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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering across sop to bari pieces, are there any downsides to Theo's pieces (other than price of course).
I see lots of great info, just wondering if there are things folks don't like about them.

Bit of background....
I am a recreational player, started on bari, and after much online only research bought a JJ JET a few years ago and fell in love day one.
Now it is time to upgrade that (Durga3), but also have acquired sop, alto and tenor horns, and thinking Gaia2, Mindi Abair, Gaia 3 respectively.
With bonus coming up, i am contemplating treating myself to mpcs across the line, and forgo the endless quest for the 'perfect' pieces in "go big or stay home', 'one and done' fashion.

So what are the downsides to these pieces.
 

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I wouldn't say that most of the well-made boutique pieces have downsides as much as they have characteristics. The Wanne and JJ pieces tend to be pretty free-blowing some folks like this some don't. Likewise, any design choice has some impact on the way the piece plays or how it feels to the player - tip opening, baffle type and size, throat and chamber size, facing curve, beak angle, window size, etc.. You're not buying the biggest baddest phone, laptop or TV set, or a truck with the biggest tow load so it's really not a "go big or go home" opportunity. Ideally, you try to figure out what sound you want to make and then look for pieces that have designs that will make it as easy as possible to make that sound.
 

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I know guys who like his pieces and guys who don’t. Frankly, thats how it goes for ANY mouthpiece made.
The only downside is whatever YOU feel is a downside when YOU play a mouthpiece.
Free blowing for some people is a downside, and for other people it is an upside. You have to decide what is best for yourself.
To get other peoples opinions really doesn’t answer any questions, all it does is let you hear other peoples opinions. The only way to decide if YOU like a mouthpiece or not, or if you find that there are downsides, is to play them yourself and see where YOU are at.

All of this stuff including reeds, necks, saxophones, mouthpieces, etc. are all just opinion based ....and the only opinion that really matters is your own.


Just my opinion.... :)
 

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I think they can be nice pieces if you like very freeblowing pieces.
I don't, but in the larger tip openings 9 and up, the resistance balances out more.
Certainly well made pieces though.
 

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The bari Durga 3 is awesome. For a big sound, grunt, articulation... why would anyone want to work harder for a three set big band gig?
 

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The bari Durga 3 is awesome. For a big sound, grunt, articulation... why would anyone want to work harder for a three set big band gig?
The Baritone Durga is a nice piece.
I’m sure that the current model Durga would be better than the original one with the power ring.
I had the first model for a while and it was fine on my Yamaha Bari, but impossible to play on my 12m or The Martin.
As I understand the newer model doesn’t have the ring, so perhaps tuning on touchy horns would be easier now.
 

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why would anyone want to work harder for a three set big band gig?
Because some people (including myself) believe that you're losing the support of your sound when playing very freeblowing mouthpieces. I tend to blow with less air when the resistance of the mouthpiece is low. This leads to less musical tension and sometimes to a lack of control in my playing. At the moment I prefer playing pieces with a certain amount of resistance that makes me work a bit harder but leads to better musical results all in all. The resistance kind of activates my mind in a certain way.

Also I like it more to see players at work sometimes than guys that just play easily. It adds to the meaning of what you're doing on stage. Don't take me wrong - I don't enjoy listening to players that are fighting their equipment and losing the fight. But I like the guys that show their audience that they are working.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
For my tenor, i currently have a Selmer 80 C* which came with it, and, although i understand a lot of people like this mpc, i can't stand it. Way too small tip opening (coming from a JJ Jet bari at 110, which makes sense).
Sop and alto are simply what came with the horn, which are essentially Yamaha 4Cs (just got both) and of course i dislike both and need to replace asap.
I just really don't want to buy 'step up' 'pieces and do it all over again.
I am not playing for audiences, just for me, btw.
 

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If you like the Jet on bari, why not get one for tenor? That also being said, from what I gather, JJ's facings are also extremely free-blowing so you'd probably get along with Theo's facings as well.
 

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For my tenor, i currently have a Selmer 80 C* which came with it, and, although i understand a lot of people like this mpc, i can't stand it. Way too small tip opening (coming from a JJ Jet bari at 110, which makes sense).
Sop and alto are simply what came with the horn, which are essentially Yamaha 4Cs (just got both) and of course i dislike both and need to replace asap.
I just really don't want to buy 'step up' 'pieces and do it all over again.
I am not playing for audiences, just for me, btw.
I have little experience with changing mouthpieces, but I'll chime in with my experience so far.

