WHAT ARE TROMBONE MUTES?
Trombone mutes are musical attachments that alter the sound of the trombone. They temporarily alter, warm, soften, or reduce the trombone’s tone to produce the specific, desired sound. Although most any solid object can be used to mute a brass instrument, the most common trombone mutes in use are straight, cup, harmon, bucket, plunger, and practice mutes. Most commercial trombone mutes either insert into the bell and stay in place by friction (like the straight, cup, or harmon mutes) or attach to the outer bell by clips (like the bucket mute). The plunger mute is a notable exception. Because it remains in the player’s left hand, the trombonist must be held in place over a specific portion of the bell to produce the desired tone.
Early mute manufacturers used reinforced cardboard and polyurethane to produce the trombone mutes. These processes remain a standard composition for today’s entry-level products. As America’s Industrial Age improved manufacturing processes and techniques, mute manufacturers adopted processes including casting, metal spinning, woodworking, and injection molding. Several decades later, they added new materials such as fiberglass, aluminum, copper, brass, copper, ABS, polystyrene, and carbon fiber. The finest modern mutes are comprised of either independently-spun metal halves or specially-engineered fibers. Metal mutes made by this process are made significantly more superior if joined by crimp-free connections. These two constructions offer trombonists the best and purest sound that professional musicians demand.
Mutes inserted into the trombone’s bell utilize segments of cork to help retain the mute inside the bell. In an effort to prevent the mute from falling, some musicians who use these products elect to file and individually shape their mute’s cork segments to better match their bell’s interior surface angle. Soulo Mute, however, uses a superior blend of shaped cork and neoprene to effectively lock the mutes inside the bell. It designed its products with ingenuity, to prevent professional trombonists from experiencing the inconvenience of losing their mutes during performances.