one calls the cops on you for being to loud then they will come, you will turn it down or you will get a ticket. Unfortunately a loud chain-saw or other power tool will never get you a ticket unless your really annoying some one on purpose, defiantly.

 

I believe there is a noise ordinance in town, likely any thing over 80 or 90 Db's. I've heard of some state's having a muffler-code for automobile's, so having loud muffler's may get you a ticket in some state's in the USA but not where I live!

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Where I live, nothing until 9:00PM. Even then, no one in my neighborhood calls the cops. We keep to ourselves, and out of eachother's business. Reason being, the houses across from me are always holding wild parties during the summer and they fill the streets. I've never been bothered by this. They've never been bothered by my playing either. I've also gotten compliments from people who live in the next neighborhood over. I guess, depending on where you live, you're either stuck with a bunch of squares, or a bunch of decent people.

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Where I live basically you can make noise as long as whatever it is, isn't illegal and doesn't particularly bother people in listening distance.

 

If they can't hear their television next door, they're probably gonna call the heat - and that's something you really don't want because then you're either pretty much a public nuisance or disturbing the peace.

 

But... that's whether it's a rock band Friday night or some idiot running 4,000 revs on an unmuffled V8 at 0600 on a Sunday.

 

OTOH, having a visit from the heat nowadays is probably preferable to most folks than what might have been the neighbor's own visit some 20-30 years ago.

 

Folks generally tend to be neighborly.

 

m

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I don't think there's any particular law in our county. We're not in an incorporated area, so there's no city law enforcement, just the county. We're out in the country and everybody within earshot is pretty quiet. I'm the noisiest person in our neighborhood.

 

We have band practice one evening a week and we stop at nine. No complaints yet. :unsure:

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common sense and courtesy is the rule of the land here

 

Used to have a neighbor that turned my life into a living nightmare, she didn't like that fact that son would practice his drums, (this could be at 5:00 pm.!) the cops were at the house at least 3 times a month, for over a year. We eventually wound up in court, and the magistrate told her she was actually harassing us, and we had to just reach an agreement and she had stop calling the PD all the time. She moved... thank God..

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Depends a lot on the audience (or neighbors who can hear you). I played in some pretty loud bands, and if we were on and playing well we rarely got asked to turn down, but if you are having a bad night they want it turned down immediately. Band practice usually isn't that sharp because you are working on new stuff and haven't gotten it right yet so that is more difficult to hear if you aren't in the mood. Try to soundproof the practice room with blankets over the window and such just to muffle the sound the neighbors will hear.

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HOW LOUD IS TOO LOUD? (capital bold italics for the hearing impaired) ... imagine Gilbert Godfrey! hahaha

 

 

If I can hear you playing next door in my house you are too loud and I will demand (not ask) that you turn it down. If you fail to do so I will put my 3000 watt PA system up against the wall and blast you to Kingdom Come.

 

I don't care how brilliant a player you are, what extraordinary virtuosity you display - if I can't choose to hear you I simply do not want to hear you.

 

Period.

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Common sense and courtesy rule, but if and when that goes away, I can play that card too.

 

There is no reason to loose the neighborhood wars.

 

I had an old BIG Caddy once, parked on the street like everyone else (more cars than driveways for this hood). Some didn't like it, some did, some didn't care. MY thing was, if there was ever an issue that actually bothered someone, I would kindly accomodate by the asking.

 

I was able to park this beast in front of my house. One day, after having a flat tire for almost exactly 48 hours, I see a ticket on it for being parked longer than legal. It says, "Hasn't moved in 3 weeks". Firstly, not true..had driven everyday until the tire went flat. Secondly, how would a cop know how long it had been parked? Conclusion: there's a RAT! A hateful nieghbor!

 

I found out who it was, and was sure. I politely talked to this "lady" about it, in which case she lied to me but also was a complete ***** about it to me. So, I parked it in front of her house. I feel like a jerk, but hey, I had eyewitness testimony from another who she told was going to call the cops on it! And I had to pay the ticket.

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In my experience, noise ordinances are never about the volume of noise, they're about who or what is making it.

Young person, amplifed music -. "very bad noise" will result in ticket if audiable at any level in the street. Court will grant injunction forbidding practice in house.

 

Construction work, High school football game, four wheelers- "good" noise - will never be ticketed by local police even if 10 times the level of the above. court will never grant injunction.

