I bought a mute for my trumpet because I want to practice playing in my dorm.

However, it is not very effective in minimizing the noise I make when I play.

I suspect that it is the pieces of cork that prevent complete obstruction of sound from within the trumpet.

So, will it be okay to detach these pieces of cork so that my mute will fit in more snugly into my trumpet? Or will it just destroy the mute and not lead to any desired results?

Please refer to the attached image (it depicts the 'cork' in my mute).

Trumpet Mute

  • 5
    IIRC there are different types of mutes.. Some are for altering the sound more than quieting it. You might look into "trumpet practice mutes" as they have a better seal for silencing the trumpet.
    – charlie
    Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 1:27
  • 1
    Yeah.. metal on metal is never good. In the link for the homemade mute they talked about using rubber wetherstripping to wrap around the mute and make a good seal with the bell. That might work if you take the cork off.
    – charlie
    Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 1:48
  • 1
    @Thauwa, in a comment below you say your mute is a straight mute. A straight mute and a practice mute are not the same thing. If you want to practice really quietly you need a practice mute, not a straight mute. A straight mute would be used more commonly for performance rather than for practice. Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 13:54
  • 1
    @BobBroadley, thank you. The online store from which I bought the mute from titled their product as a 'Practice Mute'. I realized that it was a Straight Mute only after I Google'd what a Straight Mute was (I was not knowledgeable enough at the time of purchase to distinguish between the different types of mutes by inspecting the product's images). Anyway, I requested to return this mute. Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 18:53
  • @charlie - just to say that if you "make a good seal" then no air will be able to escape from the bell at all and the instrument will be unplayable. Practice mutes let the air escape whilst reducing the audible volume. Commented Jan 5, 2022 at 12:55

5 Answers 5


Those pieces of cork are what's holding the mute inside your trumpet! I wouldn't recommend removing them - unless you only wish to play lying on your back.

Is this a straight mute? You may find a cup mute more effective at muffling your sound - although I'd recommend asking advice on that first. (As Charles mentions, a practice mute with a full ring of cork may be what you're looking for instead - they're a new one on me.) If you're serious about this, you may also want to investigate silent brass systems, which are specifically designed for this sort of thing, but I don't believe they're cheap.

  • Haha thanks! It appears to be a Straight Mute. Hmm I'll consider getting a Cup Mute after some consultation. Are you sure that this mute (without cork) wouldn't fit? It does appear to fit in smoothly, and I can always use some non-destructive adhesive tape to hold it in place. I just want to work on my playing in an affordable way. Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 1:36
  • 1
    If you're prepared to tape it to your trumpet, that may work - but remember if you ever use the mute for gigs, you'll likely need to take it in/out quickly, which won't allow time for taping. If you're looking for a cheap, temporary solution, perhaps you'd be best taping folded paper in between the cork gaps, and seeing if you can create a full seal that way - with out removing anything.
    – Chris
    Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 1:41

I would just like to point out that those corks are there for three reasons. The first is to hold the mute inside your bell, the second is to protect the finish on the inner bell from being scratched by the metal of the mute, or vice-versa. The third and perhaps most important is to allow the air a way of getting out of your horn.

If you look at the other end of your mute, you may notice there is no hole in it. So if you remove the corks, then put the mute in the bell, there will be no way for the air to escape the bell. This would either stop you from playing the horn at all, or you might blast the mute out of the trumpet like an air cannon. ;)

The practice mutes that were mentioned do indeed seal completely around the inside of the bell, but they also have a small hole in the other end to allow for airflow. They are a bit restrictive to play, but they do accomplish the job.

The mute in your picture is a performance mute, and while it makes the sound of your horn a bit "tinny," as you have mentioned it does not really quiet it much. I think in your case what you want is an actual practice mute; Humes & Berg's Stonelined Practice Mute for trumpet is fairly effective and pretty inexpensive.

I would suggest seeing if the store you bought it from will allow you to exchange it.


Sorry to be a wet blanket, but the correct answer is: do NOT practice in the dorm . I speak as a longtime musician who spent countless hours in practice rooms and practice cubes provided by college music departments for exactly that reason. Aside from the fact that, even with a heavy mute, you will annoy other dorm residents, you can't learn an instrument properly if you only practice with a mute.

EDIT: in light of the info provided in the comments about no access to practice rooms, I'm kinda stuck for a better answer. Maybe you can get 'lucky' and find a storage room or laundry room in the dorm basement you could use to practice.


Do yourself the biggest favor and purchase the Yamaha Silent mute. Ether the new $200 model or the old $100 model. Either feels virtually natural, and volume is not an issue. They have microphone pickups in the mute so when you plug the system in, it sounds quite real. As a pro player, this thing has saved me on many occasions. Warming up before gigs is the main one, but being able to practice almost anywhere is the best. Hotel room, dorm, apartment, etc. People can hear it in the same room as a faint whisper.


If you can afford it, do it. You won't regret it.


I would sand it down slighty so that it could go in easier. I exhale air into my bell (fogging up) to help it stay in.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.