Theo Wanne Shiva 3 Gold Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing the Shiva 3 gold tenor saxophone mouthpiece made by Theo Wanne.  I just reviewed Theo Wanne’s darkest tenor sax mouthpiece which is the Ambika 3 (Ambika 3 Review), so today, I thought I would jump to the complete opposite end of the saxophone tone spectrum and review Theo Wanne’s brightest tenor saxophone mouthpiece called the Shiva 3.

Theo describes this Shiva 3 tenor sax mouthpiece as “Our brightest tenor mouthpiece. The biggest, baddest sound possible!” (I’m assuming the “baddest sound possible” is a good thing…….. we will see as I complete the review.)

Theo Wanne Shiva 3 8 Gold Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Theo Wanne Shiva 3 tenor sax mouthpiece was shipped with the usual high standards of the Theo Wanne company.  Each mouthpiece comes in a perfectly designed box with stylish gold printing on it with all the details about the sax mouthpiece inside.  Inside the box is a beautiful black leatherette Theo Wanne mouthpiece case with the Shiva 3 tenor saxophone mouthpiece well protected inside. The Shiva 3 tenor saxophone mouthpiece I am reviewing today has an 8 tip opening which is measured at .110.

The Shiva 3 metal tenor sax mouthpiece has a built in ligature included called the “Liberty Ligature” that is already attached to the mouthpiece. The mouthpiece comes with a detailed information card with specific directions on how to adjust the built in ligature, the affects on the saxophone tone when the ligature is in different positions and directions on how to change the pressure plates on the ligature.

The Shiva 3 mouthpiece comes with a reed replacer cap which is on the mouthpiece where the reed goes and the ligature is tightened down on the reed replacer cap to protect the mouthpiece in shipping and when you are not playing it.

Although the reed replacer cap is a cool idea, the Shiva 3 tenor mouthpiece does not come with a “regular” mouthpiece cap that you slide on the mouthpiece over the reed and around the ligature. At the time of this review, there is a page on the Theo Wanne website that has new Theo Wanne mouthpiece caps for sale so hopefully he will start including these with his mouthpieces in the future.

Theo Wanne Shiva 3 8 Gold Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

As you can see above, the Liberty ligature on the Gold Shiva 3 tenor saxophone mouthpiece is connected to the mouthpiece through screws on the ligature that tighten into holes on the sides of the Shiva 3 mouthpiece.  The mouthpiece comes with a hex screwdriver that can be used to loosen these screws and move the ligature forward or backwards in relation to the reed and mouthpiece table.

The Shiva 3 tenor sax mouthpiece has five positions (holes) that can be used to adjust the ligature.  I personally liked the ligature in the middle hole setting as it puts the ligature plate towards the rear of the saxophone reed allowing the reed to vibrate and flex freely but not so far back that I feel it might not put enough pressure on the reed to seal.

Theo Wanne Shiva 3 8 Gold Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Even before you look at the Theo Wanne mouthpieces themselves, everything about the Theo Wanne packaging and presentation just speaks to quality and high standards.  Just the process of opening the package and unpacking the mouthpiece brings about an excitement and anticipation that this mouthpiece you are about to play is going to be amazing!

Here is how the Theo Wanne website describes the new Shiva 3 tenor saxophone mouthpiece:

The SHIVA 3 ‘The Destroyer’ tenor saxophone mouthpiece has EVEN MORE power, fullness, and ease-of-play!!!

The SHIVA 3 uses Theo’s newest design technology to optimize the airflow across the high step baffle.  This means more dynamics, to the effectiveness of the airflow; you can literally put more air into the mouthpiece, but doing so with greater ease.  This makes the SHIVA 3 a very expressive saxophone mouthpiece!    Of course the SHIVA 3 also includes the Theo Wanne proprietary “shark-gill” chamber™ too.  These features give the SHIVA huge power and edge making it suitable for Rock n’ Roll, R&B or any situation where dynamics and power are important.

The SHIVA 3 tenor sax mouthpiece is currently being used by Gerald Albright, Warren Ham on tour with Ringo Starr, as well as by Mark Douthit (Elton John, Michael McDonald), Najee, Nelson Rangell, and many many others.

“I LOVE the Shiva! I’m a happy man. I love the brightness and the added bonus is how ‘full-bodied’ it is.” – Gerald Albright (3 Grammy Nominations)

“I just stopped and said WOW – I Feel Like I’ve Come Home! The SHIVA is very aggressive and great for those screaming tenor solos.” – Mark Douthit (Elton John, Billy Joel, Lionel Ritchie, Amy grant, Vanessa Williams, Garth Brooks, Billy Ray Cyrus)

Theo Wanne Shiva 3 8 Gold Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The SHIVA 3 tenor sax mouthpiece is available in 24K gold plated brass! Like all Theo Wanne™ products the SHIVA 3 is made using state-of-the-art design and manufacturing technologies. You will receive the most consistent and highest quality mouthpiece available in history.

“I have been a Rock & Roll and Blues-Rock sax player since the late 50’s when I performed with some of the early pioneers of rock and rockabilly as a teenager. Early in my career I had the vintage Duck Bill Bergs, Dukoff’s and Brillhart Level aire’s. Later on it was Guardala’s and a Clarence Clemon’s favorite – the Rovner Deep V. But with all the credibility of my many years wailing a tenor sax to back me up, this latest mouthpiece, SHIVA the Destroyer from Theo Wanne tops them all. It brings back the edge, projection and brightness of the classic vintage pieces, but with a less shrill tone, more volume, and a easier bottom end. The DESTROYER came along late in this rocker’s career, but I’m sure thankful it did!” – Ace Barton (Bobby Vee, The Champs “Tequila fame”)

SOUND

  • Great for Jazz, R&B, Rock & Roll even softer music when a sweet tone with clarity is wanted.
  • Projects a sensual tone that is flirtatious and erotic. It makes everyone want to dance!
  • It is so unique; it really has to be played to be understood and believed.

DESIGN

  • Theo Wanne proprietary “shark-gill” chamber. Uniquely shaped long step baffle, with roll-over.
  • Crafted to the highest accuracy in the history of saxophone mouthpieces.
  • Designed by Theo Wanne, the foremost expert on the design and manufacturing of vintage and new saxophone mouthpieces.

DETAILS

  • Case: Beautiful Leatherette Case! 
  • Plating: Reticulated 24K Gold plating.
  • Ligature: The metal SHIVA 3 includes our integrated two-point contact Gold Liberty Ligature and Alive Gold pressure plate.  To truly individualize your sound, try our premium pressure plates, which fit all of our mouthpieces and ligatures!.
  • Cap: Patented Reed Replacer Cap. The most secure cap in the world.
  • Bite Pad: User replaceable bite pads allow you to peel and stick on new bite pads. Try our varying hardness bite pads to personalize the feel.

Theo Wanne Shiva 3 8 Gold Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Theo Wanne Shiva 3 tenor saxophone mouthpiece is beautifully made and has a perfect looking symmetry and balance to it.  The mouthpiece engraving is as perfect as can be.  Not a flaw or mistake anywhere.  Each Theo Wanne mouthpiece has a unique serial number on it which I really love as I know which mouthpiece is mine and if I decide to sell a mouthpiece everyone knows from the serial number that this is the mouthpiece I reviewed on my site.

The tip, rails, baffle, table and chamber all look perfect as well. Smooth, even, symmetrical…….flawless.  The sidewalls are straight as they head towards what I would describe as an extra large chamber but flare out at the end of the baffle as the chamber starts.

