Violin Mutes Buying Guide https://violinspiration.com/wp-content/uploads/Violin-Mutes-Buying-Guide.jpg

The breakdown of what a violin mute is, why violinists use mutes, and what the best ones on the market are.

Violins have many accessories: shoulder rests, rosin, cleaning cloths, but another essential accessory is the mute.

Violin mutes are essential for two reasons: they produce more colors in your playing and also decrease the volume output. For a more advanced repertoire, a violinist likely would want to create more vivid colors; a violin mute allows you to do this by dampening the vibrations of your violin, thus changing the natural sound of your instrument. Additionally, it allows you to lower the volume in order to not disturb others as much.

If you want to create more colors or play in an orchestra, you will need a small, orchestra mute. If the purpose of the mute is to practice late at night without bothering your neighbors, I recommend a practice mute. Both attach over the bridge but differ in the amount of muting they do.

In this article, I show you the 3 best mutes but also I review other violin mutes to give you a bigger overview of what is available for you to choose from. Finally, I answer some of the frequently asked questions about violin mutes.

My Top 3 Best Violin Mutes

There are three violin mutes I would use, each one for a different purpose. One is great when playing with others, one is for practicing silently, and one that dampens the sound but also let’s you hear the rich sound of your instrument. You will find all the details and my review of each mute below.

Best Mute for Orchestra or Band Setting

Violin Mute - Tourte Round Shaped Mute

Round Orchestra Mute

Best Mute for Quiet Practice

Violin Mute - Metal Violin Practice Mute

Metal Practice Mute

Best Mute for the Richest Sound

Violin Mute - WMute Practice Mute

WM Practice Mute

1. The Best Orchestra Mute

The Tourte Round Shaped Violin/Viola Mute

Specification:

  • Price: $1.44 / £3.17 / €4.92
  • Material: rubber
  • Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 9 mm / 0.8 x 0.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Impact on the sound: very little

A very commonly used orchestra mute is the rubber round-shaped violin/viola mute. If you go to an orchestra concert or watch one on YouTube, you will see that all violins have this one or a very similar mute. It’s affordable – typically under $2. This mute decreases the brightness of the tone while cutting the volume by 10-15%. The downside of this mute is it can squeak when pushing it down on your bridge.

Violin Mute - Tourte Round Shaped Mute

Round Tourte Style Mute for Violin

Support us for more FREE content    No extra costs for you    Recommended by Violinists

2. The Best Violin Mute for Silent Practice

5-pronged Metal Violin Practice Mute

Specification:

  • Price: $9.29 / £7.73 / €13.30
  • Material: metal, gold color or nickel-plating
  • Dimensions: 50 x 25 x 12.5 mm / 1.9 x 0.98 x 0.49 in
  • Weight: 50 – 70 g / 2.1 – 2.6 oz
  • Impact on the sound: dampens the sound the most

This mute is the best option if you want to dampen the sound as much as possible and play your instrument late at night. It can fit violins of all sizes from 1/2-4/4. It is durable and made of metal, helping to cancel even more of the sound.

One drawback is that you have to be more careful putting it on because it is made of metal. If you drop it on your instrument, it can easily damage the wood. Also, it doesn’t sit all the way down on the bridge. You might need to fiddle around and tap it to get it to evenly cover your bridge.

Violin Mute - Metal Violin Practice Mute

5-pronged Metal Violin Practice Mute

Support us for more FREE content    No extra costs for you    Recommended by Violinists

3. The Best Mute for the Richest Sound

WMute Practice Mutes

Specification:

  • Price: €62-71
  • Material: brass plated with gold, ruthenium or silver
  • Impact on the sound: medium dampening, very rich sound
Violin Mute - WMute Practice Mute

Another option is this beautiful mute. These much smaller-sized mutes are made of refined bronze and plated with gold, silver or ruthenium. The amount of muting is medium, but the materials allow for a richer and more focused sound. They include a layer of cork on the inside to carefully clip to the bridge.

You can choose between polished and matte surface. For €15 more, you can get yours with an engraving.

The main con is that they are extremely pricy comparing to other violin mutes.

