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So I recently picked up a frankenmouthpiece. It started life as an Early Babbit Otto Link, and was then customized by Phil Barone. It's labeled Precision Crafted on the top, and still has the original black toothplate. On the side is inscribed "JVW .110". However, there is a long, low epoxy baffle that is kind of see through, with maybe some sparkles mixed in, or maybe that is just dust from when it was worked on. I'm including some pics...anybody have any idea?



 

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Jon (RIP) did 3 pieces for me around 2002-'03 - 2 rubber Meyers and a metal Link. But he did not sign or mark them in any way. Owners might have done so themselves, to keep them sorted out. I used a pad awl to scratch very small figures at the butt ends of the tables:

|__JVW 105__|

That "Floridized" Link is still my number one tenor piece. Jon did great work.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I think Jon might have marked his pieces if you asked him. However even so any such marking is not proof of a JVW reface. I did sell a JVW Meyer and got very very good money, but I had the receipt to show he had worked it.

How does it play?
 

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It plays GREAT. Big sound, a little on the bright side, but very open and freeblowing. It's got some edge, but coming from my Ponzol M2 120, it's not quite as bright. Just a big, in your face kind of tenor sound. I just didn't know what type of material JVW used when he created those baffles in his floridated pieces.
 

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I have an Otto Link Four**** model where JvW worked on (according to the previous owner), but it has no signature. I think that the sparkles in the epoxy baffle are just air-bubbles, catched in the layer during hardening.
 

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Yeah, the air bubbles might explain it. it doesn't look like sparkles, just little flecks of stuff here and there. It plays great though--it actually reminds me of an old FLA 8* I had. It looked just like every other piece, but for some reason, that one just knocked walls down. This one plays very similar to it!
 

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I have 2 metal tenor Links that JVW worked on (right in front of me) and he left no "signature" of his work. From what I understand, it wasn't his normal practice to mark a 'piece with his initials. Not saying he never did, but my 2 and others I've seen that I know he worked on had no additional markings.

John
 

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John didn't normally mark his mouthpieces, but as Pete said, he certainly might have if someone asked. I wish he had. He did somewhere around 8 mpcs for me, most of which were Links. Two or three years before he died he told me he was going to start including some kind of certificate with pieces he worked on because, as he said, people were passing off mpcs as his work that he'd never worked on. He liked to put those long low baffles in some Links, and he liked to use JB Weld, which dries to a sort of gunmetal grey color, and then he sanded to where he wanted it. He was able to get it pretty smooth, and there could sometimes be very small bubble pocks in the surface. The clear epoxy is something Theo used, though I don't know who might have. Dave Tondi uses it now, so I've seen. At some point, Theo started adding brass powder to the epoxy, and that gives it a speckly brass color.

It's hard to tell from the pic what the material really looks like. Older mpcs of Phil's I've seen have had a white material for added baffle. If Phil's used other materials, maybe he could chime in on that. Anyway, it must be a killer mpc. Looks like a very lucky score.
 

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On second thought...someone please correct me....but I think Bob Ackerman had mouthpieces with that clear epoxy in them, too. John would still have been working for Ackerman during the Precision Crafted days, so maybe it was altered then.
 

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This piece is exactly like this one that I reviewed on my site. http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2009/08/dave-jary-customized-otto-link-tenor-mouthpiece/ Those are the kind of baffles Dave Jary puts in pieces. They have the sparkle stuff in them. This one has the same date as the one in this review so I'm pretty sure it's the same mouthpiece. Maybe Dave Jary initials his pieces in a way that looks like JVW? The confusing think is that the one I reviewed was a .104 tip and this is a .110? Maybe it was opened up after?
 

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I think that the sparkles in the epoxy baffle are just air-bubbles, catched in the layer during hardening.
That or the lead globules leaching to the surface underneath. :bluewink:
 

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Did someone remove the rings on the shank at some point, and turn it down to a plain diameter? There are normally rings on the shank, and the words Super Tone Master, and USA (you mentioned it's and EB) and the diameter of the shank then reduces or dips in before going into the body of the mouthpiece, and from the photo this characteristic shank is not present. It makes me think the shank must be pretty thin.
 

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Did someone remove the rings on the shank at some point, and turn it down to a plain diameter? There are normally rings on the shank, and the words Super Tone Master, and USA (you mentioned it's and EB) and the diameter of the shank then reduces or dips in before going into the body of the mouthpiece, and from the photo this characteristic shank is not present. It makes me think the shank must be pretty thin.
I believe Phil Barone does this. I have seen other links he has done this with also.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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That looks like the same scratches (initials) that Jon used on one of my 'pieces - looks like epoxy baffles that I've seen him do as well.

You're lucky if the baffle is holding. I've seen several that started to lift at the edges that I sealed with super glue.

If it plays well...

Enjoy!
 

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This mouthpiece was being sold at PM Woodwinds in Chicago because i saw one just like it there with the same initials. if it is call and ask Andy the mouthpiece guy over there to explain the JVW initials or any history info to the piece. they are helpful over at the shop and told me that piece is bright but a powerful player.
 

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I guess I'll never understand the idea of adding a baffle to a Link. It defeats the whole purpose of playing one.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
It is from PM Woodwinds. It's a great piece, but maybe a bit too bright for me. I'm going to play it a bit more today and decided if it is a keeper.
 

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I guess I'll never understand the idea of adding a baffle to a Link. It defeats the whole purpose of playing one.
The whole purpose of playing any set-up is for it to help you get the sound and response you are looking for. The idea of the baffle modification is to help satisfy that goal for a particular player. The stock mouthpiece was not satisfying that goal.
 

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The whole purpose of playing any set-up is for it to help you get the sound and response you are looking for. The idea of the baffle modification is to help satisfy that goal for a particular player. The stock mouthpiece was not satisfying that goal.
I think it's more of that status thing... you know, like some folks have to play a Link on tenor. I'm not saying that's the case with the OP, as I know he plays a variety of mouthpieces. But I too never get it when folks drastically alter a Link to make it something it was never meant to be, and think they'd probably be better served with just finding a different styled mouthpiece.
 
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