The Essential Guide to Mutes for String Instruments
Mutes can help in orchestral playing, or aide in smoothing over relations with the neighbours. Learn more aboout this nifty little accessory below.
We have put together a video of our most popular mutes, demonstrated by professional violist and staff member, Kieran.
View our Mute Demonstration Video by visiting our Vimeo channel here.To learn more about each and every mute we stock, read on.
Alpine Professional Slimline – demonstrated above – available for violin and viola.
The Alpine Professional Slimline mutes are designed to create the warmest sound possible on your violin and viola during muted performance. The mutes do not rattle during general playing, and they move easily on and off the bridge without any noise. These mutes consistent of a brass vibrating plate, which matches the vibration of your instrument’s bridge. Unlike other mutes which seek to minimise vibration completely, the Alpine Professional Slimline mutes work in harmony with your instrument to maintain its tone.
Shop Alpine Mutes here.
The Alpine Professional Slimline Mute in White was used by Kieran in this demonstration. The main purpose of these mutes is to reduce the brightness of the top end (treble) of your instrument. You can hear this in the demonstration; your instrument’s clarity is slightly diminished, however, its tonal quality remains.
Available in black and white – white Professional giving a more direct yet warm sound – these are a must have for any performance.
Rubber Performance Mute Tourte Style – demonstrated above – available for violin, viola, cello and double bass.
The Tourte mute is the world’s most popular orchestra mute. This version of that mute sits between the two middle strings of your instrument, and hooks over the top of the bridge, muting the sound slightly during a performance. It does not affect the tuning of your instrument and maintains a warm tonal quality. This mute is perfect for students and professionals alike, for use in chamber music and orchestral performances.
In the demonstration video, you can hear the overall clarity of the instrument is regained, in comparison to the Alpine Professional Slimline mute. However, a trade-off to this gain in clarity is a less powerful reduction in the volume of your instrument, especially in the top end (treble). Therefore, Simply for Strings would recommend the use of the Alpine Professional Slimline mute for professional musicians and high grade orchestral use, over the Rubber Performance Mute Tourte Style.
Artino Rubber Coated Metal Practice Mute – demonstration above – available for violin, viola or cello.
The Artino Rubber Coated Metal Practice Mute is great for when you want to soften the sound of your playing without causing any damage to your bridge. The heavy steel core mutes the instrument considerably but still allows you to hear what’s going on. The rubberised coating provides protection for your bridge and further aids in damping the sound. This practice mute is perfect for any professionals who are practising late at night, or those who live with a beginner instrumentalist or in an apartment block!
Shop Artino Rubber Coated Metal Practice Mutes here.
Listening to the video above, you can hear the sound reduction immediately, and how damped the resonance of the instrument is. The main purpose of this mute is to bring the overall volume of the instrument as close to silent as possible. Although in the video, the sound is still clearly audible, due to the extremely high-quality microphone used for all Simply for Strings recordings, in the room itself there was a huge loss of volume to the instrument. This by far our most powerful practice mute. A must have if you want to stay friendly with the neighbours!
Rubber Practice Mute – demonstration above – available for violin, viola, cello and double bass.
The rubber practice mute is an inexpensive purchase for those looking to mute their instrument whilst practising. The rubber practice mute is a five-prong mute, which is placed directly on the bridge. It does not affect the tuning of your instrument and maintains a decent tonal quality. This is perfect for beginners and hobbyists who are not playing all hours of the night.
Shop Rubber Practice Mutes here.
In the demonstration video, you can hear the transition from the “nuclear” option, the Artino Rubber Coated Metal Practice Mute, to the rubber only alternative. There is a distinct difference in volume, which is the only attribute worth mentioning when comparing practice mutes. The Rubber Practice Mute does not mute as well as the Artino Rubber Coated Metal Practice Mute, but comes at a fraction of the cost.
Leather Mute – available for violin, viola and cello.
Leather mutes reduce the volume of sound from your instrument, without sacrificing the quality of sound. They also offer instrumentalists two different mute effects – for a half-muted, mezzo piano effect, place the mute right up against the bridge. For a fully-muted, pianissimo effect, place the mute directly on the bridge, with the two middle strings in between the prongs. Leather mutes are ideal for historical and specialist orchestral performances.
Shop Leather Mutes here.
Bech Magnetic Mute – available for violin, viola and cello.
The Bach Magnetic Mute features a powerful magnetic fastening, which prevents unwanted vibration, string abrasion or damage to your instrument. We would recommend visiting us in store with your instrument to trial this mute before purchase.
Shop Bech Magnetic Mutes here.
Roth Mute – available for violin, viola, cello and double bass.
The Roth Mute stays affixed to your two middle strings and slides onto the bridge easily for use. The mute is made of brass and steel, which effectively mutes the instrument whilst performing, but does not compromise the tonal quality of your instrument. The rubber tubing protects the bridge of the instrument and does not affect the tuning of your instrument. The Roth Mute is often recommended to players who are experiencing wolf notes whilst playing.
Shop Roth Mutes here.
Heifetz Mute – available for violin.
The unique design of the Heifetz mute allows violinists to adjust the muting effect, by sliding the metal tension clip up or down, muting more or less as a result. The mute is made of rubber and features the aforementioned adjustable metal pressure clip. Some professionals swear by this unique design and adjustment ability.
Shop Heifetz Mute for Violin here.
Metal Practice Mute – available for violin, viola and cello.
The metal practice mute is for maximum dampening of the sound of your instrument. It is similar to a rubberised practice mute, however, more care must be taken with these mutes during use. The mute is placed directly on the bridge, with the strings in between the prongs. Simply for Strings often recommend students the Artino Rubber Coated Metal Practice Mute as an alternative, as the standard Metal Practice Mute is weighty, and can damage the instrument if not used with care. The Artino’s rubber coating helps protect your instrument from damage during use, and absorbs vibration which in turn gives that extra muting effect.