Theo Wanne has been making amazing professional saxophone mouthpieces for decades, and one of the unique features of these is that they get updated all the time. I’m going to show and play for you all the new Theo Wanne tenor mouthpiece designs, including the brand new Brahma mouthpiece in both hard rubber and metal. This may be the best Theo Wanne mouthpiece to date for me. I’d love to know what you think though, so let me know in the comments.
For comparison, I’m going to start you off with my BetterSax Burnin 7* mouthpiece for tenor saxophone. This is what I normally play day to day and just to give you a frame of reference for my normal sound. I’m going to give you these extended examples of each mouthpiece first and later on I’ll do a side by side mash up so you can compare more easily. In the first examples I’ll be playing something that’s a bit loud and covers the full range from down low all the way up into the upper altissimo. The second examples will be some medium Jazz phrasing. Next are the four new Theo Wanne mouthpieces in order of dark to bright.
Theo Wanne Ambika IV
First up will be the Ambika IV. This probably wouldn’t be your first choice if you were only playing funk and rock music, but the Ambika is versatile enough to really play in any style. Altissimo speaks easily enough and you can get some pop on the low notes. It still projects pretty well considering that it’s the darkest mouthpiece in the Theo Wanne lineup.
You can hear that the Ambika lends itself very well to soft playing sub-tone down low and a breathy ballad style. It is still very capable of playing in other dynamic ranges, and it is one of my favorite Theo Wanne pieces. I put the current prices of all these mouthpieces on the screen. These are all subject to change though so please click the link in the description for more updated info.
In all these clips I’m playing on the same BetterSax Jazz Cut 2.5 strength reed. These will be available to purchase very soon and I can’t wait for you to get the chance to try them. You may also notice something different about this video, and that is that I’m recording in my new Studiobricks booth. There is no reverb or effects on the sound whatsoever. What’s nice about this booth is that you get a really clean and neutral sound where you can hear every little detail, and I think it’s good for comparing mouthpieces like this.
Theo Wanne Brahma
Next up is the brand new Brahma which is available in both a hard rubber version and a metal version. On the Theo Wanne website they say the Brahma uses the best features of vintage mouthpieces like Berg Larsen and Lawton with their small chamber and flat side-walls, but updates them with Theo’s new design technologies. Then it goes on to list the features:
- Twisted-Walls™: Flat-sidewall that ‘twists’ into the chamber.
- Wave-Baffle™: The baffle is shaped in the form of a sine-wave, adding fullness and sparkle to the sound.
- Theo’s proprietary “bullet” chamber: A unique ‘elongated-oval’ shape is used to transition from baffle to chamber.
- Shark-Gill-Baffle™: The arced lines you see on the baffle. Patented by Theo Wanne.
- Small-Stadium-Chamber™: Shape like a Football Stadium, the Small-Stadium-Chamber™ gives tremendous projection.
- Shark-Gill Chamber™: The indented lines on the chamber walls create a bigger sound. Patented by Theo Wanne.
- Elliptical Window: Efficiently focuses the airstream into the mouthpiece.
These features allow the Brahma to do-it-all. From ballads to rock & roll, this is the most versatile mouthpiece we make.
As you can see, these mouthpieces have a lot of intricate details inside and out. The metal ones all have this heavy 24 karat gold plating and engraved designs that look beautiful. They all have a ligature included as well. The metal pieces come with this really cool integrated and adjustable ligature which works great. The hard rubber versions come with the enlightened ligature which I have found works really well on other metal mouthpieces like Otto Link’s.
I like to play on more middle of the road mouthpieces like the Brahma because I want to be able to play in a variety of different styles without feeling limited, so I put this one in the category of a working saxophone player’s mouthpiece you can take this on any sort of gig and is going to do what you need it to do. That’s the design philosophy behind the Burnin’ mouthpiece as well.
The Brahma also comes in the gold-plated metal version. When playing these I initially got the impression that the metal version was brighter and punchier by a little bit, but listening back I don’t really hear any difference. Since they are the same price, the decision really comes down to preference for material and how it feels in your mouth. I like both metal and hard rubber mouthpieces but would personally go with the metal Brahma because metal is easier to take care of, can last you forever, and these have that really nice integrated ligature which is cool. I’ve got all the various Theo Wanne mouthpieces in my collection, and I would say the metal Brahma may be my favorite.
Theo Wanne Shiva IV
I’ve got one more new design for you before we do a comparison mashup. This is the brand new Shiva IV. Even though I don’t normally play on really bright contemporary style mouthpieces, I have always been a fan of the Shiva. It is punchy and bright, it’s got tons of projection, and the altissimo is a bit easier. You don’t have to back off the air as much as with other mouthpieces. I don’t find that the Shiva is only suitable for Funk and rock music though, I’m perfectly happy to play jazz on a Shiva. The only thing that’s missing is that really soft, breathy sub-tone sound.
I want to thank Theo Wanne for providing me with these mouthpieces in order to make this video for you. While I don’t pay for the mouthpieces, I also don’t sell them. I keep them all in the growing BetterSax mouthpiece library so that I can make these detailed comparison videos for you to help you with any purchase decisions you might be making. I hope you find these videos helpful. The links here are affiliate links which means we will get a commission if you end up purchasing any of the mouthpieces after clicking those links.
Comparing these in a side by side mashup gives you a much clearer picture of the sonic differences between each of these mouthpieces. There is a lot to know about mouthpieces, so I made a video explaining all the different parts for you, like baffle, chamber and tip openings. You can watch it here next.