Vic Firth Drum Mutes Full Set

The Vic Firth drum mutes have been popular for a while with drummers who need an easy on/off drum mute solution. They are pretty simple in design and straightforward in how they work and they do a great job of muting your drum kit.

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Feel and Play-ability

These drum mutes are made of rubber and sit right on top of your existing drum heads. So they tend to adopt the feel of whatever drum they are sitting on in terms of head tension and rebound. The rubber surface helps to keep rebound feeling pretty similar to your drum heads. However, if you use a very tight tension on your snare head for example, the rubber drum mute layer can feel like it’s reducing the sharpness of the rebound action a little bit.

The drum pads covers the whole surface of the drum, as long as they match up to your drum sizes, so there’s no change in terms of the size of the the strike target with your drums.

The cymbal pads only cover a section of the cymbal surface, so it forces you to be more precise with where you strike the cymbals. The rubber pads also reduce the sharpness of the sticking feel on the cymbal surface, and it does affect the feel of the rebound, making your cymbals feel more like practice pads or the rubber cymbals on electronic drum kits.

Even though these mutes rubberize the feel of your drum kit, they still feel good enough that you can practice all your techniques. The slight change in feel is just what you have to deal with when going with drum mutes.

Vic Firth Drum Mutes on Snare

Volume Reduction

Most people who use these say the sound volume seems to drop by about 2/3rd of the normal volume, maybe more or less depending on how hard you play. When testing with a decibel meter I was seeing reductions of around 10-20 db when compared to an acoustic kit with no mutes. This is a pretty standard reduction in volume for most drum mutes, so these are right in line with the other options out there. Along with volume reduction, the overall projection of the kit is greatly reduced, so the reduction in sound can feel even stronger if you are in another room or further away from the kit.

The biggest difference between most drum mute options out there is how well the kick drum mute works. The Vic Firth kick drum mute covers the whole batter head with foam, and it does a good job of reducing the volume and overtones, but there is still a bit of a thud which could travel through floors if you are in an apartment building or upstairs in a house, so keep that in mind if you’re on an upper floor.

Vic Firth Drum Mutes on Bass Drum

Sound Quality

As with any rubber drum mutes, you are going to make your kit sound a lot more like practice pads than a real drum kit. Some of the tones of the drum sounds still come through, but the sound is greatly subdued.

The snare drum and toms lose their overtones but you can still get some of the snare wire sound and some tones from the bottom resonant heads. If you want to dampen the sound even further you can remove the resonant heads from your toms.

The cymbal sounds are the most extreme change, and you pretty much lose all the projection, overtones and sustain from your cymbals. That is a good thing though if you’re trying to make acoustic cymbals quiet. The hi-hats still have a little bit of sizzle and crunch since the bottom cymbal isn’t directly muted like the top.

The kick drum sound changes the least with the mute installed. It still has bit of a thump to it, but it is dampened, less resonant and there’s much less attack.

These changes in sound are what you should expect from any drum mute set, and that’s basically their goal. But if you’ve never used mutes before the sound change can be a bit of a shock the first time you play.

Vic Firth Drum Mutes on Snare and Rack Tom
Vic Firth Drum Mutes on Ride Cymbal
Vic Firth Drum Mutes on Hi-Hats

Build and Durability

These are basically rubber pads, designed to take a beating, so they will hold up well to most drummers styles. If you play really hard and play a lot you might wear them out over time, but most drummers will get a good amount of time out of them and likely never have to replace them. Drummers that do use these enough to wear them out say that the pads can start to warp a little in the middle or wherever they are hit the hardest and the most, and they can start to lose little shards of rubber as they wear.

The bass drum mute is likely the one piece that might wear out a little faster, mainly because it’s made of a combination of rubber and foam. If you take good care of the foam it should last quite a while. The rubber pad should hold up well unless, like the other drum pads, you beat it like crazy. Also, consider using a softer beater to make your sound volume even lower and to put less stress on the bass drum mute. I have seen reviewers state that the pad can come loose from the foam over time. I haven’t run into that issue, but if it happens you could use adhesive to reattach it.

Vic Firth Drum Mutes on Snare Tom and Hi-Hat
Vic Firth Drum Mutes on Crash Cymbal

Setup & Installation

Installation of these mutes is easy, and I find them to be some of the easiest mutes to install, mostly because of how the kick drum mute attaches.

For the snare and tom mutes – you simply lay the pads right on top of your drums. The cymbal mutes require you to remove the wingnuts to put them on, and that’s about it.

The bass drum mute is pretty easy to attach as well. There is a small, adhesive, Velcro pad towards the top that sticks to the top of your bass drum head. Once attached, you can separate the Velcro to remove it easily without fully removing the adhesive. This makes it pretty easy to remove and reinstall the bass drum mute over and over again without damaging anything. There are no awkward support straps for the bass drum mute like with some other drum mute brands, which is one thing I like about the Vic Firth mutes.

Vic Firth Drum Mutes on Floor Tom

Drum Mute Types and Sizes

The Vic Firth range of drum mutes includes the following mute options:

  • Drum mute pads for 8, 10, 12, 13, 14 and 16 inch drums
  • Hit hat mute
  • 16-18 inch cymbal mute
  • 20-22 inch cymbal mute
  • 18 inch kick drum mute
  • 22 inch kick drum mute

Vic Firth Drum Mutes Pack

The most popular way to buy these mutes is as a pack, but you can find them individually at some dealers.

Packs available:

  • 10, 12, 14-inch (x2) drum mutes, hi-hat, 2 cymbal mutes and a kick mute
  • 12, 13, 14, 16-inch drum mutes, hi-hat, 2 cymbal mutes and a kick mute

Regarding the bass/kick drum mutes – the 18 inch kick mute is recommended for both 18 and 20 inch kick drums, and the 22 inch kick mute is recommended for 22-26 inch kick drums.

On my kit, which you can see in the photos, I have larger cymbals. My crash is 18 inches and my crash/ride is 21 inches. The cymbal mutes fit them fine, but don’t reach all the way to the edges. If you are concerned about the mutes reaching the edges of your cymbals, it’s best to stick with 16 inch crash cymbals and a 20 inch ride. 

Vic Firth Drum Mutes Full Kit

New Rubber Smell

There is a chance that these pads can have a strong rubber smell when they are first taken from the packaging. Some people notice it more than others. If this is an issue when you buy these, you can leave them in a more ventilated area or in a garage or porch for a few days to take the edge off. If you go straight into and enclosed studio room with these, you might notice the rubber smell more. It does go away after a while but ventilation helps a lot.


  • Good quality for the price
  • Easy to install and remove
  • They really do deaden the sound
  • Durable


  • Cymbal pads are a small target
  • Your drums will sound more like practice pads
  • Cymbal mutes can be too small for larger cymbals

The Verdict

The Vic Firth drum mutes are a nice way to mute to your kit quickly and easily with the option to reverse the muting just as easily. These are for people looking for a quick, affordable solution to drum kit silencing. Personally, after trying out several different drum mutes from different brands, these are my favorites.

Consider that there may be some drawbacks, such as a very deadened drum kit sound and a slightly different feel when striking your drums and cymbals. But if muting is what you are going for these will get the job done and do it well.

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