Retro Revival “Super D” New York Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Review

Today, I am reviewing the new Retro Revival “Super D” New York model tenor saxophone mouthpiece made by Joel Peskin (iReedMan) and Bob Sheppard. Joel and Bob have started a company called Retro Revival in which they produce exact copies of great vintage mouthpieces from the past.

When Joel started the company they started with two mouthpieces.  The New Yorker alto mouthpiece which is an exact copy of a New York Meyer Bros mouthpiece (that I reviewed last year) and the other was a metal tenor mouthpiece called the “Super D” ,that is a copy of a great double ring Otto Link tenor mouthpiece, which I am reviewing today.

If you take a look at the Retro Revival site today you can see that they have been busy in the last year. There are now seven mouthpiece models listed including a Slant Link replica called the “Tru-Slant”, a Selmer Soloist short shank replica for tenor and soprano sax called the “Shorty” and a 1950’2 Duckbill Berg Larsen replica called the “UK Special. (Looks like I have some more mouthpieces to review in the future!)

Retro Revival “Super D” New York Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

For any of you that peruse Ebay regularly, you probably know that finding an original Otto Link Double Ring tenor sax mouthpiece in good condition can be a costly endeavor.  These saxophone mouthpieces can cost in the ballpark of 1200-2500 dollars depending on what condition it is in.  I think we would all be thankful if someone came up with a less costly alternative where we could get a mouthpiece of the same quality and playability for quite a bit less money.  The aim of these Retro Revival mouthpieces is just that!

Retro Revival “Super D” New York Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Joel was kind enough to send me two 7* Retro Revival “Super D” tenor mouthpieces to review.  One is the NY (New York) model which I am reviewing today which is gold plated.  The other is the FL (Florida) model which I will review next and is silver.  The NY is the darker model and the FL is the brighter model.    The mouthpieces came in a strong cardboard cylinder to protect them while shipping.  A Rico “H” ligature and mouthpiece cap were included.

Upon inspection, the “Super D” New York tenor mouthpiece is stunning to look at.  The outside design is very similar to a metal Otto Link with a ridge on top that has “Retro Revival” engraved on it.  The “Super D” model also comes with the “double rings” around the shank just like the original Otto Link “Double Ring” Super Tone Masters did.  The gold plating looks flawless. The table, rails and tip look beautiful. The baffle proceeds from the tip at a higher angle and then about a 1/2 an inch in rolls over into a sharper angle that declines into the large chamber where it terminates at the rear of the chamber smooth and evenly.  The inner side rails are scooped out as they head towards the chamber and then look to flare out more when they enter the chamber. These are faced by master mouthpiece craftsman Eric Falcon so I expect nothing less than perfection as far as the facing curve, baffle and chamber are concerned.

One of my favorite mouthpieces in my collection is an Otto Link “Double Ring” Super Tone Master that Brian Powell had refaced before I acquired it.  I did a review of that mouthpiece a few years ago if you want to check it out.  Otto Link Double Ring Review    Since I really love how that mouthpiece plays and sounds for me I was very interested in trying these Retro Revival replicas as well.

Retro Revival “Super D” New York Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Here’s a quote from the  Retro Revival website about the “Super D” New York tenor saxophone mouthpiece:

“Our “Super D” Tenor Sax model is a stunning replica of an early 1950’s Otto Link “Double Band ” Super Tone Master, once played by Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Johnny Griffin, Dex, Michael Brecker and many others back in the day. This rare gem had a short production run, Otto Link changed to a higher baffle profile from the previous tubby “Tone Master” to produce the so called “Double Ring” model. This newer design produced the classic modern “Link” sound, characterized by a brighter top end and faster response, but still maintaining a rich mid and low range due to it’s slightly deeper chamber. 

Of all the “Link” models, we feel the “Double Ring” vintage has the superior tonal characteristics of all the Otto Link metals. From our own collection we chose untouched examples to replicate and produce the elusive missing “Link” we’ve all searched for. 

