Theo is considered the world’s foremost expert on the design and manufacturing of saxophone mouthpieces.
As a child Theo was a traditional apprentice designing and building professional bicycle frames by hand. He learned to shape materials, braze, and jig at a young age all by hand. In 1987, he travelled the world living as a monk in Thailand and studied meditation in India. Eventually he got his college degree in ‘Musical Improvisation as a Spiritual Path’ at Naropa College in Boulder CO.
Upon return to the USA, Theo turned his love of improvisation into becoming a saxophone repair technician and expert mouthpiece refacer under the direction of the legendary Master Refacer Bob Carpenter. Theo worked long hours for many years turning thousands of vintage mouthpieces and saxophones into gems. Creating beautiful sound became his passion, and he soon became known as the ‘go to’ guy for vintage equipment. In order to share his knowledge of vintage & hand modified products, Theo opened Saxophone Mouthpiece Heaven in 1998 in Philadelphia, PA, which became the world’s foremost knowledge database on saxophone mouthpieces. Much of that knowledge he has now shared on our current website, under the RESOURCES tab at the top of each website page.
Theo shortly had a several year wait list for refacing work, and needed to turn away over 95% of the work offered to him. So in 2007 he started manufacturing his own line of mouthpieces and saxophones. He used the designs he had developed for his many famous clients, such as Joshua Redman, Chris Potter, Eric Alexander, Jan Garbarek, Nelson Rangell, Tim Price, Grover Washington Jr., etc..
Theo wanted his products manufactured to the highest standards he had become known for with his hand refacing work. So he studied intensely the various manufacturing methods used in the past, and improved upon them for his products. This is why his products are made with such high quality. He also wanted every mouthpiece to consistently play according to the desired design. This is just not possible with hand facing, as most mouthpieces do not play as well as the ‘best’ hand faced version they are trying to duplicate. This is why the work Theo does with Matt Ambrose is so important….you get the consistently the highest quality and best design, as intended!
Theo feels his life’s work is making products which allow each musician to access their deepest creative passions as easily as possible! He is constantly studying and innovating to better accomplish this life work!
We are more than just a team, we are a family. We work hard, laugh hard and keep growing stronger together!
Bryan Vance: Bryan is General Manager at Theo Wanne™. With a Master’s in Saxophone, years of experience in musical products, a cool demeanor and a wacky sense of humor, Bryan excels at getting musicians the products they need!
Justin Maurer: Justin is the grandson of Master Refacer Bob Carpenter who was Theo’s teacher. Justin is the shop supervisor making sure everything that needs to get done, gets done with quality and style! He brings an amazingly positive attitude, great work ethic, and his grandfather’s passion for saxophone mouthpieces to the company as well.
Matt Ambrose: Matt is chief machinist and CAD designer. He has been with Theo from the beginning. His dedication and savvy at programming and machining in ways others could not has been integral to Theo Wanne™ success!
Thomas Harris: Thomas is an incredible saxophonist and vocalist, and a graduate of Berklee College of Music! Check out his album, and catch him live if you can! Thomas works in most capacities of production, and is a great asset with R&D feedback too!
David Nelson: David is the newest member of our team, working with Matt machining the best mouthpieces in the world! David is a great guy with a big heart, and we feel lucky to have him as a member team Wanne!
The full company history can be found here: Theo Wanne Mouthpieces