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!
These are in high demand and now just harder and harder to find. Those who have good ones mostly are not letting them go. This one is at .097 which is a classic and great tip size for these, with the crisp detail of a slightly smaller size, yet still plays very big and expansive. Coltrane’s facings were all under 6* from what I heard, which makes a lot of sense given the bright, present sound he got. This type of compact crispness can only be achieved under .100″.
I received this piece in poor setup and put a very responsive facing and tip finish on it in the traditional style. The baffle was not low to start with and I have not tried to alter that further. It is definitely on the bright side for Links, FL double rings in general were not especially dark in original condition either, until you get to larger tip sizes. This one is quite a detailed shimmering player with a lot of body. I have no complaints about this piece, and could play it with a stiff 2.5 or harder as needed.
The nickel plating you see there is original, obviously with some wear to it. It would have gold over that as well originally, for pieces of this particular period. For those who have been looking for a great playing double ring, this will not last long.
These are wonderful early Link treasures. We have two, both marked “master Link” and one of them also marked “four star”. The body barrel of the ‘four star’ model is slightly wider and longer but otherwise they appear quite similar.
The previous owner had both of these sent to a professional refacing outfit that was most likely Babbitt due to the presence of clear denim milling on the table and rails. The likely babbitt reface is very very clean and intact with no further alterations. They have both been very nicely gold plated as well, of which all seems to remain intact also. Both pieces measure around .070 (Otto Link 5*).
Large chamber early alto Links with clean (babbitt) factory facings at a slightly larger than original size that is very comfortable for alto. Original ligatures included for each.
Here we have left to right a motley gathering of the world’s most insidious runaway mouthpieces: