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Summary: Knowing how to find the best trumpet mute means knowing whether you need a practice mute to quiet your sound or a more advanced model to change the tone you produce.
What is Trumpet Mute For?
A trumpet mute is a musical accessory that you place into the bell of your trumpet. There are two main reasons why you would do this:
- The first is to change the tone so that it is softer, almost silent
- The second is to change the quality of the tone or the tonality
To achieve the first, you need to invest in what is called a practice mute. To achieve the second, you can invest in any other type of mute.
Who Needs to Find the Best Trumpet Mute?
Trumpet mutes are designed for everyone, no matter their skill level.
Beginners should invest in a straight mute if they need something that will change the tone of their instrument. Beginners should also consider using a practice mute, especially if they need to practice quietly at home or in a group setting.
Intermediate musicians should have a straight mute if nothing else, and at this level, perhaps invest in a cup mute. This is contingent upon the needs then the type of music played. This is also a good level for a practice mute, a derby mute, or a plunger mute.
Advanced and professional musicians can use higher-quality mutes that significantly impact the sound, like the Harmon mute.
Different Trumpet Mutes
There are a few different trumpet mutes, and knowing how to find the best trumpet mute means knowing which ones fit your situation.
The most common mute is the straight mute. This is usually the first one you add to your collection. It can be played at almost any register and produces a softer, quieter, less brassy sound.
The cup mute is a slightly more advanced iteration of the straight mute but with a cup shape on the end. This cup is adjustable and, if you are of a mind, can be removed entirely so that you can use your cup mute as a straight mute. You can get different sound effects as you make adjustments up and down.
The Harmon mute is a short and wide cylindrical-shaped accessory with a narrow tube at the end. Professionals typically use it to make a special “Wah-wah” sound effect.
Plunger mutes, which share suction functions like an actual toilet plunger, can be used to make a dramatic and loud “wah-wah” sound on your trumpet. It is commonly used in jazz music because it can be used in conjunction with a tongue technique that involves a flutter.
Derby mutes get their name from the hat to which they share a resemblance. The sound produced by this mute makes it seem like your instrument is farther away than it is, which is ideal for situations where you want to create a dramatic effect.
Practice mutes are not meant for use in shows but just for practice. They do influence the tone of your instrument but make them quieter (or silent depending on the brand and design) without changing the airflow or quality.
This video shows how different trumpet mutes can influence the sound your instrument produces:
Materials for the Best Trumpet Mutes
Different trumpet mutes are designed from other materials for a reason. You need the material to be lightweight first and foremost, so it doesn’t make it more challenging to play your trumpet. So, the material used will be something that requires a little bit of extra care from you.
|Harmon mute||Aluminum or copper|
|Practice mutes||Compressed fiber|
The most common material for trumpet mutes is aluminum, especially if you get straight, cup, or derby mute. Aluminum gives a brighter, louder sound. These same roots can be manufactured with ASB plastic because it’s cheaper and more lightweight, but the sound it produces is not nearly as bright so I wouldn’t recommend it.
Plunger mutes are typically rubber, much the same as an actual toilet plunger. Compressed fiber is usually used for practice mutes because it absorbs the sound and makes it much softer.
No matter what material is used to construct the body of your trumpet mute, there is usually a cork at the end that you can put into the bell of your trumpet to avoid scratching it or damaging it.
Top Brands for the Best Trumpet Mute
When you consider buying a trumpet mute, you have to decide your skill levels and your needs.
Your skill level and the type of mute you need will play a significant role in determining which brand is best for your consideration. Thankfully, there are reliable brands for trumpet mutes, no matter your skill level or budget.
Yamaha is a high-quality brand that produces various products, especially trumpet mutes. They have been around for many years with a range of practice mutes for beginners and more advanced models for intermediates.
They have inexpensive options made with more delicate materials and still produce the sound quality you are looking for in a trumpet mute without breaking the bank.
As you advance in skill and start to learn how to find the best trumpet mute for performances and not just silencing your instrument while you practice at home, you can consider top brand names like Bach.
Bach is one of the most popular brands among musicians because they have a range of mutes that guarantee compatibility and a seamless fit no matter the type of instrument you are using.
They also have a lot of variety in the materials used for construction, which means you can find something no matter your budget. I would recommend this company for intermediate musicians through advanced musicians.
