Now that I have a list of the most common types of mutes for trombones, I figured I’d put together a list of the best mutes of each type. To start, let’s talk about the 5 best straight mutes for tenor trombones.
In short, you’ll get a lot of value out of the following brands: Soulo, Protec, LotFancy, Denis Wick, and Humes & Berg. If you want the best-of-the-best, go for the Soulo mute. If cost is an issue, check out the Humes & Berg mute. In any case, you can’t really go wrong with any of the mutes in this list.
As always, I don’t like to put myself in the position of the expert. Sure, I could buy all these mutes and give you my opinion, but I think looking at general consensus of the music community is a lot more valuable.
As a result, when I research the best products, I like to leverage the various filtering features of Amazon to limit my search. For instance, I used the following settings to generate this list of the best tenor trombone mutes:
- Search Terms: Tenor Straight Mute
- Department: Trombone Mutes
- Average Customer Review: 4+ Stars
As always, I make sure to sort the products by average customer review, so I know I’m getting the best product first.
5 Best Straight Mutes
In this list, we’ll take a look at the five best tenor trombone straight mutes that I could find on Amazon. Feel free to share your favorites as well.
Apologies for the lack of a picture, but the first mute on the list is the Soulo SM6378 trombone straight mute. Like many of the mutes in this list, the Soulo mute is made of metal–specifically aluminum–so it’s light. In addition, the mute is held in place by three pieces of neoprene composite cork which are meant to let air through but also safely hold the horn in place.
In terms of features, Soulo boasts that the mute always plays in tune which can be an issue with many mutes. Likewise, the design limits backpressure, so you know it’s “easy on the chops.” Finally, the mute features a ring along the bottom, so it’s easy to stand up.
But, do the reviews hold up? Turns out, yes! For instance, one customer claimed that the mute gave them extended dynamic range. Meanwhile, another customer claimed that the mute was great in any context. Overall, I’d say the Soulo tenor trombone straight mute lives up to its claims.
Following closely behind Soulo is the Protec ML106 tenor trombone straight mute. According to the product description, this mute offers a lot of the same features as the Soulo including:
- Long-lasting cork
- Limited backpressure
As an added bonus, this mute comes in at just under $40 which makes it almost half the price of the Soulo mute. Of course, can Protec really make a mute just as good at that price point? Let’s find out.
While browsing through the reviews, I quickly realized that most of the reviews were for their compact practice mute. However, there were a handful of reviews for the two straight mutes (small vs. large bore). For instance, one customer claimed that the mute was excellent compared to the Humes & Berg mute they had been using.
If you get the chance, I really recommend reading the reviews because they contain a lot of great information like the mute’s note range and the mute’s susceptibility to denting.
Ultimately, I’d say this a great mute if you’re looking to save some cash but still want something of quality. Of course, it depends how often you’re going to use it, so keep that in mind.
Of all the straight mutes in this list, this is the only straight mute I’ve seen that is marketed as a practice mute. In fact, the product description straight up states that the mute “allows you to warm up quietly and practice silently at home, no worry about disturbing your neighbors, family members or pets.” I’m not sure what that implies in terms of performance quality, so keep that in mind.
In terms of reviews, a lot of customers like this mute as advertised. For instance, one customer stated that the mute allows their son to practice without bothering people.
To be honest, I don’t love the idea of practicing with a mute because it’s nothing like the real thing. That said, if it works for you, I’d say go for it!
Unlike the FancyLot mute, the Denis Wick straight mute is meant for performance. In terms of construction, this mute is made of aluminum, but they come in many different styles including:
While variety is nice, are the mutes actually any good? According to their customers, absolutely! For instance, one customer felt the mute had excellent sound in all registers. Beyond that, another customer said they loved this mute because it has a nice bright sound.
As a mid-range cost mute, I’d say this is a pretty solid deal. If you’re looking for a quality straight mute but don’t have enough money for the Soulo, this is probably the mute for you.
Finally, we have a solid budget mute from Humes & Berg known as the Stonelined straight trombone mute. To be completely honest, this is the mute I use, so I decided to show it off in the featured image.
When I started college, I had to get a hold of a couple of mutes quickly. Of course, being a college kid, I never had the money for a nice mute, so I went the cheap route. Several years later, I still use this mute. It’s been through many concert bands, jazz bands, and pit orchestras, and I swear by it.
Oddly enough, a lot of other folks like this mute as well. In fact, I found one customer who has been using theirs since 1952. As another customer mentions, you just might not get a lot of mute opportunities, so why buy an expensive one?
As mentioned already, this is the mute I use, and I think it gets the job done. Unless you’re playing professionally, you can probably get by on this mute for a long time.
As with any list, this one comes with a few caveats. For one, there are a few brands that I felt should have made the cut but didn’t. For instance, Jo Ral is often well-respected, and they do a great job of marketing their work. As a result, I felt the Jo Ral straight mute deserved an honorable mention.
Likewise, I felt like there were other brands like Tom Crown that deserved a fair shake. For instance, the Tom Crown straight mute has some great reviews on Amazon.
Of course, the whole point of a list is to limit your choices a bit. If I wanted to overwhelm you, I would have just listed all mutes in existence.
At any rate, I hope you found this review valuable, and thanks for taking the time to read it. As always, respect the brass!