Reviews And Views

Steven Silverstein at NAMM Video: Steven Silverstein on Hemp Fiberreed

Downbeat Magazine Fiberreed Review:

Sonic Magazine Review of Tantra Mouthpiece:
- A new mouthpiece series of Theo Wanne

It used to be that the ones who where searching for informations about vintage mouthpieces had to go to Theo Wanne’s Unfortunately this site doesn’t work anymore. Since 2005 Theo has had a new website with the name Under “Knowledge“ you can find the old information. There is one site with a mouthpiece museum and a set-up list: Which saxophone player played which mouthpiece with which reed? There has rarely been anybody with such deep insights into the history of saxophone mouthpieces as Theo Wanne.

Since 2007 Theo used his wisdom to produce his own line of mouthpieces. His goal was always uncompromising quality. ‘Sonic’ reported about his products several times. The newest Theo Wanne product, who always uses names of the Hindu mythology, is the “Tantra” model. We got one for alto with a 7 opening and one 7* for tenor but you don’t find these models on Theo’s homepage. Beside the name “Tantra“, you will 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. Together with Harry Hartmann, the father of the synthetic “Fiberreed”, Theo Wanne modified his “Mantra” mouthpiece in way that it fit perfectly with Hartmann’s Fiberreeds. The main modification has been done inside the chamber. If you go to the website, you can see photos of the chambers where the modifications can be seen. So that’s how “Mantra” became “Tantra”. Theo and Harry had in mind especially the newest Hemp Fiberreed. However the “Tantra” mouthpieces fit with all Fiberreeds, as well as with normal cane reeds.

Sonic got two gold-plated „Tantra” mouthpieces. One 7 for alto and one 7* for tenor sax. Both mouthpieces are given a mat finish before the gold-plating. The numbering corresponds to the Otto Link identification. Apart from that, the geometry has clearly moved away from that example: These are mouthpieces with a medium open chamber. The baffle is raised. The sidewalls are straight. The airstream comes over a broken step into the chamber. The packaging already signifies that you do not hold a mass product in your hands: Inside of the cardboard box you find a fine leather case with a zipper and there, inside finally 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. Here you only find the reference that a “Mouthpiece Cap for Use with the Reed” is available as an accessory which has to be ordered separately! Considering the high price this is hardly acceptable. From the beginning, Theo Wanne mouthpieces have been equipped with a special patented “Liberty Ligature”. This ligature does not enclose the whole mouthpiece. Instead there are five holes on each side of the mouthpiece. The ligature is fixed with only two grub screws (“Set Screws”). These screws should not be tightened too hard and may be a little loose instead in order to ensure the free movement of the ligature. Like this the ligature is nearly totally acoustically isolated.

Playing 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 dominant. 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 2 ½). 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. Sometimes we observed some weakness of the synthetic reed in the low register (have not been noticed at all.)

The 7* alto mouthpiece was played as well with a Hemp Fiberreed M. This combination was not to my personal taste. The attack was super easy and the tone screaming loud and cutting. With a 2 ½ cane reed the tone was a bit more “dangerous”. We think that this alto mouthpiece is only for first class professionals but fortunately everyone’s taste is different.

Product info:


Tantra tenor 495,95 €

Tantra alto 495,95 €

A Hemp Fiberreed is included in this price.