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brass plated mute

Discussion in 'Ask Patrick Neher [Archive]' started by dobby, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. dobby


    Sep 25, 2008
    Savannah GA.
    Hi , I have an old bass mute that has 3 prongs and looks like it's made of brass.
    It has a hole near the top center about 1/2 inch wide.
    I aquired it from my old friend and mentor who passed away in 2008. It's surely an antique.
    I recently tried using it for bowing and found an unbeleiveable tone change! The lows were ALOT Louder and my bass just seemed to sound so much sweeter.
    I tried it using pizz and found the tone producing what seem's like a hundred sweet spots on the finger board. I thought a mute was only to quiet the instument but I have discovered that it makes mine sing.
    I thought it was a solid peice of metal but when it came apart in two pieces I saw the lead solder that had been holding it together.
    I kept forcing the mute onto my bridge when it would slip off while playing.
    I took it to a jeweler who of course had never seen one and he laser welded the outside edge which didn't last so now he has it again and will try a different type of repair.
    I cant find a picture anywhere on the internet "I could post one later If you would like" or anyone who sells them.
    Anything that you could tell me about this would be greatfully appreciated.
    Thanks , Dobby Simmons.
  2. PNeher


    Mar 31, 2005
    Bellingham, WA
    What you have there is an old practice mute. They are designed for apartment playing where your neighbors cannot stand to hear you practice. They were produced in the late 1930's through the 1960's. It is most definitely an antique (Antique Road Show anyone?) and rather rare to see these days. It does almost completely obliterate the upper frequencies of your sound production, leaving mostly fundamental, this is why is SOUNDS like the bass is louder but duller. Actual decibels are likely reduced in all frequencies. You should sound less loud and less volumous at the same time. It is also a great way to practice your orchestral music while your living partner(s) are trying to sleep; sounding like the rumble of trucks at a distance (for many, a rather soporifying catalyst)!
    Hold on to it... you may need it someday!
    Patrick ;)
  3. dobby


    Sep 25, 2008
    Savannah GA.
    Thank you , I just picked it up from the jewelers . This time they placed 2 rivots throught the body.
    You cant even tell it's been repaired.
    I would love to find another one for sure , I guess I will keep looking and enjoy this one If it holds together.

    Thanks for your reply , Dobby Simmons.
  4. dobby


    Sep 25, 2008
    Savannah GA.

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