If you are new to the world of vintage trumpet mutes – then you should know that there are a lot of options available. However, these five are the ones I would recommend buying now while they are still affordable.
These will not only offer you a choice of tonal colours, but will also last you a career if you look after them well.
In no particular order….
1) The Shastock Straight Mute – It was a toss up between this one and the Ray Robinson straight – but the Shastock wins out on the fact that it looks much cooler with the Maple bottom and the snappier sound profile. These are still available for reasonable prices. Try and find an original with it’s label and original corks. (Restored are fine too).
2) Ray Robinson Cup Mute – yes, there are two cup mutes on the list. The standard most people start with would likely be the Humes & Berg Cup, or say a combo cup/straight like a Denis Wick. The Robinsons are a fantastic cup mute that muffles the sound slightly with it’s velvet like cup interior. The result is a mute with a softer edge and not quite as much pop or snap.
3) Shastock Cup Mute – With the metal cup and hardware at the end of the mute these are much heavier than say the Robinson. The trade off it that you get a louder cup with a little more edge to the sound. There are various designs from different eras – the 1940-60’s models with the nut at the end likely being the more common as they lasted better than the earlier models.
4) Harmon Mute – commonly refrred to as the Wah Wah mute. Not all are created equal. Most commonly used today are likely the Jo Ral Bubble or the Humes & Berg Wah Wah. Look for the earlier pre 1950’s models which lack the horizontal lines.
5) Shastock Solotone Mute – these are an unusual mute that is called for on a lot of show books. The solotone has a slightly bigger and crisper sound than the Humes & Berg Cleartone. These mutes are getting pricey as they are hard to find in good condition and demand is high.
Get them now before the prices really start to move upwards. While there are reproductions available – originals, and sympathetically restored versions will still command a premium as the sound standards were set a generation ago with quality recordings.
Do you have an old Vintage Mute that needs restoration?
Occasionally vintage mutes are for sale at www.thebrasscellar.com , or you can contact us directly to see if we can source one on your behalf.