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Thanks, Daryl.
 

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Razzy,

I had a very similiar thought about Skip's Brecker sound. There is definately a good solid core then the brighter buzz on top. To my ear its almost 2 distinct sounds happening at the same time.

I just had the good fortune of attending the Aebersold camp. Eric Alexander was there and gave a master class. He was explaining his tone. He tries for a good core similiar to Dexter but not quite as deep to facilitate technique. Then he has that great Coltrane buzz on top. It was like hearing 2 great players sounds in one.

I guess to me the concept is the same. Great core with the buzz on top adding an extra flavor. Only difference is I hear the Link heritage with Eric vs the Guardala Brecker. At any rate an interesting concept I will be looking to imitate.

Skip,

Thanks for the review. I definately appreciate it. After playing next to all those dark tones at camp I know where you are coming from. I was ready to pitch the Guardala by the end of the week.
 

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It's probably me, but I can't find the AMMA on Saxshed.com....
 

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sorry; misunderstood the above post.
 

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No, he pulled them due to in his words faulty reeds. If you go all the way through this you'll find a link to him playing it.
 

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I have finally lifted my head up long enough from the work-bench to come check out what's going on here on SOTW, and thought I would chime in a bit.

My goal with the AMMA was to make a mouthpiece for those who love a large chamber mouthpiece and are looking for that type of fat sound with some extra projection over the standard vintage Link. I am not the only person making a mouthpiece with this intention; however, the AMMA is unique enough from any other mouthpiece on the market that its interior configuration is patent pending.

I also have great confidence in its design as I have made many mouthpieces, over many years, very similar to the AMMA already. I worked with musicians firsthand until I saw the gleaming smile on their faces :) showing how we finally ‘hit the spot’. Because of this I know the AMMA will be a great fit for many musicians. Absolutely it will not be the right fit for everyone. No mouthpiece is.

My goal with the AMMA was not to make the universal mouthpiece every musician will like or even sound good on. My experience is that different people sound their best on different mouthpiece configurations.

In my years running Saxophone Mouthpiece Heaven I helped many musicians find the right mouthpiece fit for them. They chose from many different modern and vintage Berg's, Link's, Dukoff's, Selmer's, Guardala's, Gregory's, Vandoren's, Lawton's, Meyer's, etc. I had in my large and constantly rotating stock. I found people almost always eventually stuck to a particular ‘type’ of chamber/baffle configuration. This was because they really did sound their best on that configuration. People knew they found the right fit because there was always a sense of magic when they found it.

I would personally be surprised to have a musician like wersax, who plays a Berg 130/2, perfectly mesh with a mouthpiece like the AMMA. It is the wrong baffle, the wrong chamber, and the wrong tip opening.

This is a major reason why there is such a plethora of mouthpiece chambers, baffles, tip openings, etc. on the market.

Another thing to keep in mind is that every person will sound different even on the same mouthpiece. Think of the sound Stanley Turrentine got on his Florida Otto Link. What a unique sound, yet it is so totally different than anyone else I know who has played a Florida link.

Besides sounding uniquely different, when two musicians play the exact same mouthpiece one can sound truly wonderful, and the other can sound truly…well…bad. This is because each person has a unique mouth cavity, a unique blowing style (some people blow hard, others really soft), and a unique concept of sound they are trying to get out of a mouthpiece. Some mouthpiece configurations truly help reproduce a persons sound concept and some really work against it. A mouthpiece that works against one persons sound concept could very likely magically support someone elses.

I remember the first time I refaced a vintage Link for Chris Potter. I learned a valuable lesson that day. I prepped a Link similar to the pieces I was making for Joshua Redman at the time. But while Josh sounded full and fat on that configuration Chris sounded incredibly bright and edgy. When we finally got the Link to the point where Chris was truly happy ALL the baffle was gone…all of it. I would have sounded totally dead on that mouthpiece. But because of Chris's playing style and the way he blows though the mouthpiece he sounded modern, fat and great without any baffle.

This was a good lesson for me not to assume anything about a mouthpiece based on a player's sound. I would advise caution when making conclusions about mouthpieces based on sound clips of people OTHER than yourself.

We are currently setting up sound clips on our website of many different players and playing styles. This is just to give an idea of the variety of sounds that can be heard on an AMMA. Because of its baffle configuration and very large chamber it is possible to play it very dark and vintage sounding, or quite bright and modern.

I finally also took some good photos of the AMMA as well, so if anyone is interested I will be happy to post pictures of the chamber, baffle, etc. here.

