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Discussion Starter #1
So now it seems sellers (or someone) wants to start yet another legendary 'holy grail' mouthpiece myth concerning the 'short shank' FL Link as being more special, or more something than the rest.

I raised the issue of proper identification on a market place thread for a piece being advertized by incorrectly as the 'short shank':

http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showth...hpiece-(0.098-quot-tip)&p=1666020#post1666020

The moderators felt it the wrong place to have that discussion I guess, so a basic informational thread here should be fine.. don't you think?

I think we all want to know what is what, right?
If I list something for sale and it is incorrectly presented I want to know about it, from those who know about those models. When sellers begin regarding a sharing of the truth about their products as 'sabotage' we know there is a serious problem... with the truth. Hence the old adage, "don't shoot the messenger".

***

I have recently been hearing people talk about the 'short shank' FL link, and I know well about them, have had and have had and restored many. The truth about them is that they are (no-USA) Florida Otto Links, with a noticeably shorter shank. They are an early model that came shortly after the very early serial numbered pieces and were probably made for a very short time.

The short shank has a fairly high very rolled over baffle, as opposed to some later no-USA pieces that have more of a flat shelf rollover style baffle. The thing that is not SPECIAL about these is that they actually have the SAME baffle and chamber as most early FL Links, which are all fairly inconsistently finished pieces with equally inconsistent versions of the high rollover baffle and not too huge chamber. The 'short shank' is an early Florida Link with a short shank.. go figure..

The short shank is special because it is an early FL Link and not a reliably great or terrible player otherwise. It is unique and individual as are most Links from that period. The short shank is a marker for that baffle and chamber at least, whereas other no-USA Links may be harder to discern as early or late by the inexperienced, since their visual ques are simply more subtle than a very short shank.

In 'SHORT', the shorter shank is simply easy to identify as an early FL Link and that is the most important difference between it, and other early Otto Links... in most cases, that is the ONLY repeatable difference.

So, as someone who restores and sees tons of vintage pieces.. I am trying to let folks know that there is no holy grail here... or anywhere. These can be great mouthpieces or they can play badly, like most. Every time a new myth comes up, be vigilant.

In the case of the discussion starter, the real point was not that the 'short shank' nothing special, it can be a great piece, but it should be.. actually the rumored 'short shank.

Here is the example incorrectly provided as 'short thank':




->->->
Here is the real 'short shank' FL Link. You can see it very clearly:




Personally I think sharing of truthful information about equipment is important, and not an insult, unless of course one has something to hide.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Factually, there are multiple different lengths of FL Otto Link shanks. The problem here is that someone ..wherever.. is starting this rumor about shank length being a special indicator of a great mouthpiece, or even important at all.. which is generally not the case. Due to the fact that there are very long, slightly long, kind of shorter, and then VERY short shank lengths... how in the heck would you decide which one is really short?

IS it the KIND OF short.. or the very short or the less long...

Here are the facts, while I am selling nothing:

There is a normal early FL Link shank which is shorter than the later FL link shank length. This is the one advertised on the first thread. With this normal early FL Link shank length, there are about 4 different baffle configurations that can be found, let's say A,B,C, or D configuration. So there is simply nothing reliably repeatable about this piece having to do with it's normal early FL Link shank length.

The very short shank photos that I have posted is a different item. This blank has only 1 baffle configuration that will be found, we can say this is configuration A, same as A above in the normal FL shank size.

So the Short shank shares a configuration (A) with some of the other earlier FL Links, but only has that one configuration, whereas the normal shank size may have any one of the 4 configurations. The short shank is a reliable indicator for that (A) baffle, but that is all. The other shank sizes may also have that baffle. The short one is not completely unique, but it is easy to see. The one advertized in this case, has a shank size that may have many different possible baffles, nothing at all unique or reliable about it. That's facts.
 

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Great information! I recently just went through the exercise of identifying my STM using this useful resource at this site :

http://www.mouthpiecemuseum.com/MouthpieceMuseum/OttoLink_files/OttoLink_Flowchart_1.jpg

I was able to conclude mine was a later model Florida Link STM. Looking at the photos above, I have to concur with Horned Toad's concluscion that the claimed 'short shank' STM in the photo is just an early edition Florida Link STM without the 'USA' stamp on the shank. The length of the shank is identical to the one that I possess, so Horned Toad's identification of this mouthpiece is quite correct IMO.
 

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@Mr.Toad,
When did Babbitt take over the Otto Link company? I have older HR pieces that I consider as being early Babbitts but with all the info from all the experts it's hard to tell what's what's. Thanks.
 

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Here are two standard long shank NO USAs on sale right now on eBay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-OTTO-LI...t=UK_Woodwind_Instruments&hash=item20b9abb57c

http://cgi.ebay.com/Otto-Link-6-Fla...760?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eb5627738

That is what you find with 80%+ of NO USAs. The blank that my piece (in the questioned thread) has an even distance between both lines. Considering most of the NO USAs are long shank, I think I'm right in saying that mine is short shank. Maybe we can call yours "stubby", whatever. The bottom line is that it's still one of the earlier NO USA pieces refaced by Jon Van Wie. Nobody ever questioned you when you sold your 80s Tone Edges as "EB"s and I feel terrible for the poor guys that got them. These petty posts just show that you are a very petty and vindictive person, who has nothing better to do than throw stones from his glass house. I'm not doing anything wrong, and not misrepresenting anything here. These earlier NO USA pieces are darker than the later ones, its a fact - I'm not necessarily saying that one is better than the other, just different. I personally prefer a darker sound on tenor.
 

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If i still played Tenor i would be very interested in this piece for a number of reasons....firstly unbalancedaction sells first rate stuff (both horns and mouthpieces) and secondly i remember the "short shank" pieces as being very lush...the good ones that is....and if Jon refaced it then it will be in amazing playing condition because he was a true master (ask neffertiti)! Good luck with the sale.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@Mr.Toad,
When did Babbitt take over the Otto Link company? I have older HR pieces that I consider as being early Babbitts but with all the info from all the experts it's hard to tell what's what's. Thanks.
I am not an expert on Babbitt Links. Unbalancedaction probably knows more about them.
I know a few different kinds of "EB" and old Babbitt Links, some have the long flat baffles and some I was told about as having has numbers stamped reversed in the chambers by some dealers. That kind, with the number stamped in the chamber was one of the ones I sold recently. The thing with so-called "Early Babbitt" Links is that the term itself, SOUNDS like a model name but it is not. It refers to simply an AGREED UPON time period for a mouthpiece. During the EB period there are multiple deigns for the pieces. You'd have to be really clear on what some group (who is that?) agreed upon exactly to know whether what you had fit the criteria for a true early babbitt. In my experience there are a number of designs that differ significantly from what has been made over the last 25 years, and I am not sure exactly what is acceptable, and to what group of people it should be acceptable to, to make it a real EB.

The earliest EB's are basically FL Links.. then from there forward they have the long flat baffles and smaller chambers, and then from there forward there are other changes, and some more rounded baffles and such, it is a progression. There is no dating, or model cut off... So in this case when unbalanced says I misrepresented an EB, I simply did not check with him first to see if he though it was "early enough", and maybe it wasn't, I am not an expert and am not trying to part of the 'Early Babbitt Certification Committee".

If you want a good EB Link the earlier the better really. The best ones are directly after the FL Links in my experience, but they will be the most expensive as well. I am not the expert on those but I know them when I see them. Sorry I could not be of more help on that one, and finally, now that I have admitted I am not part of the EBCC I can stop hearing about how I ripped someone off for not checking with unbalancedguy and selling a mouthpiece ok? cool..
 

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Seems that an objective discussion can be had on this matter without focus inappropriately shifting to the personal. There are clearly multiple shank lengths. The extent to which they correspond with playing characteristics, for better or for worse, appears to be a matter of both experience and personal preference.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The blank that my piece (in the questioned thread) has an even distance between both lines. Considering most of the NO USAs are long shank, I think I'm right in saying that mine is short shank. Maybe we can call yours "stubby", whatever.
We will not agree to call it stubby or anything, because thinking up more names for mythical holy grail pieces is not my job and I think it is silly.
What you've got is an EARLY(er) FL Link, pure and simple. Is that not good enough?
Your problem here is that it is a falsehood that "most of the NO USAs are long shank". That is simply not true, I find the longer ones are not any more prevalent.
The other photos of the truly short one I posted, fist of all, is not MINE, it is someone else's that recently sold. I HAVE had them though.
That one is actually very short, that IS the 'short shank' regardless of what we decide, because it is.. well.. SHORT.

THAT one.. IS more rare.


The bottom line is that it's still one of the earlier NO USA pieces refaced by Jon Van Wie...
Exactly, It's a valuable piece, does it have to be more than that?

