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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all!
Sorry to see the thread on the Amma got off topic and ultimately closed. I have been promising a comprehensive review and clips of my Amma and Theo Wanne Custom Link.

The entire review can be found on SaxShed.com (as soon as my webmaster posts it.) In the meantime, here's the beginning of the review and a link to 3 audio clips. #1 is the Gold Amma. #2 is the Silver Amma and #3 is my Theo Wanne Custom Link.

"Theo Wanne of MouthpieceHeaven.com has long been a gifted, talented and sought-after mouthpiece refacer. For about five years many of us have eagerly awaited the arrival of his production pieces. Much time has been spent developing and perfecting a mouthpiece to follow and surpass the Custom Links for which he is so well known. Theo has done just that. He has now unveiled his remarkable and unique new mouthpiece – The Amma.

If you are a fan of vintage mouthpieces and Links in general, you will likely be a big fan of the Amma. In my own experience I found the Amma to be very complimentary to the feel of my Theo Wanne Custom Link STM 7*NY. The new Amma plays much like the beautiful pieces Theo previously customized for me. The same familiar feel of Theo’s craftsmanship made me immediately comfortable with the Amma. What makes the Amma special is that it feels and plays great, yet retains that robust sound of a vintage Link..." - Skip

Oops! These clips will be reposted with a new set of reeds.
Sorry for the confusion.

Skip
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
CountSpatula said:
Wow,not a huge difference to me...great playing though Skip!
I agree. They all sound "like me". The difference on my end is that I need to hold back on the Link with the wedge to create that sound. On the Amma's I can blow freely and not hold back to create the sound. In the end, not a huge difference but I'm happy to get rid of the annoying excess edge the custom link can create. Don't get me wrong. I think they all sound good. Take your pick on what you like.
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
SaxMonkey32 said:
Thank you for doing this.

THe fact that you admitted that you had to "back off" on the last mpc, points out the problems one can encounter making comparisons like this truly "scientific". Its hard.

When making something like this, alot of times, we end up with a sound in our heads, and begin subtly adjusting, when playing the other pieces, therefore emphasizing the similarities. (I esp. think this happened between the gold & the silver)

If you'd like my opinion, they all sound too bright & edgey to me, possibly its your concept, which, seems a little Brecker-like, which is emphasizing the highs.

Possibly you could make a sound clip with a darker mpc, maybe a Slant or something (if you have one), so we can hear what you sound like on a darker piece, for a better contrast & to judge if the brightness we hear is coming from your concept or the mpc's themselves.

Great playing, thank you very much
SaxMonkey32,
You are correct I am of the Brecker mold. 20 years ago I sounded like a Brecker clone. It has taken 20 years to get me away from sounding completely like a copy and stop using all his cliched licks. I still love Mike's playing on a Link, on a DG MB - I played one for 14 years. My sound is brighter and edgier and I can't get away from that without sounding UNLIKE myself. Everytime I put on a HR or take away the baffle completely I sound like there is a rag stuck in the end of my horn.

The Amma will allow darker players to retain that and brighter players like myself to retain that as well.

The reed (one reed for all 3 pieces) was a Vandoren Java 3, rather broken in. That is pretty free-blowing and "clear" to me.

I will put on a harder, darker Vandoren ZZ 3 or 3.5 and record that for all here. It will not be MY concept of sound but it will likely appeal to many here.

In the end I hope I have demonstrated that the Amma is a quality piece worth checking out for yourself.

Skip
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
wersax said:
I wouldn't bother changing my tone with another reed if I were you Skip; I think you playing a ballad with the same set-up would be interesting though.....to see what the sub-tones sound like and how the piece responds to a less aggressive style as opposed to the straight bop playing of the three current examples. BTW, 'love your tone! Big, fat and in your face......daryl
Daryl,
Alrighty then. This was Theo's personal favorite clip of all I sent to him last week.

http://saxshed.com/bnsammamix.mp3

Skip
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Swampcabbage said:
Skip, it seemed like the AMMA was a little easier on the "corners" as I call it (switching back from a descending to an ascending line and vice versa). Would you describe it that way as well?

