The best French Horn mute can revolutionise your playing experience.
No – seriously! French Horns are (just like all brass instruments) pretty loud in terms of volume. A characteristic that can make practicing them somewhat of an awkward experience. Let’s just say that if you don’t live alone, putting in hours you need to improve is going to cause a lot of headaches. Not to mention cause any relationship you have with your neighbours to fray.
So this beggars the question, how do French Hornists practice without wracking up a long list of noise complaints? Answer: they use a French Horn practice mute. A nifty little device that slides inside the bell of the horn and works to lower its volume considerably. However, that’s not the job of every mute. A regular French Horn mute is actually used to sculpt the sound, making it more sharp and brassy. Musicians call this altering the timbre of the horn.
So as you can imagine, before searching for the best French Horn mute, you first need to understand what type of mute you need + what to look for. Even for the most rampant music fanatics or professional hornists, choosing the right mute can be quite a humdinger. Hence why we’ve done the legwork for you, and picked out what we believe to be the best French horn mutes for both practice and performance. Sounds like your cup of tea? Read on for our full rundown!
After something specific about how do you mute a French Horn? Or just curious as to what we think is the best French Horn mutes for sale today? Use the menu below to get the answers you need in 1 click…
The best French Horn mutes @ a glance…
15 of the Best French Horn Mutes You Can Buy
SPOILER: French horn mutes come in all shapes, sizes & are made from all kinds of materials. Go on to factor in all the various different brands + the fact that no 2 mutes are the same shape, & finding the best French horn mute for your situation suddenly seems a LOT harder than it sounds.
But no matter, because we’ve done the majority of the work for you. Simply read on to discover what we think is the best French horn mute for you & your situation… you can thank us later!
Best practice mutes for French horn
If you’re looking to dampen the sound of your French horn as much as possible, then you’ll need a practice mute. Here’s just a few to consider…
1: Yamaha Silent Brass French Horn Mute
2: Pampet Practice Mute for French Horn
3: Humes & Berg Stonelined Practice French Horn Mute
4: Bremner SshhMute French Horn Practice Mute
5: Protec ML205 Liberty French Horn Practice Mute
6: Denis Wick DW5530 French Horn Practice Mute
Best straight mute for French horn
Looking to cut out a lot of your horn’s low overtones & brighten your sound? If so, then a straight mute is probably all you need. Ask us & if you’re going to invest in just 1 French horn mute, this should be it…
7: Denis Wick Wooden Tunable Straight Mute
8: Jo Ral Copper French Horn Mute
9: Denis Wick DW5524 French Horn Straight Mute
Best French horn stop mutes
If you’re commonly playing large stop passages & would rather focus more on your actual playing than stopping the horn with your hand, then a stop mute would be ideal. There’s few better (& simpler) ways to stop a horn & remain in tune…
10: Tom Crown 30 FH Brass French Horn Stop Mute
11: Denis Wick DW5525 stopping mute
12: Jo Ral Transposing horn mute
13: Stagg MHR-S3A mute
Best Wow-Wow mute for French horn
Okay, so while Wow-Wow mutes aren’t technically designed for French horns – most are designed for trumpets – a good amount of them do function surprisingly well. A Wow-Wow mute enables you to create some proper unique (slightly more jazzy) sounds. The best of the bunch (& coincidentally, most popular) being this pick from Harmon…
Which French horn mute performs the best? Our editor’s choice…
Deciding on the best French horn mute is not easy. And that’s because a large part of it actually comes back to who you are.
Because as you’ve probably gathered throughout this blog, not everyone’s after the same thing from their French horn mute. For some, it’s about trying to drown out as much sound as possible, while for others it’s more about refining the sound or making the horn that bit more playable in a certain space. Equally, budget & build quality also play a part too.