I started on tenor (still play tenor) with a Selmer 80C*, after a couple of years I wanted to change that setup, went to the shop to try out a few. Wanted to get a metal Otto link (I think it was a 5 or 6) that I liked a lot. Shopkeeper and a client there advised against a metal mouthpiece for what I was playing at that point. So I went home with a Selmer Soloist D, was quite a bit better for me.
A little over a year ago I picked up the sax again after a few years pause. I had to work to get my embouchure back in shape to play that Soloist D comfortably. After about a year I was back to where I had to be.
So during the Christmas holiday I went back to shopping for a decent mouthpiece. Ended up getting a HR Otto link 7.
Very happy with that piece, but the bigger tip opening is hard work for my embouchure. Still working to play for more than 7 minutes in one go. And I also feel that there is a whole new world for me to explore with this mouthpiece. I'm fairly sure that I'll want to change to another mouthpiece in 5 or 10 years’ time, once I get to grips with the finer point of the art of saxophone playing ;-)

So my experience is that one can't climb the whole staircase in one go, you'll need to use the stairs ....
Of course, this is only my limited experience, YMMV.
 

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Just wondering across sop to bari pieces, are there any downsides to Theo's pieces (other than price of course).
I see lots of great info, just wondering if there are things folks don't like about them.

Bit of background....
I am a recreational player, started on bari, and after much online only research bought a JJ JET a few years ago and fell in love day one.
Now it is time to upgrade that (Durga3), but also have acquired sop, alto and tenor horns, and thinking Gaia2, Mindi Abair, Gaia 3 respectively.
With bonus coming up, i am contemplating treating myself to mpcs across the line, and forgo the endless quest for the 'perfect' pieces in "go big or stay home', 'one and done' fashion.

So what are the downsides to these pieces.
Well, it's your money and you can spend it how you want, but I'd rather be the guy with the $150 Yamaha guitar he can play the pi$$ out of, than the guy with the $2000 Martin guitar he can't.

Frankly, I would go for something like a Meyer or Link hard rubber and develop an embouchure, tonal concept, and airstream control, before getting involved in mega dollar boutique mouthpiece$$$. In fact, you can use the money saved for lessons! Down the road, you may well find that what you want in a mouthpiece has changed.

Why do you think that you need to "upgrade" your Jody Jazz bari mouthpiece, anyway? The majority of professional baritone players I have known, play on Otto Link or Berg Larsen mouthpieces retailing for something shy of $300. In my case I play on a Meyer bari piece that costs something like $120.

Frankly, the Jody Jazz is such a well made MP (I have one of his, for bass sax) that I can't even imagine what an "upgrade" from that would be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I really like everything that you said. Thank you. Makes sense.
For the Bari, I want that extra punch that the Durga gives (ala Leo P, etc).
 

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I really like everything that you said. Thank you. Makes sense.
For the Bari, I want that extra punch that the Durga gives (ala Leo P, etc).
If you want to "add punch" to your baritone sound, I would respectfully suggest that the most effective way to do that is through intensive development of the air stream. My go-to-recommendation is long tones from pppp to ffff and back again, over the full range of the horn, outdoors where there are no walls to reflect your sound back at you. I would also include extensive interval studies and overtones to develop the ability to play with a variety of sounds from edgy to heavy and blunt to light and soft-cornered.

Adding mouthpiece baffle without the air stream to support it usually just gets you a more buzzy quacky reed-flappy sound, but without much actual useful additional projection or volume.

Again one of my standard recommendations, watch part 4 and 5 (*I think this is correct) of the video "the music of Joe Temperley" where you can see the 80 year old Mr. Temperley (RIP) give his tips on sound production for the baritone sax. Note that he gets a sound as big as a house from a Selmer Soloist hard rubber piece, whereas the young-un interviewing him is playing the famous Metalite grass-cutter and sounds weak and wimpy by comparison.
 

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Just wondering across sop to bari pieces, are there any downsides to Theo's pieces (other than price of course).
I see lots of great info, just wondering if there are things folks don't like about them.

