5/2/07

How to recognize a Vintage Otto Link

Reprinted with permission from Unbalanced Action-

Metal

Master Link (first mouthpiece made by Link)
Master Link 4**** (an update on a good design)
--both Master Link pieces were very large chamber, low baffle designs. I believe that 4* was the highest original facing.

Tone Master 9* (slightly smaller chamber)
"New and Improved" Tone Master 9* (same chamber, but higher baffle and in a red&white box)
--These are the pieces that I think set the standard for metal tenor mpcs.

Super Tone Master Double Ring (NY) (first STM made in red&white box)
Super Tone Master Double Ring (FLA) (same as NY but made in FLA and doesn't have the NY address on the shank, also in a black box with gold writting)
--The imfamous "double ring". Great mouthpieces and THE design that every Link has followed since. The same pieces made in two different states.

Super Tone Master No USA (FLA)
Super Tone Master USA (FLA)
--These pieces are the next generation of STMs. Smaller dimensions than the double ring but still an excellent mouthpiece. USA or NON, the same blank. (both in gold boxes with black writting)

Super Tone Master USA Big Font (FLA)
--Regarded as "Early Babbitt" mouthpieces, however they came in gold boxes with black writting addressed to 121 SW 5th St. not 21 SW 5th St. (something tells me that Link moved factorys prior to selling out to Babbitt

Super Tone Master USA Big Font (IN)
--I think these are the real Early Babbitt pieces. They came in P.O. Box boxes addressed in Elkhart IN, not 2201 Industrial Pkwy boxes. They have the number on the side.

Super Tone Master USA Shank Tip (IN)
Super Tone Master NY USA (IN)
--The modern Links that we love to hate. The NY chambered pieces are better blanks in my opinion and they can make really nice pieces when finished properly.

Rubber
Slant Master Link (first rubber piece made by Link)
--Made originally as a budget model for their metal pieces. Very large chamber with not much baffle. These can be very nice when opened up.

Reso Chamber (NY) (second rubber piece made by Link)
--Sort of the Tone Master of the Rubber line. Great design, with a thick beak. They came in white boxes with black writting.

Slant Tone Edge (NY) - facings stamped on table
Slant Tone Edge (early FLA) - facings stamped to the right of the table.
--These two are the same blank just finished in different states. Just like the double ring metal pieces. Slim rounded shanks, the largest chamber of the Tone Edges and very nice pieces. NY ones came in white boxes with blue writting, and the FLA ones came in white boxes with orange writting.

Slant Tone Edge (FLA) - the "holy grail" as some people put it. Nice mouthpieces though you should watch out for original large tips (over 8*) as they were not measured accurately enough from the factory.
Slant Tone Edge USA (FLA) - same as above but they have USA on the shank
Straight Tone Edge USA (FLA) - same as all above but the signature is written across as opposed to on an angle. These came in 121 SW 5th St. boxes instead of 21 SW 5th St.
--These three are the same exact blanks. These pieces used slightly different rubber from the earlier Tone Edges, so they dont go as orange. Flat shanks, more rounded beaks, smaller chambers. These are the Tone Edges to have.

Straight Tone Edge small USA (FLA)
--These are what I call an early Babbitt mouthpiece. They came in 121 SW 5th St. boxes as well as PO Box Elkhart addresses. They have a fatter beak, and the material has more plastic in the compound. They have very synthetic looking baffles and they have a small USA font on the shank. They can be very nice, and they are totally different from the befores, and afters.

Straight Tone Edge small USA (IN)
--Fatter bodied, same material as previous, with a thicker beak and they have baffles that aren't as pronounced as the previous, but more obvious than the new ones. These can be great pieces when refaced.

Modern Tone Edge small USA (IN)
Modern Tone Edge small USA (IN)
--These 2 are the same exact mouthpiece but the rubber compound is different. It seems that Links before 1997 were still made from rubber that will change color, now they are made from a very soft rubber/plastic material that is not as durable as the older rubber... That being said, J.J.Babbitt is said to be working on a new "Vintage" line for Otto Link pieces, but I think that they are just releasing the Tenney compound pieces.

2 comments:

William said...

Hi Dave,

Thanks for all of the mouthpiece postings. The Link information was super instructive. I have a relatively new brass link that was modified, although I think that the tip is a little bit large. It can sound killing, particularly in the upper register and easily plays up to the fourth octave C, but that could be from my dutiful ten-minute a day on closed tube harmonics.

Onto hard rubber. Sounds like Jeff Holman is making some good pieces. I've always liked the "body" that hard rubber seems to lend to the saxophone tone. I was wondering if you had tried any of Springer's HR mouthpieces. After reading your last posting, I did some web-surfing for Jeff Holman and somehow ended up at the Springer website. Also did you try his tenor mouthpieces or only the alto ones?

He's local here in Portland, and seems to have made some interesting pieces. I think I like the fact that he only has a few models and keeps it simple, with maybe 3 different size tip openings. Any thoughts?

cheers, Bill

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info.

Do you know which models had the word
"Super" in quotes?

Was it only the Florida models?

Thanks,

Ted