Silent Brass cheap diy option

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Queeg2000, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. Queeg2000

    Queeg2000 Active Member

    Been looking online at the Yamaha Silent Brass mute. Bottom line is it looks ideal for practicing at home without getting a divorce, but the price tag could get me the divorce.

    Looking at fitting a guitar pickup with a piezo microphone to a cheap practice mute and using the preamplifier that comes with to feed a pair of headphones.

    I'm not expecting it to sound like an open instrument, and obviously it will still have the resistance of a practice mute, however, my hope is that it will be loud enough in my headphones to reliably hear my (many) mistakes.

    I already have a cheap practice mute, the cost of the pickup and preamplifier is around £6, so a massive saving on even a second hand early model of the Yamaha Silent Brass.

    Has anyone here tried this configuration and able to offer any feedback (the helpful kind rather than the high pitched squeezing kind)
  2. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    Just stick with your cheap practice mute and don't bother with the electronics.

    Years ago I bought a Silent Brass for my trumpet practice (doesn't fit soprano bell) but gave up using the headphones after a while. I still use the mute itself every time I practice at home. I also have a Denis Wick practice mute, but for trumpet practice I prefer the 'feel' of the Yamaha.

    My thoughts about the Silent Brass:
    • supplied headphones are in-ear and not particularly high quality.
    • preparation involves plugging in headphones, plugging cable into belt pack then into mute, plus plugging in wall-wart power supply. This got annoying quite quickly - I can't leave it all set up until the next time I practice.
    • it's not actually silent for other people in the room with you. They can tell you're playing.
    • sound quality is hissy,
    • with reverb turned on it's too flattering - even ropy playing sounds better with lots of reverb on it.
    • with reverb turned off it sounds really claustrophobic.
    But I suppose it might be worth trying the DIY approach if it only costs you £6
    4th Cornet likes this.
  3. Queeg2000

    Queeg2000 Active Member

    I certainly wouldn't pay the kind of sums that they are asking online. I'm a bit of a tech junkie and love to make my own electronic solutions to problems that I never really had. If it does work, for that sort of cost, something that can be stuck to an existing mute is probably going to be worth a play with if nothing else.
  4. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    No matter the cost of a second hand silent is still cheaper than a divorce!!!
    Mesmerist, Suzi Q and Queeg2000 like this.
  5. Queeg2000

    Queeg2000 Active Member

    It's a bit awkward. My son and I both play, though my son is 14 and trying to get a 14 year old to practice when they have a PlayStation calling is a nightmare.

    The wife goes nuts if I play in the house, though does give him a lot more slack. I've had a 30 year hiatus, the grief I get when I try to play in the house being the biggest reason I didn't get back into it when our son started playing.

    Having played Christmas carols over the festive period with the senior band and realising how much I missed it though, when I was asked to join permanently I couldn't say no.

    I doubt I'd miss her as much as I missed playing.
    Jack E, pedaller, 4th Cornet and 3 others like this.
  6. ari01

    ari01 Active Member

    I think you've answered your own question... My advice, don't use a mute at all and just speed up the process
    Jack E, stevetrom, 4th Cornet and 4 others like this.
  7. Queeg2000

    Queeg2000 Active Member

    In that case I need one with a powerful amplifier. Sounds like it was designed specifically for my ropy playing!

    Though I must say, I'm surprised just how quickly I am getting up to speed, though after 3 practice sessions with the band, each time I come away thinking I have been practicing the wrong area because another area is much weaker than I thought. I am amazed just how well my lip is lasting though. It was completely gone after the first session of Christmas carols which lasted 2 hours, though probably under an hour of actually playing. It was that bad, I kept checking for blood in my mouthpiece and was playing anything over a middle G an octave lower by the end. By the week before Christmas, I was managing a 4 hour session just about, but my lip was pretty bad by the end of it. At the end of a 2 hour practice now though, my lip feels like it's just warming up. I also think I'm getting a better sound now than I was before Christmas. Mind you, I think the biggest problem I had getting back was getting my confidence back. I found I would get to a fast part in the Christmas carols and stop blowing, but my fingers would carry on. I stopped blowing because I didn't want to be playing a wrong note, but when I looked afterwards I realised I was actually operating the correct valves mot of the time, I just didn't have the confidence in my fingers to push the air out.
  8. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you have difficulties similar to so many of us. Mrs 2T is fairly tolerant of my playing, but I practice in a part of the house well away from her and now know that she prefers overhearing proper music (tunes) rather than scales and band parts. Even if I could make them on the cheap I wouldn’t bother with fancy electronics, when I used a simple practice mute it did a good enough job.

