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I think any percieved difference between two otherwise idential mouthpieces, one marbled, the other black HR would be akin to a similar argument about ligatures. With the intimate exposure what one may 'feel' from one or another may very well be just that - a feel or perception the player experiences without any audience being aware of any difference.
100% - and I believe that how comfortable the player feels while playing is one of, if not the MOST important aspect when it comes to gear.
 

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Horn players love new mouthpieces that promise a new core/lush/vibrant/dark/bright sound. I find that I play a mouthpiece for a while, then fall out of love with it, only to rediscover it some time later. As I grow older, my 'pool' of mouthpieces is certainly decreasing, but still..... :)
Yeah, I go through that cycle every couple years myself as well. Luckily I have more than a few fine mouthpieces in the same style (Link STM) but just different enough that every time I switch, I find enough excitement in the next mouthpiece to carry me through another couple years. In the end, I always sound like myself no matter which of these mouthpieces I play.
 

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I think any percieved difference between two otherwise idential mouthpieces, one marbled, the other black HR would be akin to a similar argument about ligatures. With the intimate exposure what one may 'feel' from one or another may very well be just that - a feel or perception the player experiences without any audience being aware of any difference.
Yes, just like you can drastically alter how you perceive a mouthpiece sound by using different tooth guard patches. That changes how sound vibrations are conducted to your hearing though our teeth and bones. Obviously, none of that is perceivable by the audience. I don't believe mouthpiece material alone has any effect on how it sounds to listeners. But I do believe the material may indirectly affect how you sound, because you react to how you hear yourself. That feedback loop may cause you to play differently, and therefore sound different to listeners.
 

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This got me thinking, is this a clever business strategy to maximize profit off of GAS-prone saxophonists, disguised as super advanced R&D and innovation?
Of course it is, but that's fine. It's just marketing and he does a great job with that. If players fall for it and get a new piece every time he updates the models, that's up to them.
 

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A different Perspective: Theo is obviously obessed with saxophone mouthpieces and a great many benefit from that. Q: What would he do with himself when there was no longer any improvements to be made? I recall many years ago while in a discussion about perfection claiming that "perfection was the abomination of something wonderful". When does a painter know when to leave the canvas alone? When does a soloist known when to 'reign it in'. When does a refacer know they've done enough and should leave things be.
 

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Keilwerth saxes (S/A/T), Selmer clarinets (S/B), Altus Azumi flute
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I think any percieved difference between two otherwise idential mouthpieces, one marbled, the other black HR would be akin to a similar argument about ligatures. With the intimate exposure what one may 'feel' from one or another may very well be just that - a feel or perception the player experiences without any audience being aware of any difference.
I'm generally agree with the idea that differences in the feel (i.e., tactile sensation) of mouthpieces made from different materials affects the overall player's perception of the sound. Hell, I'm even open to the argument that differences in certain material characteristics (say, the different wettability of hard rubber vs. other plastics) could affect the way the reed interacts with the table of the mouthpiece or something.

But to argue that differences in the dyes used to color the Ebonite make a discernible difference to the player (whether in terms of auditory or tactile sensation) seems a bit far fetched. In any case, somatosensory discrimination can be tested using the same methods as auditory discrimination. Either claim can be easily and objectively tested.
 

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Theo is a friend and he markets how he markets. We all do it our own way.
To be clear, making changes to a mouthpiece will not make it better for all. Changes simply make it different.

You try to put out the best designs you can that YOU feel are the best playing examples, and hope others will agree. If the mouthpiece maker likes the new changes better, than they release the new generation pieces with those changes.
Theo is a passionate person and he will do his best to make what he feels is a great playing mouthpiece.

You can easily make changes for a new generation piece every year. They are improvements from the mouthpiece makers perspective.
Some will prefer the generation one, two, or three more than the four, and visa versa. It's inevitable, because everyone is different. We all like different things. If we all agreed on everything, life would be boring! :)

You can take a piece with scooped sidewalls and make them flat. You can take the step baffle and make it longer or shorter or higher or lower. You can raise the floor or lower the floor. You can change the throat squeeze, you can change the size of the chamber, you can change the overall size of the beak, you can change the facing curve, you can change the whole outer appearance.... and these changes will make things different, but not better for everyone.
If the mouthpiece maker likes the changes better themselves, then they release the new pieces.

I think making slight changes to a design and calling it the next generation of that particular model, is fine.
The problem is, when big changes are made, the piece really just becomes a different model altogether.

As always, I wish Theo continued success with all he does.
 

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When Dr. Wally announced a new 56 with Theo Wanne i thought lots more $ .
Understandably - CNC Hard Rubber versus 3D printed filament - gonna' be more costs involved. Personally I consider if the 3D printed 56 wasn't up to scratch then Theo would not have found himself interested - so thats telling. Consider also the origins of the 56 - which is / was the best of a bunch of vintage pieces. Hey I think its clever. Ask anyone who has first hand experience with "heaps" of vintage pieces and they all have the same story - the good ones are great, the rest, often forgetable. The opportunity to get a 56 is a great one.
 

