Shield/Menuhin mutes

Edited: December 22, 2021, 9:26 AM · I saw someone on telly using one, so I bought myself one with a brass insert for Christmas. It's probably not worth the money, but the only thing that might really matter is that maybe there's a risk of pushing the bridge over? Anyone seen that happen? Is it just a matter of being aware at all times? But often there's a scramble to put the mute on and off repeatedly in rehearsals.

Replies (8)

December 22, 2021, 9:21 AM · I like the Spector mute for easy "on-off" in ensemble playing. It has the ease of use of the "wire" slide mutes without the damage to the string afterlengths. I did not find any advantage of the Menuhin Shield mute.

For solo use I prefer a leather or "leather simulant" mute because its muting action can be adjusted.

December 22, 2021, 9:32 AM · This is perhaps less critical for orchestral playing, but I prefer mutes that not only don't chew up afterlengths, but also don't block resonances. Apart from leather mutes from a few different shops, my favorites these days come from https://www.concordmusic.com/collections/3d-sound-mutes .
The 'viol' model acts like a normal Tourte one-hole, but with many times the muting capability.
December 22, 2021, 9:38 AM · I had a leather mute, but it squeaked when being put on or removed.

With these sliding mutes, we can have them near the bridge for a more subtle muting.

December 22, 2021, 2:04 PM · I was a longtime Menuhin Shield fan. They're not at all dangerous. Your bridge can withstand some lateral pressure without moving at all (or at least it should, if properly fit).

But like Stephen, I've switched over to the Viowiess (Wiessmeyer 3D) mutes. I like the Prizma Square, which can either hook over the bridge (much like the Menuhin Shield) or just be pushed up against the bridge. It does not rattle, and the super-quick push forward and back is about as fast a mute/unmute action as is conceivable.

In orchestra I will generally prefer hooking as it dampens the sound more, but just the push against the bridge is perfectly adequate, so I end up using it for quick changes. In chamber music and solo, I only push; I don't hook.

December 22, 2021, 4:15 PM · I use a Menuhin Shield type mute, having switched from a Tourte mute in late 2019. It doesn't take much force at all to put it onto the bridge; I think one might actually put more lateral pressure on the bridge when pressing a folded dollar bill against it.
December 22, 2021, 5:25 PM · You can apply your Menuhin shield mute by pinching it onto the bridge, with your thumb on the mute and your index finger on the bridge between the d and a-strings. Then there‚Äôs no tipping force on the bridge.
December 22, 2021, 5:28 PM · Yes, I'm pinching it currently, just to be on the safe side.
January 11, 2022, 5:22 PM · I like the sound of the original Menuhin Shield mute, and have kept a few in reserve just in case.

There is a slightly-different sounding modern equivalent made by the Alpine Mute Co. http://www.thealpinemuteco.com/

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