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Discussion Starter #1
I have never been a Link player except for a few years on soprano with a current-production STM 7* and it was pretty good. Been thinking about trying one on tenor as my tonal concept has been changing over the last few years, and when I recently saw the Arnette Cobb video someone posted, I flipped. The 'aiders and abettors' on here answered right away that his link was a Florida. Well, I am not paying Florida prices for any mouthpiece so i remembered that Babbitt has been making a repro FL, and I found an 8. These things are hard to find! I originally thought I had bought an 8* from a different vendor but he refunded the next day saying they goofed and were out of stock.
Okay, with the back story out of the way, I just received the mouthpiece that was delivered to my mailbox late this afternoon. I have seen and owned a lot of mouthpieces, but this one is turned-out very nearly as well as an original hand-finished Guardala. The beak comes to a tip that is consistently thin all-across, with a nice crisp tip rail consistently as narrow as the side rails at the tip. The side rails are identical twins and stay thin all the way to the plane of the table. The side walls are scooped which carries into the throat, becoming the shank bore radius, and the scoops extend as close to the tip as humanly possible. The tip baffle is outstanding - evenly filed all across and highly polished to about halfway down the roof. The throat consists of just a crescent of the ring across the top half but the mouthpiece is basically a shotgun. Finally something that rarely is mentioned but i have found it to be critical - the transition at the rear of the window to the floor (bottom of shank bore). On this one, the 'wall' usually found there is only as thick as the tip and it is blended nicely to the bore. The 'floor' is thin there and there really is not a lot of brass in the bottom of the mouthpiece at the end of the window - it increases to the rear because of the slope of the table. I really like the way the window transition is done and I see nothing about it that would lead me to pick up a file. Another thing - looking at the tip, holding the piece upside-down and sighting down the table, comparing the tip to the table, this mouthpiece is dead level - not twisted either way. Doing the same but looking down the shank bore, everything looks true.
So. Too late to try it tonight but based on my perception so far I am betting I keep it, whether or not I start gigging on it. I still love my DG 'King Curtis' but I am very curious as to what exactly i would sound like on a Link. BTW, these are serial-numbered. Mine is 0025xx. I know they have been making the Florida for several years but that still seems like a lot of sales considering they are selling several models of STM.
 

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That sounds good 1saxman (by the way, I'm the one who posted the Arnett Cobb thread)!

Here is an older thread with more information about these new Florida Link pieces:

As a downside people mention the small bore size of inner shank, giving a very tight fit on the cork. I hope yours doesn't have that issue.

Please let us know how it plays.
 

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...

As a downside people mention the small bore size of inner shank, giving a very tight fit on the cork. I hope yours doesn't have that issue.

Please let us know how it plays.
Yes, but if you like the piece it's pretty simple to take an adjustable blade reamer and ream it to the size you want.
 

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Yes, but if you like the piece it's pretty simple to take an adjustable blade reamer and ream it to the size you want.
Which some have already done!
 

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Yes, but if you like the piece it's pretty simple to take an adjustable blade reamer and ream it to the size you want.
I had Mojo balance out mine and reamed out the bore a little bit. It’s much better now
 

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So. Too late to try it tonight but based on my perception so far I am betting I keep it...
Looks can be deceiving. I'd reserve judgment until after you try it. Many find even the vintage ones have most of their magic within the 5-7* tip opening range; though there are of course exceptions.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I got lucky on one account - it fits the cork used for the Guardala, which has a small bore. Unfortunately, once again I have proven to myself that I just do not play Links on tenor. Sometimes you try a mouthpiece and you know right away that this could be a keeper - I knew right away I was not going to join the ranks of Link players.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
BTW, I would never 'ream out' a mouthpiece to fit an easily replaceable piece of cork. When you find yourself in the position of not being able to decide between mouthpieces with different-sized shank bores, and your regular mouthpiece has a larger bore, the only thing to do is to fit the cork to the smaller bore mouthpiece and use Teflon tape/other materials to enlarge the cork so you can use the one with larger bore. Typically this will end in a week or two and you can replace the cork if necessary.
Plus, on most metal mouthpieces there is no extra wall thickness on the shank end anyway so you really cant be reaming them out.
And then, there's my feeling that the shank bore is part of the mouthpiece design and shouldn't be modified. Have I done it? Yes, I have ruined several pieces in various imaginative ways because of the cork situation but that was 50 years ago.
 

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Links are indeed not for everybody. I know you come from high baffle pieces and Link's just require more air. Not sure what reed you used, but that can also can make a lot of difference (as you know after more than 50 years playing!). But normally one knows normally fast if a piece has potential or not.

About the shank size: I have a huge vintage and modern mouthpiece collection with all kind of shank sizes, so I have two necks with different cork thickness on it for my SBA.
 

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About the shank size: I have a huge vintage and modern mouthpiece collection with all kind of shank sizes, so I have two necks with different cork thickness on it for my SBA.
Mr PB, have you tried the new FL yet? I reckon you'd need a 3rd neck for it. I had to shave about 0.25mm off the shank inner diameter on mine just to bring it to the diameter of my narrowest shank mouthpiece out of several dozen I have or owned. It's a great player and even better now that I can use it interchangeably on my tenor neck.
 