UPDATES:
I am happy to announce that we will start shipping the 6* and 7* AMMA orders early next week. The other tip openings are very close to follow. I should note that the mouthpiece wersax play tested is different than the final pieces we are shipping. We had some unexpected production issues and finishing delays. But, in the process I was able to make some great improvements. I have also had my head buried hand-perfecting the final pieces that are going out.

Soon there should be plenty of people from all around the world able to give their reviews and impressions of our new mouthpiece.

Skip Spratt's full review will be available soon at www.saxshed.com. If you have not already heard it, here is the clip of Skip playing on a Gold AMMA 7* with a ‘hard’ Vandoren Java 3 reed: http://saxshed.com/bnsammamix.mp3

Because of our production delays I have only very-recently been able to send some finished mouthpieces out to Professionals for review. However, I am pleased to share our first professional endorsement by Jeff Rupert. Jeff was with Maynard Ferguson's band until Maynard's unfortunate passing:

“Theo, your AMMA mouthpiece is just the mouthpiece sax players have been waiting for. There is no need to look for vintage mouthpieces anymore. It's right in the tradition, and made with unrivaled expertise and craftsmanship. I believe the Amma sets a new standard in saxophone mouthpieces.
Your mastery with saxophone mouthpieces has allowed me to fully express my own artistry as a musician!”
– Jeff Rupert

Jeff playes on a gold AMMA tenor mouthpiece serial number 072. Jeff Rupert's numerous recordings include those with Diane Schuur, Mel Torme, Maynard Ferguson, Benny Carter's Grammy winning recording Harlem Renaissance, Sam River's NJ blues band The Fins, Jeff Rupert + Dirty Martini, and broadcasts on NPR.

Jeff is the Associate Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Central Florida. More information is available at: http://music.ucf.edu/jazz/rupert.php

Comments about Jeff Rupert by Maynard Ferguson - “From the moment I first heard Jeff Rupert with my band I considered him one of the great jazz players of today.”
 

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Theo -

Wow. What a well thought out and comprehensive post. You've answered many questions. Thanks for that.

The most poignant part of your post bears repeating.

Theo Wanne said:
Another thing to keep in mind is that every person will sound different even on the same mouthpiece. Think of the sound Stanley Turrentine got on his Florida Otto Link. What a unique sound, yet it is so totally different than anyone else I know who has played a Florida link.

Besides sounding uniquely different, when two musicians play the exact same mouthpiece one can sound truly wonderful, and the other can sound truly…well…bad. This is because each person has a unique mouth cavity, a unique blowing style (some people blow hard, others really soft), and a unique concept of sound they are trying to get out of a mouthpiece. Some mouthpieces are made to reproduce a person’s sound concept and some are not, they are made to reproduce a different sound concept, that will be appropriate [for] someone else.
Your input here is much appreciated. Best of luck with the AMMA!

Frank
 

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fballatore said:
Theo -Wow. What a well thought out and comprehensive post. You've answered many questions. Thanks for that...Your input here is much appreciated.
I've got nothing more to add than that. Thanks for taking the time, Theo.
 

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Thanks for posting Theo. And no disrespect torwards you in my comments with regard to the AMMA I tried; it just didn't work for me..........daryl
 

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No disrespect taken Daryl. I thought you were very forthcoming with stating your current set-up etc. in your post.

Also please pardon my editing of this reply, I rethought what I felt was important to share here.


I want to state for the record that my participation in this forum is to add to its informational and useful content, not to bias it. I respect all opinions regarding my work.

I will admit that often some of the less comfortable feedback has been the most valuable too.

While the AMMA mouthpiece did immediately fit Skip better than say Daryl, some of the more critical feedback I received from Skip resulted in my reworking the baffles such that Skip was even happier still with them. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong Skip!

Daryl, the mouthpiece you tested was akin to the earlier model Skip had. While I am uncertain if the AMMA would ultimately be a good fit for you, I would still love to hear if any of the thinness you heard was alleviated in my final version.

I personally get a huge warm sound out of the AMMA. In Skip's sound clip I hear a pretty fat (Or should I say PHAT;) ) sound too.

Some of the changes the model went through since the version you played have made the mouthpiece more universally fat sounding in my opinion. So, if you get a chance I would love to hear if you experience the same differences between the two that I do. I would be interested in your response either way.

I do want to encourage everyone to continue their unbiased and objective posting on this thread.
 

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Theo Wanne said:
a unique concept of sound they are trying to get out of a mouthpiece.

