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Just got back from an hour with my repairman Jim Germann, and we had us an interesting talk. So I noticed that he now has P Mauriat saxophones. I usually see nothing but old Selmers, a King or Conn here and there, and that's about it. The P. Mauriat is an interesting price point purchase, as it's still less than new Selmers, has a decent reputation, etc.

So we got on the subject of the current crop of horns, and how in all likelihood, int he next generation or so, VI's will go the way of cigar cutters and, in some respect, Balanced Actions. Cannonball, P. Mauriat etc are doing a great job of getting their horns into the hands of college professors and teachers, which will likely translate into more students buying them..."IE, my teacher plays a Cannonball, so that's what I want" much in the same way that I got my first VI for the same reason.

Anyway, he mentioned the price of Otto Links, and how the price tags you currently see on "vintage" Links is often somewhat ambiguous, since the majority of pieces on ebay (or on mpc sites) have been refaced.

So long story short, I have a question for you guys. WHen is an Otto Link an "Otto Link?" I have a Dukoff stubbie that Brian Powell redid and I am in love with it. I had an original .98 stubbie that was killer as well, and that I couldn't see altering. I've had nothing but original links, but ever refaced link I've tried has lacked something. This is not a knock on any of the refacers, because I think they are bringing their own thing to the table which is totally understandable. But how is a refaced Otto Link really anything but a different mouthpiece?

Let's say a guy that used to work for Guardala starts refacing Links, and a guy like Brian refaces a Link. They will have some basic similarities, but aren't they no longer really an Otto Link? I like Ted Klum's approach and I like Brians' approach, but the pieces that I've played that were refaced played almost nothing like the original links that I've had. Again, that's not necessarily a bad thing AT ALL.

So for the sales guys here, here's my question. Are we seeing a higher price demand for an original, untouched FLA STM 8*, or is the demand the same for, say, a 5* that has been opened up?

Or, does it even matter?

Just curious, and figured I'd see what you all think. I'm off to practice now. I printed about 300 pages of transcriptions for Charles McNeil's site, and now it's time to put in a few hours sight reading solos by Eric Alexander, George Coleman, Tina Brooks and Dexter!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
BTW, does anybody else hate the speed of the mail during the holidays? I was hoping to find a mpc here when I got home, but instead found my 401K statement (which is too depressing to open) and my heating bill (see previous.) I've got two weeks off to practice, paint the dog's bedroom, and start the renovations on my basement. I hope all of you are having as good a holiday season as possible in the current economic climate.
 

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Just got back from an hour with my repairman Jim Germann, and we had us an interesting talk. So I noticed that he now has P Mauriat saxophones. I usually see nothing but old Selmers, a King or Conn here and there, and that's about it. The P. Mauriat is an interesting price point purchase, as it's still less than new Selmers, has a decent reputation, etc.

So we got on the subject of the current crop of horns, and how in all likelihood, int he next generation or so, VI's will go the way of cigar cutters and, in some respect, Balanced Actions. Cannonball, P. Mauriat etc are doing a great job of getting their horns into the hands of college professors and teachers, which will likely translate into more students buying them..."IE, my teacher plays a Cannonball, so that's what I want" much in the same way that I got my first VI for the same reason.

Anyway, he mentioned the price of Otto Links, and how the price tags you currently see on "vintage" Links is often somewhat ambiguous, since the majority of pieces on ebay (or on mpc sites) have been refaced.

So long story short, I have a question for you guys. WHen is an Otto Link an "Otto Link?" I have a Dukoff stubbie that Brian Powell redid and I am in love with it. I had an original .98 stubbie that was killer as well, and that I couldn't see altering. I've had nothing but original links, but ever refaced link I've tried has lacked something. This is not a knock on any of the refacers, because I think they are bringing their own thing to the table which is totally understandable. But how is a refaced Otto Link really anything but a different mouthpiece?

Let's say a guy that used to work for Guardala starts refacing Links, and a guy like Brian refaces a Link. They will have some basic similarities, but aren't they no longer really an Otto Link? I like Ted Klum's approach and I like Brians' approach, but the pieces that I've played that were refaced played almost nothing like the original links that I've had. Again, that's not necessarily a bad thing AT ALL.

So for the sales guys here, here's my question. Are we seeing a higher price demand for an original, untouched FLA STM 8*, or is the demand the same for, say, a 5* that has been opened up?

Or, does it even matter?

