- 1980– Theo developed metalworking skills as apprentice to Joel Jensen of Da Da Bicycles in Bellingham, WA.
- 1987 – Theo staying in a Buddhist monastery in Thailand, and studied meditation in India. He later studied saxophone at California Institute of the Arts and studied mouthpiece refacing under Master refacer Bob Carpenter.
- 1997 – Graduated from Naropa Institute with a BA in Musical Improvisation as a Spiritual Path.
- 1998 – Theo Wanne learned saxophone repair in Philadelphia, PA with master repairman, Bret Gustafson of Gustafson Music.
- 1999 – Theo started Saxophone Mouthpiece Heaven selling thousands of vintage saxophones & mouthpieces. Theo Refaced for Joshua Redman, Chris Potter, Eric Alexander, Grover Washington Jr. Etc.
- 2001 – Theo made Custom Link & Custom Meyer mouthpieces.
- 2005 – The first production mouthpiece by investment casting, called the AMMA, was made.
- 2007 – Theo registered the corporation Wanne, Inc. (DBA Theo Wanne™ Classic Mouthpieces) with his brother Tom Wanne. (Top logo). Theo filed five patents. H-OM Symbol created and used on mouthpieces. The AMMA fully machined mouthpiece was released.
- 2008 – The KALI and PARVATI mouthpieces released (Switched to second logo).
- 2009 – The DURGA and GAIA mouthpieces released. The PARVATI is no longer made. Stable-Wood mouthpieces made.
- 2011 – AMBIKA Tenor Mouthpiece Released.
- 2012 – The MANTRA Tenor Saxophone, BRAHMA, DATTA, and MANTRA were released. The AMMA mouthpiece no longer made.
- 2013 – Theo became sole owner of Wanne Inc. The MANTRA Soprano Saxophone was released.
- 2014 – Theo moved his company to new facilities at King Street, Bellingham WA. Tom Wanne started The Wedge Distribution. KALI, BRAHMA and DATTA mouthpieces no longer made. SHIVA tenor mouthpiece released.
- 2015 – The Mindi Abair Signature alto, GAIA 2 soprano, alto and tenor, NYBros alto, and Slant Sig tenor mouthpieces released. (Switched to two bottom logos shown to the right).
- 2016 – Company moved to 1221 Fraser Street,Suite E-2 , Bellingham WA. The MANTRA Fully Curved and Curved Neck soprano saxophones, AMBIKA 2, DURGA 3, SHIVA 2, and SLANT SIG 2 released.
- 2018 – The first ELEMENTS Series mouthpiece, the FIRE alto, is released
- 2019 – The GAIA 3 Tenor; ELEMENTS Series EARTH alto and WATER classical alto mouthpiece are released. The MANTRA 2 Tenor, Alto & Soprano saxophones are released.
- 2020 – New releases: GAIA 3 Soprano & Alto; DURGA 4 Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Baritone; AMBIKA 3 Tenor; SHIVA 3 Soprano, Alto & Tenor. SHIVA Baritone mouthpiece discontinued. Company moved to 1515 Fraser St Suite 108, Bellingham WA 98229.
2004 AMMA – Handmade Version
This design turned into the 2007 AMMA tenor mouthpiece.
2007 AMMA – Production Version
The AMMA was Theo Wanne’s first true production mouthpiece, and incorporated five patents including a manufacturing process patent to make the large chamber design.
The first year these were made the bodies and baffles were polished. This was due to the CNC technology not being perfected yet to machine the baffles. So Theo finished the baffles by hand. These have a unique cutout along the table for the ligatures and were offered in gold and silver plate. Click on the image to the right to see the original AMMA Specification Sheet.
In 2009 The AMMA mouthpiece body was reticulated, like all future Theo Wanne™ mouthpieces. The baffle CAD technology developed so no longer had to be hand shaped. The AMMA mouthpiece was made in tenor (gold plated brass and vintified)) and the Alto was made in very high quality Hard Rubber.
The KALI mouthpiece was Theo Wanne’s first high baffle production mouthpiece. It was designed with a baffle similar to the Dave Guardala Michael Brecker Model, however, it had much more deeply rounded inner side walls and a large chamber. It had a much bigger bottom end than the Brecker Model. Click on the image to the right to see the first KALI Specification Sheet.
The first KALI mouthpieces, like the first AMMA mouthpieces, had polished baffles and bodies.