    Upsets with the Mrs and worse are best avoided, even if you have to pay silly money for Yamaha’s mute. It’s daft not to play when you can so find ways to understand what her issues really are and then somehow keep the Mrs happy. Good luck.
  9. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    If you have to practice with a mute regularly, the electronics will really help - regular practice mutes can be so quiet that they tempt you into overblowing, having the pickup feeding back generally helps reduce the temptation to overblow.

    Perfect reproduction of the tone needn't be present to help with this...
    But then other caveats present - too much reverb might mask hearing accurate detail, etc... It'll be difficult to practice lyrical playing or focus on tone, etc.

    If it's the only way to get practice in then it's a necessary evil... It's worth being aware of the pitfalls and trying to minimise them as much as you reasonably can.
  10. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Can you practice at the same time as your son so minimizing the time your wife has to listen? I think she's being a bit intolerant unless of course you are joking?
    Buy her some noise cancelling headphones she can wear or build a shed and soundproof it along with installing essentials like a hammock, wifi and a wine cellar. You'd probably find a few bandies joining you!
    julian and Vegasbound like this.
  11. Queeg2000

    Queeg2000 Active Member

    I'm a bit gutted, just missed out on a Silent Brass on eBay went for £35. My son hardly practices at all and if I do practice at the same time, he says I put him off. The wife has relented a little and says I can practice in the bedroom with a mute and the door closed as long as I keep quiet. Unfortunately, the bedroom hardly has enough room for a bed. Finding somewhere to put a music stand is an issue in itself. Good job I don't play trombone. We do have a caravan on our drive, so that is an option, provided the fridge is well stocked. If I fill it with proscecco, I will have band members queuing around the block to join me.
    Mesmerist likes this.
  12. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

    You could always put the Wife in the Caravan:):):)
    Jack E, Suzi Q and Mesmerist like this.
  13. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Caravan it is then. I'll bring my own glass. We could all have a band party reminiscent of Butlins. Your wife will either take up playing or leave you!
    Jack E, Slider1 and Suzi Q like this.
  14. Rebel Tuba

    Rebel Tuba Member

    Ha ha try the Tuba one. It's like Krypton Factor setting that thing up. Then once u struggled to lift it in to the bell it becomes almost the size of Blackpool Tower.. and as heavy....
  15. julian

    julian Active Member

    Couldn't you just use an old galvanized dustbin?
  16. Rebel Tuba

    Rebel Tuba Member

    It has been said I sound very similar
    2nd tenor likes this.
  17. julian

    julian Active Member

    I love it! The ability to not take ourselves too seriously is a great attribute!
    2nd tenor likes this.
  18. Queeg2000

    Queeg2000 Active Member

    Think this is the main reason a lot of people dislike Cory. My son was playing with one of the junior bands affiliated with the Cory Academy. The Cory tutors were more interested in showing off than teaching them anything. I went to one of the concerts Cory did where the Cory Academy were playing. Before the concert, Philip Harper asked for people to use Twitter to make any comments during the interval.

    Someone tweeted saying that the Cory players were chewing gum on stage, even while playing a solo and this was a poor example to be setting the kids. That didn't go down well at all, the poor sod got inundated with replies, defending the band. I wonder how well it would have gone if one of the kids choked on gum in the second half though.
    midlandman likes this.
  19. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    It’s a bit of a divergence but some years back I went to a Cory Concert, IIRC they were good. What was a surprise to me though was the blinkered sports type fan or tribal bias, there was clapping and cheers for any and everything; to me that seems just plain daft. I’m not at all sure that I’d pay to see them again, if there’s clapping and praise I expect it to be earned and not automatic praise.

    It’s true, some folk just take banding too seriously and it’s important to laugh at your self at times too. But then I think it pompous to wear the lion tamer jackets and fancy waistcoats to perform, what a show when what’s important is what comes out of the instrument bells, etc.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
    Jack E likes this.
  20. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    How did this turn into a "let's knock Cory" thread? If I played as well as they do I'd probably want to show off to be fair!
    Suzi Q likes this.