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Favorite Cup Mutes


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adagiotrumpet
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheiden wrote:
A properly adjusted H&B Stonelined cup is hard to beat.


For me it was, until I bought a Clary.
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dstpt
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zaferis wrote:
Quote:
I thought the design was ingenious when it first came on the market (late-80s/early-90s?). The Wick and the Harmon J2-A both require the mute to be out of the bell before removing the cup completely (and in effect, turning them into straight mutes).


hmmm, I have never intentionally used these (Denis Wick or other) mutes as straight mutes (unless someone else in the section is without a straight).. I know it's possible but none of these sound anywhere near a good as a true straight mute. So, the problem of "quick change" really is, or shouldn't be an issue - 2 mutes. A DW straight and a DW cup (the adjustment is to have the ability to put it where you want/need - tight mute vs a more open tone, and fitable to more than one trumpet/cornet)

Yeah, using the straight from a DW cup would only be in certain situations. I use my Harmon J2-A as a warm-up mute at gigs. On Christmas Eve, it was the only mute I had with me, but we needed a straight mute for a short 4-bar phrase, so I just used the straight portion from it. Not ideal, but was suitable for the phrase. Most musicals have lots of mute changes, and some are very fast, but normally there's still time to switch actual cup to straight. I was thinking of an extreme situation, where you'd just pull the cup off the straight without removing the mute from the bell...or this could be a lazy man's approach! Ha! The only problem is if a composer or arranger ever sees this as an option, and then we'd all have to have a Soulo cup mute or the like every time we show up for a job!
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Turkle
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I personally hate heavy mutes, as I really dislike their response. So I love the Soulo cup mute, as it is so light and responsive. The tuning is superb as well. It projects really well also so I never have to worry about getting buried by the band. It gives you a nice "ping" when you articulate which I find very attractive for jazz solos. It's always with me on the gig!

I also have a restored Ray Robinson cup mute that is simply miraculous - I love it! Superb pitch, unbeatable tone, great projection at all dynamics. But it's so nice, I don't want to take it on gigs! Who knows what could happen. So that one stays at home, while the Soulo comes out on the town.

Other cup mutes I own:

- Stonelined. I mean, you have to own the industry standard, right?? At least you know you'll never be fired for bringing one on the gig. Mine looks like it's been through several wars.

- MuteMeister. For me, I find the sound pretty dull and it doesn't project like I prefer. I also don't like the pitch very much. It is light, which I like, and the response is quite good. I use it as a practice mute in situations where I can't make a lot of noise.

- Clary Wood Mute. Spectacularly beautiful sound (my girlfriend's favorite mute), and the pitch is good, but I don't like how heavy it is which for me leads to poor response. I think the all-wood construction leads to a great tone but I have to really work to make it project, even in really quiet situations (like a duet with a piano). I think this would be good if you're playing into a mic.

- Shastock Tonalcolor. Frankly, a strange mute, but a nice one to have around. Pitch isn't great, but it has a unique tone. I like the adjustable cup in close, which gives it a very classic jazz sound if you're playing into a mic.

I think that's it. Good luck! Mutes are cheap and fun, buy a bunch and see what you like!
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Tpt_Guy
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Turkel. Heavy mutes are hard on projection and response. I also feel like the horn is constantly falling away.

The Robinson cup is among my favorites. Great pitch and very close to the Humes & Berg cup, with the edge taken off. I have two, though I need to restore for use as either a more open cup sound, or for use on C trumpet. It is currently in pieces.

For me, the Humes & Berg Stonelined cup is the definitive cup sound. I have some of the earlier East Chicago models that feel lighter than the modern productions, have a more matte finish rather than the glossy acrylic look, and they have a decal rather than a sticker. Very different response and sound and better intonation than newer models.

The Shastock Tonalcolor is among my favorites. I haven't noticed any issues with pitch, but if I'm playing with someone using another brand, differences in timbre can give an illusion of intonation issues. Because the timbre is unique, I have difficulty finding use for it.

