Riding the Rails of Mt. Mouthpiece


Even as summer made a late arrival in the Pacific Northwest, my mind turned to skiing. This time, however, with a bit more intrigue than just fantasizing about an early snow fall and chili burgers at the lodge.

Upon listening to the rich, warm sound of Theo playing a PARVATI, I desired the perfect analogy for the array of mouthpieces he had so carefully crafted.  I love analogies. And, the flowing, easing sound I was relaxing into reminded me of a the perfect powder run that my fatter Volkl  Pro skis had so kindly guided me through several years back in a seemingly hidden canyon of Whistler Mountain.

Riding the Rails of Mt Mouthpiece

Like an earmarked book, the skiing memory brought back the sights, sounds and smells of that one particular run. The snow was deep, light and fresh. Powder kicking off my shins provided an ambient background sound. And my nose was comfortingly cold with the smell of clean, high-attitude, Evergreen-marinated air. I was in the zone and my skis were just an extension of my body – Another limb that anticipated my subconscious directions with uncanny precision. It was glorious and certainly deserved to be bookmarked for future reference. 

I’ve heard musicians describe their instruments and mouthpieces as extensions of their body. Perhaps I had stumbled onto the perfect comparison – The ski market being an excellent analogy for the technically-advanced mouthpiece market.

Skis come in a range of types. The selections scale from super fat powder, to powder, to versatile all-terrain, to slalom, and then to giant slalom. There are even specialty variations. Depending on the snow conditions and the swelling in my knees, I will desire different skis at different times.

In the same manner, there are a large range of mouthpieces available. These scale from haunting, to dark, to versatile, to powerful, and then to bright.  There are even specialty variations. And, depending on the venue and their play style, a musician will desire different mouthpieces at different times.

Another similarity is how technically advanced skis can help most levels of skiers. There have been advancements in manufacturing and materials. The largest technical advancement in skis was the parabolic shape. This advancement has greatly eased the learning curve for beginners and made skiing much more fun for die-hards like myself. My fatter, parabolic skis were a dream come true.

I learned to ski on giant slalom skis on the wet, heavy snow of Mt. Baker, WA. I can’t think of a more challenging learning environment. My early years of skiing would have been much more enjoyable and effective had the parabolic skis of today existed then. Of course, a mountain with nice light snow would have helped too.

Similar to skis, technically advanced mouthpieces can help most levels of saxophone musicians. Developments in chambers, facings, finishing and manufacturing processes can make playing more fun and effective for the beginning player up to the professional player.

With my analogy feeling complete, it’s time to re fill my coffee, kick up my feet and find that glorious bookmark…

Light powder wishes,

Tom Wanne, CEO
Theo Wanne Classic Mouthpiece


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