Theo Wanne Refaced Selmer Soloist Tenor Mouthpiece

Here’s another clip of a great Selmer Soloist that Mark Sepinuck let me  try.  For those of you who don’t know Mark he is one of the premier dealers of high end mouthpieces.  If you look on ebay he goes by “10mfan”.  I met Mark years ago when he used to live up near Boston.  I went to his house one day and he pulled out all these vintage mouthpiece for me to try.  It was like a dream come true for me.

Besides being a dealer of high end mouthpieces, Mark is also a great sax player.  I remember him taking his sax out while we were hanging at his house and playing a bit.  He is a great player.  This fact is important to me because if Mark says a mouthpiece is amazing then I know that he knows what he is talking about because he can play.

This mouthpiece is a Selmer Soloist short shank model that was refaced by Theo Wanne.  Whenever I see that Theo Wanne has refaced a mouthpiece I get interested because the mouthpieces I have played that he has refaced have been great.

Selmer Soloist Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Because of the short shank and small chamber of this mouthpiece, it has to be positioned far out on my neck cork to be in tune.  I have heard from other players that this is normal for a soloist.  This soloist has a .090 tip opening which is really small for what I am used to playing.   It didn’t feel small at all though,  it played great with a  Vandoren Java #4 reed and felt like a .105 tip to me.

Soloist have a sound and response all their own. It’s hard to describe, but for me, the sound is dark when played softly but super focused.  It has a small horse shoe shaped chamber that tends to focus the air column and sound into a tight core in my opinion.  When you really blow hard on these mouthpieces they can get super bright so you have to be careful. If you can keep your airstream stable and under control  then the Soloist can get one of the prettiest  sounds from the high end.  The low end can be nice and lush sounding but it isn’t as fat and spread sounding as a great Otto Link mouthpiece.  I think this is due to the smaller chamber of the Soloist.

This was indeed a great example of a Selmer Soloist tenor mouthpiece.  Thanks again to Mark for letting me play it for a little while.  Keep him in mind if you are looking for a special high end mouthpiece for yourself.

This clip is from a fragment of the tune Beatrice that I did for Sax on the Web.  I couldn’t put the whole tune up because it was too big but I took some bits and pieces from the recording so you could hear the sound of the mouthpiece.

Steve About Steve

Steve Neff has been playing and teaching saxophone and jazz improvisation around the New England area for the last 25 years. He is the author of many effective jazz improvisation methods as well as founding the popular jazz video lesson site Neffmusic.com.

Comments

  1. Maybe someday, I have my hands full right now with new mouthpieces starting to come in to get reviewed. I’ll put that on my list of pieces to review. Sometime when it is slower I was thinking of ordering a bunch from WWBW to review and then sending them back. Maybe I can get one from them………..

  2. I’ve been curious about the new series of Selmer Soloist tenor mouthpieces (the vintage ones are great, but hard to find and expensive). Is there any chance that you might test and review one of the contemporary tenor Soloist mouthpieces? I haven’t seen or heard anything about them on the internet.

  3. Thanks for the great comment Devin. I appreciate the insight. Steve

  4. Hey Steve,
    Been using your blog as a source for a while now, want to say thanks. I also have some comments regarding this mpc setup. I play on a soloist short shank I had opened up to a .104 by Craig Bender of Eugene, OR. I have spoken to Rich P about this setup and my teacher during undergrad who was an Allard student and we tend to agree that these pieces require a much lighter reed than most–as in lighter cane with filed shoulders. I have gone between using Hemke 3’s and other similar reeds for this piece. Now this is especially interesting because for about two years I played on the Mouthpiece Cafe Espresso piece (.105) and I used Jazz Select 4 Soft unfiled quite comfortably. The reasons for this are exactly as you described- smaller chamber and even bore. My point is, that I think if one went to a lighter, more vibrant reed one might find themselves a little closer to the Joe Henderson sound and further from the Al Cohn sound; though this does require you to back off the air/embouchure/tongue. For me, this was a good thing as I had always tended to be really aggressive with my air and I learned how to really shape the sound instead of forcing the sound. And you can really hear this in Rich’s playing–his nonchalant manner really is the best example of how to play this mouthpiece.
    Thanks!

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