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Mr PB, have you tried the new FL yet? I reckon you'd need a 3rd neck for it. I had to shave about 0.25mm off the shank inner diameter on mine just to bring it to the diameter of my narrowest shank mouthpiece out of several dozen I have or owned. It's a great player and even better now that I can use it interchangeably on my tenor neck.
I didn't try one yet and also won't buy one, so I'm depending of one of my friends here. I also think it will be too bright for me and they don't offer my preferred tip-size. Besides that I have some fantastic (for me) vintage pieces, so that makes me less curious.

I have a 10* new vintage Tone Master, which has the same small shank. That one fits my 'smallest' neck, but hardly (I don't play it very often). From pictures I saw it looks like the new FL is actually the same mouthpiece/blank, but with an enormous baffle put in.
 

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The bore usually only needs to be enlarged .010” to make it fit better. That is .005” off the interior walls.
 

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BTW, I would never 'ream out' a mouthpiece to fit an easily replaceable piece of cork. When you find yourself in the position of not being able to decide between mouthpieces with different-sized shank bores, and your regular mouthpiece has a larger bore, the only thing to do is to fit the cork to the smaller bore mouthpiece and use Teflon tape/other materials to enlarge the cork so you can use the one with larger bore. Typically this will end in a week or two and you can replace the cork if necessary.
Plus, on most metal mouthpieces there is no extra wall thickness on the shank end anyway so you really cant be reaming them out.
And then, there's my feeling that the shank bore is part of the mouthpiece design and shouldn't be modified. Have I done it? Yes, I have ruined several pieces in various imaginative ways because of the cork situation but that was 50 years ago.
Well, the part that is reamed is the part that's filled up with neck, so it has no tonal effect whatsoever.

I would certainly agree not to modify a mouthpiece that you're trying, but if you've decided to keep it there's no harm in reaming the bore to be consistent with other pieces you use.

You have to measure things and use common sense before removing any material - if you need to take 2 mm diameter off a piece that only has 1.5 mm wall thickness, obviously you don't do that. I would think the difficulty and cost of obtaining a good adjustable blade reamer and measuring before and after would deter most who aren't capable of doing this work.

*

Interestingly the forum ate this post and it's just now re-appearing, so I'll go ahead and attempt to post it, but also adding the comment that if it's really ten thou on diameter to ream then it's really trivial and won't have any effect on the strength of the shank, not even the thinnest.
 

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The bore usually only needs to be enlarged .010” to make it fit better. That is .005” off the interior walls.
"only" 0.01" (=0.254mm) but still a lot in my view. even after removing that much, mine is still just in the ballpark of my tightest pieces. I get there is no standard but there is a reasonable distribution of shanks out there. theirs is a clear outlier. I don't get why they can't get this right off of their production line. I wonder if they even play test with real players that have real neck corks, not just some factory test sax that only ever sees their own pieces.

From pictures I saw it looks like the new FL is actually the same mouthpiece/blank, but with an enormous baffle put in.
You should try one when you have a chance. It's not as bright as you may think from pictures. I have a great vintage Florida as well. The FL sounds and feels very close to it IMO. In contrast for example, I also have a Barone SNY and that piece sounds way brighter.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I suppose if I were 50 instead of 75, I might be interested in learning to play a Link, but not now. Too bad it cost me $290 to have my nose rubbed in that again (I've tried them before over the years, along with others, like Wolfe Tayne). I was so glad to put my mouthpiece back on and play.
BTW, I guess we're all in the same boat gig-wise. I'm really looking forward to next Spring maybe bringing the outdoor shows back depending on how the vaccine works out.
On boring out the mouthpiece, who knows exactly where to stop so you don't do more that is required for tuning? Nobody, which is why everybody will take the enlargement to the throat. This will have an effect on the mouthpiece, and if it is one that you would not want to lose, you better leave it alone. Plus, unless done as in a machine shop, the new bore is going to come out to be tapered, which is always a bad idea since it limits mouthpiece tightness to one point - if you have to pull it back at all, it gets loose.
 

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I suppose if I were 50 instead of 75, I might be interested in learning to play a Link, but not now. Too bad it cost me $290 to have my nose rubbed in that again (I've tried them before over the years, along with others, like Wolfe Tayne). I was so glad to put my mouthpiece back on and play.
BTW, I guess we're all in the same boat gig-wise. I'm really looking forward to next Spring maybe bringing the outdoor shows back depending on how the vaccine works out.
On boring out the mouthpiece, who knows exactly where to stop so you don't do more that is required for tuning? Nobody, which is why everybody will take the enlargement to the throat. This will have an effect on the mouthpiece, and if it is one that you would not want to lose, you better leave it alone. Plus, unless done as in a machine shop, the new bore is going to come out to be tapered, which is always a bad idea since it limits mouthpiece tightness to one point - if you have to pull it back at all, it gets loose.
I think you said you usually play a DG King which is like the highest of high baffle mouthpieces in my book. It usually takes me at least 3 days of playing before I acclimate to how to blow a Link from coming off a baffled piece. I have no idea why but that has happened time and time again. I always completely hate it at first and think I got a dud of a mouthpiece but 3 days later it is blowing great and sounding great. I even have this experience with Links that I know are great and I am trying to play again. That's my experience.
 

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I suppose if I were 50 instead of 75, I might be interested in learning to play a Link, but not now.
You need to try one with a smaller tip opening; like between 5 and 7* tops. The best vintage Florida tenor STM I ever played was a #5. When I thought I needed something around a 9 or 10, I never found that same magic. So preferring more open tipped mouthpieces, I just went in another direction. Was never one for Link induced peer pressure, but if you really want to see what it's all about... just go with a smaller tip opening.
 
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