New “Vintage” Slant Otto Link Tenor Mouthpiece

This a “New” “Vintage” “Slant” Otto Link  hard rubber tenor mouthpiece.  There has been a lot of buzz about these lately. Babbitt has come out with these as a model that is comparable to the vintage slant signature hard rubber links everyone is paying big bucks for on ebay.  Now I have to say, that with all this talk about these pieces, I was pretty  excited and my expectations were pretty darn high when I opened the box it came in………

Well, it plays pretty good for me but it’s not the greatest mouthpiece to ever be created.  This is definitely  a better mouthpiece than the modern hard rubber Tone edges are that I have played. I will recommend these to students but I would suggest trying them before you buy them.  I think they are a good value for the money and that price range. As you can hear in the sound clip there is a lot of airiness in the sound.  I could get rid of that by moving to a softer reed but then the reed would feel too soft (I tried that) The reed I’m using on it is a Vandoren Java 3 and felt great when I made the clip.  The mouthpiece is labeled as a 7* but it feels smaller to me. I have heard rumors that these run small in the tip sizes so maybe this is the case with this one. Anyways, you can check out the sound clip and let me know what you think. I’m hoping to get this one refaced by Brian Powell to a 7* or 8. I’m curious what Brian thinks of the piece and how the facing measures up.

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Steve About Steve

Steve Neff has been playing and teaching saxophone and jazz improvisation around the New England area for the last 25 years. He is the author of many effective jazz improvisation methods as well as founding the popular jazz video lesson site Neffmusic.com.

Comments

  1. I like the shape of the sound from rubber Links,your clip of this new slant sounds really good,nice warmth and projection,a really nice rubber Link tone, it doesn’t sound quite as good as your rubber EB .105 but that was one of the best sounding pieces on the planet.
    You have a great palette of colours here,I find it a useful reference,thanks for your work.

  2. Hi Neff,
    Nice playing. I like your sound. With the comparisons of your other sound clips its obvious your tone comes first no matter what m-piece you play. On this particular mouthpiece I hear higher spectrum of the sound more than mid and lows. It’s like its been equalized with the boost of highs. If it would be a blind test I could easily say it is a metal piece due to sound characteristics. My “Vintage” Slant was not as bright as yours. It was very close to my “holy grail” EB, my number one piece. Possibly floor and baffle configurations are not identical on all of them. Very interested to hear the same piece after Brian will open it up. Thanks! Zulf

  3. Hi Neff,
    On what brand saxophone do you play?
    Thanks,

    Jeroen

  4. I play a Selmer SBA tenor and also a RS Berkeley Virtuoso tenor lately. I also play a Selmer Reference 54 alto.

  5. Thanks!!! You have a wonderful way of playing! Yep!
    I really enjoy listening to your reviews!

  6. Thanks. I started doing this as a hobby years ago and it has become this site. I’m glad you enjoy listening. Steve

  7. It’s off to Brian right now. I’m waiting to hear back on how it measures up and what he thinks about it.

  8. Steve, Where are these available for purchase?

  9. hi The mouthpiece sounf pretty good. I m from France and I have to come to New York to try and buy it
    Did you resolve th problem of the openning of the mouthpiece.
    I have metal 7* from the late 70’s and a recent Hard Rubber 7*. I m sure this mouthpiece will be the best for me. I don’t want anymore to play the metal and the hard rubber miss something to me.
    Do you think it will be good for me to try 8* and 9*.
    Thanks for your answer – Lionel

  10. Larry Weintraub says:

    Steve:

    You sound good on it. I heard Jay Thomas’s YouTube playing this mpc and he sounded really good also. I have been told by Tim at SaxAlley.com that these mpcs run a bit smaller than the orginial FL Links. That may be okay, we’ll see. I play a metal FL Otto Link 8* and I use a Rico # 2.5 on it. Some of those reeds I have to cut down a bit (#2 is to soft) and some I do the Bootman’s Reed Drilling Process (it works). I have been looking for a good HR mpc for Jazz for a long time, so if I get a a new vintage HR 8* Link hopefully it will be just right. Again it sounds good on you.

    Take care,

    Larry W

  11. Hi

    I really enjoy your mouthpiece reviews! How does this one compare to the Phil-Tone custom HR link?

  12. I think they were similar sounding as I remember but the Phil tone was better quality out of the box obviously because Phil refaced it and cleaned it up.

  13. Hey Steve, you ever find a way to get this piece to stop with the airy tone? I’m sure the airiness would be great at time, but too much can be overkill especially if you want a versatile piece. Have to comment that the colors in this piece are simply amazing though. If that buzz was gone, I’d actually consider this piece to possibly be better than your Early Babbitt to my ears

  14. Yes, I had it refaced by Brian Powell and the airiness went away.

  15. How’d it play when it was refaced? Obviously better, but Babbit good?

  16. Yes, It played great. I just didn’t have a need for it as I have 4-5 HR links and this was similar in sound.

  17. steve may you post a clip of your refaced link?

