Alpine Mute Co. Shield Mute?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Alpine Shields are not quite as good as the original Menuhin Shields, unfortunately.
Vioweiss (Paul Weissmeyer) has a whole range of synthetic 3D printed mutes. Even the one-hole version stomps all over the traditional rubber kind.
Another sliding mute I like is the Spector, a flat beetle-sized square of soft rubber.
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 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).
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!
I tried a grab-bag of the Viowiess from Amazon: https://amazon.com/gp/product/B097YY18SN/
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.