In 2009 Theo’s technology developed to the point where the KALI mouthpieces could have the highly accurate machined baffles his mouthpieces are known for. These mouthpieces had the reticulated outside finish like his later mouthpieces as well. An alto version of the KALI was released in both metal and hard rubber.
The KALI was discontinued after the DURGA was released and Theo felt they had too many models. The last of the KALI tenor mouthpieces (with a serial number starting with 5 or greater) had a particularly fat sound and have become collectors items.
The PARVATI was designed as a darker version of the AMMA Tenor Mouthpiece. It has an equally as large chamber and retained the roll-over baffle of the AMMA tenor mouthpiece, but had a much lower baffle.
The PARVATI was made only in tenor, and came in Gold Plated Brass, Vintified Brass and Stable Wood. Click on the image to the right to see the original PARVATI Specification Sheet.
Stable Wood™ was an innovative material developed and trademarked by Theo Wanne which infused hardwood through with resin through the use of heat and pressure with resin. This greatly helped to stabilize the wood. However due to the porous nature of wood, it was discontinued as Theo felt it still absorbed too much moisture and might still cause too much warping to the delicate table.
The DURGA was Theo Wanne’s second high baffle mouthpiece, and had a longer step baffle than the KALI. It has incorporated a unique Power Ring™ which reduced the large chamber to a small chamber further back in the chamber. All the saxophone on The Simpsons TV Show, including the solos at the start of each episode, were recorded by Terry Harrington on the DURGA baritone mouthpiece since 2009.
Due to the DURGA’s success, the KALI was soon discontinued. The DURGA came in Gold Plate with nickel highlights on the bite pad and shank ring. The nickel highlights stayed on the DURGA until 2017, when they were removed.
The PARVATI mouthpiece evolved into the GAIA tenor mouthpiece. This is the most commonly used Theo Wanne™ mouthpiece for straight ahead jazz. However, Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars (Dwayne Dugger) and the growling saxophone on Problem by Ariana Grande. More information here: GAIA 2 Tenor Mouthpiece
The first AMBIKA tenor mouthpieces were designed to have a very dark sound. They had a very low baffle and no roll-over. These were the darkest sounding mouthpieces Theo Wanne ever made. Later the AMBIKA was designed to retain a very dark warm sound, but with more modern projection. The AMBIKA 2 would further increase projection, and became a real hit due to having such a dark sound but allowing for great flexibility as well. The AMBIKA 2 is played by:
- Doug Lawrence (Count Basie, Tony Bennett)
- Doug Moffet (Larry Carlton, Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, Take Six, Lou Rawls, Faith Hill, Garth Brooks)
The BRAHMA and DATTA were Theo Wanne’s first attempt to make a lower cost mouthpiece, one of Theo’s lifelong dreams. He spent decades refacing mouthpieces for musicians, and lived to see their enthusiasm when playing a mouthpiece that did not limit their self expression. The BRAHMA and DATTA, though high quality metal mouthpieces, did not have some of the very hard to make features of Theo’s other mouthpieces in order to bring the cost down. The BRAHMA was a Roll-Over baffle mouthpiece. The DATTA was a high Step-Baffle mouthpiece.Theo discontinued these models in 2014 as he did not feel their sound was as good a sound as his other mouthpieces. Later in 2017 Theo would release the ELEMENTS serious mouthpieces as his lower cost alternative which Theo felt met his high quality manufacturing and sound specifications.
The MANTRA mouthpiece was developed to go with the MANTRA tenor saxophone. The very first ones were nickel plated, however, quickly switched to gold plate.
The MANTRA came in tenor, alto and soprano. The MANTRA alto was a particularly good mouthpiece and still is in demand, even though the MANTRA mouthpieces have now been discontinued.
With the release of this model the Blue Art material was also introduced, which is the first material available which sounds similar, but more lively, than vintage hard rubber.
The SHIVA was the first mouthpiece to Theo Wanne’s new Boundary Layer technology in the chamber called a Shark Gill Chamber™.
