Commonly used when warming up or in situations where playing at full volume might not be appropriate, trumpet mutes can be inserted into the trumpet bell in order to create a softer sound, or they can be used to change the tone quality and tonality entirely.
Any experienced trumpet player will know the pitfalls of practicing with a trumpet mute, but unfortunately in some situations, it’s just not practical to be playing what is naturally a loud musical instrument, no matter how beautiful a musician you are.
There are a huge variety of trumpet mutes to choose from these days so whether you’re merely trying to appease your neighbors, or if you want to play at night without waking the whole household up, there’s a trumpet mute that will perfectly suit your needs.
To help you find the best mute available, we’ve scoured the internet for advice and products that effectively mute your trumpet without distorting the tonality and pitch. We’ve included a buyer’s guide to give you a little bit more information about trumpet mutes and how to choose the right one for your needs, and we also answer some common questions.In a hurry? Not to blow our own trumpet, but we think we’ve found the perfect mute for you in the Denis Wick DW5526 practice mute.
OUR TOP PICK
As a well-known and reputable brand in the music industry, we couldn’t think of a more suitable choice for our top pick than the Denis Wick DW5526 trumpet practice mute.
Where others are less reliable in terms of pitch and intonation, this is a mute that muffles without distorting the quality of sound.
Even as it stops the majority of sound from escaping, this trumpet practice mute retains a stable pitch and precise intonation. Lower registers are no problem for the Denis Wick practice mute either, so it’s great for practice and performance.
It’s simple yet effective as it drastically reduces the volume at which you’re playing, but it doesn’t completely silence your trumpet so it doesn’t require headphones to play which many people find an inconvenience.
There’s also the perfect amount of resistance, which combined with its quiet performance means it’s perfect for the professional who’s preparing at their hotel. It’s easy to travel with thanks to its small size, so you can take it with you on the go.
- Reasonably priced
- Reduces volume well without distorting the sound
- Small and lightweight for convenient travel
- No need for headphones
- Not 100% silent
If you’re looking for practically total silence when practicing your instrument, you might find the Yamaha SB7X-2zs trumpet mute system more suitable.
It’s a much more expensive option compared to our top pick, but it’ll take your trumpet from horn to whisper for disturbance-free playing.
Featuring a high-performance mute and an internal microphone to detect sound which can be played back to you via earphones, you can hear yourself play at full volume whilst minimizing the disruption to those around you.
Yamaha uses digital technology to ensure this is of the highest quality so there’s barely any noticeable difference from using the mute.
Alternatively, you can use the earphones and the AUX IN jack on the Personal Studio to connect to your smartphone (provided it’s capable of audio playback) and any other type of audio player in order to listen and play along with your favorite songs or music.
This mute effectively muffles your performance and the silent brass helps to correct the tone of your instrument provided the pickup mute is in its proper position. You’ll notice impressive intonation even with a wide range of pitch, as well as natural playability.
- Effectively mutes sound without distorting the quality of playback
- Comes with earphones so you can listen to yourself playing
- Excellent intonation and impressively accurate pitch range
- Surprisingly lightweight and compact enough to travel with
- AUX IN jack allows you to listen to your favorite tunes
- Expensive option
- Battery operated
- Earphones are not the best quality
Next, we looked at the Pampet practice trumpet mute which is a great option for anyone who’s looking for a mute that is more affordable.
Available in standard black or bright red if you’re feeling bold, it’s suitable for use with a trumpet or cornet and it’s also lightweight so you can take it with you anywhere.
Whether you’re practicing in your bedroom at home or running through your music in the green room before a big performance, the Pampet mute works to effectively reduce the sound volume so you don’t disturb the people around you.
Pampet carried out extensive testing to ensure even performance in all registers and there’s only a small amount of backpressure which, when you compare it to other practice mutes in this price range, isn’t actually too bad.
It creates the ideal amount of resistance for when you’re warming up as well as retaining a steady, consistent pitch, and it’s also capable of producing accurate intonation.
It’s arguably a less durable option than some of the other mutes we’ve looked at, as some customers report issues with the styrofoam parts peeling off, however, it’s affordable enough that having to replace it won’t break the bank.
- Affordable option
- Effectively reduces the noise volume output while you’re playing
- Produces even sound and great intonation
- Ideal amount of resistance
- Soft carry bag included with the mute to keep it safe when traveling
For those who are merely looking to appease their neighbors and don’t want to spend a fortune to do so, the Honbay practice mute is a great budget option and it’s the most affordable we’ve included on this list.
This is an ideal mute for anyone who likes to play jazz music, as it creates the classic sound typically found with cup mutes.
It reduces the noise level you play at well but it isn’t as quiet as some of the more high-end options we’ve considered, therefore if you’re looking for complete silence this isn’t the best option.
It’s suitable for all types of trumpets thanks to its shape which makes it a versatile choice, although some customers do report that it’s slightly on the smaller side which can block some of the airflow and affect the intonation.
Manufactured using aluminum, the mute produces a nice sound without distorting the notes too much. There’s also a fair amount of resistance, but not too much to negatively impact your ability to practice.
- Best budget option
- Reduces noise levels
- Suitable for all trumpets
- Great for playing softer jazz
- Small and easy to travel with
- More intonation than you’d find with other brands
- Some issues with fit despite claims of ‘one size fits all’
Lastly, we took a look at the ProTec ML203 Liberty trumpet practice mute which stores neatly inside the bell of your instrument due to its compact size. It’s also lightweight which is ideal for the trumpet player on the go.
