Sax on the Web Forum banner

Otto Link Tone Master vs Retro Revival Crescent

2911 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  mrpeebee
Hello, I have been trying out mouthpieces for a while and hadn't come across anything that really enthused me until I came across the RR crescent which is based off of the OL Tone Master. I liked the RR, but haven't ever tried a vintie Tone Master. Has anyone tried both mouthpieces or knows about the usual characteristics of a Tone Master and can give some insight on what they're like? Any info on these pieces is appreciated, thanks.
1 - 2 of 7 Posts
The Retro Revival pieces I have tried (the Double Ring-inspired pieces) all had a higher baffle than the originals I have seen. Listening to the sound clips of Bob Sheppard playing and looking at the pictures, my guess is that the Crescent also has a nice-sized baffle. The original Tone Masters had very little baffle and were made in small facings (primarily - not sure if there were larger facings ever made for them). The Retro Revival pieces are modern interpretations of the classic pieces, not exact copies as I understand. I played a Four Star link (which was a series of pieces that were part of the Tone Master family) as my primary piece a while back. As a small opening piece with a hard reed, it lent itself well to the Coltrane thing. I made the mistake of having it opened up, after which the piece played very tubby, and I ended up getting rid of it.
This is all correct, except that the Otto Link Four**** mouthpiece (produced from 1935 till 1940) was the model before the Tone Master came (from 1940-1945 the normal TM, from 1945 till 1949) the improved TM). Normally Tone Masters went up till about 5*, the later improved TM had some bigger facings (going to 7 or very rare higher) and a slightly smaller chamber and slightly more baffle than the first TM models. The earlier Four**** didn't have a baffle and a slightly bigger chamber than the first TM (and also a different ligature).

Thanks a lot, after looking around, it also seems like there are more four stars available (at least at the moment). The four stars also aren't as pricy as the other vintage links which is nice. Thanks for the info!
I've never seen a RR Crescent, but (as mentioned by Raghav) all the RR pieces I've seen are remakes of older models on steroids and by far not equal to the original Otto Link designs. Which means that the RR's will play more bright/modern and will have bigger tip size options compared to vintage Otto Link's. I currently own 4 Four**** pieces and 2 TM's (but I've tried more of them) and from those only my refaced TM (from 5 to 8, I bought it like that) plays really well for me (but I'm a big tip player, the smaller tip pieces don't work for what I want from a mouthpiece).

If you're curious to play a bigger TM tip piece you could also try to find a New Vintage Tone Master (they are still produced by Otto Link and are more close to the old 1940's TM than the RR ones). I have a modern NV TM 10* and compared it many moons ago to my refaced old TM 8.

See these clips when you're interested how they compare in sound when played by me (in a ballad and a free style recording):

1a. 'Someone To Watch Over Me' (refaced vintage improved Tone Master 8 - La Voz medium):

1b. 'Someone To Watch Over Me' (modern New Vintage Tone Master 10* - La Voz medium):

2a. 'Waterwings' (refaced vintage improved Tone Master 8 - La Voz medium):

2b. 'Waterwings' (modern New Vintage Tone Master 10* - La Voz medium):

And one more clip done on the fully original 1940's Tone Master 5*:

3. 'Honky Tonk' (original Tone Master 5* - La Voz medium hard):
See less See more
Wow that was a lot of info, thanks a bunch for the experience with those pieces. I have always been a small tip guy, which is a bit annoying when the smallest piece that RR makes in the Crescent is a 6* that they only make like once every two months, but that's why I wanna try these old links, they inherently come in small sizes. I use an Otto Link NY (Modern) with a 5 facing. I recently switched to that one off of a Modern STM (6*) that I had used for 6 years. While trying other mouthpieces, I would always be given a 7* or 8 and it just wouldn't gel for me. I tried this NY Modern STM and I liked the response and feel. I wanna see if I can get a Tone Master in a 5 before everyone buys them and opens them up. One day people might want a small tip, you never know. I wanna see if can get each of the vintage NY Links and be able to pick which one I really really like then sit with it for a while. I like the developmental aspect of the mouthpiece relationship. Anyways, thanks again for the playing examples and experience with mouthpieces.
Compared to your small tip modern NY STM an old small tip 1940's Tone Master will probably sound darker because of having a lower baffle, bigger chamber and longer facing curve. So if you're happy with your current sound on the NY STM I wouldn't search further, because vintage original TM's won't be cheap and you will never know on forehand if it will play well. Finding a second hand modern NV TM in a small tip might be a better strategy if you want to go to a darker sound.

You can find more information on Otto Link metal pieces in this thread:
1 - 2 of 7 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.