This brand sells mainly through local retailers and via the website: https://wmutes.com

Fun Fact: If you’d like to design your own practice mute and produce it, you can do this with WMutes! Check out below what interesting projects they already custom-made.

Violin Mute - WMute Practice Mutes

I’d like to show you what are the other options, so below you’ll find reviews of other frequently used mutes. It’s also worth noting, what works for me or your friends might not work for your specific violin. Your violin also might just prefer one mute to another! Additionally, many, if not all, of these also work for the viola.

Orchestra Violin Mutes

These orchestra mutes are meant solely for when the music calls just for a bit muted playing, not for trying to be practice quietly. Many violinists use these to play in orchestra or solo repertoire. Most sit on top of the A and D string and can stay there on your violin all the time. Because they do not cover the entire bridge, you can still hear many of the overtones.

The Tourte Shaped Violin Mute

Specification:

  • Price: $1.44 / €1.22
  • Material: rubber
  • Dimensions:  51 x 38 x 7 mm | 2 x 1.5 x 0.25 in
  • Impact on the sound: very little

This small rubber mute is essentially the basic mute that musicians use, next to the round one. It is extremely lightweight and affordable. It is a good idea to have one of these as a backup in your case.

The con is that it might not do the best job at dampening your instrument based on the shape and small weight.

Violin Mute - Tourte Shaped Violin Mute

The Tourte Shaped Violin Mute

Support us for more FREE content    No extra costs for you    Recommended by Violinists

Slide-on Mute

Specification:

  • Price: $5.75
  • Material: synthetic materials
  • Impact on the sound: very little

This slide-on mute is a great option if you want to experiment a little more with the change in tone. This one can slide onto the bridge easily, instead of getting hooked on. The main advantage is that it is easier to move it so you can do this motion quicker. It also only touches the top of the bridge so it doesn’t mute the violin as much.

The biggest con is that it is a little bit of a higher price point than Tourte mutes.

Some violinists seem to favor this mute for the color change but if you want to decrease the sound, most likely you’ll need a different one.

Violin Mute - Slide-on Mute

Spector Slide-on Violin Mute

Support us for more FREE content    No extra costs for you    Recommended by Violinists

3D Sound Mutes

Specification:

  • Price: $9.95 / $18.95
  • Material: synthetic materials
  • Impact on the sound: little to medium depending on the version used

These unique orchestra mutes are similar in shape to the Tourte or metal ones but are 3D printed. The main difference is that they are said to sit on the bridge without rattling. They come in a variety of colors and shapes but essentially have the same function as the alternatives.

In one of the options that are available, Catrpilr by ViowiessCO, you will find magnets that help the mute to sit properly on the bridge.

Violin Mute - 3D printed
Violin Mute - 3D printed

3D Printed Violin Mute

A Set of Orchestra Mutes:

Catrpilr by ViowiessCO:

Support us for more FREE content    No extra costs for you    Recommended by Violinists

Wire Slide-On Mutes

Specification:

  • Price: €11.30
  • Material: metal + synthetic
  • Impact on the sound: medium

These affordable, inconspicuous mutes are great for sliding onto the bridge easily and quickly. They are made of wire, brass, and rubber tubing. It is extremely affordable and sleek.

Since it is bigger, it can decrease some of the sound output even when not engaged and just sitting on the strings. Another drawback is that it is a bit tricky to install and remove but this video will help you out:

Violin Mute - Wire Slide-On Violin Mute

Gewa Roth-Sihon Violin Mute

Support us for more FREE content    No extra costs for you    Recommended by Violinists

Violin Practice Mutes

Practice mutes are heavier duty and cover the majority or entire bridge. This helps to dampen the sound to a significant level and many violinists use this to practice more quietly or in a common area. Be aware these mutes are not meant for playing in orchestral, band or solo music. It is considered to be just a practice mute and not something that is used for a performance.