As a brand with a reputation for high-quality construction and premium materials, the ProTec Liberty practice mute provides excellent value for money considering it’s affordable price. It’s not the cheapest on our list, but it’s certainly at the lower end of the price range which you might not expect for such quality.
Manufactured using aluminum and premium cork, this trumpet mute is guaranteed to last you a long time without sustaining any damage or wear and tear.
There’s very little resistance when using the mute and it provides impressive playability. You’ll effectively quieten the volume of your trumpet without distorting the sound, so you can still practice without disturbing those around you.
It’s practically silent according to customer reviews, so you can play away even at night without worrying about waking anyone up.
- Compact size makes it easy to travel with
- Premium cork used for long-lasting performance
- Great value for money
- Excellent mute for practicing or warming up
- High-quality construction
- Well-balanced and free-blowing
- Not suitable for performing with
Best Trumpet Practice Mute Buying Guide
Trumpet mutes allow you to perform at a quieter noise volume than without one. While this may not be ideal for live performances, it can come in handy if you’re playing a piece of music that benefits from a softer sound, or if your neighbors have been complaining (again).
There are different sizes and noise modification levels to think about, so we’ve put together this handy buyer’s guide for you to see some of the key considerations you should keep in mind when looking for your next trumpet mute, whether it be your first or one of many.
To start with, we’ll walk you through an overview of some of the different types of trumpet mute currently on the market and what they’re best suited for.
Types of Trumpet Mute
There are a number of trumpet mute options currently available, and each style produces different sounds, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for before you make a decision about which one to purchase.
The simplest and most widely used is the straight mute, which is conical in shape and can easily fit into the bell of your trumpet horn.
They produce the nasal tone that trumpets are known for and can be used for playing a variety of music pieces.
Another popular mute in jazz circles is the Harmon mute, also referred to as a Wah-Wah mute because of the noise it makes when opened and closed by the user.
The Harmon mute features stiff corking which forces the sound to travel through it and it’s made up of two parts; the bell-shaped larger end and the tube.
The tube can be adjusted by extending it which will change the sound you’re able to produce with your trumpet, or it can be removed to create more of a buzzing sound.
With a design akin to that after which it’s named, the plunger mute doesn’t actually attach to your trumpet but is instead held in your hand and placed over the bell periodically.
It creates the classic trumpet sound associated with jazz music, somewhat similar to the Wah-Wah mute we discussed above without the metal quality.
Unlike the other mutes we’ve looked at, the practice mute is not one that would ever be used during a performance.
Just as the name suggests, it’s perfect for practicing, either at the venue where you’re due to perform before the production starts or at home, especially if you live in an apartment building or terraced housing.
It’s the best option for muffling the sound so as not to disturb others around you, and this is what we’re looking for in this article.
Size and Compatibility
It might sound obvious, but it’s important to choose a trumpet practice mute that fits your trumpet, otherwise, it won’t alter your sound in the way you want. If you’re trying to muffle the noise your trumpet makes, a loose-fitting mute might still allow sound to escape.
In some cases, you’ll be able to make adjustments to the trumpet mute yourself if you find it’s too small and blocks your airflow. Simply cutting a hole in the cork will allow air to escape easily, although bear in mind that this will also result in more sound escaping and therefore will reduce the effectiveness of the trumpet mute.
You can also find compact trumpet mutes which are shorter than regular mutes and therefore don’t have as much overhang beyond the trumpet bell. This makes it easier to travel with your mute, as it should fit in your case with the mute still in the bell.
Sound Quality and Resistance
The whole purpose of a trumpet mute is to alter the sounds you can produce with your instrument. With that being said, it shouldn’t distort the natural notes of your trumpet to the point where they’re unrecognizable, as you won’t be able to tell the different notes apart.
It’s better to find a mute that is on the sharper side than one which hits a few bad notes, even if the sound is generally more in tune using the latter.
However, it really depends on what you’re planning to use your mute for, whether it’s for softer passages in a song or to play at quieter volumes. This will determine what you’re looking for in your mute, and whether one that muffles sounds will be better than one that silences it completely.
Resistance is also a key consideration. While it’s not ideal to have too much resistance while you’re playing, a small amount can be a good thing when you’re warming up.
However, too much can affect your technique, especially when you’re still learning, and this can make it more difficult when you go back to playing without the mute.
The material used to manufacture the mute will also affect the sound produced, as well as how durable and long-lasting the piece will be.
It varies depending on the type of mute you’re looking at, but most will be made with materials such as fiberboard, aluminum, plastic, fiberglass, and wood.
Practice mutes are often made using aluminum and cork, although you’ll find some of the higher-quality options are manufactured with copper instead.
Where aluminum provides edgier sound, copper creates an appealing tone, so it’s clear to say that the material you choose will have an effect on the music you produce.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does it mean when you see “muted” on the music sheet?
Typically seeing “muted” written somewhere on a part means that it should be played with a straight mute.
However, it depends on the music itself. For example, there’s a passage in Fetes by Debussy using three trumpets that’s often played with the addition of a soft mute.
How long can I expect a trumpet mute to last?
Trumpet mutes are pretty hard-wearing, and provided you don’t damage it through rough treatment or improper storage, it should last for as long as you’re playing.
Small dents and other minor signs of wear and tear shouldn’t affect the performance of the mute, although larger dents will have an impact on the sound that’s produced, and may need replacing.