Alpine Mute Co. Shield Mute?

Edited: November 24, 2022, 12:55 PM · Hello!

Has anyone here ever used Alpine Co.'s shield-shaped mute (either the "professional" one with the brass insert or the "artist" one without)? If so, how does the sound it provides compare with other performance-type (not practice) mutes? I'm thinking of trying one, but I would like some guidance before investing. The professional model is a whopping $24 at Shar. Thanks!

Replies (12)

Edited: November 24, 2022, 1:56 PM · I'm currently using the brass one for orchestra. It's my favourite, but it needs to be slid over the windings, or carefully positioned diagonally when it's off the bridge or it rattles. I've also got a Stentor and a solid mahogany one and various one-hole and two-hole tourtes. Every now and then I change my mind, so don't quote me.
November 24, 2022, 5:12 PM · That's a diverse collection! I have two black Tourte mutes and one of those butterfly-shaped wire mutes (which is currently my favorite mute and is very handy for adjusting the actual level of muting effect). The Tourtes are effective but rattly. The wire mute doesn't rattle but changes the tone slightly, even when off.
November 24, 2022, 8:12 PM · I use the "professional" Alpine Shield. I like it. It seems to allow more overtones to get through than a Tourte mute. Even though it takes a bit of effort to keep it from rattling on the afterlength, that's still an improvement on the Tourte, which I've never been able to keep from rattling.
Edited: November 25, 2022, 12:28 AM · This is why I preferred the one-hole tourtes. The hole has a wide end and a narrow end - just push the narrow end down onto the afterlength and it doesn't rattle. Also you aren't limited to just one per bridge, if you want to experiment.
November 28, 2022, 9:26 PM · The Alpine Shields are not quite as good as the original Menuhin Shields, unfortunately.

Based on a suggestion from someone on this forum, I've switched to a Viowiess Prizma Square. It's got two modes it can be used in -- it can be hooked over the bridge like a two-hole Tourte style, or it can just be pushed up against the bridge like the Shield, depending on how much muting you want.

November 28, 2022, 10:26 PM · Vioweiss (Paul Weissmeyer) has a whole range of synthetic 3D printed mutes. Even the one-hole version stomps all over the traditional rubber kind.
Edited: November 29, 2022, 3:54 AM · Another sliding mute I like is the Spector, a flat beetle-sized square of soft rubber.
On my viola, I put it between the top strings to sweeten the high notes and avoid the usual "honking" sound I find with many mutes on violas.

Sliding it onto the bridge is quick and silent, and does not seem to damage the windings.

November 29, 2022, 7:20 AM · They don't behave the same as the original shield mutes, because in the examples I've seen, the metal disc isn't flush with the plastic.

I'm also using a Viowiess Prizma Square now, and it works beautifully:

November 29, 2022, 7:26 AM · I have tried a number of mutes, and the shield with the brass insert is my favorite. It does make the lower register a little "boomy" on my violin, but not objectionably so. I use it mostly as a late-night practice stategy, so tonal issues are not the first priority. I prefer it to the rubber practice mute, as well as the old ebony clip on standby, which both mute too much (weak, nasal tone).

I have not had problems with rattling, as it slides onto the silk windings at the tailpiece securely. It's easy to deploy and retract quickly too. As I recall, the packaging it came with was a little over the top, but that's marketing..

Edited: November 29, 2022, 4:03 PM · Thanks to everyone who suggested Vioweiss mutes. I just visited their site, and the range of models and purposes available is exciting. Maybe I'll try one or two of them out!

By the way, my current mute for practice is the Fiddlerman Iron Practice Mute, available from Fiddlershop. It's one of the heaviest practice mutes I've used, but it also produces the purest and softest sound of any such mute I've tried.

Edited: November 29, 2022, 11:04 PM · I tried a grab-bag of the Viowiess from Amazon:

At a mere $10 for THREE mutes, you pretty much can't lose trying them out.

I was lucky enough to get three mutes that I didn't have. So I've got the Square I got originally, a Viol (Tourte one-hole style), a Disc (Tourte two-hole style) and a Dual (over-the-bridge, like a mini practice mute).

Viowiess's site no longer seems to contain the mute descriptions, but Southwest Strings has them as:

Viol: Best for studio work, recording, electric/acoustic instruments, low dampening, can be mounted on one string or between two, preserves natural tone and sound
Disc: Best for orchestral performance, high acoustic fidelity with pianissimo
Dual: Gigging, orchestral and solo performing, bridge mount for pianissimo or slide against the back of bridge for mezzo-piano
Square: Good for studio or performing, superior tone quality for pianissimo, can also be placed against the back of bridge for mezzo-piano

The differences between the sound of the different mutes is relatively modest, in my opinion. I like the form factor of the Square the best.

Edited: November 30, 2022, 1:53 PM · There are different levels of muting, but for me convenience drives the bus. The disc is remarkably good, but is a pain to put on or take off the bridge. It also stops the afterlength from vibrating on A and D. To keep that from being a problem, I prefer the viol, or (if there isn't a lot of on/off action needed) the dual.
The Dual model also comes in leather, which you can find if you look for Paul's regular website. I don't really like resting them on the strings, as they are too likely to fall off. But they do sound lovely.

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