So to just claim that one French horn mute is the best, seemed to us a bit… unhelpful. Exactly why our verdict as to what is the best French horn mute, is a bit more broad. Therefore, in the case you’re after the best practice mute, we’d say look no further than the…
Yamaha Silent Brass = Best French Horn Mute For Practice
A mute that is by the most technically superior on this list. Not to mention the most solid feeling too. Then again, for the price that’s something you’d expect.
Yamaha have earned themselves a strong rep over the years for building quality, but functional pieces of musical kit. And we’re glad to say that the Silent Brass French horn mute is no exception! That name isn’t a lie. Out of all the mutes we tested, the Yamaha delivered (by far) the best sound deadening. So if you’re an eager trumpet player who’s eager to practice, but living in a block of flats, then this is the deffo the way to go.
However, what really cliched it for us was the fact that you can plug headphones into this mute. So that while in reality you’re practicing in silence, you’re not sacrificing any loss in sound. A perk that we think gives this mute serious value as a rehearsal tool.
In fact, the only niggle we have with this mute is the fact that it’s battery powered. Something that makes it that bit less ‘pick up & play’ than your average manual mute. But really, when you consider all the advantages of the Silent Brass, we’d say a bit of forward planning & a couple of batteries is a small price to pay. Especially if it means you can still practice with what is (in essence) a fully fledged sound.
However, not everyone’s after a practice mute, nor has the cash to splash on a techy-savvy mute like this. So in the case you’re just hunting for a French horn mute to make life inside the bell that bit easier, we’d suggest checking out the…
Denis Wick Wooden Tunable Straight Mute = Best Straight Mute For French Horn
A mute that really does sound the part.
In fact, we’d say you’d be hard pushed to find a better sounding straight mute. Turns out wood is a great way of muting a French Horn, without robbing it of its richness & warmth. Unlike aluminium & copper mutes, this Denis Wick wooden mute doesn’t fall into the trap of changing the tone/ timbre of your notes. The only thing it really does is reduce the volume.
And by reduce, we mean the loudness of your sound is pretty much slashed in half So for hornists after a delicate sound, this mute is pretty much perfect. For use as a backing instrument in a theatre or somewhere where you don’t want your horn to be too overpowering, this mute is pretty much perfect.
What’s more, being made by Denis Wick you can be confident of this mute being long lasting. Just to put that into perspective, we know hornists who’ve been using the same Denis Wick mutes for well over 10 years without issue. So really, it’s little surprise why most hornists start up a collection, especially when they’re such an easy (yet effective) way to sculpt your sound.
Saying that though, if you’re not after a straight mute & instead just want a helping hand with stopping your horn inside the bell, then we’d suggest checking out the…
Tom Crown 30 FH Brass Mute = Best French Horn Stop Mute
And that’s because out of all the stop mutes we’ve tested, the Tom Crown was the most consistent. Then tone you get with this mute is pretty much identical to that you achieve using your hands. Only the sound itself is a substantially more even than when stopping your horn by hand.
Plus, this is one of the easiest stop mutes to install – something that also makes it one of the quietest! Good to know if you perform alongside a lot of woodwinds, vocalists or other delicate sounds that’d be disrupted by the clanging of a loose French horn mute. The deep layer of cork you find at the tip of this mute does a really solid job at absorbing any knocks!!
And yet, despite all the pressure this mute is under, it manages to not to move about inside the bell. A pretty common issue we came across with cheap horn mutes. In fact, that’s really the main selling feature of this mute: it’s build. This is pretty much as dependable as it gets.
As far as French horn mutes go, it’s show-stopping… get it?
Enjoy this review of the best French Horn mutes and eager for more? Don’t miss out on all our latest Music Instrument Advice + all our recent Brass Instrument Reviews. Recently, we also did a full rundown of the Best French Horn Cases/Gig Bags+ the Best Double Horns For Professionals, which may also be worth a read.
Or, if you’re just here to learn about French Horn mutes, keep reading & we’ll tell you even more about why French Horn mutes are such an essential for any hornist…