Saxophone Forum


by gtzippy
(2 posts)
5 years ago

Old Otto Link mouthpiece

A friend of mine purchased an old beat up 19-teens Buescher horn (neck piece has a huge crack) to decorate his new living room.  He actually only noticed it becasue he thought the case looked very cool and when he picked it up there was a sax inside.  The stuff inside the case (reed slips with switchboard phone number from pre-WWII on them) and the US NAVAL shipping labels on the case lead us to believe this horn was played by a serviceman in WWII.

This was basically the best thing that could have happened to me because there were three mouthpieces in the case that he just gave me.  An excellent contiditon Martin Handcraft, an excellent condition Conn Eagle, and an Otto Link FOUR-Star (complete with ligature).  Now, I have seen enough of these on ebay to know that the $120 sax he bought came with possible $1000 in mouth pieces that he just gave to me (yes I told him what he had, he didn't seem to care).  I'd like to know if anyone can tell me about the FOUR-Star.

The gold plating is all gone.  The mouthpiece itself looks (and smells and tastes) like it is mostly brass.  The colors on the mouthpiece look like yellowing brass and silverish.  There looks to be a fair amount of oxidation on the table but I can still see the word "FACING" and the 4(star symbol).  All of the other expecting marking are there and easy to read. No, it is not a Hawkings Special.  

On one side, there is an engraving that says "Series V 21."  I would really like to know what that means.  Also, I would like to hear from anyone who has been playing on one of these.  The ligature won't be here for another week.  He forgot to but it in the bag when he packaged up the mouthpieces but I have a current model super tone master sitting around that ligature should fit it.

So, who can tell me about this old relic? 

Reply To Post [Report Abuse]

Report Abuse

Replies

  1. by GFC
    (794 posts)

    5 years ago

    Re: Old Otto Link mouthpiece

    The museum section of this site has a plethora of information on old Otto Links.  The 4* on the table is the tip opening, which is tiny by today's standards but typical for the era during which it was produced (1935-1940).  The V21 is a serial number.  

    As a player, you would want to try harder reeds than you would with a piece with a larger tip opening.  It is also a very dark sounding piece.  Lester Young used one on the classic Basie recordings, with a shaved baritone reed to get his unique tone.  They reportedly play better with a ligature that has a thinner pressure plate than the original.  

    Whatever you decide about using the piece, please, please, PLEASE don't have it refaced.  Refacing a vintage mouthpiece to change the original intent of its design is an act of historical violence and you still might not get the result you want.  If you ultimately decide that the piece doesn't work for you, sell it to someone who can appreciate it as is and use the proceeds of the sale to get a mouthpiece you truly want.  You would probably have a big chunk of change left over.  

     

    Reply To Post


    1. by gtzippy
      (2 posts)

      5 years ago

      Re: Old Otto Link mouthpiece

      I've actually been playing on it recently and I really like the sound.  I've been using a contenmporaty Super Tone Master ligature on it (fun story, the vintage ligature on an old buecher soprano mouthpiece) and I can really hear the difference with the thinner plate ligature.  My only beef with it is the aftertaste.  You know that smell you get when you open a vintage case?  That brassy smell?  Almost like you can smell the saxophoen factory?  That is what this thing tastes like.  The gold...and silver under it are worn off in lots of places, which adds a cool look.

      Reply To Post