Yamaha Design “Synapses” SILENT Brass™ Series

2013 / SILENT Brass™ Series

Red Dot Award
iF Design Award
JIDA Design Museum Selection
Design for Asia Awards
German Design Award

A compact sound muting system for brass instruments.


The Silent Brass™ series is a sound-muting system that reduces the sound of brass instruments to the level of a murmur, while letting the player hear a natural-sounding performance. The newest model incorporates a number of improvements, including a smaller, lighter Pickup Mute™ and an easier to use Personal Studio™.


The curve of the Pickup Mute™ is designed to fit the shape of the bell on a brass instrument, while the Personal Studio™ has a minimal, rectilinear profile. The contrasting geometries are a natural product of the different roles each device plays.


Making the Pickup Mute™ smaller and lighter improves the balance of the instrument when it is inserted. Brass Resonance Modeling™ provides a pleasant sound when monitoring over earphones for a more natural performance experience.


Despite the need to fit into a tight space, the shape is easy to grasp and fits the fingers exactly as you would expect. Testing to find the shape that facilitates the strongest grip led to the selection of a regular seven-sided star with a curved outline for the trumpet Pickup Mute™.

Keizo Tatsumi
Keizo Tatsumi
Yamaha Design Laboratory

Ideally shaped to be inserted into an instrument while twisting.

The Silent Brass™ is a sound-damping system for brass instruments that Yamaha first developed in 1995.
The latest series of Silent Brass™ products is a great leap forward in terms of compactness, and offers a more comfortable playing experience. It is so compact, in fact, that a trumpet can be stored in its case with the Pickup Mute™ inserted (some models excepted).
While the Pickup Mute™ is more compact and fits into a tighter space, we made ease of handling a high priority. We paid special attention to the relationship between the fingers when firmly grasping the Pickup Mute™. When firmly grasping an object, the thumb is typically opposite the other four fingers. With a 70-mm diameter trumpet, that finger positioning led us to a regular seven-pointed star with a curved outline, and with a 110-mm diameter trombone, french horn, or flugelhorn, we found that a regular nine-pointed star with a curved outline worked best. These shapes are suited to inserting or removing the Pickup Mute™ while turning it. The distinctive silhouette is the signature of the new Silent Brass™ models. The Personal Studio™, meanwhile, has a design that reflects its supporting role, with an utterly rectilinear shape that houses its working parts in the smallest space possible. The contrast between curved and straight lines thus creates a geometric harmony.
The Pickup Mute™, with a self-explanatory shape that invites the grasp-and-turn action, is a rare instance of a design idea that was translated from initial concept to final product without change, and in that regard it represents a special clarity of design.

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