In 1955 the Otto Link company moved from New York to Pompano Beach, Florida. The easiest noticeable difference in the mouthpieces is the New York stamp that used to be on the shank was removed. There were some things that crossed over in the transition, but eventually clear differences would be defined between the "New York" and "Florida" vintage Super Tone Masters.
Charecteristics of Florida Super Tone Masters:
U.S.A. or No U.S.A. explained below
Double line on shank on early models
Single line on shank on later models explained below
Facing number to the right of table
Serial number to the left of table early models
Serial numbers generally a letter then two numbers
No serial number later models
Normal size bite plate
During the end of the "New York" STM run Link began to start using the smaller bite plate that they use still today, but there are some very early vintage "Florida" STM mouthpieces that still have the long bite plates. These are very, VERY rare mouthpieces!! The "Florida" vintage Super Tone Masters are also the series in which Otto Link began to phaze out the double line, or double ring on the shank.
As stated in the "New York" Super Tone Master description in the Saxophone.org museum, the double line STM Otto Link mouthpieces are considered by many to be the best playing metal Otto Links ever made. To recap from the "New York" STM description:
"John Coltrane is probably the biggest name out there that ever played on these mouthpieces. It was said that he travelled around with his tenor in a case, and a gigbag full of New York and Forida vinatage "Super Tone Master" mouthpieces. Because John Coltrane is the biggest name to have played these mouthpieces there is a common misconception that has formed about them that they tend to be fairly bright and edgy pieces. This is in fact the opposite of how these pieces generally seem to play. While John Coltrane did get a fairly bright sound, he also had nearly all of his mouthpieces worked on by mouthpiece specialists Frank Wells and Ralph Morgan."
Trane played on both "New York" and "Florida" vintage tenor mouthpieces during his career, and even played on vintage "Tone Masters" for a brief period. Some other famous artists who played or still play on vintage Otto Link Super Tone Master mouthpieces are:
Eric Alexander - Tenor
Gary Smulyan - Bari
Sonny Stitt - Alto
Hank Mobley - Tenor
Otto Link was a very contemporary company during the time that it was manufacturing "Florida" Super Tone Master mouthpieces. Taking notice of what the players wanted, another big difference is the mouthpiece tip openings. Otto Link expanded its standard tip openings from around 6 and 6* all the way up to 10 and 10*. "New York" vintage Super Tone Masters had a longer facing length to them which didn't really allow for very big tip openings. "Florida" vintage Super Tone Masters changed this by switching to a medium facing length, which was much better for the larger tip openings.
Eventually in the late 1950's Otto Links would go on to phaze out the double line models, and move to having the "Super Tone Master" stamp in between two lines. These are commonly referred to as "Single Line" Florida vintage Otto Links. The baffle would slightly change during the course of the double line models too. The very early "Florida" double lines are very similar to "New York" models in that the baffle is pretty much identical, having a very slight roll-over baffle. At the end of the double line run and during the whole run of the single lines the baffle would change to a higher roll-over, which allowed for a little more edge and brightness to the sound. Even with this difference in the baffle, by todays standards vintage "Super Tone Master" mouthpieces whether it be "New York" or "Florida", are still pretty dark mouthpieces.
The next chapter of Otto Link Super Tone Masters would move on to getting rid of serial numbers in the mid 1960's. These models are commonly known as the "No USA" and "USA" Florida vintage Super Tone Masters. These mouthpieces were produced all the wasy into the mid 1970's. The "No USA" models are the older of the two styles, and contrast drastically from piece to piece because they were all hand finished with the higher roll-over baffle. Otto Link changed the baffle again when switching to the "USA" models by levelling it out more, and using less roll-over. This made the pieces darker yet again, but it also helped in producing a bigger sound that more easily optainable.
Otto Link also made changes in the way they plated their mouthpieces during the end of the "No USA" models and into the production of the "USA" vintage models. They began using Nickel, or Rhodium plating underneath the gold plating. Before they used to use silver plating. It is more common to see more plating wear in the mouthpieces because the gold plating doesn't stick to nickel as well as it does to silver.
Otto Link would go on to change its ligatures again during this time as well. The top screw of the ligature got a little smaller, and the alto and tenor ligs were stamped with an A or T depending on the size they were made for. Bari ligs were left blank.
In 1955 the Otto Link company moved from New York to Pompano Beach, Florida. The easiest noticeable difference in the mouthpieces is the New York stamp that used to be on the shank was removed. There were some things that crossed over in the transition, but eventually clear difference... [more]