I’ve written before about the use of spring clamps as a great sounding mute. But they can also augment a practice mute. As an apartment dweller I need to be respectful of my neighbors but I also need to practice. During the school year I can practice at school. I need to say that I have a great relationship with my neighbors and that’s really the first step. I also picked a place where my music room only shares one surface – the ceiling – with a neighbor.
Ok, on to the mutes. The Ultra brand rubber mutes are the most common option for bass practice mutes. They work well but tend to loosen up quickly and lose their effectiveness.
Use a large spring clamp to tighten it again.
Then you can really quiet down your instrument by adding small and medium clamps.
I experimented with different locations of the clamps and using them on the treble / soundpost side makes the most difference. The third clamp on the bass side makes just a slight difference. The three spring clamps combined with the rubber practice mute combine to really reduce the output of the bass. My general rule of practicing in an apartment is the 9am – 9pm are completely acceptable practice hours with or without a mute (although I tend to almost always use one). But with this much muting I feel completely comfortable practicing outside of those hours. The sound is really soft!
The three blue clamps cost me $20. The orange one was a gift from a student 🙂