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Today I was looking at Theo Wanne's Mouthpiece Museum on his website and saw an interesting Otto Link ad:



Tenor mouthpieces were $52.50. This ad is placed in the section for mouthpieces made between the 1950's and 1973. According to this inflation calculator (I don't know how accurate that is), $52.50 in 1973 (the latest year in which the ad would have been created) is equivalent to $244.40 in 2006. If the ad was created in 1965, that would be more like $330 today.

Do you think the drop in quality that so many of us complain about on this forum is due to the drop in price and the corners that had to be cut in order to continue to be a business that makes money and is self-sustaining?
 

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A Link STM tenor made between the 50's and 70's does go for $330+ today.
 

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Carl H. said:
A Link STM tenor made between the 50's and 70's does go for $330+ today.
Yeah. It doesn't seem as unreasonable if you look at it that way.

I'm referring to new Links, though. It seems like if you're now selling a product for 2-3 times less than you used to sell it for, it would be virtually impossible to maintain the same quality control.

Or is there an important part of this that I don't understand? That seems likely, too.
 

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The current ligs aren't as nice as the vintage ones. The MPC design has been modified a bit too. They must have their reasons for doing it the way they do.

With vintage prices what they are, you'd think they would get a clue and improve their offering.
 

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Who says the quality control was better then than it is now? I seriously doubt it based on modern production equipment and techniques.

Its could just be that the poor ones made then have long since been abandoned and only the cream of the crop remains or that the kinks have been iron out in the mean time.

Some of the current production links are just fine from the factory too, and in time perhaps those too will be all thats left in circulation? I wonder what my modern link will be worth in 50 years time.

As a general rule of thumb its to be expected that the longer you make something, the better and more efficient you get at doing it. Thats why the big car manufacturers write a year on year cost reduction into contracts for parts, they expect the suppliers to pass the efficiency savings on to them before they even happen.
 

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Canadiain said:
Who says the quality control was better then than it is now? I seriously doubt it.

You're correct. There were plenty of not-so-great ones then too. I spent an afternoon at Ponti's and played dozens to find a good one. It cost an absurdly high $33 and came in a gold and black box. They all bring high prices now - especially when sold on the 'net unplayed.


Canadiain said:
Its could just be that the poor ones made then have long since been abandoned ...

Life is good for the mouthpiece refacing business. Who wants to admit that they have an $800 vintage mouthpiece that doesn't play well? ;)
 

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From what I have read and experienced, the older ligs are far superior, but the mouthpieces - other than minor design changes - are about the same. Some are great and some are stinkers. Any link of any era is a crap shoot.

You can learn a lot from learning to play a bad link so there is that side to the bad ones, but I try to have them checked out before getting serious about them these days. A good link is pretty nice if it matches your horn well.
 

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Interesting point to raise, Dirty.

It does seem a little as if Otto Link have suffered from a great deal of complacency. They haven't exactly pushed back the boundaries in mouthpiece design in the past 50 years have they? The "if it ain't broke don't fix it" argument is a reasonable one, but it feels to me that their existing products have only received design changes in order to reduce production costs rather than increase performance for the player.

And why not bring out additional models? Where's the innovation? With such an amazingly strong brand name and reputation, Otto link could have gone in all sorts of directions and achieved a lot, but I think they just trade on that brand name and reputation that they established in the '50s. Surely by now they could at least have managed to produce a bit of consistency in their product? :|
 

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Rick Adams said:
And why not bring out additional models? Where's the innovation?
Links are part of the Babbitt stable, with more than enough innovation and new designs covering the different brands, Guy Hawkinss, Otto Link, Babbitt, Meyer, Wolfe Tayne, Hite etc.

Why confuse the market by coming up with multiple link badged variants, right now a link sounds like a link, sounds like a link, thats the sales pitch. Its not like the link RG set the world on fire. Why dilute that core value of the brand.
 

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The RG is trash, it was a mistake. That's why there are no new models, because of horrible mistakes like the RG. I think a good idea would be to hire some refacers and come out with a line of Otto Link "customs." That way, there is no way that they could create an inferior product, but just expand and improve on their current line. Not to mention that they could make some hype and revamp their recently-soiled image.
 

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I didn't realize their image was "soiled".
 

