Endorsements Great Trumpet Players

Great Trumpet Artists who are using our “Because it works” mute:


Dear Ion,

I like your trumpet) mute very much. I consider it a specialty mute for softer passages. It responds well and is the same in all registers. The sound is quite nice and the intonation is excellent…I have been using it in our performances at the Hollywood Bowl. I can certainly recommend it…


Don Green, Principal Trumpet, Los Angeles Philharmonic


Hi Ion, I have to apologize for taking WAY too long to get back to you. It seems that things never stop here. We just finished last week with Mahler #7 and are now in to our summer programing which ends with a 10 day residency in Vail starting in mid July.The mutes are fantastic,(..). The don’t have the buzz of the metal and have a softer sound than the (…) mutes. They have superior intonation and a blow that is not too resistant, nicely balanced and they are wonderfully crafted.I will be returning to the MET in September and will turn my colleagues on to them. The horn players and tubist here at the NYPhilharmonic like theirs and I’m sure we will use them a lot at the MET. Feel free to quote me and count on me to spread the word of your excellent product.


Jim Ross, Trumpet New Your Philharmonic


The mute  is very consistent feel in all registers with great intonation.  It has a very nice rounded sound which compliments those of metal and fiber based mutes.  This mute is a wonderful addition to have in any trumpeter’s mute arsenal.  The best wooden mute I’ve played on.

Mark J. Inouye, San Francisco Symphony, Principal Trumpet


Hi Ion, Thanks for the mute.  I got it the other day and used it on the last two Salome shows.  The pitch was dead-on with the rotary.  I used it with my regular horns on a soundtrack recording session and it worked great as well.  It is nice to have a mute that works so well in really soft dynamics without sounding dead or going super sharp.  Congrats on the great work!!!

Thanks again,

Adam Luftman, Principal Trumpet San Francisco Opera


Dear Ion,

Thank you very much for sending your Black Onyx mute. It is an excellent tool specially for soft passages in both orquestral and solo playing. The sound, response and intonation are great. I’ll be using it in my performances with Osep at the Sala São Paulo, Brazil. Congratulations!

Fernando Dissenha, Osesp – Solo Trumpet, Yamaha Brazil – Clinician, The Juilliard School – M.M.


Dear Ion:

It was a pleasure meeting you at the West Chester brass festival.  I just had to tell you that I’ve been trying your mute out with an orchestra I’m playing in and it sounds great!  It adds a soft color to any lyrical passage I want to play, slots well, and doesn’t mess with the intonation of the horn.  I only wish I had this mute when I recorded my last CD!

All the best,

James Ackley Assistant Professor of Music Trumpet Performance Studies Department of Music University of Connecticut

Soloist – Andes International Management


Dear Mr. Balu:

We recently performed two series of concerts in which the Kansas City Symphony trumpet section used your Majestic Mutes. We played Don Quixote with YoYo Ma and the following week The Rite of Spring. Your mutes worked just great!!  What a beautiful sound they give and the intonation was quite excellent.  We are always trying to find better tools to make us sound better and also to make our job easier.  Your mutes are, in my opinion, the best soft mute on the market.  I would recommend them to any serious trumpeter.  Congratulations on developing a truly wonderful mute.

Best Wishes,

Philip Clark DMA, Associate Principal Trumpet-Kansas City Symphony


“Your mute is outstanding.  The intonation is highly consistent and I find the mute particularly effective for soft passages.”

Dr. Kim Dunnick, Professor of Music (Trumpet) President, 1997-1999, International Trumpet Guild, Ithaca College School of Music NY


“Ion Balu’s straight mute has quickly become my favorite soft mute. It has a lovely quality of sound, plays evenly in all registers, and unlike most mutes, does not go sharp or alter intonation in any way”

Susan Enger, second trumpet with Memphis Symphony Orchestra.


Hi Ion,

This mute that I bought from you at the West Chester trumpet day is really great!  I’ve already played it in concert with great success.  It’s obviously very difficult to find a mute that plays soft to loud, low to high and all in tune!  What a pleasure it will be to play Enesco Legende and other works involving a low, soft muted passage. Well done!

