Theo's Enlightened Ligature and Pressure Plates

Pressure Plate Set Not too long ago I posted on Theo Wanne's Enlightened Ligature, and it has been in the back of my mind ever since. In a recent equipment quandary I tried the ligature again, and in the same playtest I discovered the four optional pressure plates which Theo Wanne produces and can be used with any of his ligatures. I've been experimenting with the pressure plates for a while now and I thought I'd share my results. Read more here.

Theo Wanne MANTRA Makes NAMM Top 50 Band Standouts

Top 50 Band Standouts Mouthpiece maker Theo Wanne entered the saxophone market with the MANTRA tenor, an innovative horn designed to be incredibly solid and resonant. Nothing is soldered to the neck of the MANTRA -- the saxophone's Resonance neck brace and Resonance octave key are totally isolated, so there's no damping effect. The screws, thumb rest and bell-to-body brace are all made of solid titanium. Featuring a large bore and bell, the saxophone has a constant tenon taper from the first tone hole to the last.

Review of Clarinet Mouthpieces and Enlightened Ligature - Rick Kessel, publisher for SBO, MMR, JAZZed, Choral Director

Sbo December 2011 Cover "The jazz mouthpiece is superb! It has a very big sound, but with lots of rich, husky overtones – while being free-blowing at the same time! It seems very reed-friendly. It will be very useful for the jazz clarinetist who needs to cut through a big band or over a small ensemble rhythm section. The sax style beak will also be appreciated by sax players who double on clarinet.

I also like the classical mouthpiece very much as well…it articulates very well and allows rapid tonguing (which is often needed, especially in pieces like Mendelsohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream). The sound is also very warm while still having a “ring” to the sound which will allow it to project out over the orchestra.

The ligature is also a terrific! It seems to help control the sound, but still allows the mouthpiece to vibrate without choking it off. "

The Sax - Review of the Enlightened Ligature

#1 Lig The renowned saxophone journal, The Sax, tested a comprehensive set of saxophone ligatures with great precision. The ligatures were evaluated based on a number of attributes, including dynamic range, articulation and design.
The Sax review said, “The Enlightened Ligature has a very quick response, even when equipped with a heavy reed plate. I feel like I can express myself naturally. It has a wide range of dynamics and its articulation clearly responds. The design is very simple and cool looking. The feel of the reed-plate structure is wonderful. The Theo Wanne Enlightened Ligature had the best rating and was my favorite to play."

Full article here (pdf)

Neff Music - Blog - Steve Neff (Blog Review of GAIA Alto)

-Theo Wanne GAIA ALTO: True Large-Chamber Mouthpiece

Steve Neff "This is another great mouthpiece by Theo Wanne.
The chamber of the mouthpiece is what is unique to so many of Theo Wanne’s mouthpieces. It’s pretty large. The baffle and side rail just expand outward for the large chamber size. Theo’s website advertises that his mouthpiece are unique in that they have “true” large chambers. That, plus the amazing craftsmanship is what makes these mouthpieces play so well.
Easy mouthpiece to control from the bottom to the top of the horn. I really enjoyed the GAIA Alto hard rubber a ton. Great Job Theo! "

Full Steve Neff review here  (pdf)

Downbeat Magazine - Toolshed - Ed Enright (

-Theo Wanne DURGA: Large-Chamber Mouthpiece Power

Downbeat Cover Jan2010 Small " brought out the instrument's natural brassy timbre while allowing for a huge, round sound that you just don't get with other bari mouthpieces.
I was thrilled with the response and the way it suited my embouchure. Despite its modern design and overtone-rich sound, the DURGA was versatile enough to work in vastly different playing conditions.
If you're having trouble getting a good contemporary sound on bari, tenor or alto, give the DURGA a try. It could change your game for the better."

Full Downbeat article here (pdf)

Tim Price - Keeping it Real - Vintified KALI and DURGA Review

Tim Price Vint100 "The Vintified finish just sounds too-cool! It provides a great response, a sensual & lush Plaz Johnson style bottom end, and has a very bold and round body of sound, be it sub-tones or altissimo.
The Vinitified finish looks amazing too! Theo, you're blowing my mind!!!"

