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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently bought a Florida STM, and noticed two flaws about it:

a) The tip rail is lopsided. Looks like the right side rail is about 0.5-1mm longer than the left. Can they ever come out of the factory like this, or did somebody likely do a hackjob fix that went wrong?

b) I can feel a kink in the beak. Not sure if the kink exists in the facing too, hard to tell just eyeballing (leaning towards a no). The kink is consistent across the whole tip of the beak, so maybe it's not dropped? I don't feel any kink on my modern STM, and I'm doubtful that older blanks came that way.

More importantly, I don't like how it plays. It's pretty free at lower volumes, then seems to wheeze when pushing it. Palm key notes are weak, low notes are more tricky than my other mpcs. It's supposedly refaced by John Reilly (opened the tip, fixed facing, rails etc), so I find it hard to believe that it'd play this poorly unless something bad happened to it afterwards.

Anybody have any thoughts? Pondering complaining to the ebay seller too, who said it plays freely up and down the range.
 

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I suppose you have a number of options :-
1. if the item is not as described by the seller, and you have been mis-sold, then you have a right to go back to the seller and ask for a refund and return the piece
2. however, if photos there were shown on ebay and from the photos and information provided you were happy enough to proceed with the auction/purchase you may not have a reason to complain.
3. if the piece looks different to the way it looked on ebay then I don't know, was it damaged in transit?
4. if you got it for a good price (as far as Florida Links go) then you could send it to another refacer and get it sorted out - if the damage is minimal, it's likely it has the potential to be a great piece.

Where are you based, there are many excellent refacers around who will be able to sort the piece out for you.
Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
1. & 2. Well the photos aren't grainy or hard to see, but it's not obvious it's lopsided from the photos. If it's not a straight-on shot it's hard to tell.
3. Seems pretty well-packaged, don't think it was damaged in transit.
4. This is for an alto, and links don't sell for much compared to tenor, so I'd lose money refacing. I'm sure if there is damage it's very fixable--I could send it to a refacer, but I'm also not too hot on its tonal quality. I bought it in part because I was curious how a vintage STM sounds compared to my refaced modern STM, and I'm seeing that I like the sound of my modern one a lot more. So even if it's fixed and plays perfectly I'm doubtful I'd be happy with it.

I figured I'd sell it back at the same price if I didn't like it, but I'm a full-disclosure kinda guy when selling things, and I'd likely take a hit when I honestly say that this link has issues.

Oh and another annoyance (not related to playability) is that this link shank is crazy stiff on my neck. Surprised, thought it'd be the same as my modern STM. Either way it'd take work if I were to hold on to this.
 

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I recently bought a Florida STM, and noticed two flaws about it:

a) The tip rail is lopsided. Looks like the right side rail is about 0.5-1mm longer than the left. Can they ever come out of the factory like this, or did somebody likely do a hackjob fix that went wrong?

b) I can feel a kink in the beak. Not sure if the kink exists in the facing too, hard to tell just eyeballing (leaning towards a no). The kink is consistent across the whole tip of the beak, so maybe it's not dropped? I don't feel any kink on my modern STM, and I'm doubtful that older blanks came that way.

More importantly, I don't like how it plays. It's pretty free at lower volumes, then seems to wheeze when pushing it. Palm key notes are weak, low notes are more tricky than my other mpcs. It's supposedly refaced by John Reilly (opened the tip, fixed facing, rails etc), so I find it hard to believe that it'd play this poorly unless something bad happened to it afterwards.

Anybody have any thoughts? Pondering complaining to the ebay seller too, who said it plays freely up and down the range.
a) Old (and new) Links are not always build consistent, since they are created from two seperate halfs. But even a bad looking piece can still play well (and a good looking piece can play bad!).

b) It could be that this mouthpiece was bend open by a refacer. Hard to tell without pictures. John Reilly is known as a great refacer, but you never can be sure if other less skilled person worked on it afterwards.

What is the tip opening of your piece? With a very big chamber and small tip old Links can be stuffy or dead in the upper register when you don't use a good reed. I have an old Tone Master that didn't play well with a medium reed but came to life with a hard reed. Did you try your piece with different reed sizes and brands? It could make a big difference.

1. & 2. Well the photos aren't grainy or hard to see, but it's not obvious it's lopsided from the photos. If it's not a straight-on shot it's hard to tell.
3. Seems pretty well-packaged, don't think it was damaged in transit.
4. This is for an alto, and links don't sell for much compared to tenor, so I'd lose money refacing. I'm sure if there is damage it's very fixable--I could send it to a refacer, but I'm also not too hot on its tonal quality. I bought it in part because I was curious how a vintage STM sounds compared to my refaced modern STM, and I'm seeing that I like the sound of my modern one a lot more. So even if it's fixed and plays perfectly I'm doubtful I'd be happy with it.