Brent Flinchbaugh Trumpet, Duo Heroique, Freelance trumpet in Baltimore/Washington


Robert Frear, Director of Brass Studies, CA State University, Long Beach

(Speaking of our trumpet Mute)

…In its first trip out of the house last night I played “Bolero” and loved the tone color, intonation and response the mute afforded me.


The elegant new wooden mute for trumpet by Ion Balu is simply the best mute I’ve ever played. The tone is sweet and the pitch is perfectly centered in all registers. The resistance is excellent, offering firm control from pianissimo to fortissimo. This is the straight mute I would like for trumpeters to use when playing my compositions!

Stanley Friedman, Composer / Trumpeter


Dear Mr. Balu,

…I have to say that (the Majestic mute) is a very special tool for me.  The mute really sounds great and playing with it is a big joy. I hope it will soon be popular among trumpeters around the world.

With best wishes,

Jouko Harjanne, Recording artist,  International soloist, Finland.


Dear Mr. Balu,

Thank you very much for sending me your Red Mahogany trumpet straight mute.  I have not had too much chance to play with it so far, but the little I have played with it convinces me that it is a wonderful mute, with evenness of tone throughout the registers and nice resistance.  The pitch is also quite good in both upper and lower registers.  Compared to other mutes that I have (…) your mute strikes me as a good choice for softer passages.

I am very grateful for your generosity and will certainly recommend your mutes to my colleagues in the Minnesota Orchestra and my trumpet students at St. Olaf.

Dr. Martin Hodel, Associate Professor of Music, St. Olaf College Northfield, Minnesota Orchestra.


When Ion Balu offered to design a mute for us to use for soft passages, we told him the criteria were that it plays soft, has good intonation, has a good low register, and has quick response.  Above all, it still needed to sound like a mute.  The result exceeded expectations in every area.  Not only is this the best soft mute I have ever played, but it is quite responsive for louder dynamics as well. His innovative design is pure genius.

Scott Moore, Principal Trumpet, Memphis Symphony Orchestra


Dear Ion Balu,

I received your (Majestic trumpet) straight mute, and I am happy to give you my feedback. The mute responds beautifully in soft and loud dynamics, and plays with incredible ease in all registers- extreme low to high. It has a very resonant, warm sound and is a joy to play. I intend to use my mute in all situations- solo, chamber, and large ensemble. This is the nicest mute to come along in the last twenty years!

Thank you,

Dr. Michael Tunnell, Professor of Trumpet University of Louisville


Dear Ion:

Thanks so much for sending me your Black Onyx (Majestic) trumpet mute!  I have been using it in solo recitals and in quintet as well, and not only is the intonation spot-on, I have found the mute’s centered, gentle tone perfect for numerous passages where the metallic buzz of a metal mute is less appropriate.  This mute is a most welcome addition to my playing equipment – I’m glad you made it!

With sincere thanks and appreciation-

Joel Treybig, DMA Assistant Professor of Music, Belmont University School of Music


While at RMBI (Raphael Mendez Brass Institute) in Denver last week I picked up a couple trumpet mutes made by Ion Balu. Check out his website. He has a very interesting biographical sketch having recently immigrated from Romania. A horn player, he started out making horn mutes, and fortunately for us has branched out into trumpet mutes. My general impressions are that the mutes have a very quiet but “live” and resonant sound. They are well in tune (checked on Bb and C trumpets) and respond wonderfully in the low register. Constructed of wood they have a subtley different sound from fiber mutes.

There are a few unique construction details

– beautifully finished appearance

– very thin wood construction

– unique (and ingenious) corking system which minimizes a mechanical connection between the beel and mute.

– a “resonator” feature you can read about on his website.

I like these mutes a lot, and unlike many of you, never plug anything here on TPIN; but I just had to make an exception for Ion’s mutes.


Visit Mr. Ellis Workman, on his website http://www.medcitybrass.com