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Discussion Starter #1
I have been playing the same mouthpiece for about 15 years since college. It is a Peter Ponzol ML, which at the time they described as a Modern Otto Link. From my little bit of experience with other mouthpieces it is very linkish... I have always loved this piece and honestly still like it, but lately have been wanting something a little different. I am looking for something that can be very linkish for big band and sectional work, but can get more aggressive when really pushed. I do have an old Dukoff that I use when I want to get really aggressive, but what I want a mouthpiece that can kind of be the best of both worlds. From looking at descriptions and watching videos the Theo Wanne Mantra kinda fits this bill, but it is a much less reviewed mouthpiece than many of their others. Does anyone have any experience with this piece that they can share? Or does anyone else have any suggestions of other mouthpieces that might fit this bill? I do plan on ordering and play testing a few different pieces but any input would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I had a Mantra, it was an 8 or 7** from memory.
Fantastic mouthpiece and I would absolutely describe it as what you’re looking for.
The Mouthpiece Cafe House blend is another similar mouthpiece. I think Kritavi has one for sale.
The D’addario Select Jazz mouthpiece is another good versatile option too but they get a little tight feeling down low for me, so I stick with my Klum Florida models.
If I could get a Mantra in a .100 opening I’d love it.
The Wanne Gaia 3 covers a lot of bases too from what I’ve heard
 

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First, you should be careful with the hype. At least half of the metal tenor mouthpieces manufactured today are advertised either as some sort of "Link on steroids" or "modernized Link".

I've never tried a Mantra, but I really like Theo's Gaia mouthpieces. However, they could require a substantial period of acclimation for you, coming from a Ponzol. All of Theos tenor mouthpieces have large chambers (larger than a that of a Link) and are very free blowing. In contrast, in my (limited) experience with Ponzol mouthpieces, I found them to be fairly resistant, and the Ponzol chambers are definitely much smaller.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
First, you should be careful with the hype. At least half of the metal tenor mouthpieces manufactured today are advertised either as some sort of "Link on steroids" or "modernized Link".

I've never tried a Mantra, but I really like Theo's Gaia mouthpieces. However, they could require a substantial period of acclimation for you, coming from a Ponzol. All of Theos tenor mouthpieces have large chambers (larger than a that of a Link) and are very free blowing. In contrast, in my (limited) experience with Ponzol mouthpieces, I found them to be fairly resistant, and the Ponzol chambers are definitely much smaller.
So the funny thing is ML was supposed to stand for Modern Link... I have been looking at the GAIA as well but wasn’t sure if it would be any more aggressive than what I have now. I think the current version of my mouthpiece they just call the “Vintage”... I do expect a Theo Wanne to be more free blowing which is part of why I am interested.
 

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The new GAIA 3 is an amazing piece. It can be very agressive in the high register if needed (much more than a D'addario select Jazz for instance). Much more punch than the GAIA 1 and 2. I use it for very loud Funk gigs and for straight-ahead jazz as well. So much to explore with it ... the GAIA 3 likes strong reeds which helps for projection.
 

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Hey Bobby, I have a Mantra 9 that I got in a trade a while back. It won't replace my favorite (HR) mpcs, but it has a huge sound and is very free blowing. I guess it could be described as a Link on steroids, maybe a double dose of steroids. And the large tip is very easy playing; I think the larger tip helps darken the fairly bright tone of these mpcs, maybe making it a bit closer to a Link. I'd be willing to sell it for a very reasonable price if you're interested.

And oh yeah, I'm pretty certain the Mantra would be considerably more aggressive than a Ponzol ML.
 

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I've been playing a Mantra 8 for a year or so (with Rigotti 3) I've never owned a conventional Link!...so no help there as far as comparisons. From what I can tell, depending on what Link era youre referencing, its more punchy and projecting, medium bright.

The reason you don't see reviews is that it isn't sold in the US, but comes with/came with his Mantra tenor sax when sold. It may be sold overseas still...not sure.

I like the piece alot but isn't the holy grail (is there one?). For me its hard to control in lower registers and maybe thins out a bit in the upper...but that could be me, at least in part with bad habits etc. I would like it more in a 7 I bet.

In any case, yes its a very good piece like most of TW.
 

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My experience with both the ML and the Mantra.

First of all; the ML standing for 'Modern Link' is one of the most major misnomers in mouthpiece names. It bears not the slightest resemblance to any Link in terms of baffle or chamber and at least for me, plays nothing like a Link. A good mouthpiece, but not in the same category as a Link.

The Mantra is an excellent piece as well, but not similar at all to a Link; steroids or not. It is a fairly high baffle contemporary piece. For me, it had a medium-bright sound, but without excessive edge.

I think the phrase is 'Link on steroids' is silly and overused. If there are any pieces that are 'Links on steroids' or 'Modern Links', they would be more along the Lines of the Gaia, Phil-Tone Tribute, Retro Revival and Barone Hollywood and New York. Large chambers, scooped sidewalls and much less baffle than pieces like the ML and Mantra.
 