Full Tim Price review here (pdf)

Mike Parlett - DURGA Baritone Mouthpiece Review

Mike Parlett100 "The new DURGA Baritone is unequivocally the best mouthpiece I have played on for the instrument. Again, in this case, I was playing on the standard top baritone piece, the Lawton 7* BB, which are now becoming collector’s items.
After trying many baritone pieces over the years, I was somewhat skeptical to try the DURGA baritone. But, on my first playing, I was once again knocked out by its incredible presence, full rich tone, and ease of blowing in all registers"

Full Mike Parlett review here (pdf)

Tatsuya Sato - Review of Full Line of Mouthpieces

Sato 100px "All of the Theo Wanne mouthpieces I tested were crafted with modern tastefulness. I could feel Theo Wanne's love for creating mouthpieces in every mouthpiece I tried. They skillfully and successfully had a distinct sound from one another.
The changes in baffle, the shape of the chamber, and the thickness of the side-rails created a distinct sound ranging from very dark to super-bright. I was pleasantly surprised that all models played evenly from the lowest notes into the altissimo. Moreover, all were easy to blow and had wonderful uniformity..."

Full Tatsuya Sato review here (pdf)

Paul Harr - JazzTimes - Gearhead (

- Theo Wanne Mouthpieces: A Roundup

Jazz Times Paul Haar "Where each piece has a different character, they all play with tremendous ease. Attacks are effortless and the scale is even and full. The profile is neither thin nor thick. Those used to playing hard rubber or vintage will feel right at home.
..After playing the entire line I found each mouthpiece gave me a different option. These mouthpieces are akin to a violinist choosing a custom bow or a pianist choosing an American or German Steinway. They don’t make an artist—they simply make the artist better."

Full Paul Harr JazzTimes review here (pdf)

Joerg Kaufmann - Review of the AMBIKA and GAIA  (

Joerge Kaufmann Vert "...Both mouthpieces have perfect intonation, great projection, are uniform from top to bottom, and I could use many reeds. What truly amazed me was that the AMBIKA and the GAIA sound absolutely great even when played very softly. Many mouthpieces sound and react great when played loud or mezzo-forte, but they lack sound-quality when played softly. So no discussion about playability, fantastic work!!!"

Full Joerg Kaufmann review here (pdf)

Skip Spratt - Review of the DURGA (

Skip Spratt "...Without further delay, let me tell you what news is news. Theo Wanne has released his fourth large chamber mouthpiece, the DURGA. This thing just SCREAMS! This piece works very well for me and gives that beefy tenor sound many of us seek out. It seems best suited for louder, more intense playing but don’t be fooled. DURGA is a masterful piece of eye and ear candy that can be tamed to play in more sensitive situations as well."

Full Skip Spratt review here (pdf)

Downbeat Magazine - Toolshed - Ed Enright (

Down Beat75 "...Mouthpiece refacer-turned-inventor Theo Wanne has come up with several innovative designs in recent years. His Durga sax mouthpiece features a long, high baffle and a large chamber that transitions into a small chamber. Wanne said that his brand new GAIA mouthpiece line emulates the sound of Dexter Gordon, who inspired him to start actually making mouthpieces instead of just customizing them."

Full Downbeat article here (pdf)

Skip Spratt - Review of the KALI (

Skip Spratt "...Over the years I have played on Dukoff’s, modified Links and an original hand-made Guardala MBI exclusively for 14 years. Following the 14 years on the Guardala MBI, I felt the need for change. That is when Theo customized a new, NY Link for me. That Link gave me more fullness of sound, yet with better control and than the original MBI. This KALI allows me to recapture some of what I had in that original Guardala, while it maintains the bonuses associated with the large chamber. Now I just have to get a KALI to keep!"

Full Skip Spratt review here (pdf)

RAC Mouthpieces - Bob Carpenter - Review of the AMMA

Rac Mpcs "...The workmanship of the mouthpieces was flawless. Each one of the 8's measured exactly the same using a digital micrometer and dial indicator. Theo congratulations on developing a masterpiece. I know that as players spend more time with them they will become increasingly aware of how good they really are."

Full RAC Mouthpieces review here (pdf)

Skip Spratt - Review of the AMMA (

Skip Spratt "...The AMMA is Theo's response to the booming vintage mouthpiece market and the need for a better mouthpiece. The endless search for that vintage piece and the perfect reface may be a thing of the past for many. With the introduction of Theo Wanne's AMMA, the bar has been raised once more. The design, attention to detail and quality put into each and every Amma is a testament to his high standard."

Full Skip Spratt review here (pdf)