Advice on Soprano Mutes

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by StevetheSop, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. StevetheSop

    StevetheSop New Member

    Hi all,

    I've just returned to Brass Bands after a 12 year break, and in need of a set of Soprano mutes. Any advice on the best type would be greatly appreciated (ie. Peter Gane, Denis wick etc)

    Thanks
     
  2. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Assuming you're using a sop that needs the smaller mutes (Schilke, Stomvi, Xeno/Neo, etc) I'd go with the Peter Ganes, really nice mutes. The Wick's are Okay, but I preferred the Ganes when I was using the Xeno - both are pretty decent for tuning (can't say the same for the Tom Crown cup I had, not brilliant). I think the "harmon" that fits is made by Stolzel?

    I've since moved on to an Eclipse sop, and the bell is bigger and takes the same mutes as a Bb cornet - which means there's a much greater variety available (an added bonus, its a better player than my Xeno regardless).
     
  3. StevetheSop

    StevetheSop New Member

    Thanks for the advice Tom-King. I'm using a Schilke sop, (as I previously played). I was reading reviews on the Wicks mutes, but it certainly sounds as if the Ganes are the preferred choice.
     
  4. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    what does the rest of your band's cornet section use? (no point spending a fortune on a set that doesn't blend)
     
  5. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't have said it was a choice though; ideally one would need both metal and fibre straights as well as cup and harmon. I don't see anything wrong with the Wick metal straight (particularly if the Bb cornets are using Wick metals, as is common). For the fibre, the Gane is as good as anything. You may find the red/white "Stone-Line" mutes more common amongst Bb players, but I don't think they make an Eb size ...
     
  6. StevetheSop

    StevetheSop New Member

    The rest of the section play on Wicks (straight, cup and harmon). The band is a 4th section band aspiring to 3rd section next year. Although they may not notice the tone difference between metal and fibre, I certainly do, and want to choose the best type to suit my tone.
     
  7. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Maybe valid when talking about which mutes to buy as a Bb player - not sure I agree when it comes to sop, the tone doesn't "blend" in the same way to begin with.
    The Gane cup will soften the sound more than the Wick cup, which IMHO helps the effect.
     
  8. StevetheSop

    StevetheSop New Member

    All your comments are gratefully taken on board! A Gane cup and Wick straight seem to be a good start. Any recommendations for a Harmon mute?
     
  9. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    Shouldn't what brand the rest of the cornet section are using have any bearing in this !
    :rolleyes:
     
  10. Pauli Walnuts

    Pauli Walnuts Moderator Staff Member

    Indeed it should. As a sop player myself, I have found it a challenge for harmon mutes though. There are very few manufacturers making them and I landed up getting a picc mute which fitted the Xeno I play. And had to source that second hand too. Not that it's used that much but we are doing Alderley Edge next year which meant I had to find one.
     
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  12. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    there's a few of us who will have to agree to disagree then - imho the sop. cornet is still part of the cornet section and should therefore at least try to blend.....
     
  13. Pauli Walnuts

    Pauli Walnuts Moderator Staff Member

    It does become a challenge though - my mute bag is getting as big as my instrument case these days with the number of different mutes to cover the various bands and genres I am involved in. (and despite rumours to the contrary, I do try to blend in Alex :D although a few PC's may disagree with that!)
    Will post the brand of the Harmon later as it's in the car right now.
     
    Accidental likes this.
  14. StevetheSop

    StevetheSop New Member

    Although the Sop is an integral part of the Cornet section, it's tone is different (and complimentary) to the Bb Cornets (Just as the Flugel is to the Cornet and Horn section) and as much as we can try to blend with the rest of the Cornets, there will always be a tonal difference.
     
  15. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    We're not disagreeing fundamentally - I'm not arguing for a carte-blanch for sop players to ignore what the cornet section is doing and just do their own thing, that would be stupid (though there are plenty out there that sound like they do ;))

    What I said was that the tone "doesn't "blend" in the same way to begin with", and it doesn't. And that's not always a bad thing - plenty of composers out there use that different tone to good effect. The overtones are very different (especially with the Schilke), the mouthpieces used are very different (and have to be to get the job done) - none of this means that the player shouldn't be doing their best to sound part of a section.
    When going for a certain effect, does it necessarily follow that matching the mute brand will do that job best? IMHO, no it doesn't - the Gane cup softens the tone more and helps the sop to blend. (As someone else noted, ideally you want both metal and fibre straights).

    The argument for uniformity in mute choices is absurd - we don't insist on the brand of Sop cornet matching the cornets in the rest of the section, nor do we insist on the sop player using the same brand & model of mouthpiece... why on earth would we insist on matching mute brands?
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
    StevetheSop likes this.
  16. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Tell me about it - running out of shelf space for mutes these days.

    I very rarely use my Wick mutes - never had anyone complain about not blending properly with cornets them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2015
  17. Pauli Walnuts

    Pauli Walnuts Moderator Staff Member

    In particular, the harmon mute choice can be a challenge - I use Jo Ral out of preference on Bb's but the sound is very different from the traditional harmons most cornet players have. Brass band composers/arrangers also need to be more aware of this mute with a clear instruction on tube extended or not as that's where the greatest variation in sound can be heard. But you can't get a Jo Ral for Eb anyway.
     
  18. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    I can't see that anyone saying that - only (very sensible imho!) suggestions to consider what the rest of the section uses and choose mutes that blend with them
     
  19. Pauli Walnuts

    Pauli Walnuts Moderator Staff Member

    This is a bit like the view that often pops up that the section should all be on the same brand of instrument and mouthpieces - something I personally don't subscribe to. as you say, it's all about the blend. I said earlier that indeed the brand of mute should have a bearing but it's not a must. Brand of harmon can have an impact, type of straight (wood vs fibre vs tin) can definitely have an effect.
     
    midlandman likes this.
  20. johnsop

    johnsop Member

    I've spent a lot of money on some fantastic mutes over the years and still keep coming back to the same 3/4. Peter Gane fibre straight and cup are fantastic (I especially like the cup). Stolzel Harmon (I think the only one in a sop size, though I'm happy to be corrected on that). For metal straight the Wick is OK, but I love my Wallace copper bottom. Much better sound than the Wick. I would start with a good cup and a good straight (in your situation) and then expand the collection as you need them.
     

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