Ultra Practice Mute

Specification:

  • Price: $4.99
  • Material: heavy-duty rubber
  • Weight: ‎0.48 oz / 14 g
  • Impact on the sound: medium

The Ultra Practice Mute is a very popular and affordable practice mute. It is heavier duty rubber and about 4 inches wide. With this mute you will still hear your strings quite well and practice fear-free that you are disturbing others. It is easy to put on the violin, it does not damage the bridge, and it is one-size-fits-all for 4/4 violins. It is a good choice for travelling and practicing in hotel rooms.

Violin Mute - Ultra Practice Mute

Ultra Practice Violin Mute

Support us for more FREE content    No extra costs for you    Recommended by Violinists

Ebony 3-Prong Mute

Specification:

  • Price: €3.77
  • Material: ebony
  • Impact on the sound: little

Crafted from ebony wood, these unique mutes are lightweight, smaller than the metal and heavy-duty rubber ones and are easy to use. They contour around your strings on the bridge and stay in place very easily.

Violin Mute - Ebony Violin Mute

Ebony 3-Prong Violin Mute

Support us for more FREE content    No extra costs for you    Recommended by Violinists

Leather Mute

Specification:

  • Price: €39.70
  • Material: leather
  • Impact on the sound: medium

A leather mute is unique in that it reduces the volume of the instrument while also allowing for the natural overtones to sound. They are extremely versatile because they can act as both an orchestra mute and a practice mute! The sound is just a bit muted when sitting up against the bridge, whereas you can get bigger volume reduction when it sits on top. The leather also adjusts more naturally to the shape of your bridge so it can help to fit better than alternatives.

They might be stiff initially and require some breaking in.

Leather Violin Mute

Support us for more FREE content    No extra costs for you    Recommended by Violinists

Frequently Asked Questions about Violin Mutes

What is a violin mute?

A violin mute is a piece of rubber, metal, plastic, or leather that attaches over the violin bridge. It alters the tone of the violin by making your strings vibrate less, thus muting the violin to some extent, what depends on the material used the weight of a mute.

A small rubber one is a standard in an orchestra and can be left on your violin at all times, unlike the shoulder rest. It either slides onto your bridge or gets moved onto the bridge. A rubber mute is most often used in orchestral music or solo pieces. It is often used for a change of mood or color in a piece.

Another type of mute is larger and called the violin practice mute. These can often be made of metal, heavier duty rubber, leather, or even ebony. They cover the entirety of your bridge. Since they sit on top of the whole bridge, they are often heavier and pricier but offer you more opportunities for late-night practicing.

How can I practice violin without disturbing others?

To practice without disturbing others, you can put a metal practice mute on your violin. It will decrease the sound pretty significantly. You can still play the violin without having to play with less bow pressure because the mute will naturally dull the output.

Practice mutes can be especially helpful if you live in an apartment complex or want to play at late hours.

How well does a violin mute work?

How well a violin mute works depends on its material and weight. The small orchestra mutes change the overtones and overall color, whereas the practice mute really lessens the total output. With the practice mute, you will be able to practice without your neighbors coming to knock on your door.

You can check how much the violin mutes dampen the sound by watching the videos below.

Review of orchestra mutes

Review of practice mutes

What should I look for in buying a mute?

When buying a mute, you should look for a violin mute that is sturdy, reliable, and evenly mutes the sound. If you are looking for an orchestral mute, find one that is small, easy to put on, and does not affect the sound quality. If you are looking for a practice mute, choose a heavy-duty one to reduce the overall volume.

If you can go to a music shop, it’s best try a few different options and see what works best for you.

Final Thoughts

As a violinist, I often get asked about what that black “thing” on my violin is, and which mutes are best. I hope this article answers at least some of your questions and gives you options to start looking and trying mutes. The key is finding one that works best with your instrument. Some are squeaky when you put them on the bridge or some fit in a way that might not work under a time constraint. If you go to your local music store, you likely can ask to try various ones and see which is best for you.

Overall, mutes are great to increase the number of colors we can make on our instruments while decreasing sound and they can extend our practicing later into the night if need be. They are a small investment for the benefits they provide!

Do you use a violin mute? – I wonder which one. Please let me know in the comments below, I always love hearing from you!

5 2 votes
Article Rating

Did you find my post useful?

KEEP ON READING...

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
18 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments