This is a Theo Wanne hard rubber Gaia 8 alto saxophone mouthpiece. Theo was kind enough to send me a big box of mouthpieces to try out and I spent all morning playing and recording them. I already put up a clip of a Gaia 6 alto mouthpiece a couple of weeks ago. This one is an .086 tip opening which is a bit bigger than the 6 I have. The bigger tip opening darkened up the sound just a tad from the 6 tip and also gave it a slightly bigger rounder sound to my ears. If you listen to this sound clip and then go back and listen to the 6 you should be able to hear the difference in sound.
As usual, this mouthpiece is perfect. Theo does a great job with the presentation of his mouthpieces. From the box to the ligature and leather bag everything looks perfect. The tip and rails are thin and even looking. I love the look of the gold engraved band as well as the gold Enlightened ligature. This mouthpiece has the usual large chamber in it that Theo Wanne’s mouthpiece are known for. One thing that is not included with Theo’s mouthpieces is a mouthpiece cap that goes over the reed and ligature. There is a cap that you can put on after you take off the reed to protect the mouthpiece but no cap to put on while the reed is on it. Your on your own as far as finding one that fits. I’m not sure why they don’t make one as every working musician needs a cap to protect the mouthpiece and reed while on a gig……….I hope they do make a nice one someday.
You can listen to the clip to get a sense of the tone. To me it has a brighter fatter sound but it sounds a a bit dry to me. It’s like a cross of Cannonball and Paul Desmond. The sound is thick and textured but something about it reminds me of a drier sound.
Intonation was great with this mouthpiece and within normal limits.
This was a very easy mouthpiece to play and control. It is very even sounding up and down the horn. The tone of the mouthpiece really makes it easy to play fast. It’s almost like the notes just blend together on those fast runs. Large intervals were easy to play also.
Volume was no problem on this mouthpiece. It has a higher baffle than many of the hard rubber Otto Link alto mouthpieces I have played in the past. The higher baffle speeds up the air to give it a little more punch and power while the bigger chamber stops it from getting too thin or brittle sounding. This would be a great lead alto mouthpiece for those looking for a Mayer type sound but with a little more power and punch when needed.
This is another great mouthpiece by Theo Wanne. For more information visit www.theowanne.com