Bringing a Guitar to College – Everything You Need to Know

person playing guitar in college

It can be stressful to decide whether or not you should bring your guitar to college or university. You might be worried about whether instruments are allowed in the dorms, whether your guitar will get stolen, or how to play your guitar quietly without disturbing others.

That’s why in this article I’ll be covering everything you need to know about bringing your acoustic or electric guitar to college. I’ll have helpful tips for how to keep your guitar safe in college, and how to practice without disturbing others. Let’s start off by answering one of the most frequently asked questions about taking your guitar to college.

Will My Guitar Be Stolen in College? (And How to Prevent It)

If you’re worried about your guitar being stole in the college dorms, there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent this.

To prevent your guitar from being stolen:

  • Lock your dorm room door when you’re not around
  • Ask your roommate to keep the door locked, and to keep an eye on your guitar
  • Keep your guitar in its case and hidden under your bed

If you have a more expensive guitar, you could also opt to bring a cheaper instrument instead. Nowadays there are so many great budget guitars that you can get for less than $500. For specific examples, I wrote a whole guide post on my 10 favorite budget acoustics, with prices ranging from the mid $100s to around the $500 mark.

Budget guitars can provide awesome tone and flexibility, but more importantly, it’d also be a lot less concerning if one of these were stolen or damaged than if you lost a $2500 guitar.

If you still don’t know whether you should bring your guitar to college or not, try not bringing it for the very first semester. This means you’ll only go four months or less without your guitar, and if you live close to home you can still play it on weekends or over breaks. The reason for this is it will allow you to scope out your new living situation to see if its safe enough to bring your guitar along or not next semester.

How to Play and Practice Guitar in the Dorms (Without Bothering People)

If you’re worried about bothering people by being too loud on your instrument, again there are a few simple steps you can take to minimize this.

Generally, acoustic instruments will be quieter than an electric guitar plugged into an amp, so you may want to opt for an acoustic guitar. You could always bring the electric later after seeing how things pan out.

If you do decide to bring an electric guitar, many amps allow you to plug headphones into the amplifier, so you can listen to the output quietly and by yourself, without disturbing others.

Here are some more ways to practice guitar without disturbing others:

  • Play during the day when people aren’t trying to sleep
  • Don’t play after quiet hours
  • If you have an electric, plug headphones into your amp or run the guitar through your computer
  • Play your electric guitar unplugged, or opt for an acoustic
  • If someone complains, be courteous and try to be quieter

If you’re really worried about disturbing others with your guitar playing, the best thing you can do is have an open conversation with your neighbors about it. Simply explain the situation and that you’ll do your best to keep your guitar practice sessions quiet. Assure them that if it’s too loud, they can talk to you and you’ll tone it down.

This establishes direct communication, plus you’ll also get to meet your new neighbors! If you’re on the shyer side though, you can simply slip a friendly note under their door. Either way, it’s best to just let them know the situation.

Are guitars allowed in colleges and dorms?

There are very few dorms or living situations that will outright ban musical instruments. More likely, they’ll restrict loud noises to a certain time frame, and everything after this time will be deemed “quiet hours.”

To find out when the quiet hours are in your dorm, simply ask someone in the administration or try doing a quick google search for the name of your dorm and its quiet hours. As long as you aren’t playing very loudly past these predetermined hours, you shouldn’t run into any problems playing your guitar in the dorms.

If you want, you could even ask your Resident or Dorm Advisor / Administrator what they think the best way for you to practice quietly would be. They’d probably have a good idea of the times when the least people are in the building, or when people are busy doing other things and unlikely to care about a little extra noise.

Bottom Line

Moving to a new place can be stressful, but it can be even more stressful deciding what to do with your beloved guitars! If you ensure that you lock your door and keep your guitar in its case under your bed, it’s pretty unlikely that it will be stolen. You could also consider bringing a budget acoustic to college rather than a really expensive acoustic or electric guitar.

As long as you play quietly and respect your new neighbors, you shouldn’t have any problems with disturbing others. Make sure to respect quiet hours in your building and do what you can to keep your guitar playing on the quieter side.

Hopefully this article gave you an idea of whether you should or shouldn’t bring your guitar to college / university. You definitely shouldn’t let a simple move end your love of music!

Thanks for reading, and as always, happy picking.

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Corbin Buff

Corbin has played guitar for over a decade, and started writing about it on Acoustic World in an effort to help others. He lives and writes in western Montana.

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