Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

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  1. #1
    Forum Contributor 2011 Spooner's Avatar
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    Default Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    Hello all--

    I am starting this thread for people involved in the pass around to post their reviews on the Theo Wanne tenor Durga.
    Theo Wanne Mantra Tenor (Black Nickel)--Theo Wanne Shiva 8*, Gaia 8
    Theo Wanne Mantra Soprano (prototype)--Gaia 8, Mantra 8
    Alto--Theo Wanne Durga 8, Gaia 8

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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    Hi ,My name is Frank Elmo.I've been a professional sax player since the mid 70's.I've played in almost every concievable situation with the best and worst and everthing in-between.See http://frankelmo.com for a partial resume.
    I have used links,dukoffs and most of the current boutique mouthpieces around. I do recording work ,club gigs,straight ahead,organ trio,funk rock ,weddings,classical, and alot of private teaching,etc..
    Last year I ordered a Kali 7* and I was in mouthpiece heaven.The sound and feel are unbelievable,very link- like without the stuffiness..In all situations I thought it was the perfect piece!(dark and warm on ballads or backing up singers and bright and poppin on funk and rock) The only problem was that when I pushed it ,I had to back off slightly.
    The DURGA 8 is very similiar and different at the same time..Volume-wise,fergit-it the highs are briter and the lows are huge..The altissimo just pops. I'm getting double g g# and A with ease.When I push my jaw out and
    blow real hard for rock the DURGA is rite there with me..However,like the Kali 7* it still has (what I call )the "coltrane buzz ".Lots of overtones and colors,an interesting ,pleasing sound that really fills a room.
    On another note, I want to say that Theo's pieces really do make a difference..I have a 166XXX VI that I've had for 30 plus years.I thought it was played out...It sat in the case for the past 3yrs while I used a 56XXX that I recently acquired.
    Just for fun, one day I took it out(the 166) and put the Kali on it . I thought I had a new horn.It is a killing.And to think I was about to sell it..Now with the Durga it's even better.I even tried this with a student Bundy.Unbelievable!!!
    I want thank Spooner and the Wanne boys for their great work and this opportunity to try the Durga...It is definitely worth the money,and I will be ordering one soon
    Frank Elmo

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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    Ok, I'll ask again. I started a thread asking this question but no one is answering me.

    What is a mouthpiece passaround? Does an actual mouthpiece get shipped around the country for people to try? Can I get in on it? Or is it just a certain group of people?

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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    Exactly . A mouthpiece (or 2) gets mailed to one person, then that person pays shipping to the next, and on and on, until the list has been filled. Just have to watch for pass-around threads. There's a Durga Bari passaround being started now (you can still get in on this one! I'm thinking about it ).

    This list is started by seeing if there is significant interest. If there is, those interested e-mail/PM the person that's starting it. Then, you have the piece for a set # of days (3-7 depending on who started the passaround), and at the end of that, you write your review in a thread like this one .
    Yanagisawa 1980 A880 Alto Sax (A9937 neck); 2015 TSBS-680 Taishan Winds Bari; Yanagisawa 1996 T900µ Tenor Sax (T992 neck);1927 Beaufort American Curvy Sop (Conn stencil) w/white Roos

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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    Cool, thanks!! I'd love to try one of the Durga's but I don't have a bari. I'll start watching for passaround threads. It sounds like fun!

