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Author Topic: Filing Mute Cork?  (Read 1280 times)
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pvh

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« on: Apr 10, 2017, 05:35AM »

I was wondering if anyone had any wisdom regarding filing mute corks. Trumpet payers talk about filing them until the low E “locks”. As I file corks and test the mute periodically as the corks are filed down the way the mute plays certainly changes but I would describe it as a changing set of compromises rather than finding the sweet spot. Are we looking for the same thing trumpet payers are or would the bell size change this, or perhaps shift it to a different note that needs to “lock”?

Thanks
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BazPozaunz
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« Reply #1 on: Apr 10, 2017, 05:59PM »

The only time I ever sand mute corks is when they are so thick or have the incorrect taper to have full contact with the bell. By correcting the angle of the cork surface to match more closely to the bell throat the mute stays in better with less chance of "mute drop" while playing. Fun fact: When ever a mute would fall out during rehearsals with the LA Phil, many in the orchestra would exclaim, "Byron!.." referring to Byron Peebles.
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« Reply #2 on: Apr 22, 2017, 06:51PM »

I am surprised this thread didn't get more comments.  This is something I have been wondering about, too.  I would have guessed that trombonists over the years came up with a theory of what happens when you file corks down a bit.  Is there an advantage to have slightly thinner corks?  And then what happens if you take too much cork off?
  This is not something that gets talked about?...

Thanks in advance for any thoughts from you long-time players!
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kbiggs

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« Reply #3 on: Apr 23, 2017, 09:31AM »

In my very limited experience, corks have to fit the bell so that (a) it doesn't fall out or is too wobbly, (b) isn't so far in that it gets stuck, (c) doesn't affect the intonation too much, and (d) sounds and feels right (appropriate response, or "the sweet spot"). (a) and (b) have to do with the size and shape of the cork and where it is glued onto the mute, while (c) and (d) have to do with playability.

I have forgotten what to do when, that is, whether thicker mute corks tend to make a horn flat or sharp, or conversely whether thinner corks tend to make a horn go flat or sharp. It's easy enough to experiment.

The traditional way to replace and adjust mute corks was to break or file off the old cork to get to a clean surface, use contact cement on the mute and the cork, wait 15-20 minutes for the cement to dry, then place the corks back on the mute, wait for an hour (or overnight) for the cement to truly set, then begin the process of slowly filing down the corks until it sounded good and the intonation was good.

I think Sam Burtis mentioned a few years ago here on TTF that he now uses the sticky back, rubberized cork that you can find in hobby shops. Buy a few different thicknesses, cut out the size and shape from the existing cork, and build up the depth of the cork as you go. The end result is the same, but the process is different. The old way, you file down. Sam's way, you build up.

Another variable that I've never tested: the width or "fatness" of the cork. I've simply replaced corks with the same width. I've never experimented with using a thinner width cork to replace a fatter one, or vice versa. That might also affect the sound and response.
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BazPozaunz
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« Reply #4 on: Apr 24, 2017, 05:37PM »

I addition to my previous comment, I'd like to add that you file corks to "tune" the mute or get it to respond well on as much of the useful range you will be playing with the mute in the bell. I just got a new H&B basic straight that when I played with it I had no usable notes below low A-flat. Above that it was good. After filing a little on each of the three corks I'd play test, and on subsequent tests I'd get a G, G-flat, low F. For what I'm going to be using this for I'm not worried about getting it to respond well in the valve register as I would use a Marcus Bona or other mute for that.

It's best to go slow when sanding corks and testing frequently. If you do "go too far" music stores and repair shops carry replacements, even craft stores that carry some thick sheet cork can be cut to size with a very sharp new razor blade or X-acto knife.
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« Reply #5 on: Apr 25, 2017, 09:32AM »

I just got a new H&B basic straight that when I played with it I had no usable notes below low A-flat. Above that it was good. After filing a little on each of the three corks I'd play test, and on subsequent tests I'd get a G, G-flat, low F. For what I'm going to be using this for I'm not worried about getting it to respond well in the valve register as I would use a Marcus Bona or other mute for that.

