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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there :)

I'm wanting a great playing 8* metal link for Tenor
I'm thinking of buying a shop STM and sending it straight to a refacer
I'm after a fair amount of overtones and like a short roll-over baffle
Coltrane sounding but not quite as bright

Which tip opening is best to buy that would make this process easier for the refacer?
...and give them a useful amount of baffle material to work with?
What would be the limit in terms of tip opening changes?
Can a 5 go to 8*?

I went to my local shop recently and looked at all the STMs there, all the sizes they had from 5 to 7*
Some baffles were more step shaped, some more roll-over, all slightly different lengths.
Many had really misshaped and skewed sideways baffles!

There was a 6 that had what looked to me to have a nicely shaped baffle - a little higher and nicely curving roll-over baffle.
Could this go to 8* easy enough??

Or is it better I order an 8* in and use that as a blank?
But I'm worried the baffle shape could easily be all messy and this might be harder to correct...
and also not give the refacer any material to cut back and form a nice shaped roll-over baffle...

I would also give this 6 STM a play test to see if I like the sound and see if it's close in character to use as a start off.
The playability probably isn't as important in this case as I'll be getting it refaced anyways?
Probably the starting baffle shape is more important as we can't ADD material into this area if it's not there to start with....

Cool thanks any help appreciated :)
 

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I would order a slightly smaller tip than 8*, so that the refacer has some material left to open to an 8* and can build a baffle in the shape you want. It depends how much material is in the tip, but I would take an STM with a tip between 6* and 7* as starting point.

You could also check for an already refaced STM in your preferred tip.
 

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I wouldn't expect to open a mouthpiece more than 1 or at most 2 steps (like 7* to 8* or at most 6* to 8*). Critical to this is how much material there is in the beak - is the tip of the beak thick enough to be opened?

Given that most STMs have crappy tables, it might be best to start with an 8* :) Flatten the table, this will take it down some, so it will have to be opened again.

Regarding the baffle, it's pretty easy to add material if needed, though I doubt that would be necessary. If you are buying online, buy from someplace that has a return policy so you can replace it. Look out for a sideways off-center chamber, that's the most common thing that screws these pieces up. If you look down the piece and see that one side of the baffle is a lot higher than the other, it means that they cut the table off center. Send it back and get another. If you can choose from your shop, that's better (though might be more money...)

I think this is a good way to get a great playing mouthpiece, BTW - less than a high-end boutique piece, and you end up with a really nice player.
 

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I think this is a good way to get a great playing mouthpiece, BTW - less than a high-end boutique piece, and you end up with a really nice player.
Agreed. I did the same with JVW back around year 2000 - bought a new STM and had it shipped directly to him. After his work it turned out to be one of the best Links I’ve ever played. And I’ve had more then a few of various vintages. In my case I only asked him to perfect table and rails, which he masterfully did. I asked he leaves baffle and opening unchanged.
 

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I think this is a good way to get a great playing mouthpiece, BTW - less than a high-end boutique piece, and you end up with a really nice player.
+2 - Back in 2008-2010 I did nearly the same thing. However, I bought a couple of Otto Links off eBay for $80 & $90 a piece. One an STM, the second an STM NY. Both advertised as barely played, just not what seller was looking for in sound. I had the intent to ship them off to one of the highly regarded refacers. Back then, they were advertising somewhere around $100-$125 to work an Otto Link. Well, to make a long story short, they came in as good as new and play extremely well and didn't need any work! (I seem to get along with Link-like mouthpieces without the need to develop Link-chops!) But yeah, if you want an 8/8* mouthpiece, best to get that as your foundation to begin with, along with the chamber advice given as well...

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
 

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Hi there :)

I'm wanting a great playing 8* metal link for Tenor
I'm thinking of buying a shop STM and sending it straight to a refacer
I'm after a fair amount of overtones and like a short roll-over baffle
Coltrane sounding but not quite as bright

Which tip opening is best to buy that would make this process easier for the refacer?
...and give them a useful amount of baffle material to work with?
What would be the limit in terms of tip opening changes?
Can a 5 go to 8*?

I went to my local shop recently and looked at all the STMs there, all the sizes they had from 5 to 7*
Some baffles were more step shaped, some more roll-over, all slightly different lengths.
Many had really misshaped and skewed sideways baffles!

There was a 6 that had what looked to me to have a nicely shaped baffle - a little higher and nicely curving roll-over baffle.
Could this go to 8* easy enough??

Or is it better I order an 8* in and use that as a blank?
But I'm worried the baffle shape could easily be all messy and this might be harder to correct...
and also not give the refacer any material to cut back and form a nice shaped roll-over baffle...

I would also give this 6 STM a play test to see if I like the sound and see if it's close in character to use as a start off.
The playability probably isn't as important in this case as I'll be getting it refaced anyways?
Probably the starting baffle shape is more important as we can't ADD material into this area if it's not there to start with....

Cool thanks any help appreciated :)
if you want that type of sound, 8* is not the size to go with on any vintage of STM. Trane played closed openings as did most of the guys who came after in that vein. Try a few 6's and 6*'s and see if you can get there without modifying first.

Here's the amazing Eli Bennett on a stock modern STM 7 with soft reeds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kq5m5MiIvM
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Awesome thanks so much for taking time to give me your thoughts :)

Ok so that nice looking 6 is probably not going to go well up to an 8*
Oh well...
But yeah I will go back and play that 6 as is (with some harder reeds!)
I currently play 3 and 3.5 on another worked STM 8*, long story... but this mouthpiece has problems, which yeah I’m going to try get corrected but I’m just surveying other options in case it doesn’t work out!

