Humes and Berg mutes are among the most widely used and recognisable on the market with their distinctive red and white finish. The company began manufacturing in Chicago in the 1930s at the height of the big band era with the encouragement of the greatest bandleaders of the time. Their trademark 'stonelined' construction is based on fibreboard coated with paint and resin.
Extending tube ('ET') mutes, also known as harmon mutes (after their first producer Paddy Harmon) originated in the Chicago ballrooms of the 1920s, and produce a hallmark 'wah-wah' jazz sound exemplified in the performances of Miles Davis. A cork collar seals the gap between mute and bell, directing the sound through the mute's body which has an adjustable 'stem' (an 'extending tube' with a small cup on the end of it) to further vary the tone colours that can be achieved. ET mutes are made of metal and have varying shapes, including the bulbous so-called 'bubble' mute.
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