Also, it sounded as if the Link was a little closer mic'd or is it just much louder than the AMMA?

And finally, how does it respond in altissimo, multiphonics, and overtones?

I liked the playing and think that you are doing a great service here. And understand how consuming it is to set up these recordings and all. Your services are greatly appreciated.

PS - I think someone said there a links of other clips of you playing on some other mouthpieces. I would love to get a hold of those if they're already out there for comparison. Otherewise, if you have a standard STM (Florida, EB, current, NY, Millenium or what have you, metal is fine for me) then I'd love to here it. If not, that's cool.

Thanks again.
The Link STM I have (custom by Theo) has a much larger baffle than the Amma. The mic placement was identical and the recordings were all done in 20 minutes. The Link is a bit louder with that big wedge! That's good AND bad, depending on the playing situation.

You can go to "about the author" on SaxShed.com to hear a bunch of clips live. You can buy any of my cds on Dornpublications.com via Saxophone Journal. You can also hear the clip I won with on JodyJazz.com, playing his ESP.

The comparisons here are direct. Custom Link made by Theo to Amma.

I could put anything on the tip of my horn and I will sound like me - or not like me. You can check out my last offering through Saxophone Journal. It was on "Tenor Saxophone Styles". I played on one mouthpiece, reed and mic for the whole thing. The idea was to create the illusion of sounding like Getz, Gato, Jr. Walker and Clarence using the identical setup.

When I play like "me" IMHO I sound like I am heavily influenced by Brecker. When I set my mind to it, I can be a chameleon as demonstrated in the SJ Masterclass mentioned above. Maybe I'll edit down some clips of that.

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I think I have to "redirect" this thread if possible. I just listened to the recordings I made last week with newer reeds and these 3 from last night - back to back.

Maybe the same set of reeds are dying...maybe too much of my brightness is coming out now. The clip bnsamma.mp3 is more the sound I was getting when the reeds were new.

Whatever the case - I'll work on more to share.

TBC..
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Swampcabbage said:
That's why I asked the first 3 questions (altissimo, multiphonics and overtones) about response and feel in extremes and extended techniques. I find that the more versatile a mouthpiece is in these areas the better it will respond all over the rest of the horn.
Yes, I forgot to answer that...sorry.

Here you go:

I play a range of Low Bb (A with my knee over the bell :shock: ) up to high G a 9th off the horn. When I play straight ahead, I don't venture above high C (5th off the horn) very much. I don't play altissimo like an extention of the natural sound as some darker players do. I handle altissimo more like the Brecker school where it is brighter and pops out. That being said, most pieces close up on me up there at some point. Maybe they are good up to altissimo C maybe they are good up to altissimo D. Most pieces with low or medium low baffles are going to close up on me up there. The Amma stays free and open up there.

The only multiphonic I use with any regularity is on high A, admittedly one of the first we learn and among the easiest to produce. The Amma works well for me on this although it's really not a focus of my playing or something I work on whole-heartedly. I have these very cool mutiphonics sheets from Joe Viola when I studied with him. He was writing a book on them and all the sheets are photocopies of his handwritten notes. I've been meaning to investigate them for 25 years!!

Overtones you ask. Just fine, clear and as you would expect from any great piece. Admittedly, it's time for me to revisit them in general. I have students playing "Taps and Revellie" sp? I don't make myself do it enough...

Hope that answers it.

ONE LAST THOUGHT:

Car enthusiasts have the option of purchasing an original Shelby Cobra from the 60s in varying condition and pricing. They also have the option of buying a new, reproduction of a Shelby Cobra from 2007. There are some people who want the original - no matter how good the reproduction or newer models can be - nothing else will do because it is not the ORIGINAL THING. This is no different with these pieces. There are many here who want an old link or old something else. That's cool too.

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
m3pilot said:
As a long time car enthusiast I'm not sure that I think your analogy is a sound one. Collectors buy seven-figure orignal Cobras that probably never see the light of day and enthusiast-drivers build replicas that might cost mid-five figures to drive and sometimes race. I'm sure there are exceptions.