In the past I spent a decent amount of time trying to make a nice 7 STM long body from the 80s work with harder reeds but I could see it would be a long time for me to adjust my voicing into the 7, and at 41years I’m pretty set on just staying at 8* rather than changing that up.
I also play Alto seriously as well as Soprano, Clarinet, Flute, and Bass Clarinet, so I have lots to maintain already.
But I will go try that 6 tho - just to see :)

But anyway since my initial post I learned about these FL Babbit Links
https://jjbabbitt.com/news/jj-babbitt-goes-retro-for-100th-anniversary
So will try one if these!

Other issue is I live in New Zealand so shop ordering is limited, and postage is expensive, otherwise yeah I’d play as many 8* links as it would take to find an ok one.
I’m hoping the FL is finished at least as well as the NY which seems to be a bit better than the regular STM.
And I’ll get to play the FL 1st in the shop so if it’s terrible for some reason I can leave it I guess.

Thanks for chatting with me, always great to share thoughts with people working away on these same things :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So yeah I wasn’t very clear... really my sound I’m going for is only kind of Coltrane like, in that I want a Link with a short rollover baffle that creates some of the high overtone timbre that we hear in Coltrane’s sound.
I get it especially on high C.
It’s a ringing kind of tone.
So yeah I get it that an 8* isn’t really going to do that well at going fully Coltrane :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Also wishing now I hadn't sold that 7 as I could have gotten that refaced to 8*!
Ah well - learning as we go :)
Oh and I'm 41 years old, not playing for 41 years...
 

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6 is the sweet spot for Links. An 8* won’t sound like Coltrane or anybody else no matter what you do to it.
I would pretty much guarantee anyone you’ve heard or hear with a great Link sound played a 6 or something close.
 

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I've got around ten or twelve Link STMs, from various eras. I've never bought one new. I get them second-hand here on SotW or on eBay. Some are untouched, others have been adjusted by good refacers before I got them. I haven't had a dud one yet — nor one that needed work. My favourite tip opening is 8* but the sizes go from 5* to 10* (The 6 is one of the best, whaler - the VI loves it); all the same, there's not that much difference between them all — nothing that breath control and a reed a half-size up or down can't fix. Go the second-hand route.
 

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I went straight to the refacers and asked them what they wanted. They are a great bunch. Talk to them.
 

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If I was doing the job and you wanted an 8* Id have you buy an 8

I would also suggest used. Why buy a new shiny piece just to rip off the plating?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Cool I will definitely try a 6
But I do love my own sound which is great in it's own way, and the way I get it is via an 8*
I'm thinking I should do a recording of myself for you to hear :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If I was doing the job and you wanted an 8* Id have you buy an 8

I would also suggest used. Why buy a new shiny piece just to rip off the plating?
Just so I can check the baffle shape 1st
I know it's a shame to attack a new one!
Might get it replated

Also the eBay ones end up not THAT cheap once shipping is added out here to New Zealand
 

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Source them in NZ or Australia then. Anyway, postage for a mouthpiece from anywhere, even from the rear end of the Earth like England, should only cost around $20.
 

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My thinking is that by the time you buy a new link and pay for a reface you could pick up a used Florida copy and have a better piece. You will easily be into this for over 350 bucks. It seems like an expensive proposition for a refaced modern link. If you go to sell it the piece will be worth about 200 ish. Id put my money into a better piece thats used and suffer little depreciation if you decide its not for you.
 

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I have 5 Florida links, ranging from 6 to 7*.

i agree with some of the posts above. The 6 gives me the most of that “Coltrane vibe “

I played that only, for years, and only recently went to 7*. It gives me more spread than previously, which is what I’m after.

Different, but possibly not better.

I have an 8 for sale, ( not a Florida ) in a current for sale thread here.

This is what I said in a brief description in that thread


“Otto Link STM . 8 tip opening. Includes lig. £100

Modern, but not with really thick side rails. Blows much better than recent versions. “

Happy to provide more info and pictures if of interest
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Source them in NZ or Australia then. Anyway, postage for a mouthpiece from anywhere, even from the rear end of the Earth like England, should only cost around $20.
Yes def on the lookout here in NZ but haven’t seen one for some time now...
What’s the best site in AU to find them? eBay au?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
My thinking is that by the time you buy a new link and pay for a reface you could pick up a used Florida copy and have a better piece. You will easily be into this for over 350 bucks. It seems like an expensive proposition for a refaced modern link. If you go to sell it the piece will be worth about 200 ish. Id put my money into a better piece thats used and suffer little depreciation if you decide its not for you.
Yeah true it’s getting pricey.

But most Florida inspired models have a long rollover and I’m after a short rollover.
Which would you suggest?
I did consider your Tribute but yeah it’s a lowish long baffle that I think wouldn’t be my preference.
Also unfortunately I can’t stand mouthpiece patches and really have to have regular hard bite plate material.

Thanks for the thoughts on this.
It’s kind of like you can’t just give half the story here because everyone is so keen to help out :)

Mostly I really just wanted to know the parameters on what can and can’t be worked into an 8*
I hear an 8 is ideal
A 6 is not possible.
7 or 7* is ok?

And just for theoretical completeness... can a 9 or 9* be brought to 8*??
How hard is that?

Thanks very much :)
 
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