I have a Wick cup. For me it produces a very neutral, almost bland sound. I use it when I need to blend with strings and not stick out, or if the rest of the section is using them.

I haven't had a chance to try a Clary or MuteMeister. The Clary is intriguing and sounds great in the clips on the website, but I just can't get behind the almost checkerboard look. Call me shallow, I guess. I haven't been impressed with recordings I've heard of the MuteMeister cup. It sounds nice, but not nice enough to make me want to ditch my Robinson. I feel the same about the Soulo - it sounds nice, but I don't feel like it's better than anything I already have. I also tried the TrumCor Classical cup. That one sounded nice, was responsive, and was incredibly lightweight.

The Clary Solotone is one I would buy despite the checkerboard look. It sounds phenomenal.
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RogerIngram
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ed Kennedy wrote:
I'll add:
Ingram-Mute Meister cup, copy of the original Ray Robinson cup mute, made by Warburton.

Roger Ingram:

http://www.warburton-usa.com/index.php/woody-mutes cups at 4:32


Actually, the Mute Meister Cup mute I designed (manufactured and distributed by Warburton) in NOT supposed to be a copy of the iconic Ray Robinson mute. Granted, cosmetically is has a similar look to the original Ray Robinson mute, but it has it's own unique sound altogether. Here is the description from my MuteMeister.com website:

"Our new Cup Mute brings together the best acoustic qualities from both the 1930s Ray Robinson cup mute and the 1940s Shastock Tonalcolor cup mute. We line the cup with a solid piece of felt, as was done with the original Ray Robinson mute. However, like the Shastock Tonalcolor and unlike the Ray Robinson Cup Mute, there are no rivets used in the manufacture of the cone or cup; this enhances resonance. After extensive testing, we settled upon the most responsive thickness for the cup mute's wooden resonator."

Thanks,
Roger
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HERMOKIWI
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not surprised that the Humes & Berg adjustable copper cup mute isn't getting any votes here. The weight of it is daunting and unless you play a heavy trumpet it makes things very bell heavy. The weight also doesn't facilitate quick changes so this is not an ideal mute for use in section playing.

In my case I use it in an Adams A8, which is already a very heavy trumpet, so it doesn't make the horn feel bell heavy. Also, I use it only for solo work in small group jazz improvisation. It's the richest sounding cup mute I've ever played.

For section work in a big band I don't have any specific preference. I have a conventional Humes & Berg cup mute, a Humes & Berg Mic-A-Mute and a Denis Wick aluminum adjustable cup mute. The idea in section work is to blend with the section so your sound is not individually distinguishable. These three mutes all serve that purpose well.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crazy Finn wrote:
Can you compare this mute to the Wick, if you're familiar with that one?

dstpt wrote:
Back to the Wick and Harmon comparison: I like both. The Harmon is aluminum and attains more “point” to the sound, or brighter, or more out-front, or however you’d want to put that. In that respect, it’s easier to be heard as a soloist over thicker orchestration, and it’s easier to match those using H&B Stonelined cups. And again you can use the felt insert to achieve the additional muted color. The Wick is made of fiber-type material (I presume) and gets a slightly more subdued/masked/veiled quality, and seems to be further from the traditional H&B Stonelined on the tonal spectrum. I became more progressive in my tonal preference when the Wick arrived on the scene, since it offered a new, refreshing color, plus the adjustable cup could offer an array of additional colors. How cool is that?! Traditionally, the Stonelined could be pushed a little further into the bell for when composers/arrangers would designate “tight cup,” but the basic sound of the H&B has always annoyed me.

Thanks for your thoughts. A couple of notes:

- The Wick Adjustable Cup is aluminum. It's not fiber. The straight portion is painted or coated or whatever, but it's aluminum as is the cup.

