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[sound of scratchy old record]

[jazz music plays on vintage stereo and gradually fades out]

Hi folks, so I wanted to talk today about the mutes I use when playing early jazz

and blues music. If you're just getting started playing this music you may be

eager to build your mute arsenal and I wanted to talk you through some of the

mutes that are out there and which may appear most useful on the bandstand.

I think a great place to start is with these metal Conn mutes they seem to have

been something of a staple during the 1920s and are associated today with great

musicians such as King Oliver. They can be used as regular straight mutes but

also employed to great effect using a half hand technique--your remaining

fingers creating a wah-wah effect. [trumpet effect]

Although these mutes used to come free with Conn instruments they can be a

little hard to find these days and a modern-day pixie mute can serve as a

good substitute until you can find a vintage piece for a good price.

The Conn metal mutes can be used in conjunction with the plunger. This is a

popular way to mimic that iconic Bubber Miley sound you hear in those early

Ellington records or even that terrific sound that Muggsy Spanier

achieves a little later on. [trumpet effect] Now I would advise against spending any real money

on a plunger, just go to your local hardware store and pick one up for a few

bucks. Next up it's a great idea to have a Harmon or wow wow mute in your collection

if you're wanting to play the group that uses written arrangements you'll most

likely find that this is going to be useful.

Many twenties arrangements do have arranged wah-wah parts but these are

also used for sweet passages. [trumpet effect]

So next up we have the hats or Derby mutes. Now this mute honestly is not

super vital on most gigs but if you are wanting to play original 1920s and 30s

arrangements you'll find that this mute pops up over and over again. Honestly I

think if a bandleader expects this mute to be used they should probably

provide it themselves. But I will say that having one in your collection can be a

lot of fun! There's lots of great effects you can get with one. [trumpet effect] Obviously this

aluminum style is the iconic look, but they can be expensive and hard to find

so until you can find a good price on one a modern-day equivalent will work

just fine or even a vintage bowler hat. The cup mute doesn't seem to appear in

very early jazz but certainly by the 1930s styles you're going to want to

have one of these. I personally love these Shastock cup mutes with the

adjustable cup you can get a whole bunch of different tones out of it [trumpet effect]

and honestly on some gigs I will just bring this mute and use it as the Swiss Army

mute. I can have a plunger effect and a straight mute, as well as the cup mute.

But once again, these vintage models can be hard to find for a good price so keep

looking and in the meantime a modern-day cup mute will serve just fine.

It's a great idea to have a straight mute in your collection even if you have a Conn

metal mute. These wooden and fiber mutes do offer a different tone and if you can

find a vintage piece made of especially thin materials

you won't be disappointed with the effect. And finally we have the solotone

mute now this serves a very similar function to the

Harmon mute with its wow-wow capabilities but being made of different

materials it does offer a different tone and some charts do call for them. [trumpet effect]

I use this Shastock brand solotone because I think they sound terrific.

I really recommend looking out for one but once again they can be very

expensive and you might be looking for a long time to find a good price. So in the

meantime once again a modern-day equivalent will work just fine. Before I

wrap up let's look at a couple of honourable mentions.

So first we have the megaphone this was used in 1920s dance bands to create a

particularly unique and dreamy effect especially when used with the trombone. [trombone effect]

I don't have an original bandstand megaphone but I've riggeded up this

cheerleader's megaphone and it seems to do the trick. Then there is the kazoo

mute. Used in the early 20s as a novelty effect, this is literally just a kazoo

inserted in the end of a regular mute. So I rigged myself one up just for fun. [trumpet effect]

Finally, it is worth investing in a good mute holder especially if you're going

to be playing arrangements that may require speedy mute changes. I love this

vintage one as it folds away and fits very easily in my trumpet case.

So, that's it for today I hope you've enjoyed this video or found it useful if you have

done please do like and subscribe. [jazz music fades out]

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