Dealing with metal mutes
I live in an apartment. The walls are very thin, everything is very loud. Not very conducive to being a musician. So, I have one of those heavy brass mutes. (I suspect even that doesn't mute my violin enough, but, there's nothing to be done for further muting.)
The problem is that because it's rigid metal, it just sort of sits on my bridge and isn't all that stable. If I play too much on the G string, or too vigorously, it will vibrate right off.
Is this normal? Any ideas to make it better? The owner of the shop where I get my repairs suggested I bring the violin in so he could have a look and make sure the bridge doesn't need adjustment, and I'll probably do this (it's just hard to get there when they're open).
I haven't really other options when it comes to mutes (although I own several other types); this is the heaviest available and I need maximum muting so my neighbors don't come strangle me. I know they now make these with a rubber coating, but I don't think those existed when I bought this more than ten years ago... and since it cost me around 25 bucks, I'm kind of loath to part with it anyway.
Does anyone else have one of these? Does it give you the same issues? Any tips? It's driving me up the wall.
That is an issue with the plated brass practice mutes. The "Artino" rubber covered mute is bulkier but safer, and very nearly as effective. In fact, my plated brass mute weighs 65.3 grams, while my Artino weighs 58.1 grams. It's not that much of a difference. And because the core metal in the Artino is ferrous, i.e., iron or steel, it attracts magnets. So if you wished to, you could stack a few rare earth magnets onto it to increase the effectiveness. You don't have to part with your brass one just because you purchase another one. And if you paid $25.00 U.S., I'm sorry but you paid way too much.
"And if you paid $25.00 U.S., I'm sorry but you paid way too much."
Had two once, both given away. That's best for me.
I take a rubber band and put it over the top of the mute and wrap it around the underside of my violin so that it provides constant, slight downward pressure on the top of the mute.
I've used one of those and it's broken about six E strings. I figured it's just a matter of time before something worse happens to the violin.
I would think that if you are practicing with a heavy metal mute the volume should be reduced enough so it doesn't annoy most reasonable people in another nearby room. Care needs to be taken that the mute is placed properly on the bridge so it doesn't vibrate off and fall on the top. I use a metal mute often and always have to fight the urge to apply more bow pressure and just bow as I normally would without the mute.