Theo Wanne’s Biography
Theo Wanne is the eminent world expert on the design and manufacturing of saxophone and clarinet mouthpieces. His company’s status as the world’s leader in both quality and innovation is the culmination of many years of study and passion in this and other fields.
As a child, Theo designed and built custom professional bicycle frames by hand. Over a ten year period he became a very skilled craftsman in ergonomic design, specialty materials, and manufacturing techniques. During this time Theo studied the saxophone intensely.
As a music-major in college, Theo’s passion was to create the most beautiful sounds possible through his music. As vintage instruments are known for their beautiful tone quality, Theo played on, and sold, vintage saxophones during that time to finance his schooling. Theo soon became an expert in the field, even taking up professional instrument repair in Philadelphia, USA, where he was a professional instrument repairman for several years.
During that time, Theo realized that significantly more than the saxophone, it was the mouthpiece that affected ones sound most. Theo spent his life savings on every vintage saxophone mouthpiece he could find. He bought thousands of mouthpieces, studying every one. He spent countless hours figuring out why each mouthpiece sounded its particular way. He then validated his findings by duplicating each mouthpiece’s design in another mouthpiece until the two mouthpieces sounded identical. This was done to prove to himself that he indeed understood what made each mouthpiece sound the way it did. He made charts of the various facing curves, chamber sizes, floor and side-wall shapes, documenting the effects each variable had on sound.
Eventually Theo opened his first company, Saxophone Mouthpiece Heaven, where he sold vintage mouthpieces, saxophones, and his custom modified mouthpieces, to the world. He shared many of his charts and information on his website, which quickly became the world best resource site for saxophone mouthpiece knowledge. Much of that knowledge still exists today on his current website: http://theowanne.com.
With many of the top saxophonists in the world as customers, Theo had an amazing opportunity to learn just what the musicians of today are looking for. Musicians would tell Theo their dream sound, and he would customize mouthpieces for them as they watched. He was never satisfied until he heard his customers test play the mouthpiece he had been working on, and he saw glow of joy on their faces telling him their dream sound had become reality.
Over time Theo found patterns in what musicians wanted and subsequently created custom models by hand. His business became so popular, though, that soon he had a two year backlog of work and needed to turn away the majority of musicians seeking his help.
In order to provide his quality mouthpieces to all the musicians seeking them, Theo turned his full attention to manufacturing his most popular designs. He started a new corporation with his brother Tom, who has an undergraduate degree in physics and computer science, and a Masters degree in business. Together they run the corporation called Wanne, Inc. also known simply as Theo Wanne.
Since Theo’s world renowned reputation has always been to create the highest quality mouthpieces in the world, he has pushing the boundaries of technology within his new manufacturing company. They have five patents and many more in process. Theo Wanne utilizes some of the most advanced computer aided software and machinery on the planet.
|The entire Theo Wanne team is now dedicated to making the world highest quality, best sounding, and most innovative saxophones, saxophone mouthpieces, and clarinet mouthpieces, in history. This passion comes from knowing how much easier it is access and express the deepest and most magical parts of ourselves when playing on truly quality equipment. It is Theo’s passion for every musician to know and express their inner magic through music.|
The following artists play and endorse mouthpieces by Theo Wanne. These testimonials are a representation of Theo's prior refacing and custom mouthpiece work done with his business Saxophone Mouthpiece Heaven. Saxophone Mouthpiece Heaven is now integrated into www.TheoWanne.com.
"Some of the best mouthpieces I've ever played. I currently play on mouthpieces on tenor, alto, and soprano that I bought and had custom refaced for me by Theo. I highly recommend him to any saxophonist striving for a naturally warm and full sound."
"Just received the three pieces (Custom Handmade Wanne 6*, Custom Metal Link 6*, and Custom Berg 95/1) and they are very, very, VERY good, they seem to be exactly what I was hoping for. How could you know? They are immediately playable. Anyway, I'm totally pleased with your work! Where were you 30 years ago? It would have solved so many problems along the way ... Full score with all three! Amazing ..."
"I strongly recommend Theo Wanne to any saxophonist in search of a great mouthpiece. His selection of vintage mouthpieces is amazing, and his ability to work on a mouthpiece to fit the needs of the individual is outstanding. He's very easy to work with, but most important, he REALLY knows what he's doing, so CHECK HIM OUT!"
"The quality of workmanship, the service and the level of professionalism are outstanding. Two thumbs up, way up!"
Milestone Recording Artist
"I highly recommend Theo Wanne's Saxophone mouthpiece Heaven to any saxophonist interested in finding a quality mouthpiece or in having expert adjustments made to a currently owned piece. I am currently playing on pieces adjusted by Theo and I love them."
"I would like to express my unequivocal endorsement of Theo Wanne's saxophone mouthpiece work. His craftsmanship is first rate, and his dedication to excellence is without compromise. Theo has the genuine desire and patience to help each musician find the ideal mouthpiece for his needs. He has been extremely helpful to me and I enthusiastically recommend him to any serious saxophonist."
RCA Recording Artist
"When Theo works on a mouthpiece you can bet it'll play great! Theo does fantastic work - his mouthpieces play like dreams come true. I've been playing and recording on his pieces ever since first trying them!"
