Orchestral Straight Mutes : ‘The London’ & ‘The Berlin’
Background – The brainchild of former professional trumpeter Tony Hawkins, these mutes were developed over several years and eventually launched in 2022. Having played most available mutes, Tony realised there was an opportunity for a more mellow timbre, that would be pleasing to listen to, whilst still clearly being a straight mute sound. There is an ever-growing catalogue of models available, but this review will focus on the two orchestral straight mutes, ‘The London’ and ‘The Berlin’.
Intonation – On both Bb and C, the intonation is completely unchanged from playing open. Dare I say it, but D, D#, E at the top of the staff are better in tune than playing open! Low C blows with centre and resonance, without the need to adjust it downwards that is almost second nature to us, especially if playing orchestral 2nd trumpet.
Timbre – This is genuinely a unique sound, bridging the gap between the edgier metal mutes and the soft timbre of wood and fibre. There is a depth to the sound that you just don’t get from any of these options, with warmth, resonance and overtones. The Berlin model has more openness of sound and feel than The London, particularly in the middle and lower registers – there is barely any noticeable difference in resistance from playing open which is quite extraordinary.There is also a certain character to the sound, reminiscent of some vintage orchestral straight mutes of the past. The open feel allows for seamless legato playing, without any of the bulges that sometimes creep into our mute work. This is the case with both The London and The Berlin.
Aesthetic – Perhaps the least important factor to most players in selecting a mute, but it looks spectacular. Its angular design catches the eye immediately; however, it is not all for aesthetic benefit. The design results in cleaner notes and articulation by eliminating standing wave reflection.
Summary – These mutes provide genuine value to a trumpeter’s toolkit. Playability is exceptional, sound is different to anything else available, and they are indestructible!
Sign up here for new blog articles emailed direct to your inbox: