These early Florida serial numbered Links are basically the same as double ring Links, same moderate baffle, same smaller chamber and slightly more focused complex sound. Those who know about these, know. Those who don’t…
This is a real untouched original in very very clean condition. It plays VERY well at around .088 size with the right reed. These are probably harder to find than double rings and people generally are not selling them.
This is a lifetime of vintage mouthpiece hunting treasure, Woodwind Co. finished and branded Stubbie at .100. Woodwind Co. had it’s own precision facing outfit, and many vintage Otto Links from the 1950’s were taken there for custom facings. Their finishes were usually better and more precise than Otto Link of the early period, and they were FAR better than Dukoff finishes. Woodwind brand are the best of the Stubbies with good facings and very nicely finished tips, unlike Dukoff and much worse, Zimberoff.
This one is an original 6* that measures right at .100 and the original finish is beautiful with rather thin and even tip and side rails and a moderate baffle. The chamber is of course slightly large heading towards Link Tonemaster but the floor is higher so it is a faster mouthpiece with a bit of punch and buzz as well. There are a scant number of Stubbies out there for sale, but there are nearly no Woodwind models, and as far as I have seen, none at .100, ever. I am not keen to sell this and may not, but even if I part with it I will be quite picky as to who gets it. I would hate to see this altered.
This piece is owned by a friend in Germany. It was obtained in Germany and sent to me for optimization and restoration. The result is a really nice playing piece at .110 size that is slightly on the bright side for a FL double ring. It is for sale in Germany and if anyone is interested I can put them in touch with the owner.
Very clean FL USA Otto Link 8 original facing in very clean condition. This kit includes original box, lig, and cap. Normally I play below 7* and 8 would feel a bit more work to play but this one played very easy for me and surprisingly bright as well. Add the hugeness of an 8 opening and the tone + response is quite compelling. I tried it on a number of horns and it was friendly to them across the board. Overall it is surprisingly good for an original of the shelf FL Link with an untouched facing. I cannot complain and could be happy with this piece as a main blower.
This original 6* Early Babbitt is in excellent condition. The facing is very clean, just some staining of the gold plate that is almost all present. Original ligature is included. These are some of the best Links ever made with a slightly smaller chamber for optimal projection and focus. This measures exactly .095. original denim table milling clearly present.
We have a metal and a wood piece. Both appear to be completely original. The wood piece measures at about .103 while the metal comes in at around .107 (pending). I am using a Babbitt tip wand so it is possible that these measure a bit bigger using a different method.
Both facings and tips are in very good condition, wood piece had a tooth gouge in the bite that I filled flush and then applied a patch over. Both are rare pieces. These are from an old estate and very likely they came from the 1980’s-1990’s. The wood model was popularized by Joe Lovano I think, and the metal, Bob Berg. This appears to be the much sought after solid silver handmade model.
Both of these pieces play excellently with power, depth, complexity and edge.
Dukoff Hollywood later model (two piece construction) serial V122. This piece is rather close to original. Someone has done some minor cleanup of some kind but there is still significant gold plating on the rails so they cannot have done too much. It looks like someone mainly smoothed the ramp/baffle area. These pieces CAN have some solder clumps at the seams so maybe they cleaned that up?
Anyhow, this is a ‘CV special’ (Charlie Ventura) facing and it measures quite accurately, with a tip size at just about .102 on my tools. It does not have a pronounced baffle and even so it has an edge to the sound (with my reed). It plays really quite large and colorfully, with a beautiful fatness and dark fundamental defined by edge. It has a little air on top of the sound (which gives it part of a smokey coloration) and that is likely due to the larger size. These (CV) can vary anywhere from .093-.102 and the response will vary accordingly.
Obviously the biteplate has ben updated, and there is a patch over the replacement to protect it. Much of the original exterior plating remains- silver under a small amount of gold. I have done nothing to this except give it a pass on the finest grit to clean the dirt and corrosion off the table which immediately resulted in a facing break of exactly 50 which is correct for this. So, looking for a slightly big late model Hollywood? This is it.
Wonderful rare WT facing and finish, no USA Florida Link. These run at at .085-.087 and have a custom short facing curve with a pronounced short and high baffle. They are setup such that although small, they have a resistance to handle softer reeds and make them feel strong while also offering a cutting edgy brightness. I believe these were popular with studio players among others. It is very satisfying to play and really does not feel like a 5* size with the right reed. This is the best of all the WT pieces that I’ve owned and I saved this one for last. The condition is about as mint as they come, perfect untouched facing and tip and plays phenomenally.
Vintage otto Link Tonemaster, “improved” model (late) same as seen on the cover of Bluetrane LP. This piece was originally a 5* facing and I’ve carefully and specially opened it to .100 (current Otto Link 7) with a significant yet not overbearing baffle and contoured rails. It plays obviously bigger, and with quite a bit more clarity and detail than these would originally yet retains the original character. It is the case of more and better, rather than altered or modernized. It is finished in the traditional style these were made with.
It plays with plenty of volume, more body than a Florida Link, more edge and brilliance than an original. A spread response with a tone slightly to the dark side of the spectrum and plenty of warmth. Definitely among the best playing Tonemasters to be found.
I am hesitant to try to word this one. It is so rare, unexpected and surprising. We really don’t often see ANY New York long bite-plate double rings anymore. They seem to just be impossible to find (except right now apparently). Most are hacked or damaged if you ever see them anyhow. Add to that, if we ever found them they are almost always 4-5 tip sizes and just too small for people to want to play now. They are generally NOT easy pieces to open up and work on due to that long bite plate which many a sweating amateur has cut through before contemplating a nervous breakdown.
This one came to me in rough condition, but with a lot of metal intact. I’ve done a complete setup on it and it’s really a player! The facing stamp was not visible on the table so I am just guessing it was not a very small tip to start with. That means it was likely a custom order. It is unlikely it would end up at the tip size of .112 (8+) unless it was made large to start with. This is where I ended up and the tip is not even sharp. The tip also does not appear bent nor shortened. It’s just a bit of a freak. The previous owner also had this piece nicely thick and slightly dark gold plated, if which very much is still present.
Well, it’s a large piece and in the world of larger Links this plays amazingly well, seductive even. It is very loud, a huge body of sound, a woody organic edgy core, and a colorful complex depth like a living voice. It’s quite a thing. I totally enjoy this piece and hope it does not get its hooks in me.
I doubt I will see another, and this is definitely among the best of the mouthpiece craft I have ever done. I hope it goes to someone who can really make great music with it. Double rings are very expensive for me to acquire now, even if they are totally messed up, so they sell for high prices. Please expect that this one will be unusually expensive even for double rings as we will never see another and at this size and playability it is totally unique!