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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter #1
So, this is a little humbling but I thought I would ask. I would really like to review the new Babbitt Florida Link tenor mouthpiece and NY alto mouthpiece but I can't seem to get one without buying one. I have reached out to Babbitt a couple times and their response is "We have had Downbeat & others review our mouthpieces & many many pro's test & approve them before we put them in the line." They then go on to say they are extremely backordered and don't have a spare mouthpiece to spare for a review. So, I am just wondering if anyone out in SOTW has one of these new mouthpieces I can borrow for a few days to review. If not, I understand but I know I have relationships with many of you over the years so I'm thinking maybe someone who knows me might be willing. Just thought I would throw this out there. Another consideration is that the review might help you sell it if you don't like it that much.......(unless it is a bad review.......) Let me know over PM or email. Thanks, Steve
 

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I'm very much looking forward to a review from you about this mouthpiece! I hope Babbitt or someone can get a mouthpiece to you.
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter #3
I'm very much looking forward to a review from you about this mouthpiece! I hope Babbitt or someone can get a mouthpiece to you.
I'm not gonna hold my breath for Babbitt. It sounds like they are already overwhelmed with just meeting the demand of existing orders. Hopefully it is great. I guess we will have to wait and see..........
 

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Discussion Starter #5
One thing that surprised me is that Babbitt almost sounds like they are all set for reviews because someone at Downbeat reviewed it. Does anyone actually read Downbeat anymore? I'm really into the saxophone and music and I haven't read that magazine in like 20 years.........
 

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Discombobulated SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 201
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One thing that surprised me is that Babbitt almost sounds like they are all set for reviews because someone at Downbeat reviewed it. Does anyone actually read Downbeat anymore? I'm really into the saxophone and music and I haven't read that magazine in like 20 years.........
Same here, haven't read it in forever. I was never a regular reader though.

It's probably like Yogi Berra said about Coney Island: nobody goes there anymore because it's too crowded.

Anthony Braxton talked about reading it from time to time just to enjoy how much he hated it.
 

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SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Steve, it seems very short-sighted and self-defeating for Babbit not to send you a mpc for review on here, given the large number of mpc consumers on this site. Surely they would increase sales after a favorable review on this forum. Of course there's always the chance you won't be able to review it favorably, but if they are confident in their product it would be worth that small risk.
 

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One thing that surprised me is that Babbitt almost sounds like they are all set for reviews because someone at Downbeat reviewed it. Does anyone actually read Downbeat anymore? I'm really into the saxophone and music and I haven't read that magazine in like 20 years.........
I do read it, but certainly not for mouthpiece reviews. Their reviews of instruments and equipment are useless and obviously designed to sell advertising.

They recently reviewed the Klangbogen, btw. A positive review, of course, and one that just repeated all the dubious claims the manufacturer makes for that product without any indication that they actually subjected them to any scrutiny.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Steve, it seems very short-sighted and self-defeating for Babbit not to send you a mpc for review on here, given the large number of mpc consumers on this site. Surely they would increase sales after a favorable review on this forum. Of course there's always the chance you won't be able to review it favorably, but if they are confident in their product it would be worth that small risk.
I would disagree with that, mouthpiece reviews are too subjective to be reliable or at all meaningful. I no longer send out freebies to reviewers. Happy customers and recommendations are what counts.
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter #10
Steve, it seems very short-sighted and self-defeating for Babbit not to send you a mpc for review on here, given the large number of mpc consumers on this site. Surely they would increase sales after a favorable review on this forum. Of course there's always the chance you won't be able to review it favorably, but if they are confident in their product it would be worth that small risk.
That's what I thought. I have literally had dozens of emails asking me to review these on my site. i told them that and that I have the #1 Saxophone Mouthpiece review site in the world with 25-30K visitors a month. There response is

"As mentioned before. We have had Downbeat & others review our mouthpieces & many many pro's test & approve them before we put them in the line.
Since we have received so many orders for these mouthpieces, we are extremely back ordered & are trying to satisfy our in house orders for our customers.
Also, as stated before, we only make mouthpieces to order & do not keep stock of any mouthpieces.
Since these mouthpieces are finished by hand by our craftsman, we are limited in how many we can make per month.
At this time every mouthpiece we make is accounted for & don't have any to send you.
If & when we can spare them we will keep you in mind.
Thanks for your interest in our mouthpieces."

i understand what they are saying but I guess I am just surprised as this is the answer I might get from an independent small mouthpiece craftsman not JJ Babbitt one of the top mouthpiece makers in the world. When Vandoren came out with there new metal mouthpiece line it just took one email and they sent out 3 for me to review. I had to return all of them or pay for them if I wanted to keep any but at least they sent some out to review.......... Oh well! I'll get one sooner or later.
 

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I would disagree with that, mouthpiece reviews are too subjective to be reliable or at all meaningful. I no longer send out freebies to reviewers. Happy customers and recommendations are what counts.
Good point, Pete. I agree with you on the overall usefulness of reviews. And I'm a bit ashamed to admit I was looking at this from a greedy marketing perspective where a good review could increase sales, given the fact that many don't realize the subjective and very personal nature of how any given player evaluates a mpc. OTOH, I think Steve's reviews are fair and well thought out. So they could help someone who is trying to 'narrow the field' of what mpcs they want to try.