 The “Super D”, is brilliant, full bodied and packs a punch. It screams in the altissimo, plays the softest sub-tones with ease and articulates fast at any dynamic. Very flexible, this mouthpiece lends itself to any stylistic approach. Every aspect of our “Super D” has been meticulously duplicated from our own perfectly mint Florida as well as the darker New York original “Double Ring”. Available with tip openings from a 6* to 8*, the Florida and New York “Super Retro” have the same chamber design, the only difference being the baffle profile. The lower baffle New York version is gold plated, very balanced, centered with plenty of projection. The Florida version is Rhodium plated with a higher baffle for players wanting a bit more zing. We believe the tonal characteristics and response of both these classic designs will impress any serious player.  

 Finding an original “Double Ring” is almost impossible. On occasion you may spot one on eBay from $1,200.00 to $2,000.00, and most often compromised by inferior refacing’s and very small tip openings. Using advanced CAD technology, it is now possible to duplicate a rare gem like the “Double Ring”. Replicating a 60 year old mouthpiece is a painstaking process of love and appreciation for the quality of the past. Retro Revival is extremely fortunate that master mouthpiece craftsman Eric Falcon has agreed to help us in our quest. His skill, experience and knowledge as an accomplished saxophonist himself, and a true connoisseur of vintage mouthpiece design, is the determining factor in our “Retro Revival” replica concept. 

With caring precision, the process of replication starts with hand drawings, precisely measuring every parameter, translating these numbers into computer code to produce 3D images, then CNC milled in one piece from the highest quality bar brass. Eric then hand faces, assembles the bite plates, and most importantly play tests every mouthpiece before polishing. 

 At Retro Revival, our cumulative life experience as top professionals in the LA studio’s and concert stages around the globe has informed our passion for great equipment. Having practical insight into the variables and complexities of mouthpiece set ups has been a constant learning process. Even from a young age, searching, comparing and experimenting with mouthpieces, reeds and ligatures, trying to emulate the beautiful sounds of our hero’s on the records, this fascination with personal sound production and approach still continues. Informed by the demands of the gig and always paying close attention to great players with beautiful tone, Retro Revival is a natural extension to our musical path’s. There is a good reason why the greatest Legends of jazz and contemporary music played Links, Meyers, Bergs, etc. 

It is our intention to earn your trust by offering the real deal. No hype, exaggerated claims and cliche sales gimmickry. Our intended goal is to offer affordable vintage replica mouthpieces that we would actually use and love to play !  To our highest standards, we are committed to play testing every mouthpiece, and with great pride, we are confident that sax players from every age and level of experience will feel and hear the special qualities of our “Super D” Tenor, the “New Yorker” Alto, and other classic Retro Revival replica’s soon to come.”

Retro Revival “Super D” New York Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

I have had the two Retro Revival “Super D” mouthpieces for about 4 weeks now and had a chance to do a lot of playing on both of them.  I can honestly say that the Retro Revival “Super D” NY sound clip was one of the hardest for me to trim down.  The problem was that I recorded for 19 minutes and then had to trim that down to a 3-4 minute sound clip (because who wants to listen to a 19 minutes mouthpiece clip, right?……….).  The problem was that I loved just about everything on that 19 minute clip!  I was digging the sound so much when listening back that it was hard for me to choose what parts to cut and which to keep. I persevered and finally whittled it down to 4 minutes thankfully.

The baffle on the “Super D” New York looks high enough that I thought it would be brighter than it was.  I found the tone to be quite similar to my “double ring” that I own.  The tone of that mouthpiece has a “hallow” quality in the mid-range that I also hear in this “Super D” New York model.   I’m not even sure what that means exactly or what I am hearing but that is the word that comes to mind (Sorry I can’t be more specific……I notice this quality the most on middle C# if that helps……)

I used an Ishimori  Woodstone 3 reed on the sound clip below that was about as perfect a match as I could ask for.  I would classify the tone as being in the middle of the dark to bright tone spectrum but could lean either way when pushed in that direction.

The tone sounds thick and full of character to me.  It’s hard for me to describe but when I listened to the recording there is just something about the tone that I found really attractive to my ears.  It is very even and smooth throughout the range of the horn and fun to play fast lines on.

