Accelerate - September 2013

Sshhweet sound of sshhmute success

In 1999 musician Trevor Bremner started working on an idea in his workshop in New Plymouth; today that idea is a high value export for Bremner Music.

In 1999 musician Trevor Bremner started working on an idea in his workshop in New Plymouth; today that idea is a high value export for Bremner Music.

Trevor knew that brass players needed to practice regularly and it can be quite a noisy affair, therefore a practice mute is an essential tool for serious brass players. It also needed to be affordable within a price rage that suited both budding and professional musicians.

Trevor crafted his first prototype practice mute from an old suitcase and some brass in his workshop and for several years he and his wife, Betty worked to perfect his concept of a practice mute, the sshhmute.

The sshhmute has since been meticulously refined and developed and is now a commercial success. It is made from lightweight and robust ABS plastic, and manufactured in Bremner Music’s purpose-built New Plymouth production facility.

Funding from NZTE (New Zealand Trade & Enterprise) enabled Bremner Music to refine their production process along Lean Manufacturing principles and as a result their production cycle has been cut from 5.3 to 2.6 hours.

But the Bremners wanted to develop their product range further, as a response to requests for a more flexible practice mute, and ensure they stay ahead of the pack in this niche market.

Funding from Callaghan Innovation helped them to develop and test their new ideas, resulting in the launch of the Gold Series sshhmutes and an increase of 36% in their export sales.

The Gold Series is a range of whisper mutes intended for onstage performance, and the main difference is its volume. It is loud and effective enough to play on stage during a live show.

“In many cases players are required to play softer than the natural sound of the instrument. There is nothing on the market that will compete with the Gold Series mutes,” says Trevor.

Bremer Music’s products have taken this niche market by storm and have garnered high praise from musicians across the globe. Exports account for 95% of their sales across Europe, the Americas and Asia and the company is looking to expand its dealer networks in the United States, China and Canada.

“We regard this, and the fact that we are now recognised as one of the leaders in practice mutes, as our main success” says Trevor.

Updated: 7 September 2015