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Original NY link vs. New NY link

1808 Views 12 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  StittsIt
I own and play a new otto link NY 7* mouthpiece. Compared to a regular tone master, it seems to have a fatter and more spread out tone. I've always imagined that my new NY would have similar characteristics to the original one, but have never known for shure. Is this ammumption correct, or are there stark differences betwen the two? I've tried to develop a dark tone with a Martin Magna sax and the NY link, I've always thought that in the future I'd buy a Otto Link NY Hawkins Special or Reso Chamber mouthpiece. Are the two previous mouthpieces worthwhile to buy in the future, or are they pretty similar in sound to a modern NY? Thanks.
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Well I don't know about your "ammumption," but your assumption is pretty close. Since the new was designed based on the the original they are meant to sound pretty close. Personally, I like the original a little better, the sound is a little more focused where is the newer versions can be a little overly edgy.
There's enough variation in Links of new and old that it's a complete crap shoot when comparing the two on the finer nuances. You could find an old one that's just like your modern one or it could be completely different.

Generally speaking, the modern NY's are darker than the standard STMs which does comply with more of a vintage vibe of the old Tonemasters. It certainly doesn't hurt to try an old Tonemaster, though it's an expensive proposition that does not guarantee any magic.

Try as many as you can afford to try.
sorry about the typo, thanks for your responses
what's the difference between a regular vintage link and the hawkins special?
I'm on the prowl for a Link right now, but nothing has really satisfied me yet.

I just play-tested but didn't buy about 6 different new New York Link pieces, 6*, 7, and 7*. I didn't really like any of them that much except the 6* was okay. It seemed to me that the others were pretty "stuffy" and would need some work by a mouthpiece doctor. I don't have a huge amount of experience with the older Links, but from some play-tests I've done, I'd say the older pieces sound better than the newer ones. But you will pay for it, for two reasons. The older pieces are "vintage" and are more rare. Also, a lot of older pieces have been worked-on by hand so it seems as though you are paying for some of that labor.

Had a 7* new New York that I thought was okay. Seemed to click pretty well with the RJS 2H. I had it refaced which did improve the evenness of tone and the response, but it seems a bit harsh now. Anyways, I'm thinking of going smaller tip opening, maybe a 6* if I can find a piece I like. I don't like using such soft reeds. They seem to crap out rather fast.

If you can find a new New York that meets your needs, definitely snatch it up. Actually, I was really surprised how much difference there was between the different pieces. Several were plainly duds. I have no idea what causes this! Hopefully it isn't just a misperception. The 6* was okay and another 7* was fine, but there was a 7* that just sounded rotten.

Going to vintage Link shop tomorrow. Maybe I can take some notes on the pieces he has and what I think of how they sound. He has about 40 so I'm definitely going to buy one of them.
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jeremysaxman said:
....If you can find a new New York that meets your needs, definitely snatch it up.
Great mouthpieces, try lot of them before buying one. Small differencies can affect the performances of any mouthpiece including the new NY models.

Martin Magna Commitee Sax said:
...or are there stark differences betwen the two?
The new ones often have ****** and gashes inside the piece where the metal halves were joined. Just take a look inside a new one; right under the table at the edge of the opening. I can't believe that this is the norm for such a storied product.
I've got a new NY 9. Plays great, straight out of the box. Massive fat tone
I play fulltime on an old NY Tonemaster that was originally a 5* and opened/refaced to approximately a 7-7* by the late Jon Van Wie. I guess I'm very fortunate that I've found a 'piece that I feel gives me everything I need no matter what style of stuff I play. I also have another old NY Tonemaster that was originally a 3* (yes, small!) and Jon worked his magic on that one as well. I prefer my fulltime 'piece, but the other one is *close* to playing exactly like it. Having said that, I also have a 10+ yr old "NY" model (7*) that Jon also fine tuned and while it's a pretty nice piece, I'd put it third in line to my other two original Tone Masters.
The NY model simply doesn't have the full bodied sound of the old Tonemasters and doesn't play as evenly throughout the registers. I may be very wrong about this, but I believe the old Tonemasters have a much higher lead content, making them vibrate differently and give a slightly different resonance than the newer Links.

Bottom line: Try to find something that you feel is at least close to what you're after, then spend about 5+ yrs. playing it full time and working with it!
Obviously, different reed brand/strength combinations will make a difference as well. I can put any of my three Links on my horn and within a week, will sound damn near exactly the same on them. Mouthpieces can make you go crazy if you let them!

Sorry for rambling, but I hope this helps you out a bit!

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I found the current NY a little edgy too so I removed just a fuzz off the baffle and it really did the trick...of course I also flattened the table, and refaced it too.
I went to Eric Drake's mouthpiece shop in Berkeley today and tried about 12 or so Links. Ended up with a Babbit STM 7* and (surprisingly) a 0.110" Ponzol with very little baffle. He also worked on my new NY piece a bit, took some material off the baffle. I can say I'm pretty pleased now and have some good pieces to work with. I have tended to find that the newer Links do indeed sound better after they have been refaced and had the baffle tweaked a bit.

The comments of jgreiner caught my attention. As far as new versus old, I could definitely tell a big difference from the batch of new NY Links I tried from WW&BW. Now, this may be apples and oranges, as the pieces I played today were mostly hand-tweaked vintage Links, but by far the older pieces sounded better. More even sound quality. Better volume. Richer overtones. Hopefully this isn't just a misperception. I was not at all impressed by any of the 6*, 7, or 7* new NY Links I playtested, and as I stated, I thought they would need a refacing and what-not before being up to par. All of them were subpar compared to any of the vintage pieces I played-tested, today, which again may be a misperception. But I doubt it.

Some of the best pieces I have played at the shop were Florida Links, which are fat-sounding pieces. The new NY would have trouble hangimg with these, IMO. But these are a bit out of my budget, for now.

Of course, since when you start tweaking a mouthpiece, it isn't really just a stock product anymore, your experiences may vary. I'm sure that there are both great-sounding new New York pieces out there which require zero tweaking and furthermore a lot of new NY mouthpieces will play much better after a little TLC.
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Who wants an untouched NY Tonemaster 4 for $500? :)
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