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Which cornet mute should I buy for blues? (Assuming I need one)

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  • Which cornet mute should I buy for blues? (Assuming I need one)

    A little background.

    After considerable time off I have gotten back into playing cornet. I haven't bothered to purchase a mute because I never really need to use one to practice.

    I'm auditioning for a 20's style blues band where I'd be the only horn player in the room. It's drums, upright bass piano a singer and me.

    Should I bring a mute?

    Which mute should I buy? Any suggestions?
    <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">Whenever I'm walking home in the dark and afraid that a psycho might attack me, I use reverse psychology and convince myself that I am the psycho. - Rowka</font></div>

  • #2
    I would probably go with a standard straight mute, a harmon, and then run to your local Walmart or hardware store and pick up a plunger however based off of your post I would speculate that you just want to go with one mute so I would say for blues I would probably go with the harmon. If this is a small combo band then you can probably get by with any thing that you'd like to use.
    <div class="signaturecontainer">Sing to Him, sing praise to Him;<br />
    tell of all His wonderful acts.<br />
    Psalm105:2<br />
    </div>

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    • #3
      Thanks for the response!

      Harmon it is.

      Since it's a small combo should I use the mute some of the time, all of the time or what? Is there any proper etiquette for this?

      I've always played in volume wars type rock bands, so this sort of thing is way foreign to me.
      <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">Whenever I'm walking home in the dark and afraid that a psycho might attack me, I use reverse psychology and convince myself that I am the psycho. - Rowka</font></div>

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      • #4
        Use the mute as an effect and only use it part of the time. You can use it when there is another instrument doing a solo so as not to over power them ad you can use it during your own solos to change your sound. There is no real proper etiquette that I am aware of other than make the music sound good.

        I would also recomend spending the couple bucks and get a plunger as that will give you an additional sound pallatte to work with plus if the sink backs up at home you've got it covered I'm sure you're smart enough to realize this but simply because I've seen others do it I will remind you to make sure you get the right sized plunger for your cornet. You want the small sink sized rather than the larger toilet sized, which is used for trombones.
        <div class="signaturecontainer">Sing to Him, sing praise to Him;<br />
        tell of all His wonderful acts.<br />
        Psalm105:2<br />
        </div>

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        • #5
          Yeah, I'll be sure to go for a plunger too at some point.

          Thanks for all of the good advice!
          <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">Whenever I'm walking home in the dark and afraid that a psycho might attack me, I use reverse psychology and convince myself that I am the psycho. - Rowka</font></div>

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          • #6
            The Harmon is good advice for the type of music. Use it sparingly. Also make sure you get a good one. Bad ones sound BaaaaaD!

            Either a Denis Wick, Jo Ral or Humes and Berg are the best bet. Preference would be for a Jo Ral bubble mute in Copper - sweet!
            <div class="signaturecontainer">Mike Saville<br />
            <br />
            <a href="http://howtopractice.com" target="_blank">How To Practice</a></div>

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            • #7
              Windy City Mutes bubble mutes are my personal choice for harmons.

              Beyond the harmon and plunger, cup mutes tend to sound a bit better for jazz than most straight mutes.

              I'd also recommend getting a real cornet mouthpiece if you don't have one. Many cornet mouthpieces are just shortened trumpet pieces; and they make cornets sound like trumpets. A deeper, V-shaped cup warms the cornet up a lot and sounds better in small groups than the smaller, bowl-shaped trumpet mouthpieces.
              <div class="signaturecontainer">Play more bass.<br />
              </div>

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              • #8
                Look up the SOULO-MUTE. New concept, neat sound.

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                • #9
                  I'm going to go contrary on the discussion. I wouldn't use Harmon for a trad. jazz/blues setting. A standards ballad? Yes. St James Infirmary? No. For my tastes, you don't get enough horn coming through the Harmon for the style you'll be playing.

                  I'd suggest a Humes & Berg ("the red & white" brand") cup mute. It gives you a warm muted sound with plenty of your horn's character coming through. I also have a Denis Wick adjustable cup mute. With that model, the cup section can be moved tighter or further from the bell to alter the sound, or removed to make a straight mute.

                  Definitely buy a standard issue hardware store plunger. Also consider a Pixie mute to go with it. This is a mini straight mute that fits completely in the bell and is often used with a plunger.

                  Here's a good video to give you some ideas:

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