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    Distinguished SOTW Member Honeyboy's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    Well, I am the third guy on the passaround for the "Durga" mouthpiece. I got it yesterday and have played it for a total of about 4 hours. It is certainly a bright, loud Rock/R&B/Smooth Jazz type of mouthpiece. It is extremely easy blowing and responsive to my efforts. The more air you put into it, the better it sounds. For an 8 opening, it is almost effortless to play. I tried a few brands of reeds on it but ended up really liking the Vandoren 2.5 Javas. These give it a fuller sound than the Rico Royals( which tended to sound kind of thin on all my mouthpieces- so it's probably just that box of Rico Royals) and a freer sound than the blue box Vandorens. I have yet to try ZZ's. It also likes a 2.75 Legere Studio I put on it as well as a 2.5 Fibracell.
    I tried the different ligature positions (once I found the box with the tool down under all the peanuts) and I must say they all have something good to offer. The two positions closest to the reed tip give me the easiest altissimo response ( this is the place I usually put my ligs- just below the cut on the reed, and the farthest position from the tip gives a real nice husky tone. In this position, the reed is barely held on, but gets to vibrate alot. That's another thing- you can really feel the vibration of sound with this mouthpiece in your fingers.
    The more I play it the more fun it becomes. As far as tone goes, it is quite bright- brighter than my Jody Jazz ESP w/ baffle, brighter than my Ponzol M2, brighter than my Berg 130/2 and even brighter than my Berg 115/0. When I say brighter, I mean stressing the higher partials. But with the Javas, there is no thinness or harshness to the tone.
    My ESP is an exremely responsive mouthpiece and this Durga is at least as responsive, and considerably louder and brighter. The ESP is closer to a Link tone. The Durga is a different animal- more in the territory of a Dukoff D7 or maybe a King Guardala model. It's got the drop off baffle like a Dukoff, but has a nice scooped out chamber . It is, however more complex than the LT King Guardala I trialed once- and considerably louder and more responsive to my breath input.
    I personally prefer a thicker more midrangy tone, as with the Berg 130/2 or the Ponzol M2 so I won't be buying this model. I am also on the Kali pass around list and I think that one may be closer to the tone I prefer.
    The quality of the mouthpiece, the flexibility of the lig. positions, reed friendliness and overall design and quality makes for a real work of art. I have spent alot more on all my mouthpieces, but if I can find a mouthpece like this with more of a tone I prefer, I wouldn't mind spending the money on it and maybe sell off some of my other ones.(right!! I never seem to get rid of anything )
    The sound bytes on the Theo Wanne website of the Durga pretty much sums up the type of tone I was getting.
    Last edited by Honeyboy; 06-27-2009 at 07:02 AM.
    When facing our own mortality, all of a sudden those idols we valued so much are somehow put in a proper perspective and the truly valuable is revealed.
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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    Update!

    Due to the large number of folks wanting to try out the Durga, we've decided to introduce a second Durga into the pass around to cut everybody's wait time in half.

    That being said, everybody stay tuned and I'll be in touch with you as the Durga makes it's way to you.
    Theo Wanne Mantra Tenor (Black Nickel)--Theo Wanne Shiva 8*, Gaia 8
    Theo Wanne Mantra Soprano (prototype)--Gaia 8, Mantra 8
    Alto--Theo Wanne Durga 8, Gaia 8

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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    Honeyboy, are you on the Gaia passaround?
    Nice report.
    My wife, whose ears I trust, said that my sound is much fuller, richer, more powerful and resonant on this set up.
    ... but really folks... my wife said, " It sounds like a saxophone ".

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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    Quote Originally Posted by saxphil View Post
    Honeyboy, are you on the Gaia passaround?
    Nice report.
    Thanks for the compliment. I haven't signed up for the Gaia, just the Kali. Maybe I will if I don't care for the tone of the Kali.
    When facing our own mortality, all of a sudden those idols we valued so much are somehow put in a proper perspective and the truly valuable is revealed.
    11th Commandment: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's axe.

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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    Quote Originally Posted by Honeyboy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by saxphil View Post
    Honeyboy, are you on the Gaia passaround?
    Nice report.
    Thanks for the compliment. I haven't signed up for the Gaia, just the Kali. Maybe I will if I don't care for the tone of the Kali.
    Sign up for it anyway.
    Your mpc review comments target many aspects, plus I think that I share a similar taste in sound as yours.
    I won't pay the price and I am afraid ,that if I try it, the seed will be sewn.
    My wife, whose ears I trust, said that my sound is much fuller, richer, more powerful and resonant on this set up.
    ... but really folks... my wife said, " It sounds like a saxophone ".

