“The pieces are AWESOME!! I got home about a half hour ago and greeted the mailman with your package. I've been playing both of them and my custom Link back and forth.
I intend on playing them a whole lot more in the next couple days.
Briefly what I've noticed:
- There is almost no significant "feel" change in the way they blow compared to my custom Link. I like that.
- The silver seems tamer and a bit darker than the gold, which seems a little more familiar to me.
- Both the silver and the gold Amma play great from subtone Bb (always a bone of contention for me) up to the extreme altissimo. I play regularly up to G, a ninth off the horn. Some pieces choke off – not these.
- The shrillness I sometimes experience on the custom Link (with a hefty wedge) is far reduced on the Amma. I can get plenty of bite but the lower baffle keeps the sound more pleasing.
- The overall sound of the Amma is a bit fuller and seems to have a bit less noise in the sound than my custom Link. (I'll have to try a bunch of different reeds to really tell.)
- Some mouthpieces will add more body to the sound or have a very even scale up and down, however they "gloss over" my natural sound. The Amma adds a bit more body to the sound and still gives the natural resonance I produce as someone who plays on the brighter side.
Well congrats my friend!!! I look forward to playing these on the next two gigs this weekend, recording with them and writing a complete review for SaxShed.com.”
As I played the pieces over the next month my initial reaction proved to be very accurate. The silver was a bit tamer than the gold and the gold seemed to have a bit more color to it. (Descriptions can be tough I know) As I put these two pieces through the paces there were some adjustments I felt needed to be made to the final production pieces. One concern was alleviated with the addition of a plastic mouthpiece patch, which I use on all pieces, clarinet to baritone. Theo was very responsive to all of my observations and implemented some changes to address my early concerns. After trying the original two pieces for a month, I was sent an additional 5 nearly identical pieces with the new modifications. The first two were excellent pieces but the next 5 – off the charts! Theo sent 2 silver and 3 gold pieces that had slightly different characteristics. They all sounded great, one a bit darker, another a bit brighter but all felt nearly identical in the way they blew. They all played and felt very much like that old Custom Link. The Amma was different from my Link where had more body to the sound, less noise in the sound and a more reasonable amount of edge and projection. I sounded equally comfortable on all of these 5 Ammas – something I have not often experienced when trying out many of the same mouthpieces.
The Liberty Ligature – This was my first experience with a built in ligature on a mouthpiece. There have long been mouthpieces made with attached ligatures but I’ve never owned one until now. The Amma ligature is truly unique. To look at it you can see inspiration from the original Otto Link ligatures and even the Francois Louis. There is one large screw and the option of interchangeable pressure plates. If you don’t want to mess around with the positions or optional pressure plates, you can just use the ligature in the standard position when shipped with great success. The ligature is secured in place by beveled setscrews. There is a 5/64 tool supplied to facilitate the removal and replacement of the Liberty Ligature. Another tool is available for the removal of the pressure plate. The design is such that the ligature can be set higher and lower on the reed, causing a variation in the focus or spread of the sound. In my own experience I tried all the positions and ultimately set it back in the second holes, just as it came to me. Those who want options will have plenty.
The Reed Replacer Cap – Since the Liberty ligature stays on the mouthpiece, it is best to keep the reed on the piece while not being played. The removal of the reed from the mouthpiece while being stored could result in the metal ligature rubbing against the mouthpiece table – something you don’t want. To alleviate this problem the Amma is supplied with this cool little Reed Replacer Cap. It is a cap similar to the Francois Louis cap, however it has an extension for the table. The plastic extension replaces the reed under the Liberty ligature, keeping the table and ligature from making contact during storage. There is an available Francois Louis Smart Cap Theo has modified for use on the Amma as well.
The Double Pouch Mouthpiece Holder – If you have played for any length of time, you likely have more than one mouthpiece. The Double Pouch Mouthpiece Holder gives you two additional storage pouches for your valued pieces. Although each Amma comes with it’s own individual leather pouch, this leather pouch has room for a couple mouthpieces, reed cases and all topped off with a belt loop! If you like all the bells and whistles – this is for you.
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. Kudos to Theo for creating this new jewel for the tip of your horn – the origin of your sound.
You can visit Theo Wanne Custom Mouthpieces at TheoWanne.com and learn more about the Amma and other innovative products.