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The Top 3 Violin Practice Mutes

Updated on July 29, 2014

What Is A Practice Mute?

For those of us who play the violin, a practice mute is an inexpensive yet essential piece of equipment, especially for those who want to learn a new song without others hearing it until it has been perfected, are new learners and are feeling self-conscious or even for people who live in apartments and want to play their violin without the entire building listening.

When played well, the violin can produce a sound so heart-achingly beautiful that it has the ability to make film soundtracks (think "Lord of the Rings" or "The Hobbit") stand out from the crowd or allow an individual to become swept up in the moment of playing. Violins can produce wonderful solos as well as a fantastic sound as part of a quartet or orchestra, but to get to the point where two minutes of playing will make your audience's eyes water and tears run down their cheeks(for the right reasons!) takes A LOT of "the three P's" - Practice, Patience and Perseverance.

A Rubber Mute
A Rubber Mute

Rubber Mutes Pros and Cons

What Is The Difference?

For one thing, you will generally notice that metal violin practice mutes are a lot more money. Having played the violin since I was 5 years old, you can imagine that I have owned and tried out more than my fair share of these fantastic little accessories and so I'm hoping to pass on a nugget or two of information.

If you are wanting to get one of these for someone else who plays the violin or are just beginning and don't know much about the kit required to start playing - I must stress that you do not NEED to have one of these in order to play the violin. The sole purpose of a practice mute is to make the practice session quiet enough that if you go into a separate room and close the door, virtually nothing can be heard outside that room. Generally when you are starting a new instrument or other venture that you have limited information on, sometimes you can fall into the line of thought that more expensive equals better. In my experience this is not true, and there is some evidence (though it is quite limited) that heavy violin mutes can damage the strings and/or bridge.

The rubber mutes pose no risk whatsoever to violins because they are not heavy enough to cause any damage. They are also much cheaper to buy, however, if you are needing a practice mute and want to be as quiet as humanly possible when playing, you will find that the rubber mutes aren't as good as the metal ones in blocking sound.

The Ultra Rubber Practice Mute Put To The Test!

The Pros and Cons of Metal Practice Mutes

Metal practice mutes attach to the violin in exactly the same way as rubber ones - they are simple to use and all you have to do is slip one over the bridge and strings of your violin (it is easy to see how they fit), and you are ready to begin your practice session.

You will notice that mutes made from metal are as much as three times more expensive than rubber ones - personally, I have one of each type of mute and use both depending on where I am and what my requirements are. For instance, if I want to practice in the evening and don't want to wake any of my household members up I will always opt for the metal one, as the weight of it ensures less string vibration and therefore much less sound.

My rubber mute generally gets used more often, and is better if I want to play loud enough so I get a more accurate idea of how I am playing the piece of music that is currently being learned, but quietly enough that the neighbours won't hear, but for the times I want to make as little sound as possible, the metal version is utterly invaluable.

As previously mentioned, however, the weight of this type of mute also means that if it fell on the violin it could cause considerable damage, and can also cause wear and tear on the violin over time, so is best not used for long stretches at a time.

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    • tazzytamar profile image

      Anna 3 years ago from chichester

      I think that the two different mute types produce different sounds - this might just be me, but I agree with you about having one of each.