In the past, musicians searching for informations about vintage mouthpieces had to go to Theo Wanne’s website (www.mouthpieceheaven.com) to find the best information. This site unfortunately doesn’t work anymore.
Since 2007, the new website is www.theowanne.com. Under Knowledge you can find the old information. There is one page with a mouthpiece museum and a set-up list: Which musician played which mouthpiece with which reed? There is rarely anybody who has such deep insights to the history of sax mouthpieces like Theo Wanne.
In 2005, Theo partnered with his twin brother Tom, and together they launched their own line of mouthpieces under the name Theo Wanne Mouthpieces. Their goal was always uncompromising quality. Sonic reported several times about Theo Wanne products.
We got an alto TANTRA with a 7 opening and a 7* for tenor. But you don’t find this models on Theo’s Homepage. Next to the name TANTRA you can find a Yin-Yang symbol (Do they now mix Indian hinduism with Chinese taoism?) and finally the name Fiberreed.
This leads us to the solution of the mystery. Theo took the innovation from his MANTRA mouthpiece (his newest design) and made the sound warmer, fuller and bigger by modifying the inside the chamber and battle. Theo worked closely with the father of synthetic reeds, Fiberreed’s Harry Hartmann.
If you go to the website www.Fiberreed.com you can see photos of the chambers where the modifications where made. And that is the how the MANTRA became the TANTRA In the design, Theo and Harry had in mind developing synergy between the mouthpiece and the newest Hemp Fiberreed. However the T ANTRA mouthpieces fils well with all Fiberreeds and normal cane reeds.
Sonic got two gold-plated TANTRA mouthpieces, 7 for alto and a 7* for tenor sax. Both have a mat finish before the gold-plating.
These mouthpieces have a medium to large open chamber with a raised baffle. The sidewalls are straight. The airstreams comes over a broken step into the chamber. The packaging already signifies that you do not hold a mass product in your hands: Inside you find a fine leather case with a zipper and the mouthpiece.
The mouthpiece comes with a reed replacing cap that protects the mouthpiece when there is no reed in it. This rarity is helpful when you see how some musicians tumble their mouthpiece in their cases. The sensitive tip of the mouthpiece is safe if the reed replacing cap is clamped in, even though we still missed the cap that protects the reed during playing pauses.
From the beginning, Theo Wanne mouthpieces have been equipped with a special patented “Liberty Ligature”. There are five holes on each side of the mouthpiece. The ligature is fixed with only two set screws, which make the ligature nearly totally acoustically isolated.
Play Test The 7* fits good with the Fiberreed Hemp Medium. From the lowest register to the altissimo register this combination plays easily. The sound is big and do min ant. This piece is far removed from the originally targeted Otto Link characteristics (Wanne ,Parvati”). It is for sax players who prefer a more hard and strong tone. We compared it with a familiar cane reed (Vandoren ZZ 2½). Cane has less volume, a little less brilliance but is a bit more obedient in the altissimo register. You just have to get used to it with the Hemp Fiberreed.
We did not notice at all the sometimes observed weakness of synthetic reeds when played softly in the low register.
The 7* alto mouthpiece played well with the Hemp Fiberreed M (21/2)., but is not my personal style. The attack was super easy and the tone screaming loud and cutting. With a 2½ cane reed the tone was a bit more “dangerous”. We think that this alto mouthpiece is best suited for professionals.