The Heifetz Mute

March 12, 2005 at 06:18 AM · What do you guys think about the Heifetz Mute? What are the pros and cons of it? Is it worth buying?

Replies (15)

March 12, 2005 at 07:20 AM · I use the Heifetz mute. It's quite good. You can raise or lower the black tension clip as to allow differing amounts of rubber to come in conact with the bridge, increasing or lessening the muted effect.

The only problem I have with this mute is that if the metal clip is down low it can be difficult to put on the bridge correctly. Also, the black rubber can mark up the tan bridge quite ugly.

March 12, 2005 at 07:03 PM · I tried it for a day a couple days ago and although it's pretty good, it's not worth the money. I also didn't like how you can't just slide it up from where it attaches behind the bridge.

March 12, 2005 at 10:16 PM · I have the Heifetz mute and am pleased with the sound it gives. On the negative side are the two problems mentioned by Bob : the black mark on the bridge and the difficulty to insert the mute on the bridge. The latter looks related to the metal clip, which was not present on the original model. This may appear as a drawback when you have to install quickly the mute, when playing in orchestra for example (It is better presenting the mute at an angle and not straight). In my opinion the metal clip is responsible for the insertion problem as follows : when pushing down the mute there is a pressure from the bridge onto the rubber, which tends to push away both sides of the mute. But the clip opposes a resistance to this movement, and the rubber inflates slightly at the contact point with the bridge, making it more difficult to slide. You have to push harder, your hear like a little crack, and there it goes ! For me this is a design problem of the mute. Of course, you can remove completely the metal clip, but then you have to push the mute completely down so that it holds firmly.

Bob : if we are speaking of the same thing , it is not that easy to move the metal clip. To vary the muting effect , you can simply sink more or less the mute ?

March 12, 2005 at 10:50 PM · Hi,

Are you talking about the real Heifetz mute? I mean the old ones that are now collectors items? Those, made from wood were grade. The new plastic ones are so, so...

Cheers!

March 12, 2005 at 11:08 PM · Yes, it is possible to move the black clip. Try pushing on the bottom of the prongs on either side, or grab the clip on the sides and pull it from the mute itself. It really does move!

OK, check it out:

If the clip is on all the way, there's a lot of resistance in the mute. This means that it will stay put on the bridge even though there's little of the mute touching the bridge (this equals less mass touching the bridge).

Now, pull the clip up.

The mute sits lower on the bridge, allowing more mass on the bridge (resulting in a more muted tone).

Try it.

March 13, 2005 at 05:39 AM · Hmmm I'm not sure if I should spend $30 AUS on it, I lost my Tourte mute and I thought this one might be very good, since it attaches to the string when not in use. I wonder if there's a way to stop the rubber making a mark on the bridge...

Has anyone tried the Menuhin 'Shield' mute? I've heard about it, wonder if it's anything good...

March 13, 2005 at 06:04 AM · Hi Adam,

I have a white Menuhin shield mute. In my humble opinion, it's a piece of overpriced trash. To its credit, it doesn't rattle when in storage (but also has some trouble moving it to the bridge), it makes a fashion statement (expensive and uncommon), the violin sounds just fine when the mute is on (your violin is equally muffled), and it's expensive (so therefore it must offer something extraordinary to justify its price). But the big problem I experienced with my Shield mute was that when it was in storage, it really impacted my violin's sound. You see, I was working on tone with my teacher during a lesson, and my teacher thought that it might help a little bit to get rid of the mute on the string afterlengths. That "little bit" turned out to be a "huge difference!" Taking off the Menuhin mute completely opened up my sound; the mute had been stealthily destroying my sound for the past six months. I haven't had any problems like that with a one-hole Tourte mute. It's cheap, it muffles your violin, it stays on your violin, and it doesn't rattle if you rotate the mute 90 degrees on the string afterlengths and lock it in place. Oh, and it doesn't impact your violin's sound when it's in the "off" position.

As for the black bridge staining issue, I like to think that it adds character. I used to be slightly bothered by the black marks on my bridge, but I soon realized that those black marks show that I use my violin; they are evidence that I'm a wily veteran! I believe that it's also possible to remove the black marks, so if it ends up really bother you, you can always take it to your favorite luthier to get it resolved. It'll probably cost as much as being that ridiculous Menuhin contraption. :)

March 13, 2005 at 06:21 AM · Hiya! I, too use a Menuhin mute; it was a gift, so, luckily, I didn't have to pay anything! ;~)

But, I really like it. I used to use a Tourte before the Menuhin, and, comparing the two, I find (on my violin anyway) that the muted tone is so much nicer with the Menuhin. It's soft and pure, not so nasally and dry. And I don't have a problem whatsoever with the off-position.

Oh! One of the reasons I switched to the Menuhin is that whenever I tried to work the Tourte onto my bridge it would creak and groan like anything! It was pretty hilarious when I was doing it in the middle of a quiet passage of music!! (And definitely not appropriate in performance!)

The only problem I have with the Menuhin is that, once in a while, depending on what I'm playing, the shield system will gradually "vibrate itself" away from the bridge and then -- no more muted sound. But, again, that only happens occasionally, and the mute is easy enough to just slide back up into place.

March 13, 2005 at 06:44 PM · Bob, I fully agree with your remarks. I simply meant this is an operation you can't do during a concert, for instance. This discussion has pushed me to try something I have had in mind for some time. I did a little surgery on the mute : I removed a slight quantity of rubber material (with a razor blade) on the inside of the wings at the entrance, so as to make the curve more progressive. Now I can install the mute normally and push it down by the amount I want with the clip left in its original position ! You can try it ... if you like !

March 19, 2005 at 01:01 AM · Who sells them? I used one for years and lost it. I've asked dealers and they claim they can't get it.

March 19, 2005 at 02:26 AM · If you're talking about the new plastic one, you can get it anywhere. swstrings.com has it.

March 19, 2005 at 08:01 AM · Several posts mention the Heifetz mute to be plastic. It isn't. It is made of rubber.

March 19, 2005 at 08:15 AM · Super Sensitive String Co. has recently come out with a mute that slides away from the bridge when not in use. I haven't used it, but if I need a mute in the future, I'll probably try theirs. You can see it at www.supersensitive.com

Benjamin

April 4, 2005 at 10:22 PM · Do any of you know where I can buy the Menuhin Shield online at a site where you can pay in US dollars? My teacher uses a black Menuhin Shield and has probably been using for a long time, so I might not be available anymore where she got it. She seems pretty content with it.

April 5, 2005 at 02:46 AM · Stevens Violin Shop in San Jose, CA usually has the Menuhin Shield in stock. You might try to call them for a phone credit card order.

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