- Soulo tweaked their cup so the cup can only be removed from the top of the mute rather than the mute. It's far more annoying to grap the mute from your horn and have the cup come off and not the whole mute. I didn't think the straight portion of the cup mute made a very usable straight, so to me this is an improvement, not a feature loss.

Anyway, thank you for your thoughts on the Harmon adjustable mute. I didn't know these existed, but now I do. From your description, I'm not sure it's cup mute color I really need, but I'll keep it in mind. The thought of having a HB-like cup that's adjustable is nice. I really don't feel the Wick matches those particularly well, and frankly, while it responds so nicely evenly and plays in tune, I don't really love the tone of the Wick all that much. It just works, though and I can adjust it to fit any of my trumpet, a tight cup or a open cup and it all works great for that.
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lukeypoo
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheiden wrote:
A properly adjusted H&B Stonelined cup is hard to beat.


I bought a H&B shortly before I started this thread, and liked the sound, but didn't know how to accommodate the "tight cup" note. Would adjusting it mean cutting the corks, to make it a constant tight cup? Or is it as simple as pushing the mute in further?
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lukeypoo wrote:
cheiden wrote:
A properly adjusted H&B Stonelined cup is hard to beat.


I bought a H&B shortly before I started this thread, and liked the sound, but didn't know how to accommodate the "tight cup" note. Would adjusting it mean cutting the corks, to make it a constant tight cup? Or is it as simple as pushing the mute in further?

The corks on the H&B cup mute (well, any H&B mute with corks, not sheet cork like a harmon) are too big. The mute sticks out too far. That results in a sound that's too open and intonation that's not great. You can either...

- Wait a decade or more until the corks compress so much that it fits better. This is what I did, because I didn't know any better.

- File the corks to fit. The mute actually says this on there.

Here's a good video on this subject:


Link

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dstpt
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crazy Finn wrote:
...The corks on the H&B cup mute (well, any H&B mute with corks, not sheet cork like a harmon) are too big. The mute sticks out too far. That results in a sound that's too open and intonation that's not great. You can either...

- Wait a decade or more until the corks compress so much that it fits better. This is what I did, because I didn't know any better.

- File the corks to fit....

Or...buy a trumpet with a bigger bell throat! That's what I did! Seemed like a good excuse to pose to my wife that I really needed that new trumpet! Hahahahaha!!!!
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The unmodified H&B cups I've had always leave the cup more than an inch from the bell which produces a louder sound but one that halfway to the sound of a straight. I found a really course file that took the cork down pretty quickly. I prefer to trim mine so that the cup nearly touches the bell making for a much more characteristic tone. On the occasions that I need a louder or more open sound I just unseat the mute and hold it a bit further away from the bell.
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the video in Crazy Finn's post, the tech makes a good point about intonation. I've always been concerned with sound only and just took for granted that I'd need to pull the tuning slide out with the mute.
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adagiotrumpet
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a teacher years ago who was a veteran big band lead player who suggested that I take a regular Stoneline cup mute and cut back the outer rim of the the cup portion, removing the scalloped edges and filing the corks so that the mute almost touches the bell to improve the sound. I have been doing that ever since for the last 45 years.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kehaulani wrote:
On the video in Crazy Finn's post, the tech makes a good point about intonation. I've always been concerned with sound only and just took for granted that I'd need to pull the tuning slide out with the mute.

Me too.
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RandyTX
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roger Ingram included a neat little 'flyer' with the packaging with the restored Ray Robinson cup I got from him. It covered cork adjustment for intonation in a way I'd never read before, yet it worked perfectly.

I've used the same approach on a lot of different mutes since. Only drawback is probably a fair number of people don't want their mutes set up for a specific trumpet/bell profile.

You can probably guess what my favorite cup is from the above. Second choice would be the old faithful H&B. (I have two, my father's from somewhere in the early 50's, which sounds decidedly better than the newer one I purchased maybe 10 years ago).

Absolutely can't stand the sound of the Wick, but I sometimes have to use it in a section.
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