Retro Revival “Super D” New York Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

When played with more air the New York model mouthpiece can get brighter and sounds great in the altissimo. When playing “bluesy” or “R&B” type lines, it is easier to go brighter and add inflections to the notes for those styles.  The tone can be easily manipulated and molded by the player.

In general, I have not been a fan of playing metal Otto Link tenor mouthpieces on GB gigs up here in the Northeast.  GB stands for “General Business” and usually means the night will be ending with some kind of really loud dance music.  When I have tried to play Links on these types of gigs in the past, I am usually fine for the first set but by the last set I am toast.  I can’t hear myself at all and am usually blowing my brains out to try to hear what I am playing over the band.  For that reason, I haven’t taken an unmodified Link to one of these gigs in many years.

All this being said, the Retro Revival “Super D” mouthpieces have enough power and zing that I would consider trying them on one of these gigs again.  Yes, they are based off of that “classic” Otto Link design but I think that hefty baffle in the first half inch of the mouthpiece gives enough “Umph” to get you heard in those louder situations.

Retro Revival “Super D” New York Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

I plan on doing a review of the Florida “Super D” later this week but I know many of you will be anxious to hear my thoughts on how the New York and Florida models compare.  The New York model is darker and slightly fatter sounding to my ears.  The Florida model is a definitely brighter.  In fact, the Florida reminded me quite a bit of  my Jon Van Wie modified Otto Link that I love so much.  That’s the mouthpiece I had been playing on all the GB gigs I had been playing on years ago because I felt like it gave me the power and “highs” in the sound to cut through a loud band mix.  I would consider the Retro Revival Florida model to be in a similar category as that mouthpiece.  Lots of power and brightness with a focused core to the sound. The New York model can get loud and brighter also but the Florida just gives you more of those two qualities.  Which one to choose is really up to you and how dark or bright you want to be……….You can check out the Retro Revival Florida review when it is posted for more details and to compare these two great mouthpieces to each other.

Retro Revival “Super D” New York Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The Retro Revival “Super D” New York tenor saxophone mouthpiece is a great playing mouthpiece!  In my opinion, it is one of the best Otto Link type tenor mouthpieces I have played over all these years. If you read this review, listen to the clips and decide the “Super D” New York tenor mouthpiece is worth a try, you can purchase one on the Retro Revival website.

Congratulations to Joel Peskin, Bob Sheppard and Eric Falcon for making an excellent well crafted mouthpiece reminiscent of a great vintage Otto Link Double Ring tone master tenor saxophone mouthpiece!  Great Job!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you get a Retro Revival “Super D” New York tenor saxophone mouthpiece be sure to come back and let us know what you think below……..Thanks!!

 

Retro Revival “Super D” New York Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation or products at the time this review was written. I borrowed this mouthpiece from Joel at Retro Revival who was kind enough to let me try it for a few days. After the review was finished, I decided to buy the “Super D” New York model. Joel was kind enough to let me but it at a discounted rate. Regardless, I only review mouthpieces and other saxophone related products that I enjoy and believe will be a good choice for other saxophone players to try also.    Steve Neff
Share : Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on GooglePlusShare on LinkedinShare on Pinterest
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. Hi!
    This sounds great. Is it made from a brass bar, or is it cast like Otto Link?

  2. Egil,  Great question!  I have no idea.   Maybe Joel will come on here and answer your question.

  3. Sounds nice. Back pressure?

    Kind of looks like a Navarro Bahia, which are very free blowing.

  4. Russ,   I’d say it has more resistance than the Bahia.  I think the facing curve on these is shorter at 48 which I really like as a softer reed feels harder and I get a nice resistance to blow against.     Steve

  5. The Super D is CNC machined from brass bar stock.

  6. Roberto Iriarte says:

    Is the New York Double Ring similar or the same as the Florida Double Ring? I have a baritone New York Double Ring.

  7. How are these compared to the morgan fry original rodium

    Regards,

  8. Joe Rodriguez says:

    Awesome sound. How would compare this piece to a Ted klum focustone?

Speak Your Mind

*

Visit us on FacebookVisit us on TwitterVisit us on YouTubeVisit us on GooglePlusVisit us on Linkedin