The mouthpiece chamber is bigger in diameter than the bore of the mouthpiece and the bottom floor of the chamber looks to be scooped out starting where the baffle terminates.  The chamber has ribbed walls which Theo refers to as a “shark-gill” chamber.  The ribbed floor of the chamber looks like each rib is lower almost like stairs.  You can see this clearly in the bore photo below.  I have never seen a chamber with a ribbed floor and ribbed walls before.  The roof of the chamber does not have ribs and is  smooth and thin.

The Shiva 3 mouthpiece baffle is a high baffle as you can see in the photos above.  The first inch of baffle is high, slightly angled and flat.  I don’t see any rollover or curve to the baffle at all.  After the inch long high baffle, the baffle descends at a greater angle and then reaches a straight edge where the chamber starts.

Theo Wanne Shiva 3 8 Gold Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Theo Wanne Shiva 3 played great with Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 strong tenor saxophone reeds.  Actually, I found the Shiva 3 tenor mouthpiece to play well with Rigotti Gold reeds ranging from 2 1/2 medium-3 light (I didn’t try anything harder than Rigotti Gold 3 light reeds).  I decided to use the Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 strong reeds for the sound clip below although I did add a fourth sound clip at the end with a Rigotti Gold 3 light reed for those interested in how a slightly harder reed sounds on the Shiva 3 tenor saxophone mouthpiece.

The Shiva 3 tenor saxophone mouthpiece was indeed on the brighter side of the tenor saxophone tone spectrum.   This brightness of tone is most easily heard in the upper register of the saxophone when I listen to the clips.    From the very first note it just had a very “in your face” bright and powerful sound.  The tone is ultra focused and concentrated.  I would describe the tone as having a laser beam type focus to it.

The Shiva 3 is probably a 14 on my 1-10 volume scale.  I honestly found the volume to be too much for my “old man” ears. (I am deaf in one ear and have some hearing loss in the other ear).  When I really pushed the Shiva 3 it easily transitioned into overdrive as far as volume and brightness.  So much so, that if I was playing facing a wall, the volume would hurt my ear.  That’s pretty darn loud!

For comparison sake, the Theo Wanne Shiva 3 tenor sax mouthpiece records at about twice the volume of most of the other mouthpieces I have reviewed here at neffmusic.com.  I realized this while editing the sound clips and seeing how close the recording came to peaking at times throughout the recording.

One aspect of the Shiva 3 tenor sax mouthpiece that can’t be heard on the recording is that at times, I did find it to suddenly get edgy if I wasn’t paying attention to how I was playing.  If I let my bottom lip get too hard, then the tone would get really edgy on me.  I would just have to readjust and make my bottom lip fatter to fatten up the tone again.  This is the kind of adjustment that would become second nature as a player got used to the mouthpiece over a few days.

Like I have described with other high baffle type tenor sax mouthpieces I have reviewed, I find these kind of mouthpieces to blow best with what I describe as an extra fat air column.  I know that might sound strange, but these high baffle type of mouthpieces really seem to become more versatile when I imagine my air column being wider in my throat.  Something about that mental thought seems to produce a fatter more rounded tone out of these high baffled tenor mouthpieces for me.

The intonation on the Theo Wanne Shiva 3 tenor saxophone mouthpiece was within normal limits.  Many of the notes that I find sharp on my Selmer SBA tenor saxophone were within that same range with nothing out of the ordinary noticed as far as intonation.  I make sure to check intonation with any high baffle mouthpieces I try because sometimes they can throw the different octaves of the saxophone way out of wack with the upper register being really sharp.  The Shiva 3 tenor mouthpiece was within normal limits and expectations as far as intonation.

The low notes were thick and full and sounded great when subtoned.  The altissimo range was almost too easy to produce and the notes in that higher range of the saxophone just popped out really easily. This ease of altissimo playing made it easier to try some different lines up in that register than I usually play.

On the sound clip below, I try to give a good range and variety of saxophone sounds and textures so that you can hear how the Theo Wanne Shiva 3 tenor saxophone mouthpiece performs in different styles.  I demonstrate the sound of the Shiva 3 tenor mouthpiece with all my usual lines and melodies so if you want to compare it to my other sound clips and reviews, you should be able to find many of the same lines to compare this sound clip to.