  18. What refaced link are you talking about? I’ve had around 20 of them. Thanks, steve

  19. the new vintage otto link hard rubber on the review… you posted a clip playing them out of the box… but you after that refaced them for a true 7* or 8…

    thanks

  20. No, I sold it after I had it refaced and didn’t have a chance to put a clip up of it.

  21. With this piece Otto link has got it right. I think it’s easy to say this if you have a access to loads of top of the range mouthpieces. However if you don’t want to remortgage you house and kids for a possibly defective slant from eBay or buy one of the other high priced copies which are too numerous to mention- then the new Vintage Otto link slant is the way to go.

    I have just exchanged an 8 for a 7 and now… eBay ‘can go sling a hook’ . These mouthpieces are very good and anyone who says something else is lying.

  22. Hi Steve,
    I honestly always greatly appreciate your reviews. I love the honest recording method you use. (a close mic, with no effects or room ambiance). I was just listening to your 2009 VINTAGE SLANT LINK REVIEW before you sent it off to Brian Powell. Then I decide to listen to this review. I’ve gotta say that the VINTAGE SLANT LINK REVIEW sounds so rich and full of color. Your playing on the VINTAGE SLANT LINK REVIEW was beautiful. However this 10MFAN MERLOT REVIEW just seemed to be lacking something. I didn’t get excited at all. You always sound like you, and that is such a great sound you have.
    So I just read all the hype from Mr 10mfan on Ebay. Words are cheap. Reviews tell the real story. A good demonstration with no effects or room ambiance like you do always tells the real deal. I won’t be forking out the $450 or so for that sound. To me the 10MFAN MERLOT is just missing something. On the other hand $160 for the VINTAGE SLANT LINK is definitely are good deal. Your playing is excellent and I am very grateful of your Sax MP review service. Thanks again. James

  23. Rudolf says:

    He Steve,
    Thanks for the review and comments!
    So what did Brian think of it? What did he measure?
    Did he have to open it slightly to make it a real 7*?
    Thanks!

  24. Rudolf,
    I just looked up the sheet Brian sent back with this New Vintage Slant after working on it. Here’s what he said

    “We talked about some of the things Babbitt has done right with these new offerings, and also some areas where they fell short. This piece measured .103. After flattening the table, I have opened it up to .108 with a 25mm curve, and fixed the curve and finish work. Also straightened out the baffle, it was high on the right. I rounded the top of the chamber under the window to get rid of the protruding mold marks that were left in there. The facing curve was originally 18 1/2, 24++, 29 1/2, 38, 50 2.62mm .103. Brian made it 17, 23 1/2, 28+, 38+, 50 2.74mm .108 . Hope this helps. Steve

  25. I am a really big fan of the Otto link, I perform and practice on two different models of this mouthpiece and love every minute of it. Unlike some other horn players I don’t mind imperfections and enjoy the challenge of the mouthpiece stock. Depending on the case, performance wise I play minimum a Java Red 3.5, max a Vandoren (“Traditional”) 5. I practice with 4 Java Reds on a 7* and perform on a 5*. It’s a great workout during practice, and when I go to play a gig on the 5* it’s butter. Really love these mouthpieces!

  26. I think you need to re-open the case on this one Steve. It is potentially a great mouthpiece and much better than the modern metal and regular hard rubber Links, but you have to try a few and don’t take too much notice of the tip sizes on them, they’re not always that accurate. My 7* wasn’t that good and it was measured at a 7. I tried an 8 for a week or two and it was better but I found it hard work. Then, I tried two 7’s and one of them ripped the paint off the wall. I haven’t had it measured but it looks very well made and very reed friendly. I like loudness and some edge so with a Vandoren Zz 3 and a Mk 3 Rovner Lig I found it to keep the classic Link sound when I’m playing very loud.

  27. Thanks Phil. That’s good to know. I’ve played and owned a few of these and all of them were great for me. Steve

  28. Steve,
    I’ve sold a bunch of these in my shop and have measured them all. No two were the same! I’m playing a 7* that measures .106″ and have another NIB for sale right now that measures .102″. Typical Link inconsistency. If you find one with a tip you like, it might be the best value in a modern rubber piece available today. It’s definitely the best piece they’ve made in the last 30 or so years.

  29. I was wondering about that Les. Thanks for the confirmation. You would think a company like JJ Babbitt could get some better quality control in this modern age. I was tempted to order a bunch of metal Otto Links from WWBW to see what the ratio is these days of Links that play great, Links that play ok and Links that stink………….

  30. King Koeller says:

    I sent mine to Brian Powell to check. He corrected the tip opening and flattened the table. I ordered the 8 and he said it was more of a 7*. I said please make it an 8, that would be a .110″ tip opening. Now, it’s totally killer! It is perfect for jazz, rock and roll, R&B, swing, bebop, and big band lead tenor. The most perfect balance of dark and bright, with a full bodied tone, and incredible projection. These links are the real deal!!!

  31. King, That is great to hear. I’d love to hear a recording of you on it. Sounds perfect! Steve

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