Managing Bass Mutes

Help - can anyone give me any tips on putting bass mutes in and taking them out again?
It seems to take me ages - I have difficuty in reaching and usually make a load clanking sound. :oops:
I have not had to use one before but we have just purchased a set of Denis Wick mutes ready for Tristan Encounters.
It seems impossible - there is only a bar and a half to put the mute in, with a split chord before so you both have to play it. There are then only 9 notes to play muted and 2 bars to take the mute out again.
I just seems as if it has been specially written to make life difficult :(

Any tips much appreciated
 

leisa

Active Member
floral_dance said:
I don't envy you, it is bad enough putting a cornet mute in when you are nervous.
yer!!! why not one of u stop playin a bar early and put the mute in whilst the other one plays up to the muted part then joins?? :?
 

PeterBale

Moderator
Staff member
Leisa said:
yer!!! why not one of u stop playin a bar early and put the mute in whilst the other one plays up to the muted part then joins??
Maybe this is why :shock: :oops: :wink:

Hilary Mateer said:
It seems impossible - there is only a bar and a half to put the mute in, with a split chord before so you both have to play it. There are then only 9 notes to play muted and 2 bars to take the mute out again.
 

Roger Thorne

Active Member
I noticed a lot of bands had this problem at the British Open. The Eb Bass players were struggling to remove their mutes in a short period of time. Yorkshire Building Society got the percussionists to remove them - clever eh!

:wink:
 

Darth_Tuba

Active Member
Interesting one this. Didn't actually use the mutes when we ran through Tristan as I had chronic CBA finding them in the bandroom (they had been put somewhere random after the last gig). However, here's a few points on the subject. Firstly, you should be able to pick bass mutes up off the floor and get it in one handed without having to lower the bass at all, and the same when removing it. In order to do this smoothly and quietly it just takes a bit of practice (not as in sat at home doing it, but in rehearsal! No need to be a BOC about it). This works best if the mute is lying on it's side. Also, a towel or something to put the mute back down onto to minimise noise can reduce time in removing it. As Roger mentioned, percussionists can be immensely useful (yes, there really IS a first time for everything!) in helping with quick mute changes. In Jupiter I stopped playing earlier and played the entire muted passage, rather than splitting it a bar each as was suggested on the parts. Anyway, difficult mute changes, etc. are all part of it being a test piece. I've just read back over that, and it's no real use what-so-ever. Never mind.
 

Cantonian

Active Member
Just a thought. I often see cornet and trombone players holding their mutes between their knees ready for use. What do the basses do?
 
Cantonian said:
Just a thought. I often see cornet and trombone players holding their mutes between their knees ready for use. What do the basses do?
My Dad (BBb player) often refers to small children as bass mutes, so on that evidence I'd say they keep them in prams! :lol: :lol:
 

Keppler

Moderator
Staff member
Hilary Mateer said:
with a split chord before so you both have to play it.
I knew there was a practical use for multiphonics somewhere! :D

Bad luck Hilary! Maybe if you just expelled it out of the bell, really high in the air, you could play the next bar, and catch it on the way down?

I'll shut up now..
 

Big Gav

Member
Roger Thorne said:
Yorkshire Building Society got the percussionists to remove them - clever eh!

:wink:
Yes I did! Unfortunately he's been nagging me for a free beer ever since!

Big Gav
 

leisa

Active Member
PeterBale said:
Leisa said:
yer!!! why not one of u stop playin a bar early and put the mute in whilst the other one plays up to the muted part then joins??
Maybe this is why :shock: :oops: :wink:

Hilary Mateer said:
It seems impossible - there is only a bar and a half to put the mute in, with a split chord before so you both have to play it. There are then only 9 notes to play muted and 2 bars to take the mute out again.

oops!! :oops: mustremember to read posts before actually posting!!

but one of you could still do this and the quicker one out of the two of u put it in just before?! insane ideas :oops: :oops:
 

timbloke

Member
Hilary Mateer said:
2 bars to take the mute out again.
That's an age... we (solo trombs in first section bands) get three quavers to take a cup mute out, going from a bit that is only on solo tromb, to a bit that is only on solo tromb!! :?

what you need to do is create a winch mechanism. or could you take a small child (or two) on stage as "percusionists" but only use whem for the purpose of taking the mute out.
 
timbloke said:
That's an age... we (solo trombs in first section bands) get three quavers to take a cup mute out, going from a bit that is only on solo tromb, to a bit that is only on solo tromb!! :?
Bass trom for the Butlins test piece had about 3 beats to get rid of the mute and turn the page before a 6 bar fortissimo run...
 
Thanks for all your tip, especially the serious one from darth_tuba. :)

I rather fancied the percussionist idea, but saw ukdrummerboy in the pub tonight and he says percussionists are all too busy in Tristan Encounters to help :evil:

So any good ideas on how to stretch my arms so I can reach better :wink:
 

Darth_Tuba

Active Member
Right, we got this one sussed last night. Whilst playing the F sharp/b natural before the muted passage, swap to left hand to hold the valve down whilst reaching for mute with right hand (remembering to A) not drop the tuba and B) keep gob attached to mouthpiece to play note!) pick the mute up so as soon as you have finished the split part you can drop it in with loads of time to spare. As for getting it out, either be very quick, or have just one playing the muted passage so the other can come in on all those nice pedal notes on quavers. :D If this doesnt work you need longer arms!
 
Thanks Darth Tuba.
Only one playing muted sounds like a good idea.
I think I'll volunteer to play the pedal quavers instead - I'm sure the BBb's have got them covered anyway :wink:
 
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