These petty posts just show that you are a very petty and vindictive person, who has nothing better to do than throw stones from his glass house. I'm not doing anything wrong, and not misrepresenting anything here. These earlier NO USA pieces are darker than the later ones, its a fact - I'm not necessarily saying that one is better than the other, just different. I personally prefer a darker sound on tenor.
The fact that you see this as upsetting, well I am not sure why that is. I have nothing to be vindictive about do I?
You have an early FL Link, that is a good thing. You called it a 'Short Shank' and you are not the first person to do that. However the actual "short shank" and the one that most would be referring to, is the one I posted photos of, that is reality. I think anyone can see that in fact my post is a generous bit of information for the general public. I hope you can find the value in that, over time, but if not, it is still the factual truth.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Seems that an objective discussion can be had on this matter without focus inappropriately shifting to the personal. There are clearly multiple shank lengths. The extent to which they correspond with playing characteristics, for better or for worse, appears to be a matter of both experience and personal preference.
Agreed, the truth is that shank length is more of an external cosmetic issue, and not particularly related to internal chamber of baffle design. Shank length cannot be reliably tied to sound and response other than in double rings and earlier. In FL Links, the important issue is TIME PERIOD- shank length is not a reliable indicator of baffle shape OTHER than in the very short version I posted. And this.. is why SOME people are calling that version the short shank, because it is reliable. As I said, the shank configuration originally posted by unbalanced, can have a multiple number of different baffle designs.
 

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Factually, there are multiple different lengths of FL Otto Link shanks. The problem here is that someone ..wherever.. is starting this rumor about shank length being a special indicator of a great mouthpiece, or even important at all.. which is generally not the case. Due to the fact that there are very long, slightly long, kind of shorter, and then VERY short shank lengths... how in the heck would you decide which one is really short?

IS it the KIND OF short.. or the very short or the less long...

Here are the facts, while I am selling nothing:

There is a normal early FL Link shank which is shorter than the later FL link shank length. This is the one advertised on the first thread. With this normal early FL Link shank length, there are about 4 different baffle configurations that can be found, let's say A,B,C, or D configuration. So there is simply nothing reliably repeatable about this piece having to do with it's normal early FL Link shank length.

The very short shank photos that I have posted is a different item. This blank has only 1 baffle configuration that will be found, we can say this is configuration A, same as A above in the normal FL shank size.

So the Short shank shares a configuration (A) with some of the other earlier FL Links, but only has that one configuration, whereas the normal shank size may have any one of the 4 configurations. The short shank is a reliable indicator for that (A) baffle, but that is all. The other shank sizes may also have that baffle. The short one is not completely unique, but it is easy to see. The one advertized in this case, has a shank size that may have many different possible baffles, nothing at all unique or reliable about it. That's facts.
Thanks for this very interesting information Marin. Because of your post I now know that I actually have one of those earlier Florida no USA Links (a 9*) with a slightly shorter shank then my other Florida no USA and USA piece (a 10* and a 11*) . Actually the shorter shank seems to have the same length as a current metal STM.

For those interested in a picture with 11 mostly vintage Links (and one cheap Chinese piece), check this picture (and don't bother about the soundclip!):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZmU2M8JgPE

From left to right you see a:
1. Master Link 6 (refaced)
2. Four**** 10 (refaced)
3. Four**** 8* (refaced)
4. Tone Master 8 (refaced)
5. Florida no USA 9* (with the shorter shank)
6. Florida no USA 10* (longer shank)
7. Florida USA 11* (longer shank)
8. Early Babbitt 8* (1974 early model, small bore)
9. Early Babbitt 10 (later model, wide bore)
10. Early Babbitt 10* (1974 early model, small bore)
11. Current NY STM 9* (same shank lenght as #5)
12. Cheap Chinese 10

By clicking on the 'Show more' button under the clip you get some more info.

Thanks again for your post!
 

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I just checked my Early Florida no USA link. It is almost as short as the one that horned toad posted a picture of. It's very close. Maybe a little longer.
If I remember well, it was very dark sounding for an STM and had a beautiful core.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Some more info...
Otto Link progression in terms of dark and bright chronologically, goes something like this, very generally, with exceptions of course:

*Master Link/fourstar models- darkest and most spread (huge chamber, no baffle)
*Tonemaster NY early- very dark and very spread (very big chamber no baffle) multiple visually different blanks in here..
*Tonemaster NY late-medium dark and quite spread (smaller, but still large chamber, modestly higher floor slight baffle)
*Double ring NY- medium to VERY dark and medium spread, soft edge (large chamber higher floor slight baffle) Long biteplate..
There is a short shank in here somewhere as well..
*Double ring Transitional- gentle buzzy edge and medium spread, slight focus (slightly smaller chamber higher floor more baffle) Long or short biteplate..
*Double ring FL- medium to bright buzz, stronger edge and medium focused, not spread (smaller chamber higher floor significant baffle) This is the brightest yet, short biteplates from here forward..
*Serial numbered FL STM VERY EARLY- same as FL double ring levels and configuration (this pieces is nearly impossible to find, not the commonly found serialed piece.)

** up to this point things keep getting brighter and more focused, but from here forward the direction changes, and moves around for a while...