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Well, read the thread, there is nothing but negative connotations about the current mouthpieces. Al the talk of "quality control" and such. And all around here and when I talk to other players and such about equipment, the issue 'bad links' always comes up. So, yes, in a way their reputation has been "soiled."
 

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saxymanzach said:
Well, read the thread, there is nothing but negative connotations about the current mouthpieces. Al the talk of "quality control" and such. And all around here and when I talk to other players and such about equipment, the issue 'bad links' always comes up. So, yes, in a way their reputation has been "soiled."
And, please pardon me for saying so, but most of you guys doing the complaining really don't know what you're talking about. Perhaps it might be informative to start a new thread about "bad players using good equipment"?
 

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Hey Doc, anything to share regarding these hard rubber "SP"s that are popping up?
 

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Ol' Mpc Doc said:
And, please pardon me for saying so, but most of you guys doing the complaining really don't know what you're talking about. Perhaps it might be informative to start a new thread about "bad players using good equipment"?
I dont think you were directing this at me, but I never said that I was complaining. In fact, when the conversation of "bad mouthpieces" comes up, I always say the same thing: good players could sound the same on any mouthpiece. I really dont buy that the quality is any different than that of the earlier days. I think that "qulaity control" in a mouthpiece factory is a myth, because most of the work is probably done by machines anyway, and the actual people in the factory probably don't know how to play the horn. Also, with all of the mouthpieces coming out of there, it would be impossible to check every single one for flaws. And even if they did detect a flaw, what are they going to do about it? THrow it away and waste money? Fix it and spend more money ona mouthpiece that will most likely make it into the the hands of somebody that wouldn't know the difference? No, they're going to just send it out the way it is. So whatever, they are just mouthpieces, not magic wands. You should be happy that they are too inexpensive, more money for lessons to learn how o play it.
 

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I am quite pleased with the 2 STM NY Links I have purchased within the last 3 years. I have tried 2 others and also felt they played well. For the price, you get a great traditional sounding mouthpiece. Mine play well throughout the normal range and the altissimo is easier on the Link than on some high baffle pieces I own. Let's not give Babbitt any ideas about raising their prices!!!:x
 

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Canadiain said:
Links are part of the Babbitt stable, with more than enough innovation and new designs covering the different brands, Guy Hawkinss, Otto Link, Babbitt, Meyer, Wolfe Tayne, Hite etc.

Why confuse the market by coming up with multiple link badged variants, right now a link sounds like a link, sounds like a link, thats the sales pitch. Its not like the link RG set the world on fire. Why dilute that core value of the brand.
You make a very valid point. I guess I was envisioning more specific innovation with refining and improving the Otto Link piece itself rather than anything else, ie being able to create a perfectly formed low/no baffle large chamber piece that is perfect every time by using modern production methods etc, and perhaps offering variations on that theme. What they seem to have done instead is focus on reducing production costs to make the most of their cash cow and I think they could've done more over the last 50 years than they have done.

[QUOTE='Ol Mpc Doc]And, please pardon me for saying so, but most of you guys doing the complaining really don't know what you're talking about. Perhaps it might be informative to start a new thread about "bad players using good equipment"?[/QUOTE]You also make a very valid point and could be describing me to a T. My own very limited experience seems to show me that for a little more money you can get a lot better low/no baffle large chamber mouthpiece, but I haven't the years of experience to back that up or comment further, I accept that my opinion is a very amateur one! :)
 

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Ol' Mpc Doc said:
And, please pardon me for saying so, but most of you guys doing the complaining really don't know what you're talking about. Perhaps it might be informative to start a new thread about "bad players using good equipment"?
Wow. Makin' friends.

Anyways, if you guys really want to take the "you" out of, "is it the piece or is it me?" send it to Brian Powell. You might not like it - but it won't be the piece anymore that's the issue.
 

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kyotosessions said:
Wow. Makin' friends.

Anyways, if you guys really want to take the "you" out of, "is it the piece or is it me?" send it to Brian Powell. You might not like it - but it won't be the piece anymore that's the issue.
No, then they'll be sure that the problems are in the horn, or the ligature, or the reed, or the neckstrap, or the humidity in the room, or the sound guy's monitor mix or...........
 
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