Bit of background....
I am a recreational player, started on bari, and after much online only research bought a JJ JET a few years ago and fell in love day one.
Now it is time to upgrade that (Durga3), but also have acquired sop, alto and tenor horns, and thinking Gaia2, Mindi Abair, Gaia 3 respectively.
With bonus coming up, i am contemplating treating myself to mpcs across the line, and forgo the endless quest for the 'perfect' pieces in "go big or stay home', 'one and done' fashion.

So what are the downsides to these pieces.
It's funny, but I was in a similar situation about a year ago: I'd just gotten a promotion and a raise, and I thought should go ahead and buy myself a shiny new mouthpiece, just to celebrate. So I got a metal Gaia 2, just because I could. It's a terrific piece: free blowing, dead on intonation, rich low end, easy altissimo, lots of volume. But it never became my "go to" mouthpiece. Nothing especially wrong with the Gaia, I just preferred the resistance level and tone of some others (Barone SNY, Philtone Tribute, Sakshama Florida). To be a little more specific, I tend to blow a little on the bright side, and using the Gaia I can become too bright for some playing situations.

The moral of the story? I guess I would say: a) there's no real downside I'm aware of with any of Theo's pieces, but b) it's probably best to avoid buying mouthpieces just because you got a raise. I think in my case at least, I wasn't buying a Gaia because I had some specific goal in mind, or because I thought my other mouthpieces were holding me back. So it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that it didn't turn out to be any more appropriate/better than what I already had.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
If you want to "add punch" to your baritone sound, I would respectfully suggest that the most effective way to do that is through intensive development of the air stream. My go-to-recommendation is long tones from pppp to ffff and back again, over the full range of the horn, outdoors where there are no walls to reflect your sound back at you. I would also include extensive interval studies and overtones to develop the ability to play with a variety of sounds from edgy to heavy and blunt to light and soft-cornered.

Adding mouthpiece baffle without the air stream to support it usually just gets you a more buzzy quacky reed-flappy sound, but without much actual useful additional projection or volume.

Again one of my standard recommendations, watch part 4 and 5 (*I think this is correct) of the video "the music of Joe Temperley" where you can see the 80 year old Mr. Temperley (RIP) give his tips on sound production for the baritone sax. Note that he gets a sound as big as a house from a Selmer Soloist hard rubber piece, whereas the young-un interviewing him is playing the famous Metalite grass-cutter and sounds weak and wimpy by comparison.

I totally get what you are saying. And in a perfect world a 52 year old trumpet player who decided to dabble recreationally in saxes, with two kids and a day job where he travels a lot doesn't always get the time he would like to be able to put in. So sometimes, a BIT of a quick fix boost can actually be a good thing (I would never say this for a student or for a pro). If i can get closer to the sounds i am looking for through mpc differences, then i am all for it in my case. Intesive development of the airstream days are long over in this overworked world i live.
 

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I totally get what you are saying. And in a perfect world a 52 year old trumpet player who decided to dabble recreationally in saxes, with two kids and a day job where he travels a lot doesn't always get the time he would like to be able to put in. So sometimes, a BIT of a quick fix boost can actually be a good thing (I would never say this for a student or for a pro). If i can get closer to the sounds i am looking for through mpc differences, then i am all for it in my case. Intesive development of the airstream days are long over in this overworked world i live.
I'd say a new mpc might get more CUTTING power (baffle or "duck-ish" sound), but real OOMPH is air driven. I've not personally played either the JJ Jet nor the Durga, but I did used to play the JJDV for bari: free-blowing and cutting...but lacked oomph. I now play a V16 B9. I'd look into whether Theo has a trial policy (most do) and try it. If money is no issue, go for it. Why listen to us? No mpc will be a "quick boost," but they will be a different experience.

Have fun!
 

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The downside is that they might not be what you prefer. But the only way to know is to try them out. Unfortunately, it can sometimes take longer than a new mouthpiece trial period to decide that you prefer something else. Then the downside becomes selling them used at a loss when you realize you are not going to play them anymore and they are worth too much to just sit in the drawer.

I guess my point is that the cost of these mouthpieces is no guarantee that you will stop looking, trying and potentially preferring something else. I have owned or tried a few Theo Wanne alto mouthpieces but have settled on pieces that cost less than half for several years now. You never know where this journey is going to take you.
 
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