Trumpet Mutes 101

Trumpet Mutes

The trumpet has the ability to captivate listeners across a wide range of musical genres. However, sometimes you may desire a different color or tonal quality to truly express yourself on the instrument. This is where trumpet mutes come into play. Mutes offer a fascinating array of possibilities for shaping your sound. By understanding and experimenting with different types of mutes, you can unlock new dimensions of expression and find your own distinct voice as a trumpet player.


The Straight Mute

One of the most common mutes in the trumpet world is the straight mute. With its simple cone shape that fits snugly into the bell of the horn, this mute is widely used in almost every style of music. Held in place by small pieces of cork, which allow the sound to flow through the bell, the straight mute produces a somewhat nasal tone that is frequently used within ensembles.

Humes & Berg 101 Trumpet Straight Mute Standard

Jo-Ral Straight Trumpet Mute Plastic Standard
Jo-Ral Plastic Straight Mute
Jo-Ral TPT-1A Trumpet Straight Mute Standard
Jo-Ral TPT-1A Straight Mute
Denis Wick DW5504 Series Trumpet Straight Mute Aluminum Bottom
Denis Wick DW5504 Straight Mute Aluminum Bottom


The Cup Mute

A popular mute for jazz, particularly big band music, it looks like a straight mute with an inverted cup at its end. The cup mute’s tone is similar to that of a straight mute, but far less bright and nasal, and with a softer sound. The Humes & Berg Stonelined mute is the industry standard. The Denis Wick DW5531 has a removable cup so you can use it as a straight mute. Adjusting its position offers a wide variety of cup mute sounds.

The Wah-Wah Mute

The solid corking of this mute forces the entire sound of the horn to travel through the mute. The sound collects and is released through a small hole in the front. In its original state, this mute has a stem with a little bowl on the end. By using your hand to cover and uncover it, it produces a tin-sounding wah-wah sound (hence its name). If you remove the stem, suddenly your instrument takes the listener to a smoky underground jazz club. The classic version is made by Harmon.


The Plunger Mute

This mute produces a classic jazz sound that is almost human sounding at times. It can be described as the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher. Adding some flutter tongue to it creates a growl that many classic jazz players use to great effect. There are many metal and stonelined versions, but the Mutek rubber version is popular.


The Derby

A mute used by closing over and off the bell, it is similar to the plunger, but not quite as bold. It makes the horn sound like it’s in another room when covering the bell, then suddenly the horn is in the same room with you when it’s removed from muffled to bright. This mute comes in metal and stonelined varieties.


The Bucket Mute

When placed over the bell, this mute produces a dark and warm sounding tone. It is great for small combo jazz playing, but it is also common in big bands. This mute appears in a variety of forms, from inside the bell models to attached to the bell models.


The Practice Mute

This is the closest you can get to silencing your horn when you play. It is not typically used in musical settings and is truly meant for practicing.


Find Your Voice

As you explore the diverse world of trumpet mutes, remember that these tools are meant to expand your tonal palette and enable you to create unique and expressive musical experiences. While we’ve highlighted some of the most popular types of mutes, don’t be afraid to experiment and find the mutes that resonate with your musical goals and vision.


Explore our full collection of Trumpet mutes here –

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