All the sound clips were recorded in a big barn with loads of natural reverb in it.  Sound clips 2 & 3 are louder clips that feature more altissimo playing because I didn’t use much altissimo in the first clip.

  • Of special note, is the differences in sound and tone between the 2nd clip using the softer Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 strong reed and the 3rd clip where I use a slightly harder Rigotti Gold 3 light reed.  For a live gig, I would most definitely opt for the slightly stronger 3 light reed as it handles the altissimo register easier and gives even more power and volume to the Shiva 3 sound.

Theo Wanne Shiva 3 8 Gold Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

In my opinion, the Theo Wanne Shiva 3 tenor saxophone mouthpiece is a great metal tenor saxophone mouthpiece for those looking for a modern, bright, focused, incredibly powerful tenor sax tone along the lines of a Michael Brecker & Lenny Pickett kind of vibe.  Although the tone is bright and powerful, it can still be manipulated to sound fat and full sounding throughout the range of the saxophone.

Although I wouldn’t use this Shiva 3 tenor sax mouthpiece on a straight ahead jazz gig, cocktail hour or private lesson because of it’s brightness and sheer volume and power when pushed, this mouthpiece would be a killer option when you need to really bring the power and volume during a rockin’ gig that is for sure.

If you like the sound and look of the Shiva 3 tenor saxophone mouthpiece by Theo Wanne, you can find them at Theo Wanne’s website. I have agreed to be an affiliate for Theo Wanne so if you purchase a Shiva 3 tenor saxophone mouthpiece from this link, neffmusic.com will receive a small commission on the sale. (This helps to support my site and keep the saxophone related reviews, articles and transcriptions coming to you…..).

If you are lucky enough to play a Theo Wanne Shiva 3 tenor saxophone mouthpiece or have any other thoughts or comments, I would love to hear what you think in the comments below.  Thanks,   Steve

Theo Wanne Shiva 3 8 Gold Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece – Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Strong Reed-Playing in a Barn

Theo Wanne Shiva 3 8 Gold Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece – Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Strong Reed-Altissimo in a Barn I

Theo Wanne Shiva 3 8 Gold Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece – Rigotti Gold 3 Light Reed-Altissimo in a Barn II

Disclosure: I borrowed the sample mouthpiece reviewed above in the hope that I would try it and perhaps review it on my blog. I will be sending it back after this review. If you purchase a Theo Wanne mouthpiece through the link I provided in the review, I will receive a small commission that helps to support my work here at neffmusic.com. Regardless, I only review mouthpieces that I enjoy playing and believe will be good for other saxophone players to try also. Steve
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. It would be helpful to know the saxophone that you use in these audio clips for a possible comparison to what I play. Thanks Steve.

    • Hi Greg, Sorry, I mentioned my Selmer SBA tenor sax a couple of times in the written part of the review but I will try to start adding that info to the sound clips as well in the future. Steve

  2. For the last ten years I have settled in on playing on two King tenors. A 300xxx Series 1A and a 400xxx Series IV Silver Sonic. After a lot of trial and error I chose Theo Wanne’s first edition SHIVA 9 with a Fibracell 2.5. About a year ago a pulled a Theo Wanne DATA 9 with a Francois Louis ligature out of the drawer and put it on the Silver Sonic. The results ,for me ,were that I got more of what I was looking for with the DATA. It is a powerful edgy mouthpiece when pushed and yet can be fulsome when I back off.

    On the Super 20 Series 1A after trying everything, I find that Theo’s KALI 8 matches up with the richer tonal qualities. ( I also have a MVI 82xxx and the KALI sounded tubby on it; but the 10Mfan Boss captures the dark overtones without getting all saccharine).

    I’m guessing that our bite (I have a pronounced underbite) Oral cavity; Throat all have a lot to do with what works for us, hence what’s good for me may fail for someone else.

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