Silent brass or practice mute???

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by jamieow, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. jamieow

    jamieow Member

    I'm considering buying one or the other - I know a silent brass system for bass is slightly more expensive than a good old fashioned practice mute but it is worth it??
    Which is the better product purely for practising at home whilst keeping her indoors and the neighbours happy??
    Obviously I'm aware of the potential to plug a cd player in etc to play along with pieces or to plug into my pc to record (which, to be honest I probably won't do).
    Any views will be well appreciated.
  2. hellyfrost

    hellyfrost Member

    I bought a silent brass first and I've barely used it. I find the resistance a bit much and i find it quite fiddly.. i.e get instrument out put mute in and then start plugging in the wires and the bits and bobs for it and then you've got to get some decent headphones and it's just a bit messy.

    So i bought a ssshh mute as well. I love it. The resistance is minimal, the sound is still there but much much quieter and I've also found that since using it, I've had a better and bigger sound overall which i just didn't get from the silent brass, in fact i found the silent brass to give me problems with pitching.

    Oh and Band Supplies had an offer on ssshh mutes a bit back - may still be on.. got mine for £31 as opposed to £50(?).

    i think you might have to try the silent brass first though as some people love them. It may just be a personal choice thing.
    My personal choice is the sshh mute though :)
  3. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    I like the resistance of the DW mutes for everyday (who am I kidding!)practise, and find Silent Brass better for hearing articulation.
  4. sale

    sale Member

    i bought a silent brass mute and to be honest i wasnt all that impressed! it just stoped working after a year (just packed in completly?) so now i just use it without the head phones when im warming up for concerts/contests! i like using a cup mute with the "head" (wateva u call it!) up to the bell and that gives less sound but still enough so that you can judge what your doing! with the silent brass mute to be honest i felt like i was having to give a little bit extra from my lip to get some sound through the earphones which ment less practice and more tired lip. so personally i`d say save your money and go for a practice mute! But i still like to anoy the neighbours now and agen when they have bin to loud! hahaha
  5. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    Bet the bass ones aren't £31! Bass mutes are horrendously expensive, and I can't find any website that sells practice mutes for b flat bass. Oh well, my flatmates will just have to lump it.
  6. markh

    markh Member

    I use my Silent brass mute as a practice mute without messing around with wires/plugs etc. I find that after using it, although my low range is better, I struggle a bit at the top. Hence I only now use it when I am doing lots of finger work and do other exercises on the mouthpiece.
  7. persins

    persins Member

    I have a DW Practice mute and it is good for reducing the amount of noise pollution (not that it is entirely possible when I'm playing!). I don't really like it though.
    Shhh mutes on the other hand are great! I would strongly recommend them as the resistance is reduced but so too is the amount of sound. You are still able to hear what your are doing without the sound being massively disrupted. Shame I got drunk and left mine in a random field.
  8. ScaryFlugel

    ScaryFlugel Member

    I have both a practice mute and a silent brass and have no real opinion on them cos it's that long since I used either!

    The biggest problem with my silent brass is that it makes the flugel feel so unbalanced it's uncomfortable to play (it's a long way from the centre of gravity of the mute to the supporting hand!). But you wouldn't have that problem with a bass or any upward-pointing bell.
  9. Jonesy

    Jonesy Member

    I bought a silent brass ages ago but don't use it anymore. It's like trying to play your instrument with a cornish pasty stuck in the pipes compared to the Shhh mute. I'll not mention that on the Ebay advert, mind. "For sale, one silent brass for cornet, excellent condition, minimal resistance....".
  10. hellyfrost

    hellyfrost Member

    HAHAH! Yup, that's what I'm going to do with mine!
  11. sevenhelz

    sevenhelz Active Member

    Personally I'd prefer a practice room with decent sound-proofing... I have a DW practice mute and it's just incredibly heavy! But I guess you'll always get that with euphs ;)
  12. deave

    deave Member

    I sold my Silent brass and bought a John Wallace practice mute - much better!!

  13. RonBarnes

    RonBarnes Member

    Has anyone any experience of the Best Brass practice/rehearsal mutes as advertised by ?
  14. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Interesting design ... according to to the specifications, the "new mute is designed by Shinji Hamanaga, the inventor of the Yamaha Silent Brass System. It is so small that it fits completely inside the bell, allowing you to store it inside when the horn is in the case. Incredibly lightweight and you hardly notice it's there".

    Comparison pictures (for tenor trom.) here.
  15. simonbassbone

    simonbassbone Member

    It all depends on what you want/need. I've got both. the practice mute is great for opening the throat (DW has written an article about its use) but is very heavy for constant use. I find the Silent Brass lighter and a better bet for being able to hear myself without annoying the neighbours. When I can I practice without either.
  16. Highams

    Highams Member

    I have used DW practice mutes (for myself & students) for over 10 years now and these are by far the best way improve sound and tone whilst practicing quietly.

