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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I got my Tonemaster 5* after it had travelled for more than six weeks from the US to Hamburg by ship and then on to Cologne. I got this one from Lea (thanks a lot) and was curious what it would sound like because it had not been opened and had just got a very good service be Ben Allen who just perfected it.
I already had a Tonemaster that was an original 5 and had been opened by the great French refacer Nicolas Trefeil to a 7 (0.100).
When Lea's piece arrived today, I did two short improvisations on "In A Sentimental Mood" and was stunned by how different and yet great both mouthpieces are. These are the links to the mp3 clips:

Tonemaster A

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/66272036/Tonemaster L#01.mp3

Tonemaster B

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/66272036/Tonemaster N#06.mp3

I did a series of pics, and in the folder you will see them compared. I did not post any pics here because you will need the larger format in the folder to have a good look.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/neturp30nn5namy/AAAnBIR6VLqv_vq2_Tnd8MNaa?dl=0

The 5* is not as glossy as the 5, and it seems to be a little longer. There is a difference in the font size of the ridge. These Tonemasters reveal to me once again who individually built mouthpieces were in those days.
I wonder if the clips tell you which one is A and which one is B...., and which one you like better. Reed is identical (Rigotti Gold 2.5), and the lig is a matching one from that period.

Edit: I have added a link to a third clip that features my NY Double Ring 5*. That piece is my "everyday mouthpiece", but I guess the Tonemasters will be used more often in future

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/66272036/double ring 5#01.mp3

Pics of this Double Ring 5*:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6ftg37w8sifbnex/AACc03a-nwf0IjsK9bNJjlNda?dl=0

I really like those early large chamber Otto Link mouthpieces because they have got so much sould and depth.
Thanks for watching, listening and commenting.
 

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Both great as you say.
Nice playing.
It was hard for me to choose (lap top trial only) as TM A had more life in the 1st half of the clip but TM B came into its own in the 2nd half of the clip and was very sweet!
It's a draw...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Saxlicker, and I feel the "draw" that you came to will be my "draw" in selling any of these.... I feel that Tonemaster B (I'll solve the riddle soon) has got a bit less focus in the upper mids than Tonemaster A. Thus it will be the best choice among my mouthpieces for old style ballads.
 

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Both sound very nice.
My favorite is Tonemaster A. Not sure why but to me it seems to sound more interesting.
 

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Heiner, good to hear you exploring the Tone Masters too :).

I first checked the pics and think I recognize the darker coloured piece (the upper mpc in picture 10) as an early Tone Master (the Link model from 1940 to 1946). This one has more baffle than an original one and shows traces of a reface, so I guess that one is the TM 5 refaced to a 7 by the great Nicolas Trefeil.

The lower mpc in picture 10 looks like an improved Tone Master (the Link model from 1946 to 1949, also sometimes called the Coltrane model). The baffle looks almost original (some small corrections seems to be done near the tip), I guess this is the 5*. These late Tone Masters have a slighty smaller chamber than the first TM model and they normally sound a bit brighter and more focussed than the old ones.

Listening to your clips TM A and TM B I found TM A sounding a bit brighter and less open compared to TM B (which seems to me like a bigger tip, taking more air than A). This suggest that A is the later TM model (the 5*) and B the early model (refaced from 5 to 7).

I preferred TM B above TM A and even liked your DR clip a bit more than TM B, but all are wel played and sound good.

Thanks for making and sharing the compare clips and pics, very nicely done :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for your interest and comments, friends. Here's who is who or what is what:

Tonemaster A is the original 5* (upper one in pic 10) that was not opened but just balanced and optimized by Benjamin Allen. I love that one for its core and its warm focus.

Tonemaster B is the 5 (lower one in pic 10) that was opened and refaced by Nicolas Trefeil to an 0.100. I love that one for its huge spread and the "large rooml" it opens.

Both pieces are great and welcome, and right now I think I will keep them both.