I use the same trick as for cup mutes on straight mutes with difficult Ab, G, F and valve register: I drill one or two  small holes, about 3 to 4 mm in the bottom sides, there where both aluminium parts meet. Like the holes in a DW practice mute. Which makes by the way a better straight than the DW striaght, if re-korked as a straight. And this is due to the two holes ... works also well with cup mutes.
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« Reply #6 on: Apr 26, 2017, 12:31PM »

Thanks everyone for the responses. I asked the question because I recently got a beautifully restored Ray Robinson Straight mute. I tried filing the corks down a lot and then had to start over with new corks. Filed down the cork again though only a little bit with the goal of having as much cork as possible left but still have it fit in the bell without any danger of falling out. Seems to be a the best solution for a straight mute on a trombone. I imagine that different solutions would be needed for cup or pixie mutes.
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Paul Von Hoff
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« Reply #7 on: Apr 27, 2017, 03:11AM »

Perhaps this belongs in another thread, but I'm curious about what people do regarding filing mutes to fit, when they have multiple instruments they play on a regular basis?

Do you have separate mutes for each horn?

--Andy in OKC
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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2017, 01:52PM »

Too much trouble to own lots of mutes.  I try and find the best multiple-bell compromise, and live with it. 
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« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2017, 05:12PM »

Perhaps this belongs in another thread, but I'm curious about what people do regarding filing mutes to fit, when they have multiple instruments they play on a regular basis?

Do you have separate mutes for each horn?

--Andy in OKC

Fortunately I only regularly play one bass trombone and all of my small notes are Olds that I play most of the time. All mute modifications seem to carryover their benefits to each horn.
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« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2017, 05:14PM »

Hit post too soon. Forgot I was about to say:

When I played two very different large bores quite often I did use two sets of mutes. And when I switched my main small bore from a King to an Olds I did change my corks accordingly. Only slightly, though.
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« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2017, 03:17AM »

i sell  a special  substance that  when applied to  cork surface  holds  mutes in
============
  tight   cup //  due to different   bell throat   some   fit  the    cup to  a certain bell //say  3b
  there were[are] several adjustable   cup  //the  new  black one is  great    for sure
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i have  been  using  sheet  cork  for the  next generation of  buzz  mutes//the buzzoo// 
successor   to the ''cry  baby''  --i have A  QUANTITY    of cones    //available  //
   and  did  several   cry baby kits    --due to weather  conditions 
 the  process  for the newly designed  buzzoos --- 2 cones-- cut out  moon  unit edge on large cone   
dip  both  size  cones in clear shellac   ---let dry several days 
 spray with  truck undercoating  //ok YOU figure which one works the best
 dry  days   /// spray red inside   cones  ///dry//
  then  another   soak dip in shellac
      using a pattern  loosely cut sheet  cork    for the  fully wrapped around  cork 
  carefully  trim  and fit  //apply adhesive     i  prefer a slower  type glue 
wrap with  special  cloth tape   let dry several  days 
   sand  trim  cork
 assemble with  buzz units   /// decorate  or not
===========================================================================================
 experimental  mutes  development  ///  THE  BAILEY  !!!!!!!!!! 
===========================================================================================
  urbie green is  reported to  have  experimented w  mutes and have a large collection
==========
bill  gibson  has  an amazing   collection
==============
 attempts  --clari-tone  //trump=o=tone   clarinet  and trumpet bells
  trump=o -sizz  ---
----------------------------------------------------------
 3  corks  8 bucks  --you gotta be kidding!!!!!!!
------------
i dont even know   how some people  can turn a door  knob
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« Reply #12 on: Jun 15, 2017, 08:00AM »

I use a rasp to file the cork. Takes a clean cut but leaves a little tooth to the cork. Goes faster so you can finesse the cut better.
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