New Euphonium Practice Mute
by, 07-05-2008 at 06:00 PM (581 Views)
At ITEC 2008 I found (and bought) a new design in practice mutes, sold by Just for Brass. It is probably not quite as good for normal practice as a full-size practice mute like the Denis Wick practice mute (they call it a "warm-up mute"). But its big attraction is that it is so compact and light that you may be able to carry it in your horn's case! It fits inside the bell of most euphoniums and only extends an inch or two. It fits snugly inside my hard case and would certainly fit in my Altieri gig bag.
The mute plays pretty well. I didn't have a Wick mute to compare, but I was able to cover the normal range easily. It has more resistance than the open horn, which is going to be true of a practice mute. When playing in the very low or very high range the response is not what I would call ideal, but it is workable. In fact, it's probably a good way to secure one's extreme ranges - practice them on this mute and they will seem much clearer and easier without the mute.
Whenever I travel on a plane I use my hard case. In order to keep the bell from getting creased, I previously put a bag of packing peanuts inside the bell. This helps to absorb any impacts the case might suffer during handling, which might otherwise slam the horn against the bell-end of the case and could crease the bell.
This new mute can not only travel with me (so I can practice in my hotel room), but will also serve to protect the bell in the same way the packing peanuts do. If there is a hard blow, the nearly-complete rubber neck padding on the mute should spread the force nicely around a very strong part of the bell.