Wiessmeyer 3D mute

October 13, 2019, 9:26 AM · I recently lost my Alpine Shield mute (which replaced a Menuhin Shield that I LOVED), and decided to look around at other mutes for replacement rather than just buying another Alpine, which I didn't like anywhere near as much as my Menuhin, both because it didn't stay on the string as securely and because the sound was slightly different.

On a thread a few months back, Duane Lasley recommended the Wiessmeyer 3D printed mutes (LINK). I thought about getting the leather ones but I needed a fast on/off orchestra mute. So I bought one of his new 3D printed Viowiess square mutes.

I like it a lot. It sits very securely on the string and doesn't rattle. Pushed against the bridge it has a slight dampening effect, useful for a muted color for solos that still have to carry. Lifted to sit on the bridge, it produces a good orchestral mute in volume.

My only complaint is that it's not as fast as the Shield to get on and off, and I'm more worried about accidentally moving the bridge when I do so. Supposedly it has a break in time, so I hope it'll get better in that regard.

Replies (19)

October 13, 2019, 9:51 AM · For what is worth, I bought one of the “WMutes” practice mutes, and although it is expensive, it produces a sound that makes practicing with a mute a more enjoyable experience. Only after showing it to my teacher I discovered he swears by those and uses them for orchestra playing.

I haven’t tried the orchestral mute, but if you’re into trying different kinds of mutes, and from my experience with the practice mute, I think it can be worth a try.

Edited: October 13, 2019, 1:53 PM · By "square mute" you mean the "dual tone" models, for people who don't know the lineup. I have both the original leather and the new 3d ones, and I think the 3d ones are better. Importantly, I think they'll prove to be more durable. When the leather ones get worn and lose their grip, their life is over. The 3d ones are thermoplastic, and they can be retensioned by heating with a hair dryer and squeezing them back into shape. Good functionality too.
Edited: October 13, 2019, 8:26 PM · Mark, actually I'm not. They now make 5 types of 3D printed mutes:
  1. The Catrpilr. Looks like a segmented caterpillar. This is the practice mute.
  2. Prizma Viol. An updated version of a one-hole Tourte.
  3. Prizma Disc. An updated version of a two-hole Tourte.
  4. Prizma Dual Tone. This lis like their big bridge-spanning leather mute, but in plastic.
  5. Prizma Square. This is a square mute roughly the size of the two-hole Tourte (or a Shield). It sits very securely on the tailpiece wrappings of the strings. You can push it forward against the bridge, where it touches lightly (similar to a Shield without any clipping over the bridge), producing a color change and slight dampening of the sound. Or you can clip it on top of the bridge (similar to a two-hole Tourte), where you get a bigger sound reduction.

For $15 on Amazon (or $17 if you get it direct in your own choice of colors), this is cheaper than the Shield and I would unhesitatingly recommend it to anyone who is using a Shield, one or two-hole Tourte, or Bech Magnetic.

Edited: October 13, 2019, 11:25 PM · Oh no! Now I have to buy some more mutes. Thanks a lot Lydia. ;(

(And you can have your five different mutes with your preferences amongst fifteen different colors. I feel completely overwhelmed.)

I ordered a square and a catrpilr. Fun!

October 14, 2019, 11:20 AM · I am trying to decide if buying a dual tone is worthwhile for solo work, where I want to still get good projection in a hall. I am interested in how the square compares so I will be keenly interested in your experience. :-)
October 14, 2019, 3:39 PM · I find this interesting. I purchased one each of these "square mutes" some time ago, for violin, viola and cello because they so resembled the violin and cello leather mutes I already owned. I find these plastic mutes seem to hold to the string afterlengths more reliably than the leather mutes, function similarly and cost less.
October 14, 2019, 4:58 PM · The one-hole Viol is my favorite for orchestra. It is hugely better than the rubber Tourte, and it doesn’t interfere with the strings when not in use. But I haven’t seen the new models. Everything they do has been good to date— and don’t forget the leather ones.
Edited: October 15, 2019, 2:03 AM · That caterpillar thingy looks pretty cool, too.
October 16, 2019, 8:20 PM · I have the original 3D dual-tone and the newer Prisma dual-tone. They are excellent mutes. I’ve been meaning to pick up some of the other shapes. They were recommended on this forum by David Burgess, and they are outstanding.

