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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday I had a revelation. I’ve been frustrated for a while about my soprano mouthpiece(s). Yesterday I suddenly remembered that I also have an Otto Link TM (6*) that I had considered too steep for me for now. I put it on the soprano and it played like a dream compared to my other mp’s. I suddenly realized that I have a bunch of Links that I’ve neglected. I took them out and tried every one of them and I liked what I was hearing. It left me with a dilemma, though. Five out of the 6 (all to the left) are from another era and I practically know nothing about them. Those 5 came with the saxes when I bought them. All 5 should be from around 1965-1975. The alto and sop pieces can be even older. I attached two pics to show how they look. The bari TM seems to be a slant (?). The two STM bari pieces are clearly from different eras and I believe the alto STM is also different from the modern pieces. The alto TM is from the “Florida period” as I still have the original case (in the pic). I have the box for the bari TM as well, but it does’t say anything about Florida.

I’m asking the wise men on this forum what is the story of these pieces from that era? Are they different from modern Otto Links? All of a sudden I have a feeling that they command some respect! Whatever the case, I’m really starting to like them. Compared to all the other pieces I’ve played lately, these really sound great and they are surprisingly easy to play.

Thanks in advance!
 

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I'm not an HR Link specialist, but know about the metal ones.

From left to right:
- The metal alto piece is a Super Tone Master Florida no USA 7, probably from the late 50's or early 60's.
- The metal bari piece is a Super Tone Master Florida USA, probably from the late 60's or early 70's.
- The metal bari piece far right is a modern Super Tone Master 7* from the J.J. Babbitt period (produced after 1980).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm not an HR Link specialist, but know about the metal ones.

From left to right:
- The metal alto piece is a Super Tone Master Florida no USA 7, probably from the late 50's or early 60's.
- The metal bari piece is a Super Tone Master Florida USA, probably from the late 60's or early 70's.
- The metal bari piece far right is a modern Super Tone Master 7* from the J.J. Babbitt period (produced after 1980).
Thanks mrpeebee!! That’s great. The bari pieces really should be from the early 70’s (except the one on the far right which I bought two months ago. I simply know more about the bari’s past. The soprano and alto pieces are more obscure to me, but your timing concerning the STM seems to fit spot on what I know about the previous owners (which is a story by itself).
 

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The second to last Baritone STM could be from the Early Babbitt or Florida era but hard to tell from photos.
What is evident in the photos is the poor refacing work of this piece.
The work on the tip rail is not good and the bite plate is showing through the area where the baffle should be.
The last piece is a current production STM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You have sharp eyes, B Flat!! Yes, that is the piece that had a totally twisted baffle. When I was filing off the excess, I got to the bite plate. Now I plan to pour some silver into it and make it more true to the original idea. After that I’ll concentrate on the tip rail and the facing curve. I didn’t buy this piece, it came with the bari (together with the TE, a Selmer S80-D and a Mayer 7) so I can’t complain. For some mysterious reason, that defect STM made me buy the new one. It is still not clear to me, how close/far are these old Links from the present ones. For instance, is the modern alto TE even close to mine?
 

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I didn’t buy this piece, it came with the bari (together with the TE, a Selmer S80-D and a Mayer 7) so I can’t complain. For some mysterious reason, that defect STM made me buy the new one. It is still not clear to me, how close/far are these old Links from the present ones.
I'm not sure if you can't complain, because an original Florida USA (or an EB as B Flat stated, difference is in the size of the tip stamp on the side) can be quiet valuable. A refaced one like with defects showing on yours has considerable less value. I'm not sure if you should do anything with Silver to hide the black biteplate spot. If it doesn't move and plays well I wouldn't do anything to that.

About differences between vintage and after 1980 (J.J. Babbitt) Otto Link's: the modern ones are an other design, the vintage ones are normally the superior players (hence they are more valuable).
 

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You have sharp eyes, B Flat!! Yes, that is the piece that had a totally twisted baffle. When I was filing off the excess, I got to the bite plate. Now I plan to pour some silver into it and make it more true to the original idea. After that I’ll concentrate on the tip rail and the facing curve. I didn’t buy this piece, it came with the bari (together with the TE, a Selmer S80-D and a Mayer 7) so I can’t complain. For some mysterious reason, that defect STM made me buy the new one. It is still not clear to me, how close/far are these old Links from the present ones. For instance, is the modern alto TE even close to mine?
You really plan on completing the destruction of that mouthpiece? Please post 'after' pics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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I'm not sure if you can't complain, because an original Florida USA (or an EB as B Flat stated, difference is in the size of the tip stamp on the side) can be quiet valuable. A refaced one like with defects showing on yours has considerable less value. I'm not sure if you should do anything with Silver to hide the black biteplate spot. If it doesn't move and plays well I wouldn't do anything to that.