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I think the phrase is 'Link on steroids' is silly and overused. If there are any pieces that are 'Links on steroids' or 'Modern Links', they would be more along the Lines of the Gaia, Phil-Tone Tribute, Retro Revival and Barone Hollywood and New York. Large chambers, scooped sidewalls and much less baffle than pieces like the ML and Mantra.
+1. And even some of those mpcs you list I wouldn't necessarily call Links on steroids, just very good modern mpcs with a Link design. As you say, the Mantra is not a Link design, although it may be close to what the OP is looking for, assuming he wants a med-bright, 'aggressive' mpc.
 

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The Mantra mouthpiece was originally designed to be a companion to the Mantra tenor saxophone, and was our take on a medium chamber, medium baffle Berg style piece. The Mantra has a great thick core sound, medium bright--still one of my favorite pieces for funk and RnB. That being said, I think the Gaia3 has about as much projection, but with a bit more tonal flexibility. I think it all depends on what your personal tastes are and what tone concept you are shooting for.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I definitely do not have enough experience with different mouthpieces to compare the way the ML compares to a true link. I do know that I personally get a tone on it that is more along the lines of an Otto Link than anything else I am familiar with. I am really just looking for something that I can get a sound similar to what I get now but that I can also push to get brighter than what my ML can do. I want something that will sound good when I am playing second tenor in a big band but won’t get lost when I play in a horn section of an R&B band. My Ponzol ML right now tends to get lost in that setting even when I am pushing to get the brightest and loudest tone I can. I have a Dukoff I have been playing when I need to a really bright sound, but I really end up wanting something that splits the difference between my Ponzol ML and my dukoff. I am definitely open to suggestions of other mouthpieces to look at that might help me accomplish this. I also had someone suggest the 10m showtime which I am now very interested in.
 

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There may not be one piece that will enable you to play second tenor in big band and not get lost playing R&B. Don't know what your PA/monitor situation may be in the R&B band, but that could solve the problem that you are seeking a mouthpiece to solve. As far as a piece that is in between a Dukoff (I would assume yours is a 'D'?) the Mantra would be a very good place to start. If you like your sound on the ML, you may want to take a serious look at the monitor situation in your R&B band. Or maybe I'm wrong and it is everything you need it to be. I consider the ML a medium bright piece and in the same overall category as the Mantra with the Mantra being only slightly brighter/punchier. The ML should be able to get the job done in an R&B setting. I am not a believer in this or that mouthpiece being able to "cut through the electronics" as is so often said of various pieces. I think you should find a piece that sounds and feels good to you and then get your own 'electronics'.
 

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One thing I'll say for certain about the Mantra, it will definitely have enough volume/cut for any situation and work very well in an R&B band. I think it's closer to a Berg than a Link, if you want to use those as 'benchmarks.' It definitely won't get lost in an R&B horn section.
 

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I traded for a Mantra 8 a few years ago for a Ponzol M2. I was underwhelmed by it, my metal Boss and PPT mouthpieces just kicked it *** in every way imaginable. I'm hearing good things about the Gaia 3.
 

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I traded for a Mantra 8 a few years ago for a Ponzol M2. I was underwhelmed by it, my metal Boss and PPT mouthpieces just kicked it *** in every way imaginable. I'm hearing good things about the Gaia 3.
Yeah I'm not getting these Berg comparisons...even from The Source. It is much more well mannered than a Berg ....comparisons to Links aside. It may in fact be a bit underwhelming depending of course on what your seeking. But, it does its thing very well.

Going from it to a Ponzol M2 is distinct change in approach, so that would make sense too.
 

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Theo Wanne's are very interesting..after wrecking my DG Super King I went through several Boutique tenor mpcs over the last couple yrs..finally I grabbed a Vigilante off ebay to replace the DG..Then for softer gigs I needed something a little different.

I wanted a change and was looking for the Link sound myself, so I simply bought one..a modern STM NY 7*..BP tweaked to .110..OMG !! (it IS a link on steroids) this thing has the dark velvet Link sound and actually produces the cleanest altissimo I've ever gotten....

Also recently I got a nice Berg tenor SS 110/2/ that somebody obviously worked over, actually it's a .105, cool with me I was looking for a smaller tip....another jewel, I got too many fantastic tenor mpcs. haha I love it..!! :whistle

Those Theo's that I have heard sound great, but honestly I haven't played one myself.:|
 

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I wanted a change and was looking for the Link sound myself, so I simply bought one..a modern STM NY 7*..BP tweaked to .110..OMG !! (it IS a link on steroids) this thing has the dark velvet Link sound and actually produces the cleanest altissimo I've ever gotten....

Those Theo's that I have heard sound great, but honestly I haven't played one myself.|
I own a couple of BP-refaced Links (one NY and one standard). With the right reed, my BP NY Link is far and away my favorite, but both Links are very reed-picky.

One of the main advantages of Theo's pieces IMO is that they are incredibly reed friendly. Like any mouthpiece, they sound best with a particular reed, but they sound good and respond pretty well with almost any reed.

As a result, I spend most of my time on my TW Gaia.
 
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