Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Trumpet players are famous for spending countless hours and dollars on new trumpets and mouthpieces in search of some miracle cure.

I can remember as a child my father had a dresser drawer full of many different makes and models of mouthpieces. Although for as long as I have known what a mouthpiece is, he has played the same 1.

I have never spent too much time or money when it comes most to trumpet equipment except for mutes.

Since the very beginning of my love affair with the trumpet I have loved the sound of the muted horn. Nothing better than the sound of Kenny Dorham or Fats Navarro wailin' through a cup mute. Louis swingin' hard in a plastic straight. Cootie growling, making the horn speak with a plunger. Of course, the cool sound of Miles in a Harmon.

Mutes are by far the fastest, most economical and fun way to change your sound.

I always take 4 mutes with me to all of my TUBA JAM and "jazz" gigs.

From left to right;
Stone Lined cup mute,
Jo-Ral copper Harmon with stem,
Ransalear by R-Kay plastic straight mute (I don't think you can find these anymore),
and my favorite, a Rubber 4 3/4" Force Pump (Plunger) imported from England.

Every mute has a different sound and every mute plays different.

Here are my straight mutes;
Again from left to right. Aluminum TrumCor, TrumCor copper bottom piccolo, TrumCor Lyric, Dennis Wick, Stone Lined piccolo, plastic Ransalear, Tom Crown soft, Tom Crown piccolo, Tom Crown brass bottom, Tom Crown all brass.

My cup mutes;
L to R. Stone Lined Flugelhorn cup, Tom Crown piccolo, Stone Lined, aluminum Jo-Ral, TrumCor+extra felt lined cup, TrumCor piccolo.

Harmon mutes;

Copper Jo-Ral bubble and the standard aluminum Harmon.

As for the plunger mute. Any plunger the size of your bell will work, or your hand. I have even used small soup bowls in a pinch.

Too many cool sounds. 

I get no endorsement dollars from any of the above mute makers. I just wanted to be specific.

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