How to make a “silent” trumpet practice mute

If you play trumpet, it’s very likely that you’ve wished for a way to practice your music just like you’ll play it in your orchestra/band/ensemble/etc. without getting complaints from your family…or worse, your neighbors. Many commercial options exist to fill this need – the Brass Spa Practice Mute and Yamaha’s Silent Brass, among others. These are great products, but they carry prices ranging from $25-$160. How would you like to make something nearly as good for less than two bucks?

I’ll defer to Jim Donaldson (of Schilke Loyalist and Trumpet Gearhead fame) for the core instructions, but here is the quick take:

1. Buy a Renuzit air freshener. Be sure to pick a scent you like.

2. Enjoy it in your home for a few weeks. If you’re impatient or need your mute now, you can skip this step.

3. Open the air freshener and wash out the remaining scented material. This may require soaking if you did step 2.

4. Remove the “plug” at the top and press/drill a small hole in it.

5. Put the top and bottom together.

6. Wrap cork or weatherstripping around the top. I used weatherstripping, and it seems to hold up best if you cut the ends at an angle where they meet…like ____/  and /____.

7. Put sound-deadening material inside, if desired. I find this unnecessary, but YMMV.

8. Optionally put the “plug” in the top of the assembled mute. I have tried it both ways and leave mine out.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a couple to show the finished – and well-used – final product.

Between the air freshener and the weatherstripping, your total cost to make this “silent” practice mute comes to under $2.00. If you use the air freshener for its original purpose first, the mute is effectively free! Now, wouldn’t you rather put that money against a new mouthpiece? :-)

For any other “gearheads” out there, here is a performance comparison that shows how your new Renuzit mute stacks up against several commercially-made practice mutes. What do you think? Good enough? Leave a comment and let us know!

Keep playing,

Mark

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