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Theo has a shop akin to Santa's workshop. Its any makers dream. I cant speak to every itteration of his pieces but I know that if he thinks of a concept he will try it...from the curious to even the absurd just to discover what works and what does not. There is something to be said for that IMHO.
 

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Yes, just like you can drastically alter how you perceive a mouthpiece sound by using different tooth guard patches. That changes how sound vibrations are conducted to your hearing though our teeth and bones. Obviously, none of that is perceivable by the audience. I don't believe mouthpiece material alone has any effect on how it sounds to listeners. But I do believe the material may indirectly affect how you sound, because you react to how you hear yourself. That feedback loop may cause you to play differently, and therefore sound different to listeners.
Exactly. Further, its not science and its not about what an audience may perceive - its artistic, and every player is going to gauge any new device or alteration of previous devices in how they like it - how they perceive it aids or doesn't aid them in playing/sounding. As for Theo, he's trying to move mouthpieces in the same way they have always been advertised - either 'somebody' plays one or it will do 'this/that' for your sound.
'Science' doesn't work out well in musical instrument/mouthpiece design. It is principally used to describe the instrument after it has been created so duplicates can be made but it is of no use in attempting to answer why the instrument of a certain design is perceived by players as being 'good'. Dave Guardala applied science/technology to mouthpiece manufacture and every one of them played (Laser-Trimmed) - but none of them were great - a few minutes with a file and he could change a 'good' Laser-Trimmed into a great mouthpiece. That's where art bests science and nothing has changed.
 

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Marbled pieces sound like clown barf.
Now if someone could just make a MP out of mother-of-toilet-seat.

[All respect to the MP makers, intended as tongue-in-cheek reference to some guitar picks and pick guards.]
 

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Im glad makers like Theo are making updates to the models, which I presume is based on experimentation and feedback from players on the previous generation. I think most mpc makers are curious and interested in tweaking and refining their products, and I like being upfront about the changes made in terms of different generations of the same mpc. I would rather know about the different generations of a mpc I鈥檓 trying. As to the marketing, it is a business designed to sell product so you can think of it what you want, who am I to begrudge a maker for marketing their product? Similar to the process when I buy a car, I don鈥檛 pay any attention to the manufacturer鈥檚 marketing spiel; what matters to me is if I like how it drives and it delivers what I鈥檓 looking for in a vehicle.
 

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One more thought: I think you do need to keep updating your product kind to stay relevant as well, look at the SR Tech mpcs. Those are good solid designed mpcs that have been out for over 20 years now without any updates that I know of since they released a 鈥渉r鈥 tenor and 鈥渉r鈥 versions of their alto mpcs in the early 2000鈥檚. Are the any less playable today? No, but you hardly hear any mention of these now and I would think part of that is not having any new models to present or updates.
 

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Understandably - CNC Hard Rubber versus 3D printed filament - gonna' be more costs involved. Personally I consider if the 3D printed 56 wasn't up to scratch then Theo would not have found himself interested bunch of vintage pieces. Hey I think its clever. Ask anyone who has first hand experience with "heaps" of vintage pieces and they all have the same story - the good ones are great, the rest, often forgetable. The opportunity to get a 56 is a great one.
The original 56 is a good piece ive got one mine was a cynical comment on price as Theo's is a premium brand i believe but i dont own any of his pieces .
 

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Im glad makers like Theo are making updates to the models, which I presume is based on experimentation and feedback from players on the previous generation. I think most mpc makers are curious and interested in tweaking and refining their products, and I like being upfront about the changes made in terms of different generations of the same mpc. I would rather know about the different generations of a mpc I鈥檓 trying.
Definitely I think there is something to this. I have no doubt Theo has good intentions, if anything my only complaint is his price point. But I would much rather know it's an intentional revision than have it be like vintage pieces where often designs changed and with variability in manufacturing it just is a crapshoot. One of these days I'd like to have a good Otto Link tone edge for my alto but there is a lot of variability and the vintage ones are eye watering expensive (not as bad as tenor but bad). I've heard the facings are more resistant on new ones than ones from 20 years ago, for example, like who knows if that's true or intentional or just a variance from the factory? And that's not getting into Slant vs Florida vs "early Babbitt" vs modern.

At least with Theo you know what you're getting and can be sure it's basically like every other one of the same generation. Not "well this one just happens to be a dud" or "well the design isn't the same".
 

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I Met Theo Wanne at the Frankfurt Musikmesse about 10 years ago, a very nice approachable guy.......but when i asked him to explain to me the difference between his factory line pieces and his top of the range models(about 200 bucks price difference at the time), he got a bit stumped, after a few minutes of him waffling, i asked him were they basically the same thing without the fancy outer engraving and fancy bag............. he basically ignored me after that.
 
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