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AIBU To be disappointed in DH not talking to me over his guitar?

(77 Posts)
koalasrock Fri 26-Apr-13 13:45:21

My DH has decided recently that he wants to play/practice on his guitar most evenings for a few hours. He has an electric amp, which he puts at what he considers a low level. He also listens to a coach (normally American) on youtube on his computer and plays along to that. This is in our Dining Room, and it can be heard from every other room. He is basically playing the same chords over and over for a long time.
Over the past couple of weeks I have asked him, very nicely (because he can be very sensitive about it) and only TWICE, if he can possibly turn it down a bit. He did turn it down begrudgingly.
Two days ago when he had already been playing for over an hour and a half I asked him to come and talk to me, and he said he would when he'd finished that song. I asked him what he was playing (Brown Eyed Girl), I then commented that it didn't sound like that song on the computer (ie the youtube backing). Thirty minutes later he was still playing, another song though, so I jokingly said that that definitely didn't sound like BEG, to just try and get him to finish as he had said he would (he had been playing for a couple of hours at this point). Well, he then went a bit mad at me, telling me I couldn't be less supportive of him doing something he enjoys, that I'm always basically implying that he is rubbish by asking him to turn it down and that our friend C would never try to stop her husband (who plays in a band). I tried to say that was ridiculous, that I have been really patient with it, particularly as it is noisy and he does play it a lot, and he never thinks whether it is perhaps a bit unreasonable to assume that everyone else wants to hear his guitar playing, practically every night.
To cut a long story short, he is now not speaking to me. I tried to break the ice yesterday, but he basically said that he was very cross at my lack of support and that he was expecting an apology, particulary as he has now twisted everything I have said to me effectively saying he is shit on the guitar.
I have again tried to counter with I have been supportive, it is a bit unfair that he is so selfish about it and that frankly, he is being a dick.
Most people don't assume that they can just start playing guitar in the house every night and assume everyone else has got to like it. I suggested that if I took up violin every night he wouldn't like it.
So, we are now not talking and I have not apologised! He also tried to involve our youngest ds (13) by asking him if he found his playing 'so offensive', and this has really pissed me off, although DS sort of said it was noisy.
This all seems really petty, but I initially trod on eggshells around the volume thing because he is very sensitive about it. I really don't know why, but he really is.
But, hand on heart, I haven't been unsupportive, and I'm a bit disappointed that this is such a big deal to him and he is so determined to twist what I said, but then he does do that. Am I being unreasonable to think I have been unfairly judged as being unsupportive and then in thinking he is actually being selfish anyway?

KhaosandKalamity Wed 22-May-13 14:18:34

YANBU my partner also plays, but would never actually plug in the amp while practicing at home. It was never discussed, he just knew it was not nice to force everyone else to hear his practice (which I was pretty impressed with, and made sure to let him know it was appreciated). No matter how skilled they are the same few chords on repeat for any more than 10 minutes would do most peoples heads in. Does he support your hobbies and give you hours at a time to focus on your own thing?

xyhere Tue 21-May-13 16:44:37

Apologies for resurrecting this - I completely forgot about it...

LadyInDisguise - I don't disagree with you. In fact, if you read my posts carefully you'll see that I do believe he's being inconsiderate. However, I know from bitter experience that these things are rarely resolved by one person pointing fingers at the other and refusing to budge. Hence my suggestion that both sides are at fault in the way they've handled the situation (despite the fact that he clearly kicked it off), and perhaps a bit of behaviour modification at each end might lead to a situation where everybody's much happier?

To be clear: all I'm saying is that both sides need to take responsibility for the fact that they've been insensitive and inconsiderate - to varying degrees, obviously. That's what adults do.

TroublesomeEx Wed 01-May-13 13:45:06

Get him to either wear earphones or practice without the amp plugged in. It is possible. It's what I do when I'm practising at home and other people are in.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 01-May-13 11:54:51

Your DH is being entirely unreasonable. He obviously struggles a bit if he has been playing twenty years and it takes him such a long time to master a new song. Does he want to join a band? Maybe that is why he has suddenly cranked up a gear, and why he is maybe so sensitive about his lack of progress.

My DH is a bloody brilliant fiddle player. I still don't want to listen to him play for hours every night, neither would he expect me to.

Jux Wed 01-May-13 11:40:36

...point out to him too often ....

Jux Wed 01-May-13 11:39:57

I used to know a guitar widow who did just that! All of his "beautiful babies" out the window!

I haven't really felt the need to do that with dh's 20-odd babies, but he is more considerate vis a vis noise levels (but his drummer has a massive studio in the middle of nowhere where dh can let rip whenever he wants). Oh, and when dd was a baby he got annoyed when she cried, and I didn't have to out to him too often that maybe the very loud guitar didn't help.....

StanleyLambchop Wed 01-May-13 09:15:23

YANBU. I had an ex who was obsessed with his guitars, drove me mad! That was back in the days before the internet- guitar tutors on You Tube sounds like a whole new level of hell for guitar widows!

He definitely needs to get some earphones, and does he have to practice for so long- could he not cut that down- it is quality not quantity- surely his fingers must be tired after two hours!

How well do you get on with your neighbours? They must be able to hear it too (our current neighbour plays guitar, with amp, it comes through the wall like nobody's business!) Could you pop round and explain, and ask them if they would mind knocking on the door and asking him to keep it down? Sneaky I know, but it might stop and make him think if there are complaints from outside the family.

You do need to sort this though otherwise you will probably end up completely snapping and chucking his guitars out of the window or something.

MusicalEndorphins Wed 01-May-13 00:31:17

PS I agree with the mention of you jamming with him.

MusicalEndorphins Wed 01-May-13 00:29:18

Being around musicians for over 40 years, most do play all the time, music is their passion. The headphones are the only way to go unless, they have a sound booth.

ChippingInLovesSpring Wed 01-May-13 00:24:41

Donkey grin

thezebrawearspurple Wed 01-May-13 00:10:02

yanbu, it's not fair for him to inflict his noise on the whole house for hours on end, you're the one who has to suffer. I'd offer him a choice between headphones or divorce. The impact noise pollution has on your health isn't worth indulging anyone for, stop tiptoeing around him, he's being an inconsiderate arse and needs to know it.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 30-Apr-13 23:47:18

My DH is allergic to dogs but I grew up with pets maybe I should revive that whim and borrow a dog. It'll impact on the whole household, I may not be very good at looking after it but DH can lump it. If he makes any comment I can shout and sulk and drag the kids into it. Oh better still wait for him to buy me a dog grooming kit and toys for the dog after all that's what happens in other homes, DH will be denying me my fun.

LadyInDisguise Tue 30-Apr-13 22:40:00

As his wife, you have a reasonable expectation that he be more considerate, but he should also have a reasonable expectation that you would also have spotted points 1-4 above since you're supposed to know him better than anybody else

Well as her husband, I believe he should have known that playing the guitar for hours on the evening, day after day was going to be difficult for the OP. He should have had a reasonable expectation that this would have been too much noise for her (and not nice to hear thanks to his own limited ability...).

Sorry but he is the one who has changed the rules and is introducing something new in the house (his music for hours and hours) so I would expect him to take others into consideration. And as a husband and a father, to know that this would be hard to cope with for his wife and children... After all, he knows for a long time don't you think?

And why should it be the Op who is finding a solution to the problem when he isn't even happy to talk about it but goes in a sulk???

You were right xyhere this isn't going to be an acceptable way of looking at things

(Good point on the technical side though. This will not be as easy as that to find a solution)

xyhere Tue 30-Apr-13 17:50:37

Just an addendum about the "he's being overly sensitive" thing. Guys tend to be very sensitive about the flaws they perceive in their abilities in the same way ladies do about the flaws the feel in themselves.

Please excuse my use of the stereotype (sorry, I'm dealing with this exact issue with my daughter at the moment), but say you'd put on a couple of pounds and couldn't shift it no matter what you did - and then, when you're feeling a down about it, he pipes up with "Cheer up! I think you look much better like this - cuddly's always better!". He might think he's being supportive - and probably genuinely so - but to you it sounds like he's just confirming your suspicion that you're fat.

I'm 99% sure that's how he feels about the OP's comments.

xyhere Tue 30-Apr-13 17:35:14

Full disclosure: I'm 3 things which may not endear me to you folk - a guy, a dad and a guitarist. Also, this is going to be an epic post, because this sort of situation bothers me and causes strife where there really doesn't need to be any.

However...I thought I'd try to help here, because I may even have something useful to say ;)

It's often not quite as simple as "using headphones" - as has been pointed out, he's following YouTube videos. That means he has to be use something which allows him to hear both the guitar (the amplified sound, or something like it) and the video itself. While this is possible (and I'll tell you how in a sec), plugging headphones into his amp is not going to to it. In fact, most amps don't have a headphone output (plugging them into the speaker output would fry the headphones and release an awful lot of smoke) and when they do the sound is often so bad it's like somebody shoving ice picks into your brain via your ears. Trying to practice like that is impossible (I know, I've tried).

Thing is, he probably isn't even aware of a way to have all the audio run through the computer so he can hear both his playing and the video through his headphones.

There is, however, a way to do it but it's going to cost a bit of money. Firstly, he needs to get a decent low-cost audio interface (M-Audio Fast Track should do it - these are around £50 if you shop about a bit - and they're easy to set up). There are much better, and much more expensive, interfaces about but if he's just using it for practice then that shouldn't be necessary.

Secondly, he'll need a bit of software on the computer which will take the raw sound of the guitar and make it sound like it's running through an amp - Amplitube Custom Shop is free to download and install, and comes with a few decent amp models and effects. It may even sound better than his current amp. He could also buy new models for it in the Custom Shop part, so he can sound more like his heroes smile

An extra bonus of this is that he could use this hardware and software to record himself playing. Listening back to that could well help him improve his playing - that's not me saying that he's crap, just that there's always a way to improve no matter how good you are.

So that's the helpful bit out of the for the opinion (I'm bracing myself already). It sounds to me like you're both being unreasonable and insensitive. He's ignoring everybody else in the house by retreating into his world while he's playing. While every musician does this, it's pretty inconsiderate and - generally - shouldn't be done, because even from a purely selfish perspective the inevitable friction is never going to be conducive to good practice.

However, the OP is also being pretty insensitive. Several things are fairly obvious:

1 - He loves playing guitar.
2 - He may not be of a high standard (playing Brown Eyed Girl repeatedly to get it right suggests limited ability).
3 - He's very aware that he's not playing at a high standard, but lacks the guidance to get better.
4 - He doesn't know how to improve, and is getting frustrated.

As his wife, you have a reasonable expectation that he be more considerate, but he should also have a reasonable expectation that you would also have spotted points 1-4 above since you're supposed to know him better than anybody else.

My suggestion - tell him you've researched it with musicians, and buy him the audio interface I mentioned above. It's pretty cheap (as these things go), and it will be a step on the way to him getting what he wants - being a better player - as well as you getting what you want.

Approached the right way, the compromise is on both sides: yours is purely financial, and his is in changing the way he does things (to what will - at first - appear to be a worse setup) to make you happier.

wheredidiputit Tue 30-Apr-13 14:20:41

I love the fact to go along with learning to play the guitar he has also turned into a 14old stroppy boy as well wink.

KittensoftPuppydog Tue 30-Apr-13 12:09:13

Headphones, obviously, also though, I have times when I go out- I take a class in something that interests me- and he has the go ahead to go bonkers while I'm out.
Get him to join a band. My dh has been in a few and usually spends one night out a week practising in a studio.

Mumsyblouse Tue 30-Apr-13 11:57:08

Headphones or plays in another room. Quite easy no need for his new hobby to overtake conversation/normal life.

My husband uses headphones if he is playing a game on the computer/anything noisy/so do I.

Crinkle77 Tue 30-Apr-13 11:54:09

Think you are going to have to find a compromise somewhere. Can you suggest that he limits to an hour a night or he only practises on certain evenings? Perhaps you could find a hobby of your own and disappear for hours and see how he likes it

chocoluvva Tue 30-Apr-13 11:47:24

Women are less likely to put their hobbies before the needs of their family. Go to a class/group once or twice a week.....

Hope the OP's DH goes on mumsnet and reads this thread.

Grumpyrocker Tue 30-Apr-13 10:06:34

"What is it with men and their excessive hobbies? Golf - EIGHTEEN holes - takes all day, football - involves shouting before, during and after the match etc etc."

Some people like to have interests in things that aren't watching Eastenders and posting on mumsnet.

Grumpyrocker Tue 30-Apr-13 09:53:04

My wife usually tells me to turn it up a bit as she enjoys listening to me play.

But then I haven't spent 20 years failing to master Brown Eyed Girl. smile

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sat 27-Apr-13 14:02:58

I know a 'golfing widow' who resents the hours her DH spends out golfing and my husband took motorbike lessons in his early 40's and loves going out on his 'bike so perhaps your H considers he is doing you a favour by being safe at home.

Is he speaking to you again?

shhhiamaman Sat 27-Apr-13 13:18:55

And with the link...

shhhiamaman Sat 27-Apr-13 13:17:56

To the OP:

For a (mainly male) guitar players view, here you go smile

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