"Theo's work is incredible! He brings the best out of a mouthpiece. A piece is just blank and he can make it play to your imagination. His understanding of what you want and need is on the point. He put my faith back into a perfect mouthpiece." Antoine Roney is a recording artist for Highnote Records (formerly Muse)
"I had been waiting for someone like Theo Wanne for years! He came just in time, too! I'd been driving to New York and spending way too much bread in search of the perfect piece(s). Theo recommended different models to me and allowed me to find the one(s) for me. He is as patient as he is a master craftsman and artist.
On tenor, I have been playing one of Theo's renovated old Bobby Dukoff 'BD' Hollywood models with gold plating (serial # V296). It is the most versatile mouthpiece I have ever played! I have had it since 1997. On alto, I have an old Florida hard rubber Otto Link that Theo has altered. I love this piece, too! My clarinet set-up is an older Selmer HS** that Theo opened for me. Again, the versatility! Trouble is, now I never get to see Theo!!!"
"It is my pleasure to say a few words of appreciation for Philadelphia mouthpiece man - Theo Wanne. His work on metal Otto Links for tenor saxophone is exact and worth every saxophonist's attention. After getting my Link from Theo I waited awhile before saying anything. But tried the Link in a bunch of settings-and-IT'S KILLIN!!!!! I wanted to be honest-yet give the piece a chance- and it really is happening. My first impression when I got it was -I couldn't believe how good it played AND - THE WORK ON THAT BAFFLE KNOCKED ME OUT!!!!! I really think Theo's got something goin'. I also find his work and perspectives very motivational and insightful. Theo's comprehensive help will assist anyone to make an informed buying decision that serves your needs as a creative saxophonist. His intimate understanding of facings, baffles and chambers is very helpful. Theo's knowledge is encyclopedic as well as useful to players who are in the real world of performing creative music on the saxophone. Theo Wanne has made an indelible and stunning contribution to this art form! And on top of that he's a nice guy!!"
(owner of Superial reeds)
"I've known Theo Wanne of mouthpiece Heaven for the past few years and I can vouch for his skill and knowledge as a refacer and honesty and integrity as a dealer. He has built up one of the greatest vintage mouthpiece collections in the world and I always refer players looking for a good vintage piece to him because I know he will "take care of business". He's a straight ahead, good guy and if you are looking for a "happening" vintage piece, get in touch with Theo...you won't be disappointed..."
"I loved the [Wanne] mouthpiece - the bottom of the horn just popped right out with a rich full sound. It was physically very comfortable and well crafted. I have owned at least 75 to 100 mouthpieces on all my different horns and I would have to say that this plays better and is more fun to play than anything I have ever played!"
"WOW!!!WOW!!!! I've been practicing on the Handmade Wanne mouthpiece for only 2 days and I am in love. WOW!!I cannot wait for my gigs coming up this week. Theo, this thing is scary. I knew I was close when I got your custom LINK, but it wasn't quite IT. THIS IS IT. Great work. I am spreading your name around."
"I just wanted to compliment you on the work you did on the Custom Meyer 7 for me. The piece plays great! It does all that you said it would and more. I played it with the Temptations and the 4 Tops and it was easy to play and had great intonation. Several other players are very interested in the piece and will probably be contacting you. Thanks again, it has been a pleasure doing business with you."
"I got your (mine now) mouthpieces in the mail today. Man your work is unbelievable. Best money I ever spent. I've been playing the metal Selmer all day --- just can't put it down. Thank you for your talent and expertise."
"I wanted to let you know how much I like the custom link I got from you last week. I really love it and it has made a major difference in my sound. All of my other mouthpieces are going on eBay today!"
"I received the Custom Meyer mouthpiece you made for me. The thing really plays. I am astounded as to how easy it plays in all registers. I can even play in the altissimo register with much more confidence. Thank you for everything."
"I got the Meyer alto mouthpiece that you redid for me, and the Louis ligature, today in the mail. All I can really say is, "Holy cow!" Until I get more of my reeds to the point where they work well with this mouthpiece I'll be in experimentation mode (I need to shave my Alexander 3-1/2s down to 3s or 2-1/2s). But you really made that mouthpiece pop, no doubt about it, with the core tone qualities intact. I can't wait to play it on a gig - I'll be kicking butt and taking names for sure! Thank you very much. Your craftsmanship on that piece really makes my old Conn 26M take on a new life. I'll spread the word about your work to as many sax players as I can here in New Hampshire and Maine."
"I just received the Custom Meyer piece earlier this week. The Meyer plays so free and open. I can't believe the projection that I am able to get. The entire range of the horn sings and notes above alt. G really come out. This piece will be really great for a duo project that I am working on with a friend who plays traps and vibes. The compositions are really linear and pretty free and his playing on the traps needs to be another instrument so I have had difficulty cutting through before. I am excited to check it out with the duo. Great work Theo!"
"Theo!! The mouthpiece is KILL'IN. It really has incredible response. The bottom is so clean and clear. It's exactly what I was looking for. I'm looking forward to trying some new reeds with it in the morning. I can't really find anything lacking in the mouthpiece. I really just want to play it now. Theo....MANY THANX!!!!!"
"I received the custom link I ordered from you yesterday. It is incredible! You are truly a wizard."
"I just wanted to write and thank you for this fine mouthpiece. You made for me (Custom Selmer tenor hard rubber). It's become my number one piece - I've been playing it for some time now and I love it. Thanks for a job well done!"