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What Trumpet Mute Is Right For Me?


What Trumpet Mute Is Right For Me?

by Grant

What are mutes?  Mutes are used to affect the sound of an instrument, changing the timbre (tone or sound) and dynamic (volume).  In an orchestra, concert band, or big band setting, sheet music will sometimes direct the player to use a mute. When this happens, it is vital to have the right equipment for the piece.  There are a wide variety of mutes for different styles of music and player preferences. 


Straight Mute:  Will give a softer, “distant” sound as opposed to the open trumpet.  Most commonly found in orchestral music.

  • Jo-Ral Plastic:  Great for beginners to adjust to the sound and feel of mutes!  Durable and easy to use for younger players.  May have a negative effect on intonation.
  • Jo-Ral Aluminum:  Will provide the traditional straight mute sound, brassy but reserved.  Intonation will be slightly affected.
  • Tom Crown Aluminum:  The professional standard for straight mutes.  Excellent muted tone with a light, easy response for ease of playing.  Little effect on intonation.

Cup Mute:  Blocks the bell slightly less than the straight mute to provide a rounded sound.  Most commonly found in early jazz music.

  • Jo-Ral Plastic:  Well suited for younger students!  Gives the typical sound and feel of a cup mute, with a slightly wooden tone.
  • Jo-Ral Aluminum:  Reliable and flexible for professional players.  The mute can be adjusted to open up or close off the tone, within the traditional cup mute sound.

Harmon Mute:  Sometimes called a Wah or Bubble mute, these will provide a warm, buzzed sound most typically used in jazz contexts. 

  • Jo-Ral Aluminum:  Nice balanced weight to give it an easy blow and the traditional sound.
  • Harmon Brand:  The classic harmon, perfect for use in big band settings or solo playing. 

Practice mutes:  Their primary function is to minimize the volume of the instrument, so you can warm up, practice, or play anywhere!

  • Bach Wooden:  Simple and reliable mute! The sound will be audible to the player but quiet enough to practice late at night or in crowded spaces. 
  • Yamaha Silent Brass:  Must-have for any advanced player!  Completely takes away the sound of the trumpet, and filters it through headphones or an amplifier for complete control. 


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