When I was a kid, the first guitar I had was acoustic. When I would practice late at night in the basement my mother would stomp on the floor because it was too loud and she was trying to go to sleep. Now, 40 years later I get it. Sorry I kept you up, mom. At that point, I would just go outside to practice, and sometimes it was pretty cold in NY.
Here are some great suggestions for practicing silently so you don’t disturb anyone day or night.
One of the easiest ways of practicing silently is to use an electric guitar, unplugged. A solid-body guitar is pretty quiet when played unplugged. That’s about as quiet as you can get, and of course, if you play with a lighter touch that makes it even quieter.
If you are in an environment where there is some noise you may have to use a small amp in order to hear yourself. You can get yourself a really small battery-powered amp that will do the job.
There are also basic to elaborate headphone amps. The most basic is a small unit you plug into the guitar; you also plug headphones into the same unit. Some headphone amps are very sophisticated and have built-in effects as well as amp modelling.
Yamaha makes a very unique guitar called the silent guitar. The silent guitar features a full-size neck with a body that is the same width as the neck. Two attachments create the silhouette of an acoustic guitar. It is available in steel or nylon string. The silent guitar also features a headphone jack, built-in effects and a tuner. There is also an auxiliary input so you can jam with backing tracks or play along with songs you're learning.
Many solid-state amps feature a headphone out jack, when headphones are connected, the sound is routed to the headphones and not to the speaker, this way you can enjoy the sounds in the amp through your headphones.
For acoustic guitars, you can purchase a sound hole cover. This is a simple rubber disc that fits in the sound hole and decreases the volume quite a bit.
Try some of these ideas, they will give you the freedom to practice whenever and wherever you want and it sure beats having to go outside in the winter.