More to the point though, is that quote meant to imply that the AMMA is just as good or better than a Link (vintage or otherwise) only cheaper. And that the ONLY reason people play them is because the say "Otto Link" on them or because they are vintage?
Take or leave the analogy. Some people like old stuff, vintage stuff. Nothing new will sway them. That's all. Nothing more meant than that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
wersax said:
I think he's just saying "different strokes for different folks"..........
Wersax,
We've never met but it looks like you've got my back around here. Thanks!

I'm not really digging the interaction here. As you can see by the number of posts I'm a newbie to this forum contribution stuff. SaxShed.com has a forum which I moderate and it really is not well developed or controvercial for that matter.

I got involved here initially because cats were saying all this speculative stuff about the Amma. Being one of a very small group of people who have been priviledged to try several, I thought I could add some helpful thoughts here.

Some out here have been very complimentary and I thank them for that. Others have been critical as well as respectful of other opinions and I appreciate that. There still remains a lot of negativity floating around here. That part I don't enjoy.

I keep coming back here to see what's posted. It's kind of looking at a bad car accident. You know you shouldn't look but you can't stop! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
m3pilot said:
So I'm sorry if you think I'm being overly negative...

Either way, good luck with the piece.
m3pilot,
The thank you to wersax came after your comment, yes. It was not directed at you or any one person in particular. I can see where you might think it was directed at you reading in order.

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Nefertiti said:
hey Skip,
I for one appreciate what your trying to do here. Your spending your time and effort to give your opinion. Thanks!
Steve,
I hope you got my email last week. I think your clips are a great service on your site. I dug listening to most of your pieces. Send me a PM. We probably know a lot of the same people from my years in New England.
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Discussion Starter · #47 · (Edited)
heath said:
Sorry about all the negativity Skip. Some of us are pretty die hard when it comes to using large chamber/very small baffled pieces.

I guess that people should accept that the amma has a different concept, a brighter concept and that this mouthpiece probably isn't going to suite those that like a real Link or vintage large chamber piece.

My guess is Theo will offer a more traditional mouthpieces down the road. He's a vintage mouthpiece aficionado and he knows those designs work as well for many as the brighter more modern amma.
Heath,
I'm a bit concerned that people are getting the impression that this piece is overly bright. That impression is probably based on the way I tend to sound, not the tendency of the piece. It's an Amma, not a Link I realize that. They are not the same.

Here's BRIGHT from my brecker days 20 years ago! DG MB I #532.
Put your earplugs in!:D

http://saxshed.com/backintheday.mp3

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
Giganova said:
I can' find any link to audio clips -- neither in this thread nor on the web site you mentioned. I wasted 10 min searching & searching ... where are they??
Giganova,
The first 3 clips proved to be a false representation due to some old reeds. They (the reeds) sounded great last week and last night I recorded the 3 examples on what I thought was the best reed. After listening to last week's recording vs. last night's on the same reed I realized the error.

The clip that seems to best represent my sound on the Amma is here:

http://saxshed.com/bnsammamix.mp3

This is what I sound like on an DG MB I from 20 years ago! Hee Hee!

http://saxshed.com/backintheday.mp3
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
heath said:
I tell you what Skip I feel the Brecker influence is your true nature and you should stick with it. I heard someone having fun on that clip and you sounded damn good to me. How old were you when you recorded that clip from your Brecker days?
I am now 45 and more mellow in sound, style and personality. That Breckerish clip was from 1987 when my original Guardala mouthpiece was fairly new. So I was 25.

It was really posted just to show where my head was then and is now. I seldom play anything like that anymore. No one pays me to play like that! :cry:

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Well, Thanks to all who have contributed. I don't have that MB Guardala anymore. No regrets. I played one the other day again ( a friend's) That was then this is now.

It's been fun to participate and get feedback here. You can stop in at SaxShed.com and say hello sometime. I need to practice more and get those 20 year old chops back! I'm outta here for a while. Thanks again.
Skip
 
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