Just curious, and figured I'd see what you all think. I'm off to practice now. I printed about 300 pages of transcriptions for Charles McNeil's site, and now it's time to put in a few hours sight reading solos by Eric Alexander, George Coleman, Tina Brooks and Dexter!
cancel your account and go practice . :twisted:
 

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It doesn't matter. Pros have been playing refaced/improved stock pieces for years.

When you customize a Ford, it stays a Ford.
 

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What if you like lighter action on your horn, or you want a different kind of pad. A Mark VI is still a Mark VI. Most mouthpiece guys learned from people who worked in the factories or paid very close attention to how it was done. Nobody working today invented any of this stuff. Adding baffles or doing chamber work is another matter, but changing tip openings is only doing what was done in a factory anyway.
 

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You could say that the only real Links were the ones that were actually faced and made by Otto Link himself by this reasoning. Despite the importance of a well-faced mouthpiece, the facing is obviously not the only factor in a mouthpiece, so having a piece refaced isn't changing it from being a Link to being, say, a "Brian Powell".
 

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In terms of vintage otto links, so few people among us actually know what their original playing characteristics are about (or how to make them work) not having personally played original examples with any success, that it's a very vague topic.

When do they stop being "Otto Links" is when they stop having the sound and the feel. Part of the magic of the vintage link is also the vintage link facing. Unfortunately some of those original facings sucked, but the ones that were good were special and worth studying. Another piece of the magic is the original finish work, which now, most people, (fame is no indicator) cannot accurately recreate, nor could most players figure out how to play. And finally, the third piece is the actual dimensional design, which of course is altered once worked on.

When all three of these elements are present in the their best examples, the pieces can be amazing. Original facings, they can wear out and some of them were flawed from the start. They can be redone with careful study. If done very gently with good experience, the piece can be brought back to its proper character. However without understanding the finish style, they still will not play properly. Then, one step further, if they have been altered dimensionally, forget it, its over.

MOST "vintage" Otto Links that I see available online have been, refaced, dimensionally altered, and finished quite dissimilarly to their originals. They still have Otto Link stamped on them, but those words are the closest thing about them to their original counterparts. That of course does not mean they are "bad", but certainly different.

Truly, most people around here who get their hands on an original Otto Link from the 50's will immediately think it sucks and needs work. I think in many cases it is hard to tell whether mouth or piece is what needs the work.
 

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Every mouthpiece I own has had to have work on it. When you buy a mouthpiece (especially mass manufactured ones) the people finishing them are not usually saxophonists. I visited the beechler/link plants this is how I came to this conclusion. I have an RPC that is about 4 years old and that needed some work, though not as much as mass produced. Some of the worst finishing jobs are links. I own 4 vintage and all of them have HAD TO HAVE work, evening of the rails, imperfections on the baffles, chamber etc. So does work discredit or alter what the mouthpiece is....to be P.C. Who cares! As long as the piece sounds the way you need it to, performs the way you need it to and played in tune, it is always worth the money. Check out this guy, I strongly recommend him as a re-facer and he is now making his own Clarinet M.P. out of Zinner blanks, they are just as good as my Fobes.

http://dtwoodwinds.com/main.sc
 

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a link is a link, when your happy with the way it plays, and sounds. you can have a peice refaced, you can put a baffle in, you can muck around with it as much as you want, but at the end of the day, otto link made it, and you just modified it. its still a link.

however, if were talking vintage links, of course its still a link, and the seller is absolutely correct to say he's selling a genuine refaced otto link, because he is. but its not an "original vintage otto link". so this poses a new question. "what conditions do a link have to be under to be an original vintage otto link?"
 

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If I may...

So someone buys a classic automobile they've always wanted. It's drivable in it's current condition but it turns out the car has some issues. Stalls at red lights, shakes and shimmies above 35 mph, and there's a few dents and a bit of unsightly rust on the body.

They take their car to a professional who confirms that, yes, the car can be driven as-is but with some work it will perform and look a whole lot better.

The engine is rebuilt, the transmission and suspension repaired, the body panels restored, etc.

Now the car runs and looks great.

Is the car still a classic?

Should the owner of the car not have purchased and restored it, lest the mystique of the jalopy be sacreligiously disposed of out of some "selfish" desire to drive (...and be SEEN driving) a classic?

Further and finally... If the owner of the car is happy with their refurbished ride (and is looking to drive the thing - not sell it next month) does it really matter what some auction snob neighbor down the street has to say about it?
 

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You can alter a facing of an Otto Link, but you cannot change it's DNA.

IMO, Mark VI's will not go by the wayside. Strad's have yet to in the violin world!!
 

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Is this thread really a thread ?

