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Discussion Starter #1
http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/3/8/9/38984cd2e065bf82/Theo_Wanne_Mastered.mp3

http://saxophonepodcast.com

Nick Manella interviews Theo Wanne on Episode 67 of the Everything Saxophone Podcast, published October 10, 2019.

As a player and consumer of mouthpieces, I am of course fascinated and try to learn all I can about the art, craft and science of these vital sax components.

My quick and dirty take-aways:
1. Mouthpiece matters more than the horn, especially for beginners. Get a quality mouthpiece so the music flows with the least (wasted) effort. It might cost a few bucks (OK, a lot of bucks) more than mass-produced or mystery-blank that came with the otherwise-decent Chinese horn, but it will pay off immediately! On the other hand, the once-ubiquitous Yamaha 4C (or Selmer S80 C*) is a very good piece--a learner can productively go a long way with those.
2. A huge component of the refacer's craft magic is simply leveling the table and correcting the facing curve so the reed seals and vibrates properly. These have the greatest impact on measurable outcome which is increased player delight following rework.
3. "Vintage hard rubber" was just latex from the rubber tree mixed with sulfur, and is indeed no longer available today. It was the best "plastic" of the era, more dimensionally stable than wood. Today's materials have additives, and there are fine alternatives to the old HR in a non-metal MP (obviously including modern "Fine German hard rubber") which is neither good nor bad.
4. Today's Masters discussing the tip openings of their vintage pieces is tricky, because the original traditional designs with "small" tip openings had long facing curves compared with today's practice. I have a Master Class video of Walt Weiskopf stating he plays a tenor 5 or 5* metal link with a 2.5 reed, and recommends no more than a 5-5*-6 tip. Astonishing, yes! But if he is referring to a vintage piece, that makes complete sense. Modern pieces with medium facing curves respond very well with tip openings of 7-7*-8... And I'd guess there are enormously greater choices among reeds today, also.

Much more. I make no claim that Theo is the end-all be-all wisest of mouthpiece gurus, but he is indisputably one of the masters, and I had fun listening and learned a lot from him.
 

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On number 2 I would say the use of simply is minimizing a task to something many fail to accomplish...Its not all that simple. Also, what separates the men from the boys is the ability to do camber work and proper baffle adjustment to dial in a piece. You can have the most perfect table and facing in the world and still have a pieces thats plays like a doorstop if the interior is not given appropriate regard.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
2. “Simple” was my poor word choice, not Theo’s. To clarify, the concept is basic--most of one's immediate appreciation is from truing the table and facing--but Phil’s comment must assuredly be true that the skillful execution of flat table and correct facing curve is challenging and separates excellent from poor work. Then also there are lesser but still important gains from baffle and chamber. Listen to the podcast.
4. Tip opening alone does not fully characterize the “size” of a mouthpiece. Facing curve and baffle height are also important. (And, not mentioned in podcast, but the size number scheme changed from Meyer to Babbitt.) That was my take-away. Listen to the podcast.
 
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