How can I reproduce the muted trumpet sound of Dizzy Gillespie's that can be heard in many of the early bebop recordings together with Charlie Parker?

I believe he was using a cup mute, but is the material and/or other properties of the mute relevant? What do I need to emulate this sound?

Here are some listening examples with the sound I'm asking about:
* Bloomdido (Melody plus solo @1:26)
* Mohawk (Melody plus solo @1:48)
* Groovin' High (Melody plus solo at @1:34)


1 Answer 1


Bobby Shew names a mute made in Sweden (how ironic, given your name) in the following words:

There is a company in Sweden that makes the Dizzy Gillespie model mutes which, when you can find them, are worth purchasing although very expensive. The cup in this set is made of a white plastic and separates into two pieces, one of which looks like a straight mute and which could be used as one, and another piece which is similar to a plunger which snaps over the end of the straight to form a cup. It has a surprisingly good sound for being plastic. It lacks the hard, brittle quality which makes the metal mute undesirable,


People at thetrumpetherald seem to think the brand name is Ullven: http://www.trumpetherald.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=396166&sid=54cff5da7758ec3fd70599160a0101bf

They don't seem to be in business anymore, and I am not even sure that that is the model Gillespie actually uses.

Bobby Shew seems to like the Humes & Berg MIC-A-MUTE,

which is the same as the basic cup with a rubber ring around the edge of the cup to control the seal or space near the bell of the horn. This mute also has a soft fuzzy material covering the inside of the cup area, the purpose of which is to soften the "wooden" hardness of the sound of the regular cup.

I believe this could be the best you can aim for?


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