As a tuba player myself, knowing that I will be playing incredibly loud at times, and without wanting to disturb family, neighbours and pets, a tuba mute is a very important piece of kit for me.
I currently own a Denis Wick straight mute and practice mute. Although both quite large and bulky, they are very lightweight and both have handles to make the insertion and removal of the mute relatively easy (especially for me, as I have pretty long arms). I do, however, find that with the practice mute, I always have to move my main tuning slide out, 3 to 4 inches out, as the mute sharpens the instrument almost a quarter tone.
I have also played using an in bell wooden practice mute, which was light, and could be kept in the bell when put in the case. This meant that travelling to different areas to play in concerts, I always had it with me to warm up without disturbing others.
The Denis Wick straight mute is wonderful. I invested in this, due to playing in orchestras and ensembles performing lots of 20th century music, and music composed that was moving into the expressionism/neo-classical genre (I was creating some very odd sounds through the tuba). The Denis Wick straight creates a lovely metallic sound when air is pushed through, but can also play with a mellow, soft tone when playing at softer dynamics.
The Peter Gane straight mute again, for me, was completely different. Made with a specialist fibre and a birch wood base, it creates a completely different sound.
All three mutes mentioned here are fantastic, but when it comes to choosing, I always recommend playing your instrument with the mute, as it is player's preference when it comes to many different aspects of purchasing, such as tone quality, resistance when blowing and weight.
Customers are always welcome to come to the shop and try mutes in their own instruments. If you're interested in doing so, or would just like to talk more about Tubas and/or mutes, feel free to call me on 01823 282386 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.