Today, I have the Theo Wanne Gaia soprano saxophone mouthpiece up for review. It is made of hard rubber and I believe it is a .065 tip opening ( that is what I had asked for……..the markings on the table say 7 x 113 but I have no idea what that means). I have tried a bunch of Theo Wanne mouthpieces and all of them were excellent! It is obvious that he has a high standard of quality when he produces them. This soprano mouthpiece is no exception. It came with the usual Theo Wanne packaging of a blue box with a picture of the mouthpiece on the outside. On the inside, is a leather zippered pouch that has the mouthpiece, liberty ligature, reed replacement cap, an extra ligature plate and a screwdriver to replace the ligature plate with.
When I first opened the package my first thought was that this mouthpiece had a larger chamber. I was a bit nervous when I saw this because I haven’t really dug large chambered soprano mouthpieces up to this date. Some of them were good but just not my thing. I prefer the focused tone and projection of a small chambered soprano mouthpiece. It was larger than my Selmer Soloist and Riffault mouthpieces but not as large as some of the other large chambered soprano mouthpieces I have tried. I was curious to try it.
Theo Wanne Gaia Soprano Saxophone Mouthpiece
When I played it, I was surprised to find that my Vandoren Java 3 reed felt too soft on it. I have been using these on my Riffault soprano mouthpiece that is a .065 and they offer a nice resistance. On the Gaia they felt softer. I opened up a new one and put that on and it was a little better. If I buy one of these I think I might have to go with 3 1/2 Java reed. From the moment I played it I loved it. It has a focused sound that is midway between bright and dark but the bigger chamber gives it a nice fatness and thickness to the sound that I loved. The baffle is a high rollover which means that’s it’s high up near the tip and then rolls down into the chamber. The rollover baffle gives the mouthpiece some nice punch and power. The intonation is as perfect as I have seen on my Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano. I was actually surprised how in tune it was. Every note was right on.
I played it for 5 minutes before I recorded this clip and it was a joy to play. Very easy for me to play. The low notes sound fat and kind of grainy to me which I love and the high notes are controlled, fat and thick sounding. It’s a great mix of the full fat sound that projects and fills the room. In this clip, I’m messing around with the changes to “There Will Never Be Another You”. I felt right at home with this mouthpiece. I’m hoping I can buy this one I am trying. If not, I will be buying one soon enough. Great work Theo! Check out www.theowanne.com to get one yourself and watch the video of Theo talking about this mouthpiece!
Ga ry says
Sounds great! I also am using a Riffault soprano mouthpiece I have no idea what the tip size is ( it shows R-4 on the side) Thank you so much for the review
WOW man, now I have to buy one of these….sweet, sweet sound.
Great job on the changes too…as always.
Very sweet sound, maybe a little nasal
My guess would be that the 7 X 113 is a 7 tip opening (0.065) and 113 is a serial number. Just a guess on my part.
By the way you sound great on the recording!!!
Dayton Eckerson says
Great sound and really nice lines over those changes!
Frank Zona says
Well I just received my Theo Gaia Soprano mpc (#7), you told me to drop you a line when it came in.
Only played it for a few minutes and already the difference is profound !!
The tone is awesome, it feels good in the mouth, response is fast and even in all registers. Even those pesky palm keys speak.
I should have bought this over a year ago when it was a toss up between the Theo and a vintage Dukoff. I chose the Dukoff and here I am finally with the Theo. I even had the Dukoff worked on, which improved it but it’s no match for this Theo.
What pushed me to make this purchase was seeing your video with your Theo on Soprano. So I thought, if Steve is playing it (and I know you try a lot of mpcs) it’s gotta be good !
Now I have Theo’s on all my horns, Durga on Tenor, Kali on Alto and now this Gaia for Soprano.
BTW, hope you are recovering well and thanks for all those lessons, they have really helped.
PS: Played it on the gig last night, (broke the rule of never bringing new equipment to a gig, lol). It really was a pleasure to play and even received great comments from my band. I ended up playing more Soprano than I normally do.
As far as ratings it gets 5 stars across the board.
Hi! I got a gaia 6 recently and was surprised at how easy it was to play. Maybe too bright at times and buzzy. I am playing it now with alexander superial #3 reeds. I would like to take out the buzz and some of the brightness too. Any recomendations?
Angel, I have heard the Rico Select Jazz reeds are a bit darker in sound. I have one box for alto and they are darker than my Rigotti and Vandoren Java reeds.
Douglas Hachiya says
What has been the darkest sounding soprano mouthpiece that you’ve played on?
I’m not sure? In my mind I think they all had a similar amount of brights in the sound. I seem to remember do a review of a Morgan soprano mouthpiece that I thought was pretty dark. I seem to remember it having a big chamber I believe………… Steve
What ligature(s) are you using with this mouthpiece? I just picked one of these up second hand from SOTW. I really like it, but the outer diameter is a bit narrower than any of my other soprano mouthpieces, and I haven’t been able to find a ligature that is small enough to fit it as tightly as I would like.
Hi Melchi, I say what ligature I am using on most of the reviews on the site right at the beginning of the recordings. On this, I am using the Theo Wanne Liberty ligature that came with the mouthpiece. Steve