Professional musicians should invest in Denis Wick. While many manufacturers produce high-quality trumpet mutes, I recommend this company because, in spite of the fact that they are more expensive, you will get an incredible tone quality because of the handcrafted quality that goes into the manufacturing.
Suppose you play solos regularly or have opportunities to perform a multitude of different music styles that need various sound effects. In that case, this is the company that will meet those needs.
Best Trumpet Mutes
Best Trumpet Mute for Practice and Beginners
Denis Wick DW5526 has a wide range of mutes, and this one is perfect for practice. It gives you a quieter sound. Many practice mutes suffer from issues like too much resistance, problems changing the pitch, or the tone. This does not happen with the Denis Wick practice mute.
When I use a practice mute, one thing with which I’ve struggled is the fact that they resist your air so that I would get really tired, much faster. This does not happen with the Denis Wick model. It is straightforward to use, relying on a vibrating air column that gives you almost the same sound as you would get without a mute.
- Great for practices
- Significantly reduces sound from your trumpet
- Keeps pitch and tone stable
- Not meant for performances
Best Trumpet Mute for Intermediate
The Denis Wick DW5531 Cup mute is ideal for those playing in groups, doing solo performances, or performing with a microphone. This model is black and silver, with an adjustable cup position.
Much the same as any other trumpet mutes, beginners can struggle to get it to the in the Bell without falling out because they often overlook the necessary moistening step. I personally breathe heavily into the bell for a few breaths before I put the mute in place, but you can constantly lick your mute and stick it into the bell.
It’s entirely up to you, but it does the same thing in either case. If you want to be a little more sanitary about it, you can always wet it with warm water before putting it in your instrument.
- Doubles as a straight mute when you remove the cup
- Good tone for all ranges
- Great value for the price
- Better for intermediates or advanced performers
- Back pressure makes it challenging to play as a new musician
Best Trumpet Mute for Advanced Musicians
Consider the Harmon B Bow Wow (Harmon) Trumpet Mute if you need something more advanced. This is an excellent design for people who need a mute while performing, especially solo performances. It has perfect intonation made from aluminum and a cork rim.
One of the things you need to understand is that to get the fork to fit perfectly; you actually have to blow hot air into the Bell before using the mute.
This lets its team up, after which you can press and turn the cork into the mute. It won’t fall out after that. Many people have problems with a rattle or the mute falling out when they don’t use this trick, which can take away from the high quality this particular design offers.
- Good for concert bands or jazz bands
- Not meant for beginners
- Not as durable as beginner models, so you have to be careful
Answer: The type of trumpet mutes you get and the material used for that mute will influence the changes in the sound you get with your trumpet. For example, metal straight mutes give a brighter sound with more buzz but still produce a slightly quieter sound than a natural trumpet without any accessories.
Straight mutes are the most commonly used, especially for bands or orchestras, so if you are beginning, a straight mute is what you will use for performances. If you need something to practice silently so as not to disturb your neighbors, a practice mute is another option to add to your collection right at the beginning.
As you play more often and under different circumstances like solo pieces, you can consider adding a multitude of trumpet mutes to your collection.
Answer: The goal of a practice mute is to silence your trumpet as much as possible while still helping you maintain your pitch and resistance. The best practice mute for the trumpet will feel very natural and create little resistance.
You want it to go unnoticed as you practice but still allow you to run through all of your music and listen to yourself without disturbing anyone around you.
Answer: Using a mute on your trumpet will create a little bit of back pressure, and doing so changes the way the instrument feels when you play it. If you are using a straight mute or a cup mute, its impact will be minimal, so you won’t really notice a difference when you play.
But if you are using something more advanced like the Harmon mute, it creates a lot of pressure, and you will immediately notice the difference as you try to play your instrument.
High notes might come out a little pinched, while low notes might sound more spread out. In any case, just the same as adding any other accessory to your trumpet, it takes practice before you can transition smoothly into playing your trumpet with a mute.
Once you learn the different trumpet mutes, it is much easier to figure out how to find the best trumpet mute for your situation. If you need something that quiets your instruments while you practice, Yamaha makes great beginner models that can suppress your sound and let you practice your mistakes without disturbing anyone else.
As you advance in your musical skills and are ready to get something that changes the tone and sound effects you can produce with your instrument, especially if you are part of a big band or group, you can consider other manufacturers and brands that better fit your needs.
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