Amen brother. Its all about SELF expression. Unfortunately you have to discover SELF in order to express self (hard work ahead i'm afraid). When we are young and first starting out at least for me i had been moved inside by the expressions of others to the point where i had to try it. Unfortunately for a long time and to a certain extent even to this day i imitate rather than create something corresponding to my own inner feelings. Some mouthpieces help me express myself and others don't and other mouthpieces are well just bad.
too many mouthpieces and horns made today fall under the catagory of just bad and useless.
It's so nice to have people like Theo making mouthpieces so we can all find our unique voice.
 

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Gary,

I have a spiritual teacher that defines enlightenment as “completely 100% being ourselves.” It sounds like you understand this concept.

When I first heard the statement I didn’t get it. I thought, “What do you mean, I am being myself all the time.” Then I started to see all the layers of image, and unconscious acting I was doing. My life is now a constant unraveling of those layers of what I have come to realize is just self-limitation.

I have a sign up in my house that says,

“What if the real issue is not why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be, but am I celebrating and expressing the person I really am?”

The problems arise when I think it’s not OK to be me; that I should be acting some other way.

The fear that if I am honest about what I think and feel other’s will not like me has held me down a lot in my life. I am choosing to be as honest as I can now though because then I like me! Oddly, I have found people respond better to me being ‘real’ and myself, then if I act in ways I think they will prefer anyway.

These ideas translate beautifully in Jazz improvisation. We all know what it’s like to be ‘in the pocket’ during a solo! I feel in touch with myself during those times. Otherwise I feel disjointed, off-center, and not in the flow. I use the experience of being ‘in the pocket’ or ‘in the flow’ as a model for how I wish to live my life in general.

I believe this so strongly that I custom tailored my major back in college. It was, Musical improvisation as a spiritual path.

While I continue to personally get closer to my own ‘pocket’, what inspires me in my work is creating products that help inspire others to enjoy their ‘pocket’ more too. This is why our business slogan is Unleash your soul!
 

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rispoli said:
However many of use choose the mouthpiece on the nearly unique base of how easy it makes their playing? Or is that just me? Isn't it said that the best mouthpiece is the one that makes you forget about how to play and just focus on the music?
I think that you hit the nail on the foot...
Speaking for myself, I have a sound concept that matches my rhythmic concept, etc... I choose my equipment based on how easy it is to achieve that concept. The difficult thing to sort out, for me at least, is that my concept 'grew up' playing a Link STM on Selmers...

I think that all these factors affect our perception of what's better or worse.
 

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Another thing to keep in mind is that every person will sound different even on the same mouthpiece. Think of the sound Stanley Turrentine got on his Florida Otto Link. What a unique sound, yet it is so totally different than anyone else I know who has played a Florida link.

Besides sounding uniquely different, when two musicians play the exact same mouthpiece one can sound truly wonderful, and the other can sound truly…well…bad. This is because each person has a unique mouth cavity, a unique blowing style (some people blow hard, others really soft), and a unique concept of sound they are trying to get out of a mouthpiece. Some mouthpiece configurations truly help reproduce a persons sound concept and some really work against it. A mouthpiece that works against one persons sound concept could very likely magically support someone elses.

I remember the first time I refaced a vintage Link for Chris Potter. I learned a valuable lesson that day. I prepped a Link similar to the pieces I was making for Joshua Redman at the time. But while Josh sounded full and fat on that configuration Chris sounded incredibly bright and edgy. When we finally got the Link to the point where Chris was truly happy ALL the baffle was gone…all of it. I would have sounded totally dead on that mouthpiece. But because of Chris's playing style and the way he blows though the mouthpiece he sounded modern, fat and great without any baffle.
This portion of the Theo's [overall] excellent post is my favorite.

No matter what/which/whose mpc/horn we try, as great as it will work
for one/some it just won't work for another/others ..

George Coleman remarked that he actually played Trane's complete set-up;
horn mpc reed and couldn't get out of it what Trane did(naturally..)
 

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Theo Wanne said:
. . . These ideas translate beautifully in Jazz improvisation. We all know what it’s like to be ‘in the pocket’ during a solo! . . .
garyjones said:
Amen brother. Its all about SELF expression. Unfortunately you have to discover SELF in order to express self . . .
Theo,

Add me to the list of people who are happy to hear from you, and grateful too. The work you do and the posts you make both help the community, IMHO. As much as I am eager to learn more about the AMMA (and to play one!), some things are more important, like the discussion about being "in the pocket".

Shakespeare (a pretty accomplished artist in his own right) wrote "This above all: To thine own self be true, for it must follow as dost the night the day, that canst not then be false to any man." We hear whether or not people play with that kind of honesty. That's why signatures like Frank Ballatore's "'You can play a shoestring if you're sincere.' - John Coltrane" or Gary's "You can't blow it if you haven't lived it" make such good sense.
 
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