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I finally (procrastinator me) put a 2-hole Tourte mute on my axe, and noticed that if I leave it below the bridge but seated on the II and III strings, it modifies the sound compared with a fully-open string setup. I know lots (well, some, anyway :- ) of cellists leave their mute on the strings but as close to the tailpiece as possible. I'm stuck for the moment because I use a relatively large wolf eliminator and the mute can't slide past it.

I'm considering cutting away part of the mute so it can in fact pass by the wolf eliminator; just wondering if this is inadvisable. Granted, mutes are dirt cheap so it's no big loss if I have to get another, but I'd like some advice from anyone who's played around with mute positions.

  • Would you care to share the type/make/brand of your wolf eliminator ? – ogerard Jan 5 '15 at 12:50
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    @ogerard Sadly, I forget -- it's approx 1cm long cylinder w/ softrubber interior and metal 'jacket' with a set screw to clamp in in place on the string. It's similar to, but less bulky than, this one at Shar: sharmusic.com/Accessories/Misc/… – Carl Witthoft Jan 5 '15 at 14:02
  • just my 2 cents: experience with these wolf eliminators is that their efficiency and accuracy diminish with time, use and weather, and after each new string change as the ruber ages. – ogerard Jan 5 '15 at 14:49
  • Another idea : have you tried to stick the mute under the side of the tailpiece, near the bottom nut. It will probably mute and change the sound, with different effect depending on the side of the tailpiece you use, as well as being less easy to retrieve, but it might be fun to make the experiment. – ogerard Jan 5 '15 at 14:54
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I have no simple solution to this problem.

Most cellists I know keep their mute on the strings for their orchestra cello, usually close to the tailpiece, were the effect is minimum. Of course, having a large wolf-eliminator blocks this possibility, as you describe, because you have to remove it from the strings and then put it back on the bridge.

But, unless your wolf eliminator is difficult to put on and remove, you may have noticed that it modifies your sound too, and in a larger measure probably than the mute does. In fact, your mute below the bridge might be just adding a little weight to the eliminator, muffling certain notes even more.

An ironic thing is that I have seen at least one cellist using a modified loaded Tourte mute as an adjustable wolf-eliminator.

I don't know if your wolf-eliminator has been installed by a luthier, and different cellos have different needs and response to a given model, but there has been progress on cello-wolf-eliminators such as the lup-x model (which is small and not intrusive), the new harmony (very easy to put on or off) or the new magnetic (and sadly, expensive) krentz and rexz, which are not installed on the strings but on the body of the cello itself (so it would solve your problem).

Unless you play in orchestra passages with frequent use and removal of the mute, you might simply go for storing it near your rosin cake, put it on the partition holder and grab it when needed, but you don't need me to tell you that.

  • Thanks -- the engineer side of me can't wait to experiment with different wolf eliminators! :-) – Carl Witthoft Jan 6 '15 at 13:12
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You only need the Tourte style mute for music that requires very quick muting and unmuting. For most music you can get away with using the other kind of mute:

mute

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