The Vic Firth drum mutes have been popular for a while with drummers who need an easy drum mute solution. They are pretty simple in design and straightforward in how they work. They will knock the volume of your kit down by quite a bit, but there’s some potential negatives you should be aware of before going this route. Let’s take a closer look.
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
The most popular way to buy these mutes is as a pack, but you can find them individually at some dealers.
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.
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. That is pretty similar to the Evans SoundOff drum mutes, so these mutes by Vic Firth would be a comparable option to those mutes.
Here is a quick video that gives a good demonstration of what to expect for sound and volume reduction for various parts of the kit.
Not too bad for volume, but there is still some thudding to the drums. The kick probably will continue to be the most problematic, sound-wise, even with the mute attached – if you have downstairs neighbors. However, the resonant properties of the drums and cymbals are dialed back a lot with these types of drum mutes in place.
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 qualities of the drum sounds still come through, but if you are expecting to be able to jam with somebody with these pads on, you will be disappointed.
The sound is really muffled and deadened, with all of the highs being cut for the most part, and all resonant qualities dampened to basically nothing. That is the purpose of these mutes, however – to muffle the sound and take the volume down.
People who own these drum mutes say they get used to the sound when they are practicing. Also, the mutes can be removed easily enough that it’s easy to switch back to your normal sounding drum kit when you don’t have to worry about noise reduction.
Feel and Playability
These drum mutes are made of rubber and will have less rebound compared to the natural rebound of most drum heads. If you are used to using practice pads, you will have an idea of what to expect from the feel. It’s not all bad though, and still good enough for practicing for most drummers.
Some people who own these say they even like how the drum mute pads make them work a little harder on some of their techniques, and then it feels easier when playing without the mutes. I guess it will depend on your personal preference if you like the feel or not, but that is what to expect.
The cymbal pads are kind of small and don’t provide a huge target, but if you place them where you are used to hitting the cymbals, you can get used to it pretty quickly.
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, you might wear them a little, but most people will get a good life out of them and likely never have to replace them.
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.
People that do play 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 plastic as they wear.
Installation of these is easy. You can simply lay the drum mute pads right on top of your drum pads, and they also remove that easily – in seconds. The cymbal mutes require you to remove the wingnuts to put them on, and that’s about it.
The kick drum pad is the trickiest. You will need to attach adhesive velcro to your drum head, which then attaches to the mute pad to keep it in place. Some people have issues with the adhesive sticking, and the pad starting to fall off when playing, but have resolved the problem by using some super glue or other, stronger adhesives to attach the velcro.
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.
- Affordable drum muting
- Easy to install and remove
- They really do deaden the sound
- Might have a strong rubber smell when new
- Cymbal pads are a small target
- Kick drum pad adhesive might need some extra help
- Changes the feel of your drums – more like a practice pad
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, cheap solution to drum kit silencing.
Consider that there may be some negatives, such as a very deadened drum kit sound, a slight different feel and possibly a weird rubber smell. But if muting is what you are going for, these are worth a shot.