*Serial numbered FL STM standard (still early noUSA)- medium dark with gentler edge and plenty spread (chamber again is slightly bigger, high rollover baffle and lower floor)
*Non numbered FL STM so-called 'short shank' (noUSA)- medium dark slight edge and medium focus (chamber again slightly smaller, high rollover baffle and medium floor)
*Standard early FL STM (noUSA)- medium dark, medium-plenty spread (medium high rollover baffle, large chamber medium floor) standard shank length.. many visually different blanks in here
*Middle period FL noUSA to USA (condensed because there are so many variations) medium tone, medium spread (subtle flat shelf baffle with roll, higher floor, large chamber) There is a longer shank version in here, as well as the standard length..
*Late FL with USA- medium dark-ish, slightly bright edge, medium focus (clear shelf baffle with higher floor and slightly smaller chamber) goes back to standard length...
*Transitional late FL USA- medium bright strong edge, significant focus (high shelf baffle, smaller chamber high floor)
*Early Babbitt USA- very bright, cutting edge, high focus (highest shelf baffle, smallest chamber, high floor)
*Babbitt USA STM- ...... thud.

There is a lot more to this, but that is off the top... maybe edit later.
They start out very dark and spread, then slowly go to brighter with some focus, then back to quite dark and slightly spread at the start of the FL run... then towards dark with focus, then back to bright and focus.. it's odd, but that is my experience.
 

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I recently read that they dug up the old molds from early Babbit Links and used them to make the new Tenor Madness mouthpieces. Why would Babbit stop using those good molds that produce those nice blanks, and for decades make the worst mouthpieces in history, total garbage mouthpieces that are better off used as door stops?
 

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I recently read that they dug up the old molds from early Babbit Links and used them to make the new Tenor Madness mouthpieces. Why would Babbit stop using those good molds that produce those nice blanks, and for decades make the worst mouthpieces in history, total garbage mouthpieces that are better off used as door stops?
The earliest Early Babbitt's (from 1974, with the small bore) came from the same mold(s) as the Florida USA's. Most EB's had more material left in the floor and baffle because less finish work was done to them (source: Theo Wanne site). Mabye those old molds where worn out.

Most current (and vintage) Links I tried where not at all bad, but maybe I was just lucky :bluewink:. Lots of opinions can be found on current Link quality issues in this thread:
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?23014-Link-Quality-Issues
 

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Discussion Starter #18
...so it's all finally come down to comparing shank length.
Oldest contest on the books right?

"I have a better mouthpiece"
"No you don't"
"Yes I do, I have a fatter sound, and it projects ..longer"
"Well my shank is longer than yours, yours is stubby"
"No it's not, my shank has more girth than yours, making the tone meatier"

These are the essential discussions all mature sax players ought to be having on a daily basis, back to basics.
 

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*Tonemaster NY early- very dark and very spread (very big chamber no baffle) multiple visually different blanks in here..
*Tonemaster NY late-medium dark and quite spread (smaller, but still large chamber, modestly higher floor slight baffle)

*Early Babbitt USA- very bright, cutting edge, high focus (highest shelf baffle, smallest chamber, high floor)
Thanks again Marin, very interesting observations :).

- Do you have more information on how to identify the early NY Tone Master models (based on outside characteristics)?
- I have two early (1974, small bore) metal EB's: the 8* has a small rollover baffle and is quite dark. The 10* is more bright (but not very bright) and has a small rollover baffle and a higher floor. I guess those EB's all have different work done on them, which makes it difficult to specify generic sound characteristics.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks again Marin, very interesting observations :).

- Do you have more information on how to identify the early NY Tone Master models (based on outside characteristics)?
- I have two early (1974, small bore) metal EB's: the 8* has a small rollover baffle and is quite dark. The 10* is more bright (but not very bright) and has a small rollover baffle and a higher floor. I guess those EB's all have different work done on them, which makes it difficult to specify generic sound characteristics.
Regarding identifying early or late Tonemasters, it is really very subtle, simply the shape of the blank for the most part. Only the very latest ones, have straight-cut biteplate edges, earlier ones, many different blanks, all have slanted-cut, what is that..(chamfered?) biteplate insertion edges. That is only the difference apparent in the very last design change. The earlier ones have more rounded beak-tops (biteplate area also), later ones are more flat, but again there are till multiple different blanks in those two "late and early" periods. For this, one really needs photos, and I have a bunch of blanks but not the time at the moment to do a photo essay.

Regarding the EB Links, in your case I would really have to also see photos. I would wonder if any of these pieces had been worked on. When I say "shelf baffle" on a Link that is also a style of rollover baffle, there are no hard edges on Link baffles, but relatively speaking, later ones have a flat shelf that has rounded edges or corners, whereas earlier ones can have a rollover that has no flat surface on it whatsoever. When we say 'Bright' in these cases, keep in mind that this means bright-for a LINK, not bright relative to other mouthpieces. Relative to other mouthpieces, most all Links are dark to medium at best.
 
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