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How does one install a wire mute?

Instruments: Am I dumb or what?

From Bernardo B
Posted May 23, 2007 at 10:31 PM

Hi everyone,
I purchased a wire mute to replace the rubber Tourte I lost a couple of weeks ago. So far, I've not been able to properly install the new mute. Until now it was not a problem as I did not meet the need for one, but I just had a look at our next orchestra piece and there's a whole muted passage! Help!

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on May 23, 2007 at 10:51 PM
Greetings,
you are not alone. There is a whole thread on this in the archives,
Cheers,
Buri
From Andrew Victor
Posted on May 24, 2007 at 12:09 AM
THe plastic cylinder will be on top of the bridge when the mute is doing its thing. To hold it in place the little wire "lips" to thje sides go under the afterlengths of the D and A strings.

To take the mute out of muting position, just slide it toward the tailpiece.

I found two disadvantages with these kinds of mutes:
(1) they suppress some contribution of the string afterlengths and the tailpiece "assemblyy" to instrument resonance.
(2) They tend to wear out the string windings because of sliding the mute on them.

From Heather W
Posted on May 24, 2007 at 12:39 AM
I've got both a tourte and wire mute. I went through the same frustrations a few months ago when i leant my tourte to a violist and tried to put on the wire one myself. Here's my attempt to explain:

Make sure the plastic part is attached to the prongs. While installing the mute the plastic thingie shouldn't dislodge. Slip the mute over your A so that the angled edge is under your string and the straight edge is on top of the string, sitting right beside it (on the outside). Then pull the other side gently around the D so that the angular part grabs under the D.

Normally I prefer the tourte, but I found that the wire one helps eliminate a wolftone I have way up on my G string. An added plus.

From Peter Kent
Posted on May 24, 2007 at 02:45 AM
You may wish to consider the SPECTOR mute...all rubber and slides betwixt the D and A strings...no rattle, no wear of windings and simple to install or detach yet stays on the fiddle at all times. Just slides up over the edge of the bridge. About 4 bucks from Metropolitan Music. Mine sounds and works great on one fiddle but isn't so effective on another that I play.
From Ty C
Posted on May 24, 2007 at 04:07 AM
I conquer with peter, I have had the spector mute for several months now, and have not even come close to losing it, doesn't produce any rattle or unwanted sounds when not in use, and it doesn't wear the strings out.

oh and, with my wire mute, the metal parts in the plastic piece (great description right?) started to drift to one side, producing an uneven sound when muted, and evetually the whole thing started to come undone.

The spector mute doesn't have any of these problems, as it is one piece of plastic, like a tourte mute, only better since it stays firmly in place on the string when not in use (no rattle).

Here is a link to a picture of the spector mute in action:

http://www.jhs.co.uk/Super%20Sensitive/coppermute.jpg

From Bernardo B
Posted on May 24, 2007 at 04:13 AM
Thanks guys! After reading your answers, I think I'll get a new rubber one ;-)
From Andrew Victor
Posted on May 27, 2007 at 01:28 AM
The SPECTOR mute rides the same "track" between the A and D string afterlengths that a wire mute does. However, the SPECTOR "requires" fairly close tolerances of inter-string spacing. If the bridge notches are too close together, the mute will fit tightly and may squeltch the tone some in it's rest position (since the afterlengths will be damped) and if the inter-string spacing is too largre, the mute could rattle.

My own experience has been that my strings must be within tolerances, and I've got SPECTORS on several violins - but the fit is noticibly different (by feel) on the different violins.


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