Theo Wanne Slant 2 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing another great saxophone mouthpiece made by Theo Wanne at TheoWanne.com.  Theo Wanne was one of the first sax mouthpiece makers to reach out to me and ask if I would be willing to do some reviews of his mouthpieces years ago.  I had heard his name for years as the guy to go to for mouthpiece work and when he started his own line of sax mouthpieces I had to try them out!   I have reviewed many of his mouthpiece on this site and if you put “Theo Wanne”  in the search box to the top right of the site you will find them.  Theo Wanne’s saxophone mouthpieces are innovative and some of the best playing sax mouthpieces on the market today.

This review is on the Slant 2 7* tenor saxophone mouthpiece.  I had never played the first version of the TW Slant so I can’t speak about the differences between the two mouthpieces unfortunately.

Theo Wanne 7* Slant 2 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Over the last few years there has been a lot of buzz in the saxophone world around certain buzz words.  Saxophone player’s ears perk up when you mention florida link, double ring, slant signature, NY Meyer, etc…….. There is a certain mystique and awe around these mouthpieces in the marketplace that is hard to deny.

Here’s a description from Theo Wanne’s website about the Slant 2 tenor sax mouthpiece:

The BRAND NEW Theo Wanne™ Slant Sig Tenor Mouthpiece brings the best of vintage tenor mouthpiece designs to the future!  Theo Wanne is the world’s foremost expert on vintage sax mouthpieces and he understands WHY an Otto Link sounds great. So, Theo utilized the best design principles from the first Slant Signature models in the early 1950s through the Early Babbitt models in the 1970s to make the new Theo Wanne™ Slant Sig Tenor Mouthpiece.   It is the ultimate vintage Slant Sig Link.

The Slant Sig mouthpiece is the perfect mouthpiece for students and pros alike, allowing the player to get the ‘classic’ tenor sound AND be fully expressive. Hear more about the history of Otto Link and the Slant Sig concept here!

You also asked for Theo Wanne™ quality and design at a very friendly price everyone could afford. So we did that too!!!

SOUND 

  • Versatile! Great for all styles and types of playing.
  • The most expressive and most projecting Slant Signature Otto Link sound you’ve ever heard!

DESIGN

  • Perfectly sculpted large chamber and roll-over baffle.
  • Crafted to the highest accuracy in the history of Otto Link style mouthpieces; perfect side and tip rails!
  • Designed by Theo Wanne, the foremost expert on the design and manufacturing of vintage mouthpieces.   Incorporating the best features of every Slant Signature Otto Link, from the 1950’s through 1970s.

DETAILS

  • Premium Harry Hartmann Fiberrod™: Manufactured with a special formulation of Harry Hartmann Fiberrod™, made especially for Theo Wanne™, to sound and look just like vintage hard rubber but does not discolor and smell like hard rubber when exposed to heat and the sun.

 

Theo Wanne Slant 2 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

 

The The0 Wanne Slant 2 came in the pristine packaging that I have written about in every Theo Wanne mouthpiece review I have done on this site. Beautiful box and drawstring pouch.

I’m looking at the mouthpiece now as I type this description and it looks about as perfect as could be.  The table, rails, tip and baffle look smooth, even and perfectly crafted.  The chamber looks slightly larger than the chamber on my vintage EB Otto Link (supposedly from the Slant mold from what I have been told) when I hold them side by side.

The Slant 2 is made of Harry Hartmann Fiberrod.  I haven’t heard of this material before but it looks and feels similar to hard rubber to me.  Now I’m wondering if my Gaia soprano and alto mouthpiece are made of this same material?  It says nothing about the Fiberrod on the Gaia alto and soprano pages of Theo’s site so maybe those are hard rubber?  Not sure………..