Will the Link obsessions ever end ?
Nothing will ever replace a decent Link or old Soloist for tenor, Meyer for alto, or a Selmer for soprano. Just ask the guys that have been playing a long time.
The vintage doesn't matter. These are simple designs that work.
 

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Nothing will ever replace a decent Link or old Soloist for tenor, Meyer for alto, or a Selmer for soprano. Just ask the guys that have been playing a long time.
The vintage doesn't matter. These are simple designs that work.
The more I thought about this seemingly over simplification, the more I realized there is a lot of truth to it.
 

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Re: If I may...

So someone buys a classic automobile they've always wanted. It's drivable in it's current condition but it turns out the car has some issues. Stalls at red lights, shakes and shimmies above 35 mph, and there's a few dents and a bit of unsightly rust on the body.

They take their car to a professional who confirms that, yes, the car can be driven as-is but with some work it will perform and look a whole lot better.

The engine is rebuilt, the transmission and suspension repaired, the body panels restored, etc.

Now the car runs and looks great.

Is the car still a classic?

Should the owner of the car not have purchased and restored it, lest the mystique of the jalopy be sacreligiously disposed of out of some "selfish" desire to drive (...and be SEEN driving) a classic?

Further and finally... If the owner of the car is happy with their refurbished ride (and is looking to drive the thing - not sell it next month) does it really matter what some auction snob neighbor down the street has to say about it?
I see the analogy, but I think it is a bit inaccurate. In this case the more applicable comparison would be a classic car that had all its innards modified, such as engine, suspension, electrics, not with more reliable parts, but actually totally different parts. The mouthpiece modifications we are talking about change the properties of the mouthpieces enough such that it is more akin to putting a nitro turbo into a model T ford.

Is is still a model T ford, well sure.. I mean, yeah, in a way.
 

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I'm not one to care much about originality. I have a bunch of Link STM tenor pieces from Florida-->early Babbitt-->Modern STM-->Modern STM NY.

None of them have the original facings, but they all have tip openings between .100-.105 (7-->7*), done by EZ, Mojo, JVW, Theo, Adam Niewood, etc...all of them have had the braze joint on the roof cleaned up and nicely tapered from the window...I found long ago that this improves the evenness of timbre and helps with reed-friendliness. I remember a comment by Theo years ago that the Floridas were special because the tip was closer to the centerline of the piece, as the table metal was quite thin. I have a modern STM that he thinned the table way down and refaced that plays similar to, but better than my EZ Florida, and continues to be my main piece. From what I've seen, the Floridas also seem to generally have a slightly more aggressive rollover...higher and longer, more pronounced. By bringing the table down like Theo used to do, this effectively raises the baffle as well, and makes the modern ones more like the Floridas.

All of them have the distinctive response and timbre of metal Links, but the difference in chamber size, length and height of the subtle rollover baffle, and position of the tip with respect to the centerline seem to affect the performance. They're all great, and it's been fun to compare these with all the Link 'copies' (e.g. I also have Barone Hollywood, Ponzol ML, and a variety of HR Link-alikes.

My summary view is that the "Otto Link" thing is really about the style of a mouthpiece that has a short rollover, large primary chamber, hollowed 'cheeks' in the ramp section...the facing changes responsiveness and reed-friendliness, but doesn't change the basic timbre palette that is available. The fact that the one I play mostly is actually branded "Otto Link" is arbitrary...it was just set up well to my tastes and needs.
 

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Well, perhaps I should add that the big differences I am talking about may not apply to mouthpieces that were natively above 0.100 tip size to begin with. With originally big tips, I do not think the differences with that type of alteration will all be so significant. What I am mostly referring to is pieces that are changed from smaller to larger openings.

In the case of originally smaller tip sized pieces the baffle/tip area volume and shape is critically important to tone and response, sort of like a forward chamber. This forward chamber operates in a totally different way with the reed than large opening pieces do, which in fact do not have this effect and are either fairly dark or require some big baffle addition to even approach it. In large sized pieces this area does not matter in the same way, because due to the distance from tip to reed the same thing cannot be done. Therefore, yeah the essential large chamber, round walls design is still in effect. However, what I am getting at is that the older Link design was I believe, not made to work with huge tip sizes and is instead intended to make use of that forward chamber close minimal baffle situation that I write about. If you open those up, well.. that is a huge change. This applies to basically most early ones with serial numbers and even shortly after.
 

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The majority of them were made below 6*. I have seen many of these myself over the years and even an original 7 is incredibly rare, not including of course the re-stamped big ones occasionally seen on ebay these days. They did exist, but were the exception, not the norm, showing that the piece was probably not designed with that size in mind.
 
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