About differences between vintage and after 1980 (J.J. Babbitt) Otto Link's: the modern ones are an other design, the vintage ones are normally the superior players (hence they are more valuable).
Thanks again! Your advise is very valuable because the piece plays well now (regardless of my intervention). I attached a pic of the tip stamp. What I know for sure is that I bought the bari in 76 (or possibly 77) as basically brand new and it had all 4 mouthpieces then. I believe the mp’s We’re bought new (the previous owner was an airline pilot in our big band). How long the pieces were on the shelf before him buying them is an open question, but I believe they were all bought in NY. I’m not worried about the value. In my age I’m only interested in buying.
 

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You have sharp eyes, B Flat!! Yes, that is the piece that had a totally twisted baffle. When I was filing off the excess, I got to the bite plate. Now I plan to pour some silver into it and make it more true to the original idea. After that I’ll concentrate on the tip rail and the facing curve. I didn’t buy this piece, it came with the bari (together with the TE, a Selmer S80-D and a Mayer 7) so I can’t complain. For some mysterious reason, that defect STM made me buy the new one. It is still not clear to me, how close/far are these old Links from the present ones. For instance, is the modern alto TE even close to mine?
Sell the others before you do that to them.
 

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View attachment 242702

Thanks again! Your advise is very valuable because the piece plays well now (regardless of my intervention). I attached a pic of the tip stamp. What I know for sure is that I bought the bari in 76 (or possibly 77) as basically brand new and it had all 4 mouthpieces then. I believe the mp’s We’re bought new (the previous owner was an airline pilot in our big band). How long the pieces were on the shelf before him buying them is an open question, but I believe they were all bought in NY. I’m not worried about the value. In my age I’m only interested in buying.
I bought my first Otto Link STM new in shop in Amsterdam around 1985 and didn't know anything about models, but many years later (when I started to know more about them) I found out it was an Early Babbitt from 1973/4 made from a Florida USA blank. So that 'new'mouthpiece was about 11 years old when I bought. Fantastic piece (played it for 20 years) and far better than a later modern STM I bought as backup in the early 90's.

I think you should let your piece as is (after cleaning of the tip rail), especially when you like how it plays. In the end sound is more important than value or looks! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You really plan on completing the destruction of that mouthpiece? Please post 'after' pics.
Hey, that’s not fair. You don’t know how it looked before I “worked” on it. You can see how much into the bite plate I had to go to get the baffle straight. It was totally asymmetric. I started to play around with it only because I thought it was a total loss anyway. However, I take mrpeebee’s advise seriously.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sell the others before you do that to them.
No, I’m not selling anything even if I wouldn’t play them even a minute in the future. And no, I would never touch a good mp. If I need something like that, I’ll go to SYOS or SopranoPlanet etc. Right now I’m a reborn Otto Link aficionado. I played today with the alto TE for hours because I couldn’t stop. It was a very good lesson for me. I didn’t realize what I had until I returned to try them. I’m probably going to save a ton of dollars not spent on new mouthpieces...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The 'slant sig' TE Bari piece looks the most interesting to me! these are lovely players.
I guess I need to explain. My active playing years were 65-85. Since that I played mostly my flute. Digging up the saxes was more complicated. A little less than a year ago, I decided to get back to sax playing for real. When I started, I felt that I can’t get a sound from my old mouthpieces and settled for the mouthpiece roulette. Yamaha 4C, Mayer 5M, Vandoren V16-M5, Jody HR6 etc. for the alto and went with the Selmer S80-D and Mayer 7 on bari although I had played mainly on that Otto Link mp in my previous life. Then I bought back (I used to own it in my previous life) the soprano two months ago. I had tried it few years ago and could hardly get a sound out of it (with that Link). So I settled again for the same mouthpiece roulette as above. A couple of days ago, out of frustration, I put that far left Link on the sax (although it was the steepest of my mp’s (6*) and it played like a dream. I was so surprised that I did the same test with that alto TE and it was unbelievable. The sax (SML Strasser-Marigaux Gold Medal Mk2) was kind of singing (I can’t think of a better explanation). I started to think again about that Paul Desmond sound that I once was feeling. Then I went to the bari and the same story. A true reunion.

I became an overnight Otto Link convert. I realized that I have to take back my words (that mouthpiece doesn’t matter. It does!). All of a sudden I realized that I’m sitting on a bunch of top of the line pro mouthpieces, which can even be really expensive and I had not even thought about it. Never mind, I believe I’m all set with mouthpieces for the foreseeable future. I don’t see myself reaching such level of playing that I need to start looking for other mouthpieces...
 
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