And sure, there is a difference, although subtle, between a happy customer's recommendations and what a 'reviewer' who reviews numerous mpcs might say about any given mpc.

In any case of course the bottom line is every player has to try out a mpc and make up their own mind.

p.s. Steve, just saw your post above that came in while I was writing this. From what Babbit wrote to you it sounds like they can barely keep up with the sales they are making now and so aren't in need of any increase in sales. Which sounds like a strange business model, but I'm no businessman! So not really my area of expertise, which begs the question of why I'm chiming in here (just can't keep my big mouth shut, I guess :)).
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter #12
I had an offer to try to try a new Florida Link 7 but I'm going to hold out for a 7* if possible. I am just so much more comfortable with a 7* than a 7 and if I review the piece I want to feel really comfortable with it so if anyone has a 7* let me know......... Thanks, Steve
 

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I think I’d rather hear a review of the Morgan Indiana I’ve seen a blurb for.
Maybe Tenor Madness would send you one to review. Since I’ve already seen one come up for sale on here, I don’t hold much hope for the New Florida.
 

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I would disagree with that, mouthpiece reviews are too subjective to be reliable or at all meaningful. I no longer send out freebies to reviewers. Happy customers and recommendations are what counts.
I don’t mind when reviews are subjective as opposed to objective, factual tech sheets. Especially when I seek the opinion of experts like Steve. I won’t blindly rely on that opinion and buy that mouthpiece just because Steve loved it. I don’t think anyone would expect the mouthpiece to sound exactly the way was played in the review. Obviously many factors affect the sound, first the personal experience/proficiency and of course the set up (reed, ligature, Horn, throat, esofago , lung and on and on..). But what I find very helpful on steve’s site is that I can benchmark each mouthpiece reviewed so that I can have an opinion of the differences in the sound and playability depending on different features of the mouthpieces (material size, face, buffle, curve etc.), that along with testing of the mouthpiece (whenever it is possible) affect my shopping preferences and decisions. .. and I also like to leave reviews, feedback ( good and bad).
 

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Specifically for this new Babbitt Florida link, Steve’s review would be very meaningful to me.. correct me if I’m wrong but I think that babbitt’s marketing strategy is to create a replica of the glorious vintage pieces. I’d love to hear from Steve how they play comparing them to other reviews of vintage links. I know, it is not going to be a scientifically reliable test but that would work for me for the reasons I mentioned before.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Specifically for this new Babbitt Florida link, Steve’s review would be very meaningful to me.. correct me if I’m wrong but I think that babbitt’s marketing strategy is to create a replica of the glorious vintage pieces.
It could well be, if a reviewer is reviewing a "type" of mouthpiece that they typically are used to playing, then their opinion , albeit subjective, may be a lot more useful than when they are reviewing a type that is very different to what they normally play. I learned this when doing mouthpiece reviews and gave up very quickly when I found people were taking my opinion way too seriously.

Among internet reviews I take Stephen Howard's reviews seriously. I know him very well, both professionally and socially, and I take the more objective parts of his reviews very seriously. By objective I mean his comments on build quality, consistency etc. But as for "sound" no. having spent many a happy day wandering around trade shows with him,. we had a sort of running joke, if he liked a horn we knew I would hate it and vice versa. (Until the R&C Two Voices).

What I note is that he has the absolute no1 site for saxophone reviews but he doesn't do mouthpiece reviews apart from an article on mouthpieces for beginners. I suspect this is because he knows how pointless and misleading they can be when you consider the subjectivity. Even then, you can play a saxophone and know (subjectively) that you you get on with it, that you like it. You don't need to get used to it like you do with a mouthpiece.

So often I've had someone buy a mouthpiece and contact me a few days later asking if they can return it. I usually say, "yes of course, but I'm happy to extend our returns 7 day period for a couple of weeks, please spend a bit more time and try some different reeds." More often than not, I get a follow up thanking me for the extra time and that they now love the mouthpiece and will stick with it. (In most cases these are from people who are used to Otto Link type mouthpieces)
 

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Specifically for this new Babbitt Florida link, Steve’s review would be very meaningful to me.. correct me if I’m wrong but I think that babbitt’s marketing strategy is to create a replica of the glorious vintage pieces. I’d love to hear from Steve how they play comparing them to other reviews of vintage links. I know, it is not going to be a scientifically reliable test but that would work for me for the reasons I mentioned before.
Very meaningful for me as well. He has reviewed so many mouthpieces that it's easy to have a baseline for his sound and his comments. I know what Steve sounds like on a link from the many reviews he has done so it's easy to get a sense of a mouthpiece by relating it to his other reviews. His reed selection for each mouthpiece is also really helpful information. I have a new Otto Link Florida 7* on order...sounds like 180 days of waiting. Until then, I look forward to hearing Steve's impressions in relation to his other otto link reviews.
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter #20
I just found out that the new Florida Link that is supposed to arrive today was refaced. I didn't know this before the person sent it. I'm wondering if I should even review it now? The whole point is to review the mouthpiece that everyone will be buying. Reviewing a piece that has been refaced has more to do with the refacers work than the mouthpiece I think. What do you guys think?
 
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