    The problem is not a lot of players understand how they work. There is an art to getting them to buzz or vibrate when the notes are true, and bringing out all the harmonics/overtones/undertones etc.

    DW writes;

    ..........These days one may assume that the young player will have a reasonable instrument and a sensible mouthpiece. To this one must add what many teachers would regard as the most important of all - good breath control.

    One aspect of the brass-blowing body machine which is hardly ever emphasized enough is the throat. By opening the throat area - or closing it - the tone-quality can be varied enormously. Although the differences are not quite as much as in singing, they can easily be heard, on any brass instrument. It remains a problem, however, to put across to the young player the concept of "open your throat". Many ideas like "swallowing a football" - "yawning outwards" or "cooling a hot potato" work to a greater or lesser degree, as I found in my own teaching, but needed to be said so many times!

    Then, I made my discovery, more or less by accident. It happened when I had designed a practice mute. This was intended just to make near-silent practice possible, but also to maintain good intonation and a "feel" not too different from normal playing. Absolutely essential for an orchestra on tour! I discovered that by using my practice mute for loud practice, this tight throat problem could be eliminated in minutes. There was an additional bonus in that breathing became much more efficient when the throat was automatically opened by the resistance of the mute. The total result exceeded my wildest dreams!

    Here was a way of speeding up the teaching process, especially with young players. Even the smallest and weakest could sound almost professional in volume within a matter of weeks rather than years. I well remember a very little girl who suddenly produced an amazingly loud fortissimo. I began to realize that I had stumbled upon a teaching technique that could help young brass students in a very positive way.

    Often, the difficulty that youngsters have with breathing well stems from the fact that they are hardly ever allowed to play a maximum ff - and for good reason - nobody practises loudly! Trying to breathe well through a tight throat is fairly impossible anyway, so what one often hears is poor breath support and a rather choked sound.
    Try the following:
    (1) THE "BEFORE" TEST (Remember exactly how this sounds)
    Play mp the first 5 notes of the scale of C major starting below the treble clef. (Bb for concert-pitched instruments).
    (2) Play a loud low C (Bb) with the practice mute. Take a deep breath, holding shoulders down, play louder. The note becomes less controlled with increasing volume. Try again, much louder. You will notice, as the volume increases, a "buzz" or rattle from the end of the mute.

    This "buzz" wobbles and fluctuates. Keep trying to play even louder; make sure that the "wobbles" become more level. Breathe as deeply as possible. Push the air through in a controlled, natural way. Keep increasing the volume.
    If you begin to feel slightly dizzy - that is quite normal and only temporary. Now, with the same or more volume, play a semitone lower, gradually progressively descending a semitone at a time, until you are playing the loudest low F sharp (E natural) you have ever heard, continuing to breath as deeply as possible.

    (3) Take out the practice mute, take a really deep breath and play the "before" test again,(only mp, remember!)
    (4) Listen to the difference in sound - it should now be much more open and rich in tone, as the throat is automatically held open, thus creating a larger resonance chamber.

    Each day try this exercise for 15 minutes. After a few weeks, it should be possible to remember the "open throat" feeling when inhaling, so that it can easily be reproduced for loud playing, especially in the lower register; it can and should also be used for soft playing in middle and upper registers. Soft chorales and espressivo solos can have a whole new dimension. Awareness of closing as well as opening the throat also makes a near-inaudible pianissimo very easy.

    Of course, a metal practice mute is needed to make this happen. There are on the market fibre or cardboard mutes which function well in reducing volume. The electronic versions of practice mutes are fantastic (and expensive!) technology, but do not function like my simple metal practice mutes. Only metal practice mutes offer the "buzz" effect which is essential for real control of the throat spaces to be learned.

  17. rgdunning

    rgdunning Member

    I just and got a Wallace practice mute and there great for the Trombone. Not too heavy and cut the sound well good!!!
  18. slidebonedave

    slidebonedave New Member

    I've got a silent brass and use it for warming up on gigs, practicing at home etc. The main problem is the weight which makes the trombone very front heavy which is tiring after a while. I do like being able to plug it in and practicing to play along CDs with headphones though. It also has a tendancy to fall out, and the wires get in the way.

    I used to have a DW but have not used one for a while. I think that the silent brass may be a little quieter though from what I recall.


  19. sop 1

    sop 1 Member

    i used a dw one for years but have been using a bremner sssssshhhhhh mute for about two years now and they are much better!
  20. flugel_fancy

    flugel_fancy Member

    I had a silent brass but found that after a while I started mispitching in the upper register so sold it and bought a DW practice mute and it's is much better plus I don't have to spend 15 mins pulling out the player to wire it in every practice time (and yes I do practice sometimes!:tongue: )

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