Friday, July 29, 2011

Theo Wanne Reviews: Gaia Metal and Hard Rubber

As I mentioned last week, Sam Ash recently started carrying Theo Wanne's mouthpieces, so I've had a fresh infusion of mouthpieces to review.  Today's subjects are the metal and hard rubber versions of the Gaia, which are Theo Wanne's interpretation and modern version of a combination of classic vintage mouthpieces.

Metal Gaia

Metal Gaia from all side
Much like the previously reviewed Theo Wanne pieces, the metal and hard rubber Brahma, the metal Gaia's tone has a solid core somewhere in between dark and bright. The overall tone of the mouthpiece leans slightly towards the bright side. Its tone is fairly similar to my Florida era metal Otto Link, with the Gaia having more color but less presence. The metal Gaia's tone color does have some flexibility. I could push the mouthpiece towards brighter and darker colors fairly easily. A lack of flexibility in tone color and a one sided sound were two of my major complaints against the previously reviewed Brahma, but the Gaia is more flexible and malleable making more variations in tone color possible. The piece has plenty of power. The sound has enough punch to make it immediate and cutting but not so much that it becomes edgy or abrasive. Overall, the piece can achieve a sound that is beautiful, versatile, and powerful.

The feeling of blowing through the mouthpiece is very comfortable. There isn't too much or too little resistance. You can easily push the mouthpiece to its limit without fear of losing control or feeling uncomfortable. There is, however a variation in the resistance. There is something unique about the resistance in the Gaia, the difference being that a more traditional mouthpiece feels like it takes or accepts more air, however you can push the Gaia as hard as you'd like without any problems.

In terms of control the mouthpiece leaves little to be desired. The dynamics, articulation, and register changes all responded smoothly and very quickly as you'd expect from a high quality hand finished mouthpiece.

Here are some clips from my play test session:
Ben Plays Giant Steps on Metal Gaia.mp3
Ben Plays on Metal Gaia.mp3

Conclusion: This is a flexible mouthpiece with a powerful and colorful tone leaning slightly towards the bright side of the spectrum. It feels great and unique to play and has no glaring flaws.

Hard Rubber Gaia

3D right?
The hard rubber version sounds very similar to the metal version. It has the solid core, plenty of power, and a nice mix of highs and lows. The main difference between the two versions is just the fundamental difference between the sound of a hard rubber mouthpiece and a metal mouthpiece.

Playing the piece does feel somewhat different however. The hard rubber Gaia feels a little more resistant than I'm used to. That resistance is even throughout all registers of the horn though. I wouldn't say the resistance is too much but it is apparent.

The control of this mouthpiece, like its metal counterpart, is flawless. There are absolutely no road blocks in terms of articulation, changes in dynamics, changes between register, and changing between full tone and subtone.

Here are some clips from my play test session:
Ben Plays Giant Steps on Hard Rubber Gaia.mp3
Ben Plays on Hard Rubber Gaia.mp3

Conclusion: The hard rubber Gaia has flexibility, punch, vibrance, and a nice mix of highs and lows in the tone. The mouthpiece is slightly more resistant compared to its metal counterpart, but it has great control and feels good otherwise.


  1. This review is excellent. It gave me answers to my initial questions and made me want to go out and try this mouthpiece. May I know what tip opening were these wonderfull HR Gaia samples ?

  2. Thanks Michal. Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, I've been on vacation. They were all 7*.

  3. Replies
    1. I think, I might have tried it in the store. If I remember correctly it wasn't really my thing, so I didn't write about it.

  4. Ben, I just spent about a month trying out different Wanne pieces. I finally settled on the metal Gaia 8. I found this review to be very helpful in making my decision. I really liked the way you sound on the HR. Seems like that resistance you spoke of added a little bark to the sound.

    1. Glad to hear it, Jeremy. I hope it works out great for you.