Theo Wanne Wood Gaia Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

Here’s another Theo Wanne alto saxophone mouthpiece for you to check out.  I just received a ton of these and I’m working my way through them as you might have noticed. This is a wood version of the Gaia mouthpiece.  The Gaia is a middle of the road type mouthpiece tone wise.  From bright to darker you have the Durga,Kali,Amma and then the Gaia.  I noticed a big difference between the HR Gaia and the wood model.  The wood mouthpiece seemed to vibrate more.  I could actually feel it vibrating as I played………………………

Theo Wanne Gaia Wood Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

  • Appearance:

The Gaia mouthpiece looks fantastic. The tip, rails and table look great.   It looks like wood, smells like wood, feels like wood.  What I’ve been told though is that it is actually a wood mixed with resin so that it won’t crack or warp.   Here is a snippet from Theo’s website about it:

“Our new manufacturing technology allows us to make the GAIA Alto Stable Wood mouthpiece entirely from one piece of Stable Wood. Stable Wood has an incredibly rich and warm sound due to its wood grain and the character inherent in real wood. However, it will not crack or warp as Stable Wood is impregnated all the way through with resin, making it stable.”

This is a big concern for wood mouthpieces.   I know because I use to have a great wood mouthpiece years ago that warped really badly a couple weeks after I bought it.   I was devastated.  I vowed to never buy a wood mouthpiece again.   Mr. Wanne seems to have figured out how to get around the wood warpage issue so maybe it’s time to reconsider his “Stable Wood”.

  • Tone:

Again, I am told that the material that a mouthpiece is made of doesn’t make a difference at all in the sound produced but I find this piece a bit darker and more textured than the hard rubber Gaia.  To me it seems to have more character to the sound.  It could be the materials affect I guess or maybe this piece is just made slightly different than the hard rubber version.  I found it a much more responsive than the hard rubber Gaia.  I’m not saying it was free blowing because there was a good resistance there.  By responsive I mean that there seemed to be a quicker time between my manipulation of the sound and then a change in the sound.  It seemed almost instantaneous which is what you want as a musician.

  • Intonation:

Intonation was great with this mouthpiece and within normal limits.

  • Control:

This was a very easy mouthpiece to play and control. As you can hear from the recording, I was comfortable playing fast on this mouthpiece.  No problems what so ever with larger intervals or fast runs.  It was also very easy to bend and manipulate the notes.  One of my favoite aspects of this mouthpiece was playing with vibrato.  It just seemed very responsive and I could feel that when using vibrato.  If you listen to the clip maybe you can hear that.  Sometimes I feel like the vibrato I’m using is just laying on top of the sound.  With this mouthpiece it felt like the vibrato and movement was within the sound.  It seemed easier to control and hear to me.

  • Volume:

This wood Gaia could get too a nice FF volume.  It wasn’t as loud as the Amma,Kali or Durga.  I had the sense that it wasn’t as loud as the hard rubber Gaia.  It was plenty loud for most playing situations though.

This is another great mouthpiece by Theo Wanne. For more information on the Kali mouthpiece visit www.theowanne.com .  This is my last Theo Wanne alto mouthpiece review for today.  Now I have to go back and play them all again to see which one I like the best!

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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 30 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. Before I say how much I love the sound of the mouthpiece, I must admit you sound good on any mouthpiece.

    I couldn’t have resist the temptation on buying a wooden Gaia from sax-ccessories.com, its looks so nice. can’t wait till it arrives in the mail.

    Fingers crossed that this mouthpiece will not warp or crack because I am thinking of using it as my main piece.

  2. Hey Steve forgot to ask. do you prefer the HR Version or the Wood Version

  3. They both are great but I got a HR model because I had a bad experience with a wood mouthpiece in the past………..it was a different brand……..

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