I am absolutely a fan of old and ‘vintage’ Otto Links for example, I am playing on one addictively at the moment myself, however, for those looking to get into and educate themselves on the vintage mouthpiece thing, it is good to know there are alternatives the expensive ones.
There are a number of vintage mouthpiece blanks of varying designs that regularly sell for very little money on ebay, or can be found as junk for free or close to it in the normal mouthpiece pickin’ places. Some of these pieces cost almost no money, have no basic collector value and can be turned into absolutely excellent, professional, and sonorous pieces by yours truly.
I have offered finished versions of them for sale on several locations in the past, such as the notorious SOTW forum, and even had people telling me I was trying to rip people off with my low prices for junk and ‘worthless mouthpieces… what can I do?
Anyhow, some pieces to consider in your travels if you like ‘on the cheap’ are hard rubber woodwind sparkleaire, or steel ebonite. There are a range of chamber designs and the same mouthpiece also comes in different brand names, but I have made a few of these that simply blew the regular $1300.00 otto Link Slant totally out of it’s throne. Some of these I have made are simply better than the expensive pieces.
Also the Johnston Selmer Elkhart mouthpieces have a couple of interesting blanks, one of them is actually a Dukoff/Zimberoff ‘supersonic blank, and one of them is similar to a Woodwind NY blanks. Same goes for the simply Selmer Elkhart version.
For a really killer hard rubber mouthpiece, I mean, just old short shank Selmer C* is a great starting point. I make these into luxury sports cars, they are just so good. Not everyone likes that big profile, but the sound is wonderful and was apparently good enough for both Joe Henderson and John Coltrane frequently as well so that ought to mean something. They run very cheap as well, which means just as much. Even cheaper are the long shank versions, which may be easier to tune in a lot of situations.
More on this topic later as I rummage through my boxes.