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Do you use a mute?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
Katie M

December 11, 2020 - 5:36 pm
Member Since: December 8, 2020
Forum Posts: 467
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I’d like to know if any of you use a violin mute? I really like mine and much prefer having it on when I play. I prefer the sound! But I’m thinking maybe if my sound improves I will like the sound better without the mute! At the moment I’m thinking of others who might be able to hear me so I’m keeping it on! I’ve just put some new strings on and I think they have improved things!Also to be honest I can’t tell that. It’s just without my mute it’s so loud! Maybe I’m just used to the mute now?

Hmmm would really like to know your thoughts.







December 11, 2020 - 6:28 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 3891
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I like mutes. It does give a different sound. You will get comments about it hurts your intonation, etc. It is personal choice and a circumstance choice. As far as I am concerned, if using a mute allows you to play without feeling like you have to hold back, then it is worth it. 

If without a mute, you will hold back, the mute is a good option. Whatever lets you play as you want to play without inhibitions and open up, is a great tool. 

The Bumblebee Flies!


December 12, 2020 - 12:23 am
Member Since: September 30, 2014
Forum Posts: 1630
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I have never felt using a mute hurt my ability to hear if I was in tune or not, I know some people do, but if playing with a mute helps you, then play with a mute.

I know that my wife wishes that I would played with a mute all the timeviolin-1267



Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons


December 12, 2020 - 9:32 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 4437
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@Katie M -

Hmm Thinking Here Smiley

I'm of the mindset you shouldn't do anything artificial to alter the sound of your instrument, while learning.   

I think you'll learn to play better, in less time - if you can clearly hear exactly how you sound. 

Now, "I" don't consider rosins, strings, bows or even bow-hair tension to be artificial ways of altering sound.  They are just a crucial part of your instrument - all areas to explore (down the road) to help make your violin sing the way you want (there's many threads here on these subjects). 

Maybe, once you become proficient in your skills, then go for it - plug in the amp, adjust anything you want electronically... or use a mute so you can freely practice with less volume! 

When I look at the big picture, asking everyone to have a little understanding, tolerance and support for a beginner's 1st year is a small price to pay for the many years of enjoyment to follow. 

I've learned to play softly when I need to be respectful of others.

...earplugs make great stocking stuffers! (lol)



- Emily


December 12, 2020 - 10:43 am
Member Since: June 24, 2020
Forum Posts: 767
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When I started playing, I used a mute all the time—I think the same one you’re using, by the looks of it.  Like you, I thought the same thing about the volume—not so much that others would hear it, but that it just seemed so loud. 

I went to a strings camp, and it was literally the first time I played any significant amount of time without it.  It sounded very strange to me.  I realized I had become too accustomed to the sound with the mute on, and started to practice without it.  It did not take me long to get used to it.

A mute can muffle mistakes, so you may not be hearing everything.  It will likely affect how your bow stroke develops as well.  You really need to hear the full sound of your instrument under your ear to help you develop your playing. 

I definitely understand your concern for volume because of those around you.  If you can maybe practice where/when this may not be so much of a concern, it will be benefit you in the long run.

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

December 12, 2020 - 11:34 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 3891
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Just  note. There are threads about this, but I will pop it in here, too. I would suggest earplugs, at least when not using a mute. There are some very good reusable ones that do not affect the sound, or just minimally. You could get the ear ringing issue. I have it a little, and it is all day and night. It won’t go away once you get it. Never had it before I did violin. I use those foamy things and discard them after each use. I did buy the more expensive ones, but these work better for me. Just a tip.

That violin or viola is right next to your ears. If you think it will bother you, at least put one in your left ear, if you are right handed. This will not go away once you get it. This is also always a debate, but as I keep saying, it is up to the individual person. If you never developed it, or haven’t yet, that is good, but I and others have from playing the violin and viola. Personally, I wish I had known about this issue when I picked up a violin. I miss the quiet solitude. 

I use them when I do my cello, too, because my newest cello is very boisterous and I am in my livingroom and the sound is quite loud. 

The Bumblebee Flies!

December 26, 2020 - 7:26 pm
Member Since: December 27, 2019
Forum Posts: 81
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 I never noticed a mute causing intonation issues for myself, but I do think practicing with one all of the time really hindered the quality of sound I was producing.  I do use a musician's earplug in my left ear though at times.

Sacramento, California

December 26, 2020 - 7:48 pm
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 1379
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I haven't heard of mutes causing intonation issues, but they do change the way you feel the bow on the string, and if you practice with one all the time you will bow differently. As long as other people aren't objecting, it's probably better to practice without a mute, using an earplug in your left ear if the sound is too loud under your ear.

Gordon Shumway
London, England
Pro advisor

August 9, 2021 - 10:53 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 1961
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I don't have a view on practising with or without mutes. Usually I practise without. Yehudi Menuhin, to my surprise, swears by practice with mutes. That's not to say I disagree with Andrew - Yehudi could be a bit of a loony at times!

But those beginners whose tone is a bit weedy and haven't yet got used to how much bow pressure to apply, I've just been having a go at Charles Ives with a heavy rubber practice mute, and the difference is very interesting.

You can really hammer your instrument fortissimo and make it sound like a cello, and I think it might be good exercise for those people who, as I say, have a weedy tone and need to build their confidence.


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