The State of Affairs, by Tom Wanne

by

I am excited to share the state of affairs of our new business endeavor!

The AMMA has been very well received.  Wonderful support from family and friends, as well as effective brotherly communication has helped us jump our share of interesting hurdles. We are working diligently to stay focused on ensuring the best possible mouthpieces go out.  Our mother actually came in and helped us a great deal packing all the 6* and 7* mouthpieces that went out.  Go Mom and Thank You!  This seems to truly be a family business. 

So, on to the state of affairs: 

Sales are going very well. We have sold almost half of the 200 AMMAs we made. Specific sizes have only 1-3 left, but tough to gauge as Theo has had some flexibility with plating options. We have shipped almost all current orders for size 6* and 7*s. All orders for other sizes should be back from plating in about 2 weeks.  We feel horrible about all our delays and have been pleasantly welcomed by everyone’s patience. Thank you all! 

The whole manufacturing process took longer than we had expected. It is quite complex and challenging.  Although a creative endeavor from an engineering perspective, it has created ample opportunity for delay. We have discussed raising our prices to cover unplanned manufacturing costs. 

We have found that last minute tweaks inspired from the pros are extremely helpful and appreciated, but also time consuming to implement. Interestingly, there were a few prototype AMMAs that have visited various pros and experts. I love getting this perspective on the music industry. It is new to me, but juicy. 

The AMMA is a limited run of 200.  Our next model, the KALI, and possibly a lower baffle version of the AMMA, in the spring, will be similar limited small runs.  We are still figuring out the demand for a Darker Jazz, Zoot Sims type, True Large Chamber Tenor Mouthpiece. So I thought I would pose it as a question in this blog.  

Is there any interest in a low baffle/ large chamber Jazz Tenor Mouthpiece?  

We will be more effectively posting endorsements on our website soon, however here is a taste: 

·         Endorsement from Jeff Rupert.  
“Theo, your AMMA mouthpiece is just the mouthpiece sax players have been waiting for. There is no need to look for vintage mouthpieces anymore. It’s right in the tradition, and made with unrivaled expertise and craftsmanship. I believe the Amma sets a new standard in saxophone mouthpieces. Your mastery with saxophone mouthpieces has allowed me to fully express my own artistry as a musician!” – Jeff Rupert

Jeff playes on a gold AMMA tenor mouthpiece serial number 072. Jeff was with Maynard Ferguson’s band until Maynard’s unfortunate passing. Jeff Rupert’s numerous recordings include those with Diane Schuur, Mel Torme, Maynard Ferguson, Benny Carter’s Grammy winning recording Harlem Renaissance, Sam River’s NJ blues band The Fins, Jeff Rupert + Dirty Martini, and broadcasts on NPR. Jeff is the Associate Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Central Florida. 

·         Skip Spratt’s review on Saxshed.  His review includes some sound clips of him playing the AMMA as well: 

http://www.saxshed.com/reviews.shtml 

It is a very exciting and busy time for us. I am motivated and attracted to the vision of bringing the most innovative, useful, and powerful mouthpieces ever made to musicians. It feels good to contribute to our goal of helping musicians Unleash their Soul. 

Juicy Endeavors,

Tom Wanne, CEO

Theo’s twin brother and business partner

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12 Responses to “The State of Affairs, by Tom Wanne”

  1. Guus Crommelin Says:

    Hi Tom,
    In answer to your question: is there a demand for darker jazz, Zoot Sims-like mp’s, I want to say this: I”m desperately looking for an mp that gets me a fat, warm, hollow rock&roll sound. Red Prysock, Sil Austin, that type of sound. I actually don’t know whether a low baffle or a high baffle is best for that, I would have to try. Anyways; please keep me updated, I didn’t have the money to order this summer, hopefully I will have the money next time…
    I’m playing a Berg Larsen now, on the gigs it’s ok cause its loud, which makes playing r&b a lot easier, but when I practice at home I hate my own sound…. but I can’t find anything better now so I’m waiting for your next run!

  2. Kris Jensen Says:

    Theos name came up on a recent gig.

    Let me just say how happy I am to know you’re “back on the block” (or maybe it’s ME that is back, for that matter).

    I’ve been playing a vintage hard rubber Berg that Theo re-faced for about 8 years now. I’ve occasionally gone back to playing another mouthpiece, but always come back to this one. It’s got power, depth and warmth and players are shocked to find out that I use it for everything (jazz standards, rock gigs, club dates etc.)

    Looking forward to checking some of these originals out at some point.

    Sincerely,

    Kris Jensen

  3. Kris Jensen Says:

    And by the way, I’m playing Theo’s refaced Berg on all of the MySpace tracks.

  4. JA Schwager Says:

    Okay I’m confused. From reading the above it is sounding that all this work to make the Amma, but there will never be more than 200 made in the world. Ever.

    A different mouthpiece called Kali may be made next year. Why go to immense design and manufacturing and marketing buzz and then cease making what many players have said is an extraordinary mouthpiece.