The SHIVA and the SHIVA 2 has become widely used in the Rock & Roll and Smooth Jazz world’s. Current musicians using it are:
- Gerald Albright (3 Grammy Nominations)
- Najee (2 time Grammy Nominee, Prince, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock)
- Warren Hamm (Ringo Starr, Olivia Newton John)
- Mark Douthit (Elton John, Billy Joel)
- Nelson Rangel (17 Internationally acclaimed CDs)
- Dwayne Dugger (Bruno Mars Hooligans) Shown to the right with a Blue SHIVA:
2015 Mindi Abair Signature alto
Designed as a collaboration between Theo Wanne and Mindi Abair over the course of three years to be the biggest sounding and most powerful mouthpiece on the market. Brighter than the DURGA. More information here: Mindi Abair Alto
Mindi Abair is two time Grammy Award nominated saxophonist, has produced ten #1 radio singles, two #1 Billboard Jazz CDs, and four more solo CDs that have landed #5 and above on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts. She was the featured saxophonist for the 2011 and 2012 seasons of American Idol, performed with the rock band Aerosmith.
She has recorded exclusively with this mouthpiece since 2015 including Live in Seattle and the East West Sessions.
2015 New York Bros alto
Due to customer demand Theo designed the NYBROS alto mouthpiece using the best features of all vintage Meyer New York mouthpiece models, including the Meyer Bros and New York USA models, creating the ultimate Meyer mouthpiece design. Designing this mouthpiece and the Slant Sig tenor was based on decades of work refacing these mouthpieces by Theo Wanne. More information here: NYBROS Alto
2015 Slant Sig tenor
Due to customer demand Theo designed the Slant Sig mouthpiece using the best features of all vintage Otto Link Slant Signature mouthpieces creating the ultimate Slant Sig model. More information here: Slant Sig 2 Tenor
2015 GAIA 2 soprano, alto and tenor
The GAIA mouthpieces were all updated to increase core sound and projection. They maintained the warm vintage sound of the GAIA 1. Theo updated the designs with new technology and features in the designs based on customer and endorser feedback, as well as from increased knowledge of mouthpiece design. More information here: GAIA 2 Tenor, GAIA 2 Alto, GAIA 2 Soprano
2016 AMBIKA 2 Tenor
The AMBIKA 2 received a new logo.
More information here: AMBIKA 2 Tenor Mouthpiece
- Pat Rizzo (WAR, Sly and the Family Stone, Frank Sinatra)
- Karl Hunter (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy)
- Reggie Padilla (Mike Love)
2016 DURGA 3 Tenor, Alto & Soprano
The DURGA was updated to the DURGA 3 in alto and tenor, and a new DURGA 3 soprano mouthpiece was introduced.
The DURGA 3 also received a new logo.
- Adrian Crutchfield (Prince)
- Gerald Albright (3 time Grammy nominee)
- Jimmy Haag (Diana Ross, Lou Rawls, Tommy Dorsey)
- Warren Ham (Ringo Starr, Olivia Newton John)
- Jamie Michael Harris (Michael Jackson, Mo Pleasure, Earth Wind and Fire, Bette Midler)
2016 SHIVA 2, and SLANT SIG 2
The SHIVA and SLANT SIG mouthpieces were updated to increase core sound and projection while maintaining their fundamental sounds. These updates came from customer and endorser feedback, as well as from Theo’s increased knowledge of mouthpiece design. Both were fairly substantial improvements having all of the Theo Wanne™ endorsers such as Gerald Albright and Dwayne Dugger (Bruno Mars) updating to the new design.
More information on the SHIVA 2 Tenor here: SHIVA 2
More information on the Slant Sig Tenor here: Slant Sig
2018 FIRE alto
The FIRE alto mouthpiece is the first mouthpiece released in the ELEMENTS series. The FIRE is bright and fiery, with a high step baffle and small chamber. The element series is about half the price of other Theo Wanne™ mouthpieces. It will be released at the 2018 NAMM Show in Los Angeles, California.
2019 GAIA 3 Tenor, EARTH Alto, WATER Alto, MANTRA 2 Alto, Tenor & Soprano Saxophones
The GAIA 3 Tenor mouthpiece, and second and third ELEMENTS Series mouthpieces, the EARTH alto and WATER alto, are released. The WATER is the first classical mouthpiece by Theo Wanne. The MANTRA 2 Tenor, Alto & Soprano saxophones are released.
2020 GAIA 3, DURGA 4, AMBIKA 3, SHIVA 3
New releases: GAIA 3 Soprano & Alto; DURGA 4 Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Baritone; AMBIKA 3 Tenor; SHIVA 3 Soprano, Alto & Tenor all released at NAMM 2020. SHIVA Baritone mouthpiece discontinued.