I figured I'd sell it back at the same price if I didn't like it, but I'm a full-disclosure kinda guy when selling things, and I'd likely take a hit when I honestly say that this link has issues.

Oh and another annoyance (not related to playability) is that this link shank is crazy stiff on my neck. Surprised, thought it'd be the same as my modern STM. Either way it'd take work if I were to hold on to this.
Unclear pictures on Ebay are a famous trick to hide imperfections. You can (and should) always ask for better pictures if you can't see details well enough.

Florida Links have a smaller bore compared to modern Links. Your sound issues could also come from not being able to put you mouthpiece far enough on the cork.

So, many uncertainties about why your piece doesn't play well without proper pictures available. And even than it could be hard to tell. In my experience Florida's always sounded better than moderne Links (that is on tenor, I don't play alto).
 

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Oh and another annoyance (not related to playability) is that this link shank is crazy stiff on my neck. Surprised, thought it'd be the same as my modern STM. Either way it'd take work if I were to hold on to this.
From experience of tenor STMs, as mrpeebee says, Florida's had a smaller bore than those that came afterwards, Early Babbitt etc, and therefore a tighter fit on a cork, that's probably what you're seeing, I assume it goes for alto STM's as well.

On another note, I recently watched the Texas Tenor Story, a film about Illinois Jacquet, though mainly a tenor player, he started on alto, and is seen in parts of the film playing alto with an STM (possibly an old one), and he sounds fantastic. Another player of note using an STM on alto is Charlie Mariano - so they do work on alto.
 

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Fla links generally play brighter than the old New York links and the newer ones. I have one (a Fla STM 6*) and I do like mine, but it has none of the problems that you describe. perhaps you should try for a refund.
 

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From experience of tenor STMs, as mrpeebee says, Florida's had a smaller bore than those that came afterwards, Early Babbitt etc, and therefore a tighter fit on a cork, that's probably what you're seeing, I assume it goes for alto STM's as well.
Actually the first metal Early Babbitt models of 1974 (when J.J. Babbitt took over the Otto Link factory) also had the small bore. The EB's produced between 1975-1980 and all STM's after that had the wider bore. The new metal Vintage models also have a small bore. I also assume that it's the same for alto's.

On another note, I recently watched the Texas Tenor Story, a film about Illinois Jacquet, though mainly a tenor player, he started on alto, and is seen in parts of the film playing alto with an STM (possibly an old one), and he sounds fantastic. Another player of note using an STM on alto is Charlie Mariano - so they do work on alto.
That's a great video and indeed Illinois was killin on alto. I posted a thread about him playing on alto (with a soundclip) here. In posts #6 and #16 you can find that IJ played a current STM 7 or 7* (with some reface work done to it) on alto (info provided by Mr. sideC, who played in the IJ Big Band).

Sorry for the thread hijack, back to the Florida STM of the OP!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What is the tip opening of your piece? With a very big chamber and small tip old Links can be stuffy or dead in the upper register when you don't use a good reed. I have an old Tone Master that didn't play well with a medium reed but came to life with a hard reed. Did you try your piece with different reed sizes and brands? It could make a big difference.
Btw, I enjoyed your mammoth Otto Link comparison on youtube =) (like the early Babbitt the most from what you've played).

The tip opening is pretty decent-sized. The listing says it was opened to a 0.075", but it really looks more like 0.080. My modern STM is a 6 and the tip opening is smaller, chamber is bigger (had it opened up more). I was able to push it into the neck by putting a decent amount of force on it (neck not on body of course), and it still doesn't play that great.

I appreciate the input from everyone, I'm going to ask for a refund and see how that goes. On another note, the vintage STM lig is 10x better than the new one--so much less fussy.
 

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Btw, I enjoyed your mammoth Otto Link comparison on youtube =) (like the early Babbitt the most from what you've played).

The tip opening is pretty decent-sized. The listing says it was opened to a 0.075", but it really looks more like 0.080. My modern STM is a 6 and the tip opening is smaller, chamber is bigger (had it opened up more). I was able to push it into the neck by putting a decent amount of force on it (neck not on body of course), and it still doesn't play that great.

I appreciate the input from everyone, I'm going to ask for a refund and see how that goes. On another note, the vintage STM lig is 10x better than the new one--so much less fussy.
Thanks :)! The EB's are nice pieces, I also like them, but not as much as my current main piece (a Florida no USA 10*).

From what I read it could be that the facing of your piece is not correct, so I guess it's good to ask for a refund if you don't want to invest in some reface work yourself.
 
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