    Maybe I just don’t get it. Tom, can you enlighten me, and if I am not to get the Amma silver 6* I paid for, then what’s up? Do I get dancing girls?

  5. Saxophone Mouthpieces Says:

    Great post! I’ll probably blog something similar later. Saxophone Mouthpieces

  6. tim zannes Says:

    Hi. I have had several Theo refaced mp and they all play nicely. there is a great need for a modern but old style large chamber fla. link style mouthpiece that has some power but is dark and round. Words don’t properly describe sound, but articulate crisp but not overly edging toward the high partials is what many of us are looking for. The sound clips you have for the players playing the present theo mouthpiece seem to be all coming from the great Mike Brecker school. Somewhat commercial sounding, but great players nonetheless. Almost everything that comes out that is new , in any form (hard rubber or metal), is too bright for many of us. Thus the search for the perfect vintage piece ensues. We need a piece that can play breathy subtones, articulates the notes without separate tonguing, and responds quickly with a fat, round lush tone. It sounds complicated , but may be more simple than you think. Start with a hard rubber 7* slant link and go from there. Keep the large chamber, loose any real baffle, use the long facing curve,finish everything real smooth, etc. etc. etc. Good luck. sincerely, Tim.

  7. Jason Schwager Says:

    Where can we find, short of buying our own measuring tool, to find the tip openings of the new AMMA pieces. I have not been able to locate this information anywhere. Any pointers?

  8. Jason Schwager Says:

    A case of answering my own question. I knew they must be somewhere. Here they are for anybody else looking:

    http://www.theowanne.com/resources/numbering.php

  9. Josh Says:

    In response to Tim Zannes or anyone feeling this way:

    Everything you say is on point, in my opinion.

    I just got an Amma from Theo. I had the same concerns that you state here. The sound clips of the Amma, I agree, are the “hip” or “cutting edge” sort of sound that I often try to avoid.
    I was just working on the tune “I Can’t Get Started.” I have this great recording of Lester Young and Oscar Peterson’s trio playing it. His tone is so beautiful, fragile; honest.
    I wanted to try playing it with that sort of tone, and could.

    Give the Amma a try. Mess with it a bit before you make up your mind. It seems to me the more I play it the more I realize it’s amplifying my personality– when I hear something I don’t like, it’s me.

    You can get that modern sound if you want. You can get the Prez sound if you want. The idea that a hard rubber type piece is what will give you that “vintage” sound (Otto Link style) is conditioning. I can get that sound with the Amma, but I can also get a LOT more– I’m not pigeon-holed into that one sound.

    I guess what I’m saying is that what you wrote is beautiful; it touched me. If that’s truly what you’re looking for, I suggest you give the Amma a try.

  10. Edward Zlotnick Says:

    Hi Tom!
    I also have been playing a tenor hard rubber Otto Link that Theo re-faced … for about 8 years now. I’ve occasionally gone back to playing another mouthpiece, but always come back to this one.
    It has a medium-bright s-baffle and med-bigish chamber. I use it for every kind of music mostly with a 3M RJS. The other day I got another from Theo (I waited months and months) and only emailed a request to make it what ever Theo thought would be medium and hot. Well it buns! Theo is a genius. I own 3 dozen pieces nothing is as good. Some stock pieces come close in some respects. I learned alot from studies in NYC with first-call woodwind masters some studied with Julliard tutors such as Bonade or Joe Allard and Theo’s web says things that go along and clarify the old theories of yor! Thank you, Tom Wanne, for making sense of costs and services. PS… I play a AMMA for fun, I love it! thanks…Zed in Texas …. Ed Zlotnick!

  11. Edward Allan Zlotnick Says:

    I am glad to learn that the word is out! I am not the EZ who does re-facing gigs. Playing sax and other woodwinds keeps me going. I have the best Blues, RocknJazz, R&B Teaching gig in TEXAS….. I grew -up in Brooklyn, NY jaming, playing hospital shows, and sweet-sixteens with the Great Bob Berg (rip)./..it’s wonderful to teach ole Red Prysock, Sil Austin, King Curtis and Lee Allan as if I was giving a Barry Harris workshop ….. I may be dreamin but I Live on the Northern Boarder of Fort Worth and Keller, Texas- was little richard good R&B? You Bet!It’s also Jazz (or just plain music)
    Here’s the news: Theo is working on my gold AMMA 6* to get the edge that Stitt-Ammons, of the HR T-7
    Vandoran has in …Theo feels he will apply some aspects of the V-16 into the AMMA… with the red hot big chamber left in the AMMA a tad more open for the 7 and a Theo Wanne masterful work on the “s” curve. I again, will Let y’all know like before how this works out. I trust it wi work out just Fine. I wonder if this sound is what Mr. Berg Larsen had in Mind? I dig the flexability Theo gives to the reed with a M/L facing. Best Wishes,
    Edward Allan Zlotnick, BFA, MA.
    PS I found the master repair person “Rodney” at my Mr E’s in Bedford Tell him I said Hi

  12. Jerry Bailey Says:

    What mouthpiece and brand saxophone did Sil Austin and Jr. Walker play?

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