I did not know about the different Tonemaster models, but after listening again with the information at hand the idea of a reduction of chamber size from Tonemaster NY to Tonemaster NY "Coltrane" to NY Double Ring is audible.

Once again, it's my pleasure to be in a forum that enriches me with sounds, knowledge and friendship every day. Thanks.
 

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i liked the sound of Tonemaster B the best, but the double Ring was also very nice. You have a lovely sound on all the pieces, so you can't go wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks, Mascio, for your kind appreciation and comment. Yes, all three pieces have their fortes, no doubt about that.
 

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Tone Master B. It's not even close. You can achieve the brightness that you get from A with different reeds.

Ok I didn't see the Double Ring recording at first and I see why you like it, the brightness up high.
 

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I agree.
Definitely Tonemaster B for me also.
It's nice to hear you playing, my friend.
 

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Thanks for sharing the sounds and images. That's quite a collection, and you're obviously enjoying it! For this style of playing, the spread on TM B was a great match. And I think you might enjoy the flexibility of an even bigger tip (..?) I also loved the DR immediately, and felt the familiarity. Much appreciated.
 

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I liked A the best soundwise, but it was out of tune here and there. Also, with a slow tune like that we really can't hear how it behaves with faster articulation and things like that.
With a bit of practice it should sound fine I think. No need to look for another piece.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Heiner, good to hear you exploring the Tone Masters too :).

I first checked the pics and think I recognize the darker coloured piece (the upper mpc in picture 10) as an early Tone Master (the Link model from 1940 to 1946). This one has more baffle than an original one and shows traces of a reface, so I guess that one is the TM 5 refaced to a 7 by the great Nicolas Trefeil.

The lower mpc in picture 10 looks like an improved Tone Master (the Link model from 1946 to 1949, also sometimes called the Coltrane model). The baffle looks almost original (some small corrections seems to be done near the tip), I guess this is the 5*. These late Tone Masters have a slighty smaller chamber than the first TM model and they normally sound a bit brighter and more focussed than the old ones.

Listening to your clips TM A and TM B I found TM A sounding a bit brighter and less open compared to TM B (which seems to me like a bigger tip, taking more air than A). This suggest that A is the later TM model (the 5*) and B the early model (refaced from 5 to 7).

I preferred TM B above TM A and even liked your DR clip a bit more than TM B, but all are wel played and sound good.

Thanks for making and sharing the compare clips and pics, very nicely done :).
I keep coming back to Peter's comment because I want to know I got it right. Both Tonemasters can be compared in picture 10 that shows the tables with the corresponding stamps. Peter has identified the upper, not glossy mouthpiece (5*) as an early Tonemaster. That one is the 5* which was just perfected, but not opened by Ben Allen. This is Tonemaster A audio. This mouthpiece is supposed to have the "early" larger chamber but sounds brighter in the end.
The fact that the "later" or "Coltrane" Tonemaster has a darker character in spite of a smaller chamber can be explained that it was opened by Nicolas Trefeil from 5 to 7. This is Tonemaster B audio. I will send the link of this thread to Nicolas who is a member here at SOTW. If he remembers the mouthpiece and his work on it, his comment will be much appreciated.
I have been playing tenor regularly for about two years after being a music teacher and guitar player for about 40 years. The tenor is my inspiration and joy, and I feel those old Link pieces from around the time when I was born really suit me fine.
I have another Otto Link Double Ring original 9 that I got from Sakshama a while ago. That one is very special, too, but since it's a Florida model it differs from the Tonemasters and the NY Double Ring.
I mostly play metal Links, but I also have an original Tone Edge Slant 8. Just to show you what it sounds like: I used in in my version of "Naima" with my 1949 Selmer Super (Balanced) Action with nickle keywork.
Thanks again to all of you for your very inspiring and helpful comments.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/66272036/Naima 3 SBA.mp3
 
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