October 17, 2019, 6:40 AM · Any difference in the two generations of dual-tone? Cosmetic, or do you get different sounds?
October 17, 2019, 6:54 AM · I would recommend you try the polymutes. They have a nice sound they don’t move ever and make no sound difference and they’re slide on and are the easiest most reliable mite I’ve ever used.
October 17, 2019, 10:10 AM · How do you like the Polly mute compared to your 3D/Prizma mutes?
It looks like the Shield minus the little metal disc.

By the way, the Menuhin Shield stayed put for me. The Alpine tended to come loose and rattle. The configuration of my string wrappings at the tailpiece is a little bit variable-length because of the Warchal Amber E, which has a nonstandard wrap length. This was even more problematic when I had the Amber E, an Avantgarde A, and synthetics on the D/G.

My violin appears to generally react severely to the slightest deflection of the bridge from its ideal position, or to anything dampening against the bridge. The square Prizma still kills volume nontrivially when just pushed against the bridge, but the sound is still nice.

October 17, 2019, 12:18 PM · My Polly Mute doesn't hold well to the bridge, and it's a flaw in the design in my opinion. I find that I can sort of deflect it off to one side and it will work, but I wouldn't call it reliable.

And I've brought on the ire of my fellow posters here before by expressing my opinion that the original Menuhin shield and the Alpine remake are as alike as alike can be, and I guess I'll do that yet again. They're alike dimensionally, materially, alike in weight (I have a gram scale), and the slots that ride on the strings are alike. The difference between me an everyone else, it seems, is that I still have my original Menuhin shield to make the comparison, and I don't have to rely on memory alone. Apologies to everyone who disagrees.

Edited: October 22, 2019, 2:36 PM · Here all the mutes I can find, did I miss any?

Edited: October 18, 2019, 2:03 AM · That was a lot of work, Roger. Thanks!

I have everything on that list except:
1) Bech magnetic
2) WMute concert
3) WMute practice
4) Alter modern
5) Tonewolf

Mutes I have that aren't on your list:
1) Swan mute (NLA-No longer available)
2) Menuhin head (NLA) (Looks like a Heifetz, but made from plastic the same as the Menuhin shield.)
3) Alpine artist (no brass disc)
4) Artino petite practice (This same mute is available with a whale or a rabbit molded onto the top of it, for children and the young at heart.)
5) Grappelli mute

*The "Leather Mutes" (leathermutes.com) are apparently no longer available, which is unfortunate because they have my highest recommendation.

*And I should point out that just because I have any particular mute doesn't mean that I endorse it. Some that I have are not very useful.

*And speaking of the young at heart, you left the Moustro mute off of your list.

October 17, 2019, 6:45 PM · Nice chart!

I lost my Menuhin Shield and immediately replaced it with the Alpine, so I can definitely say that the Alpine was, much to my surprise, inferior despite their superficially similar appearance. (Also, I ordered one black and one white and they sent me two whites.) I had problems keeping the Alpine in place that I never experienced with the Menuhin.

October 18, 2019, 7:40 AM · The original 3D mute and the Prisma mute are a little different. Their internal construction is different under the microscope. They are different in string tolerance too. I find the Prisma easier to move on and off, and I prefer the tone of the Prisma as well. But both are excellent.
October 24, 2019, 7:12 PM · I have a 3DS disc and dual tone mute that I was given to try and compare since I own a Wiessmeyer leather mute and I recently purchased a prizma square.

I prefer the sound I get with the leather between that and the dual tone 3ds, I feel like my violin rings more with it. The disc is really nice, I purchased the prizma square to compare and I feel the square when placed onto the bridge mutes the sound just a bit more.

I agree with Lydia that the square against the bridge gives a very slight dampening affect.

Mark, I was told if you added a little water to the leather mute you can reshape it if need be. You can always call Paul and ask for the exact instructions.

I would get a catipilr but I already have an artino mute for times when I need to really dampen my sound so I don’t know if I really “need” it.

October 25, 2019, 11:26 AM · Ms. Leong,

I do not question your experience, nor I endorse any product, but the Alpine Menuhin Shield mute copy did fall out of place for me when I used an steel A, because of the tuner making string levels uneven. While using "regular" strings, it does not happen. Though I would add, it would be nice if it did not happen with steel As (have no idea whether the original also didn't stick when under those circumstances.)

(The Wiessmeyer leather mute is so nice, I see no reason to try a plastic or 3d version. Unsure if it still is being produced, however.)

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