Dealing with metal mutes

Edited: June 1, 2019, 4:24 PM · 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.

Replies (7)

June 1, 2019, 3:56 PM · 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.
June 1, 2019, 6:10 PM · "And if you paid $25.00 U.S., I'm sorry but you paid way too much."

They are much cheaper now, but I think it's what they cost back then. Might've been slightly cheaper through Shar rather than getting it at the shop, but probably not by much once shipping was added on.

But, if I get another mute, it would be pointless to keep this one. What would I use it for? Keep it by my bed to throw at any intruders?

Does the rubber-coated mute actually stay on better? I assume it has at least a bit of grippiness? I don't have issues with it hitting the instrument when it falls off, so I'm not worried about that, I just need it to stay ON in the first place.

June 1, 2019, 6:27 PM · Had two once, both given away. That's best for me.

If needed too, I use the rubber practice mute.

Artino might be better than the pure metal one, though I rather test performance mutes, and have no dire need to figure whether the Artino is indeed better. The pure metal mute fell on my violin once-blame me all you want for "forceful playing", but it should not jump off the violin as it did.

June 1, 2019, 6:52 PM · "it just sort of sits on my bridge and isn't all that stable."

That's not right - there should be a groove which you should be able to push the bridge into (holding the bridge with one hand so that you don't move it / let the pressure go to the violin top). If that doesn't work, assuming your bridge isn't just too thick, replace the mute with one which fits better.

Metal mutes are available for around $10-15. They're going to be the most effective for sound reduction. My Artino weighs 40g and my metal one is 65g and reduces the sound correspondingly - too much in fact, so I've only used it when necessary.

June 2, 2019, 12:34 AM · 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.
Edited: June 2, 2019, 1:55 AM · 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.

Why not try one of the rubber ones? Sometimes neighbours just have to accept that (within respectful daytime hours) it is necessary for musicians to practice their instruments.

June 2, 2019, 6:55 AM · 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.

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