Theo Wanne Slant 2 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Slant 2 was incredibly reed friendly in my opinion.  Usually, this is only stated as a great thing but I found it caused some confusion for me.   Let me explain,  I started playing the Slant 2 with a 2 1/2 strong Rigotti and it played great, then I tried a 3 light and it played great, I tried a 3 medium and….you guessed it, it played great, 3 strong, 3 1/2 light, 3 1/2 medium………..they all played great.  I have never experienced this before with a mouthpiece.  I couldn’t figure out which reed to use for the demo.   I recorded a clip with the 3 1/2 light and thought it was the greatest clip ever but when I listened back I thought “The reed sounds too hard.”  I then recorded with a 3 light which went well but again, when I listened back……”Reed sounds too soft.”  Today I tried a 3 medium and again recorded.  This time when I listed back I thought it was just right…….All this is my long way of saying it is very reed friendly.

Theo Wanne Slant 2 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The first thing I noticed when playing the Theo Wanne Slant 2 mouthpiece is that the beak profile feels quite a bit lower than a hard rubber Otto Link profile.  I’m one who usually feels like the profile of a hard rubber link is too high because of my years playing metal mouthpiece so for me the Slant 2 felt more comfortable than a hard rubber Otto Link.

I was also surprised by the height of the baffle in the Slant 2 mouthpiece.  If you look at the picture above, you can see how high the first 3/4 of an inch is.   If anything, it remind me more of some baffles I have seen in Early Babbitt Otto Links.  If you have played a Early Babbitt Link you already know these can be pretty powerful and bright at times.   When I compare the Slant 2 to my Early Babbitt from a Slant mold mouthpiece the baffles do look very similar in height but the Slant 2 is higher in the middle of the baffle where my Link is concave at that area.  This concavity in the Otto Link baffle is caused from what we call a “clam shell” baffle.  I think that line in the baffle of the Slant 2 is Theo’s copy of this “clam shell” baffle as it has that shape although I don’t see much of the concavity.   I was curious to see how the Theo Wanne Slant 2 mouthpiece would play.

Theo Wanne Slant 2 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Theo Wanne Slant 2 tenor sax mouthpiece has a rich complex sound to it.  I feel like the tone has a unique dry quality to my ears.  Interestingly enough, the last mouthpiece I described that way was my old Theo Wanne Gaia alto saxophone mouthpiece.  I’m not even sure what that “dry” description means but that is what I hear when I listen to the clips. Many times I hear Stan Getz and Jerry Bergonzi as “dry” also if that helps with the description. (I have heard that Stan Get’s played a Slant Otto Link for some time also) I think 2:09-2:19 in the clip below is a good example to my ears.

The tone was smooth and even throughout the range and the intonation was great.  When pushed the Slant 2 had a lot of power to give.  The altissimo was sweet sounding to me as you can hear at the 1:52 mark in the clip below.  The tone in the upper register palm keys was also  also very round and beautiful in my opinion (1:01-1:07)  Many times these notes can get thin and edgy with other mouthpieces.

When pushed the tone seemed to become more dense and compact.  With more air I could get a more aggressive sound out of the altissimo but still controlled. (3:23-3:33)

Theo Wanne 7* Slant 2 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

I really loved playing the Theo Wanne Slant 2 tenor saxophone mouthpiece.  In my opinion, it has a very unique and individual sound to it.  It was hard for me to define as bright or dark but it seemed to have qualities of both in it’s tone and harmonics.  Listening back to the sound clip, I feel like it gives me a very different sound than many of the clips on this site which is always exciting for me to experience.

If you like the sound of the Theo Wanne Slant 2 tenor sax mouthpiece, you can order one from Theo on his website at www.theowanne.com.   Tell him Steve sent you………….Great work Theo!!

Let me know what you think in the comments below and if you try a Theo WanneSlant 2 yourself please come back and let us know your own opinion also. Thanks, Steve

Theo Wanne Slant 2 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Disclosure: I received the mouthpiece mentioned above with two other mouthpieces in the hope that I would try them and perhaps review them on my blog. I will be allowed to keep one of the three mouthpieces received. Regardless, I only review mouthpieces that I enjoy playing and believe will be good for other saxophone players to try also.    Steve
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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. Having listened to your sound a bit, I have to say I actually don’t like this piece. I don’t hear the mid and low range of the horn like say the Navarro or others. Kind of makes your Selmer sound like a Yamaha..Maybe a good piece for live gigs.

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