Top 10 Best Trombone Mutes for Practice and Performance
The best trombone mutes are durable, lightweight and affordable. There are many different styles of trombone mutes which are designed to alter the sound produced: by affecting the timbre (or "tone"), reducing the volume, or most commonly both.
Here we take a look at the four most popular types of mutes used in performances including the cup mute, bucket mute, straight mute and plunger mute.
We also review practice mutes which are designed to reduce the noise levels considerably, making it ideal if the musician cannot make it to a practice space and does not want to bother family members or neighbors with their loud practice sessions.
A Review of the Best Trombone Mutes including Cup, Bucket, Straight, Plunger and Practices Mutes
Best Trombone Practice Mutes
When looking for a good practice mute, you will want to take into consideration the sound attenuation, pitch accuracy, resistance, weight and balance, the materials, and the convenience. You do not want to use a mute that could subsequently damage your instrument or create any bad feedback while playing.
Pro Tec ML204 Liberty Tenor Trombone Compact Aluminum Practice Mute
The Pro Tec mute is made of high-quality aluminum materials for durable construction. It is an affordable example of a practice trombone mute that does not lack in sound quality or performance.
- Long-lasting cork
- Affordably priced
- Can be stored inside the bell
- Great for traveling
- Perfect for warm-ups
- Some reported damage after storing the mute in the bell
- Resistance and pitch are different from open horn
- Too compact for some tenor trombones
Denis Wick DW5527 Trombone Practice Mute
The Denis Wick Practice Mute is a useful teaching aid and improves the tone quality by opening the throat spaces by playing loudly in lower registers. There should be no deficiency in pitch or intonation, and there is not much resistance. It is ideal for younger players who are beginning to learn and understand their instrument.
- All aluminum construction
- Black finish
- Improved intonation in lower registers
- Great volume reduction
- Can be used for teaching or practice
- Some cork began to fall off the mute
- Some reported a bit too much resistance
- It has more weight to it
- It is on the larger side
Best Trombone Bucket Mutes
Unlike practice mutes, bucket mutes do not use any cork in their design. Instead, it clips onto the outside of the bell with three large spring clips. These mutes tend to be made from cheaper materials such as cardboard and uses cotton to muffle the sounds of the instrument.
Humes & Berg 160A Trombone Bucket Mute
The Humes & Berg Trombone Mute is a bucket mute that boasts of full open sounds and takes the edge off open brass. They are designed to be in tune and provide easy blowing to maintain a consistently professional sound.
- Stone-lined velvet-tone tenor
- Great for section or solo work
- Easy blowing various tonal colors
- Stays in tune
- Affordable and economical
- Metal clips can be easily bent
- Difficult to put on and take off
- Rubber feet can dry out and scratch your instrument
Soulo SM5800 Tenor Trombone Bucket Mute
The Soulo Tenor Trombone Bucket Mute has two different adjustable positions to produce different color sounds. They are lightweight and boasts of unbreakable clips. It is ideal for performances and sound recordings and will not fall off of the instrument. Finally, it can be used on top of other mutes.
- Extremely lightweight
- 2 Adjustable positions
- Unbreakable clips
- Perfect pitch
- Clear and focused sound
- Not quick to put on
- Tabs on hook could be a bit longer
- Carrying bag for protection is recommended
Best Trombone Cup Mutes
Cup mutes are also made primarily of cardboard but can also be made of aluminum and is a straight mute that has a cup on the end of it. It has rounded edges that wrap around the lip of the cup, and this is what allows the air to escape out of the bell. It produces a softer and more muffled sound.
Tom Crown 30TTCUP T-Bone Trombone Cup Mute
The Tom Crown Trombone Cup Mute offers dynamic range, intonation, and an open feel. It is made of aluminum construction and is ideal for a variety of different players from beginner to professional. Tom Crown backs their products and boasts of being one of the finest mute craftsmen available.
- Dynamic range
- All-aluminum construction
- Open feel
- Great projection
- Produces a unique and powerful sound
- Can dent easily if not properly stored
- Cork might be a bit too thick
- More expensive option
- A bit heavier than other mutes
Bach 1863 Trombone Cup Mute
The Bach Trombone Cup Mute is constructed from high-impact polyethylene (plastic) and is an affordable and durable cup mute option for trombone players. Each mute is designed with quality, superior performance, and precise acoustic detail in mind.
- High-impact polyethylene
- Excellent tone
- Great volume reduction
- Does not fit properly in some trombones
- Can sometimes make a buzzing sound
Best Trombone Straight Mutes
Straight mutes can be made from cardboard, aluminum, or wood. They are shaped like a cone with a small open end that goes inside of the bell, and the larger end is outside. They are held in the bell by three pieces of cork. Depending on the materials used in their construction, straight mute scan make a stuffy sound or a piercing, brighter sound.
Humes and Berg Stonelined Pixie Straight Aluminum Black Trombone Mute
The Humes and Berg Straight Mute is also known as the “pocket mute.” and can be used in combination with a plunger mute. It is made of aluminum and is stonelined.
- Aluminum construction
- Black finish
- Economical and affordable
- Stonelined pixie
- Must be maintained or corks may fall off
- Plays best when kept in its tenor range
Best Trombone Plunger Mutes
Plunger mutes do not attach to the instrument. Instead, it is simply held by the player in their hand and resembles a bathroom plunger. It is used to cover and uncover the bell to make a distinctive “wah-wah” sound.
Mutec MHT260 Trombone Plunger Mute
The Mutec Plunger Mute is made of black rubber and has a matte finish. The Mutec Plunger Mute can produce that classic “wah-wah” sound that many trombone players love and is designed to fit your fingers.
- Black matte finish for a more professional look
- High-quality rubber construction
- Excellent intonation in all registers
- Perfect size for ease of use and grip
- A little more expensive than other plunger mute options
Humes & Berg Stonelined Rubber Plunger Trombone Mute
The Humes & Berg Plunger Mute has a special front-end holder that produces a great “wah-wah” sound. It is made of red and white rubber and includes a finger holder at the top to help produce the best sound.
- Classic red and white colors
- Good quality rubber material
- Great intonation
- Conveniently placed finger holder
- More expensive option
- Doesn’t reduce sound
Be sure to check out the BIG Trombone Buyer's Guide for reviews of other essential trombone accessories.