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    Distinguished SOTW Member Honeyboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    Quote Originally Posted by saxphil View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Honeyboy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by saxphil View Post
    Honeyboy, are you on the Gaia passaround?
    Nice report.
    Thanks for the compliment. I haven't signed up for the Gaia, just the Kali. Maybe I will if I don't care for the tone of the Kali.
    Sign up for it anyway.
    Your mpc review comments target many aspects, plus I think that I share a similar taste in sound as yours.
    I won't pay the price and I am afraid ,that if I try it, the seed will be sewn.
    Oh, so you want me to be tempted eh? So far my Ponzol M2 and Berg 130/2 are still on top. For me, it will take a major improvement to dethrone those, so it's not too hard for me to say no. I guess I''ll sign up for the Gaia if it will make you happy.
    When facing our own mortality, all of a sudden those idols we valued so much are somehow put in a proper perspective and the truly valuable is revealed.
    11th Commandment: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's axe.

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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    Quote Originally Posted by Honeyboy View Post
    So far my Ponzol M2 and Berg 130/2 are still on top. For me, it will take a major improvement to dethrone those
    That's what I was thinking.
    My wife, whose ears I trust, said that my sound is much fuller, richer, more powerful and resonant on this set up.
    ... but really folks... my wife said, " It sounds like a saxophone ".

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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    I thought that I would share some of my impressions of the Tenor Durga 8 that I had the privilege to try out as part of this passaround.

    Like others have stated, the appearance and quality of work was impressive. The interior had a machined look on the baffle like you would expect. But the chamber had a sandblasted type appearance. Very smooth and flowing with no angular edges. Deep in the chamber was a ring that reduced the diameter to something close to the neck opening. I’m guessing that it would focus the airflow a bit for some additional power. The other thing that stood out was the mass of the piece. Definitely heavier than other metal pieces that I played throughout the years.

    First playing Impressions:
    I put on some new reeds and tried the old “pop” test. I have to say that it didn’t have that convincing “pop” that I’m used to. Yes … I realize that this is not a conclusive test of the reed seal, it’s just something that I do

    Started off by simply playing a long, low G. It had a very “FAAAAT” sound, with a strong core/fundamental. More so than other pieces I’ve tried ( I typically play high baffle pieces, JJ DV, Ponzol M2, Dukoff D, etc., so this wasn’t a surprise). What did surprise me was that it had the fat core along with the strong upper partials that I’m used to with a high baffle piece. Sort of the best of both worlds. I would say tone wise, that it had similar upper partials, a bit less midrange, and much more bottom. I noodled around for about an hour and found myself playing slower with long drawn out notes just so I could enjoy the sound.

    People often describe terms like spread and focused. I’ve heard these terms before, but had trouble determining the difference… until now . This was definitely the most spread sound I’ve ever produced. This was very evident going back and forth between this and my DV. The Durga sound had a 3 dimensional quality to it.

    I’m used to pushing high baffle pieces in the upper end and noticing a timbre change. I found that this piece did that in the lower end too. I was amazed at the power that this could pump out in the lower to middle range. You could really push this piece in all registers. The upper range wasn’t that much different from my DV or other high baffle pieces. It became evident that you could let off and play some mellower jazz, or really push it and get that bigger contemporary sound. It really was versatile.

    In conclusion, I must say that I really enjoyed trying this piece. I wish that I could have tried it on a gig (which for me is usually high volume R & B). I imagine that this fat sound would work great in that situation.


    I guess I’ll start saving now


    Matt: Thanks again for this opportunity. I enjoyed it very much.

    Dwayne

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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    Frank (Elmo, that is), just checked out some of your sound files. You sound good, man! I especially liked "Samburu" Nice soprano tone and good feel. Your tenor tone is very nice, too.

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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    Where are we with the Durga passaround? Haven't heard anything on this one either. ?
    Alto-MKVI Theo Wanne Durga2 metal, Durga3 HR, (Gaia 1 in wood), Gaia2 pieces, Tenor-MKVI w/ Theo Wanne Durga1 & 2, Gaia2 HR, , Soprano-Selmer S-80II Black Laq w/ Theo Wanne Gaia2 and Wanne Durga 3, Silverstein Ligatures on all horns. ALso EWI 4000s w/ various modules.

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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    I was happy to receive the Durga last week. Here are my impressions:

    1). The craftsmanship is top-notch. The machining is extremely well done, the finish is beautiful, etc. If someone didn't know it was a mouthpiece, they might think it was a sculpture from a museum.