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I live in Inglewood, California. In my city there is no noise ordinance. If nobody complains, you can make as much noise as you want. If somebody complains, the police will come to your house and ask you to turn it down. I've heard some really loud Quinceañeras in my neighborhood go as late as two or three in the morning.

However, the city of Los Angeles does have a noise ordinance. No loud noise after 10 PM on weeknights and after 11 PM on weekends. And you're right, it's all subjective. It's up to whoever complains.

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Get down with your neighbors and make friends in being a cooperative community. I have found that this works incredibly not only with noise ordinances but with other potential issues like neighborhood burglaries. I have two houses on either side of mine, the one to the right is approximately 12ft away while the one on the left has a full lot between us. I just make sure to do it at reasonable times for all parties involved, while still maintaing that fringe vibe a noise ordinance might impede on.

 

Really, network with your community and neighborhood and you'll be set.

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Really, network with your community and neighborhood and you'll be set.

 

I had that same impression when I first approached my neighbor the first time she called the cops on us. (Reasonable people can make reasonable agreements)

 

So I knocked on her door, (with my son with me who at the time was probably 15) I asked her about the incident, and what we could work out. "it's just my kid practicing his lessons" I will tell ya, I'm not a rude person, I was as cordial as I could be. She basically wanted nothing to do with me, or a any discussion on the matter, She said "I don't care, I don't want to hear it" and shut the door in my face. I sort of stood there dumbfounded. Shrugged shoulders, "oh well we tried..." just went down hill from there.

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I had that same impression when I first approached my neighbor the first time she called the cops on us. (Reasonable people can make reasonable agreements)

 

So I knocked on her door, (with my son with me who at the time was probably 15) I asked her about the incident, and what we could work out. "it's just my kid practicing his lessons" I will tell ya, I'm not a rude person, I was as cordial as I could be. She basically wanted nothing to do with me, or a any discussion on the matter, She said "I don't care, I don't want to hear it" and shut the door in my face. I sort of stood there dumbfounded. Shrugged shoulders, "oh well we tried..." just went down hill from there.

Feel you.

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Before the cops are called!

Lol..one would hope! But sometimes, you have NO idea the cops will be called, and therefore, no way to get to it before the cops are called.

 

Lets face it- some neighbors just suck. And when they do, it's becuase they WANT to and choose to.

 

And of corse, the thing you didn't mention is that by networking and making friends with nieghbors, that helps with finding out who the rats are.

 

Back to the noise deal, see, what I would normally do in a similer situation would be to play in the afternoon, during reasonable hours, and then talk to the nieghbors and ask them what it was like- how loud it was, how disturbing, etc. I don't know how else I might go about it? If someone is such that they would call the cops for playing at 5:00 PM, there really isn't going to be any reasoning, because they are choosing to be a jerk.

 

In my experience, poeple are only jerks when they think they have the upper hand. Sometimes you need the threat of war to convince someone to sue for peace. So if one can gain the upper hand, it helps them to want to be "reasonable".

 

They really want to come to the negotiating table, they just don't know it sometimes. You want to HELP your neighbors.

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When I was in college in the 90's I lived on the top floor of an apartment building, one family of 4 below me and nothing on one side and a very wide hall and stair-well on the other side. I'm both a drummer and guitar player and at that time I had a set of electronic drum's and a 100 watt PA head powering one speaker with a 15" woofer and a small tweeter for the kit. As soon as I started playing the drum's my neighbor below me would start complaining by tapping on his ceiling (my floor) with something but, I could crank my 100 watt Marshall & 4 X 10 Marshall cab to 11 and I'd never hear a peep out of them. I never ran the PA head very loud with the drum's as the speaker was a cheap one and I didn't want to blow it up so I guess this family was just guitar friendly.

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When I was in college in the 90's I lived on the top floor of an apartment building, one family of 4 below me and nothing on one side and a very wide hall and stair-well on the other side. I'm both a drummer and guitar player and at that time I had a set of electronic drum's and a 100 watt PA head powering one speaker with a 15" woofer and a small tweeter for the kit. As soon as I started playing the drum's my neighbor below me would start complaining by tapping on his ceiling (my floor) with something but, I could crank my 100 watt Marshall & 4 X 10 Marshall cab to 11 and I'd never hear a peep out of them. I never ran the PA head very loud with the drum's as the speaker was a cheap one and I didn't want to blow it up so I guess this family was just guitar friendly.

