What Are the Different Types of Trumpet Mutes?

Musicians who play brass instruments, such as the trumpet, frequently attempt to distort the instrument’s output into distinct tones or sounds. The use of trumpet mutes, which can temporarily alter the music or completely silence the sound for short periods of time, is one way to accomplish this. Straight, cup, and Harmon mutes are the three main types of mutes available to musicians, depending on the sound effects they want. Most trumpet players who enjoy experimenting with style prefer to collect as many mutes as possible to expand their sound and genre versatility.

Straight mutes are one of the most common additions to a trumpet player’s gadget arsenal because they produce a buzzing type of distortion. When inserted into the trumpet’s bell and held in place with cork, the conical shape of these trumpet mutes resembles the instrument itself and produces effects. Straight mute construction can be made of a variety of primary materials, such as cardboard, brass, or a combination of them. Due to their affordability and good sound production, musicians on a budget frequently choose straight aluminum mutes over more expensive brass mutes. For students or beginners, cardboard straight mutes, also known as stonelined mutes, are a good option.

A cup mute can be made out of a variety of materials and techniques. With the exception of a broad cup shape on the end that slides into the trumpet’s bell, this mute resembles a straight mute. The rounded edge around the cup’s lip, which allows air to escape from the trumpet’s bell, is the mutes’ most distinguishing feature. The main difference between straight and cup mutes, aside from appearances, is the sound output. The sound of a cup mute is similar to that of a straight mute, but it is softer and more musical.

Harmon trumpet mutes, also known as “wow-wow” or “wah-wah” mutes, are usually made of aluminum and come in two parts. A long, cylindrical stem piece slides into the trumpet bell and is encased in a larger, bell-shaped piece. Musicians can play this mute with the stem fully or partially inserted in the trumpet bell, giving them a wide range of options. Many trumpet players also use their free hand to open and close the mute while playing, producing the “wah-wah” sounds associated with blues, jazz, and rockabilly music. Harmon mutes are used some jazz and blues bands for all or part of the brass section.