    2). There was a noticeable increase in projection over my current piece (Barone NY 7*). For the same reed (I tried a Java, a Rico Jazz Filed, and a Plasticover), the Durga was clearly louder. The increase in volume came without any additional effort on my part. In fact, I would say that the Durga is very free blowing.

    3). The Durga is (as advertised) a bright mouthpiece. Actually, it's too bright for my taste. I'm on the list for the Kali and Gaia passarounds and will welcome the opportunity to compare. Based solely on the descriptions, I'd say the Gaia is probably closest to the sound I'd like to achieve. Since the Durga is on the far end of the spectrum of mouthpieces Theo offers, it's not surprising to me that it wasn't matching the sound I had in mind. That's not meant as a criticism -- if you have a different sound concept in mind, it may be the perfect piece for you. In addition to its brightness, the Durga has a rasp or buzz when I pushed it. With the Java and Rico reeds, it was manageable; with the Plasticover, the buzz was very pronounced and difficult to control.

    4). The altissimo popped pretty well with the Durga. In fact, I'd say the piece played very well through the full range of the horn. Intonation was consistent throughout as well.

    In summary, on the plus side I would say the mouthpiece is free-blowing piece, has a consistent sound and feel throughout the range, and has an obvious increase in projection. For me, on the minus side, the sound is too bright and depending on the reed has an edge that doesn't match my sound concept.

    As I said, I can't wait to compare against the Kali and Gaia pieces.

    Thanks for the opportunity to try the Durga!

    - Scooby
    "... trying to play clean and looking for the pretty notes." -- Charlie Parker
    www.scooby-sax.com

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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    Received the Durga today and wanted to post my first impressions before I start the 5 day trial.

    Overall this is one of the easiest mpcs I've played in years. My reference is a Guardala LT Studio that was opened to .117 by Mojobari. Keith filed down the initial part of the baffle on the Studio to improve the fullness of the palm keys. The Guardala has more resistance than the Durga by far but I'll comment about the end result.

    First of all the sound of the Durga is bright and clean. Getting a big buzz out of this mpc takes some air but that can be good in that it provides flexibility. The Guardala has a more ripping R&B/Funk sound that is very expressive but perhaps not as flexible as the Durga. The flip side is that the Durga can play straight ahead jazz and balads with much more ease.

    Consistance in tone is a hightlight of the Durga also. On both my tenors the sound is full from low Bb up through altissimo.

    Inital summary is I am a little suprised with the clean sound and it is not as bright as I expected. Could be due to the large chamber based design. The worst part about the Durga is the more I play it the more a may need to dig up the money to buy one!!! That is the sucky part given the big price tag.

    More later in the week after I spend more time on the Durga.....

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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    After a week with the Durga I sent it off to the next tester.

    Overall my initial impressions remained thoughout the week. I played it at one rehearsal and a gig. The Durga still remains the most responsive, easy to play mpc I've tried in years. Very free blowing with little resistance. The mpc can really take some air without building up back pressure. Altissimo was very responseive also.

    Now onto the interesting part. The Durga is bright but lacks a buzz to the tone. I would not invest the money simply because I prefer a certain buzz when pushed. The Durga is too clean sounding even when pushed. Since it is difficult to over blow the mpc getting a buzzy funk sound is difficult. Even my STM Link 9* can be convinced to get a buzzy tone when required.

    I would still like to try one of the darker Theo Wanne models since I think the combination of a dark tone with easy response would be great for straight ahead type work.

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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    Could I get on the List for the Durga Tenor Piece? Is anyone able to compare it to a Lamberson Acetal 8 DD? I wouls love to hear the comparison.. Thanks

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    Default Re: Theo Wanne Tenor Durga pass around reviews

    I think maybe the Durga has stalled out again. On Oct. 23, I was #5 from the top and haven't seen or heard anything since then. This is a huge undertaking and problems and personal situations arise. Email Spooner and I'm sure he'll put you on the list. Good luck.
    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.
    Alto- SML Gold Metal II
    Tenor- Selmer Mark VI
    Baritone- King Zephyr

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