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Practice Mute - How to Put it On?

Technique and Practicing: Im worried i might be damaging my bridge

From Grainne Murray
Posted February 12, 2007 at 08:52 PM

Hey everyone...

I recently bought a heavy metal practice mute but im not sure how to put it on my bridge without damaging it...it seems an average type with 3 'grips' to attach to the bridge but i just dont know how to attach...any advice?

From Emily Jones
Posted on February 12, 2007 at 09:06 PM
I always thought you just put them on... just don't do it at an angle so you don't gouge any of the wood...

Although, my friend has terrible black marks on his bridge from a practice mute, but his looks like a chunk of charcoal when it's not on the instrument.

From Friedrich Sprondel
Posted on February 13, 2007 at 04:19 PM
If the black stains stem from rubber padding, you can remove them easily with alcohol pads. They won't do harm to the bridge because it is not varnished.

Heavy practice mutes, those nasty metal ones with a substantial weighted cylinder and a comb-like metal clamp, can leave dents in the bridge if not applied (and removed!) very, very carefully. Don't push them on too hard, and don't put them on or remove them at an angle. Since they rise quite high, you also have to be careful when changing the bow at the frog.

One of these nasty mutes, annoying as it may be, saves my practice time for the time being, since my two-months-old son is not quite comfortable with the violin, especially with its higher registers. Bad luck. So I put on the tank among mutes, hoping it won't do harm to my technique.


From Raphael Klayman
Posted on May 2, 2007 at 12:46 PM
I just went through this with a student. Those heavy metal mutes are dangerous. If you put them on too lightly and play a sforzando, they can fly off the bridge and land on the violin. If you put them on too heavily they can snap the bridge. Also, they have an awful, glassy sound.

I recommend the rubber version of this type of mute. It's much safer. It doesn't mute quite as much, but it does mute much more than a regular mute, and sounds much nicer than the metal one.

From Anne Horvath
Posted on May 2, 2007 at 01:24 PM
I bought a metal practice mute many years ago, but I found that the excess weight really bothered my neck, back, shoulders, etc. If you must use a practice mute, the rubber mute is the way to go.
From Michael Gynn
Posted on May 11, 2007 at 05:17 AM
What's the craic with practice mutes? I just moved into a townhouse and, but for the kitchen, all rooms have shared walls. I was researching electric violins when I stumbled across this discussion.
So, does a practice mute still allow for some degree of dynamics? And on the other hand, is it going to protect the neighbours' serenity? By way of example, they can't hear when I strum my acoustic guitar.
From Yixi Zhang
Posted on May 11, 2007 at 05:42 AM
Metal mute can also damage or cut your expensive strings if they happen to get too close to them. I use a big rubber one that is light, muffles the sound nicely, and is gentle on the bridge and strings.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on May 11, 2007 at 09:20 AM
Michael, a practice mute will solve your problems. When using it, don't focus much on dynamics or tone production, though. You really only can do that when no one is around to bother. Practice mutes are great for late night practice sessions, for working out bowings and fingerings, left hand drills, and anything where tone is not the focus.

Google "practice mute" and violin, and I bet you'll find some options.

From Hiroshi Watanabe
Posted on December 3, 2009 at 03:51 PM

I am so happy write again,

This is the very new type of practice mute.

It  is made of the strongest magnets and rubber.

and coverd rubber tube gentleof  your instrument.

MAGIPIANISSIMO sets under the strings of the bridge, so you can see the contact point on the strings.



Posted on December 3, 2009 at 09:38 PM

Raphael and Emily said it all...although I do own one of these beasts, its use is relegated to that of a paperweight ONLY

Heavy Practice Mute for Violin or Viola - Metal


From Diana Almeida
Posted on December 4, 2009 at 12:37 AM

Hi Grainne,

I have bought the exact same type of mute (as you described) and I also noticed that it's hard to apply to the bridge. I only use it when I'm practicing at night. But it muffles the sound too much. A friend of mine actually said that it makes the violin sound like a bagpipe (he's too music illiterate). An advice be very careful when you're putting it on. It can seriously damage the bridge. Try not to put it near the strings aswell.

I also have one rubber mute at hand and always prefer to use that one when I have a choice.


From Stephen Symchych
Posted on December 4, 2009 at 12:46 AM

After finding that a regular mute made from leather produced excellent results, I did a little Googling and found that there are leather practice mutes being made.   Expensive, but I wonder if they don't have some virtues that make them worth more than rubber.  Certainly they would be safer for the violin than a metal practice mute.

From Ann Miller
Posted on December 4, 2009 at 03:49 PM

I have both a rubber and a heavy metal practice mute.   I travel a lot for work, and use the mutes when I do not wish to disturb other guests at inns or hotels.  Which one I use depends on the circumstances.  Sometimes I really want to make sure that I am not heard, so I use the metal one.  Other times, I can use the rubber mute, or even go unmuted. 

I actually like the sound with the metal mute better than the rubber, but I do worry about damage to the bridge.  I try to be careful and gentle in putting it on and removing it.



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