You know, some sounds carry a lot different than others. What seems loud there in the room could be different through the walls or next door.

 

In one case, I had a drumset in the basement of this house, and when I moved the drumset NEXT DOOR, it was louder in the upstairs of the guys house than it was when it was in his basement.

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I'm not sure exactly what the noise ordinances are here in Pgh. I think it's probably until 10 on a weeknight, midnight on a weekend and 2 am if it's a bar. About a year ago my band had a gig at a place in Pittsburgh called The Thunderbird. -A small rock and roll type bar. Anyway, we were so loud that someone called the cops. The owner said that never happened in their history. Haha. We were pretty proud of that gig.

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The housing development I live in has 108 single family homes. There are no curfews in effect. Many young folk here have no brains and less class so its not unusual to hear illegal fireworks at 2 or 3 am. Naturally their idiot parents deny their children are involved. It can be tedious at times.

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Guest Farnsbarns

If I can hear you playing next door in my house you are too loud and I will demand (not ask) that you turn it down. If you fail to do so I will put my 3000 watt PA system up against the wall and blast you to Kingdom Come.

 

I don't care how brilliant a player you are, what extraordinary virtuosity you display - if I can't choose to hear you I simply do not want to hear you.

 

Period.

 

There is no regulation AFAIK in London until 2300 hours. That aside, why would you not knock and say "that's a bit loud mate, I can hear it loudly next door", before taking that approach. I had a neighbour with that kind of attitude once. If they had just asked there would never have been a problem. They eventually moved as a result of the problem they created. You catch more flies with honey as they say. Also, if they are within the regs your PA would be confiscated and they would be free to keep playing.

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In the UK the police come to the house that made a complaint. They then go to other houses near you and need to get 3 complaints total and a Db reading above their threshold (not sure what it is) before they can come and make you turn down the music. Last year we had a massive house party at my student house and only got 1 complaint, from the people who live in the basement. Because of this the police didn't bother coming to our house. Now we invite all our neighbours to the parties so we don't get any complaints because everyone's at our place.

 

Good thing about living in student houses is that no one really cares if you play your guitar loud. I just wait till my housemates are all out and then I crank the amp.

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You know, some sounds carry a lot different than others. What seems loud there in the room could be different through the walls or next door.

 

In one case, I had a drumset in the basement of this house, and when I moved the drumset NEXT DOOR, it was louder in the upstairs of the guys house than it was when it was in his basement.

 

There's some simple physics of acoustics at work here. sound travels faster in fog than in desert because dry heat is denser than wet. it's a matter of the human ear as well. the adult ear is not as sensitive to high frequencies as a child's ear. sound proofing helps. i have learned as per a standard lease in an apartment building where you have neighbours on either side, it's recommended that rugs be placed on floors to dampen excess sound. some people just have sensitivities. when i was a college student the lady above me had a kid that used to run across the floor and sounded like a herd of elephants when i was trying to study. the building management suggested ear plugs (and i didn't call the police because i hate to do that). you never can please all the people all the time. in the middle of the day when regular people work there's always the guy that works nights and sleeps during the day or the two year old that has nap time when you want to practice. at a gig i did last year the bylaw officers stopped in to tell us it was TOO LOUD. it was hot and the back door was open, we closed the door, problem averted. most cops/bylaw officers don't want to get into a row over a complaint. they'd just rather deliver the warning, receive compliance (turn it down) and leave. haw haw word to the wise DON'T IGNORE BYLAWS!!! There are bylaw officers out there on patrol twenty four hours a day, I see them ticketing cars parked illegally at two in the morning. it's just plain stupid to argue yourself into a ticket.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE ... there's nasty things called mosiquitoes that businesses can attach outside when there's teenagers hanging around. the mosquitoe device delivers high frequencies that bother young people's ears, like a dog whistle, which adults don't often hear. if that fails and you want teenage noise maker's gone, hold a barry manilow marathon.

Safe to say regular families retire after eleven o'clock in the evening. Last call in the bar is about two a.m. IF YOU ARE WAKING THE DEAD AT THREE IN THE MORNING BUDDY, YOU'RE TOO LOUD!!!

Funny story about annoying noise, the condo across from mine has about two strips of lawn to mow, that's it: up and down with a lawn mower and it's done. The condo hires a professional landscaper to do the maintainance and he brings in the heavy duty mower and the gas powered trimmer, the kind you'd do a golf course with, to do two strips of lawn! Duh!

La

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