Buyer Beware! Counterfeit Vintage Saxophone Mouthpieces Galore

Disclaimer: If you bought a vintage mouthpiece in the last few years off of Ebay then this article might not be good news for you.  If you would rather not know……then do not continue to read……

A friend of mine reached out to me a few weeks ago and was excited to share the good new that he had just got a great deal on two Slant Signature No USA Otto Link tenor saxophone mouthpieces and a Meyer NY Bros alto saxophone mouthpiece.  As most of you know, these are the top dollar vintage saxophone mouthpieces on the market right now and you could easily pay 3-5 thousand dollars for this set of three sax mouthpieces.  He was able to get all three mouthpieces for only 1,000 dollars which certainly seems like a great price for these three vintage saxophone mouthpieces pictured below.


 Photo of what seems to be an authentic vintage Otto Link No USA Slant 5 Tenor Sax Mouthpiece,  a Meyer NY Bros 4 Alto Sax Mouthpiece, an Otto Link No USA Slant 6* Tenor Sax Mouthpiece

Unfortunately, I had to be the bearer of what might be some bad news.  You see, he bought these three mouthpieces on Ebay from a seller in Hungary and I had recently been reading a thread on SOTW (Sax on the Web) about a ring of sellers selling counterfeit vintage mouthpieces from a variety of countries including Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, UK, Scotland and supposedly the country of Florida!

It seemed that many of these sellers also deal with vintage coins and other antiquities from what I have read.  As soon as someone would catch on to the counterfeit mouthpieces, coins or other antiquities they were selling, the seller would close down their Ebay account and start a new one in another country.

I mentioned this to my friend over email and he immediately got nervous.  He is not one to waste time so he immediately sent the three mouthpieces off to Brian Powell the next day for an evaluation.  Brian Powell has probably refaced more vintage mouthpieces than just about anyone on the planet so if anyone could tell if these were real or not it would be him. You can check out Brian Powell’s website here to find out more about him.  Here is another photo of the three mouthpieces below:


Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 5 Tenor Mouthpiece, Counterfeit Meyer NY Bros 4 Alto Mouthpiece, Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 6* Tenor Mouthpiece

These mouthpieces certainly looked real to me when I first saw them in person.  In fact, a well known mouthpiece refacer on SOTW Sakshama started a thread on these types of counterfeit mouthpieces by posting:

“Beware of pristine looking Slant Signature Links on eBay. Some are not real although they look scary good and play like the real thing but are made of some resin material. Here is one that I got on Ebay from a guy in St Petersburg in Florida.  I’m spellbound by the level of sophistication as the mouthpiece passes the visual test with flying colors.”-Sakshama

Wow, if a mouthpiece refacer like Sakshama could not tell the difference from the Ebay photos then what hope is there for the rest of us?  That is scary!  I was curious what Brian Powell would say about these three mouthpieces……


Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 5 Tenor Mouthpiece, Counterfeit Meyer NY Bros 4 Alto Mouthpiece, Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 6* Tenor Mouthpiece

Brian Powell received the package a few days later and immediately emailed my friend:

Hi XXXXX,
I did get your package today, and unfortunately, I do have bad news- these are counterfeit pieces.  All three of them are not actually made of hard rubber, but are (well-done) forgeries made of some sort of resin material.  They do not come off on sandpaper looking at all like hard rubber (I took a few light passes on the shank end of the mouthpiece on very fine sandpaper)- old Link and Meyer rubber will leave a distinct brown trail with a signature rubber odor, and these come off the paper leaving a grayish trail.  There is also evidence on the shank ends that shows their reverse-engineered molding process.
Mind you, these are good counterfeits (basically took some mint specimens and used a lost wax molding process), but they are certainly not the real deal.  I’m sorry that you got taken advantage of by some unscrupulous counterfeiters- wish I had better news for you. –Brian Powell


Real Vintage Otto Link Slant Hard Rubber Mouthpiece on Left with Orange/Brown Refacing Dust, Counterfeit Otto Link Slant on Right with Gray Refacing Dust-photo courtesy of Sakshama

I asked Sakshama if I could use these three photos of his with the refacing dust on them so you could see the difference in dust color.  Sakshama is a mouthpiece refacer in NYC and you can find out more about him at his website.

Above, are a real vintage Otto Link Slant Signature hard rubber mouthpiece on the left with orange/brown refacing dust on it.  On the right is the counterfeit Otto Link Slant Signature made out of a resin (plastic) with grayish refacing dust on it from the resin (plastic) material.


The Different Colors of the Refacing Dust as Seen on Sandpaper-Orange is Real Hard Rubber, White is Resin (Plastic)-photo courtesy of Sakshama

You can also see the difference in refacing dust on the sandpaper above.  The orange/brown color is hard rubber. The white/gray color is the resin (plastic).


Real Vintage Otto Link Slant Hard Rubber Mouthpiece on Left with Orange/Brown Refacing Dust, Counterfeit Otto Link Slant on Right with Gray Refacing Dust-photo courtesy of Sakshama

The photo above is a bigger photo of a real vintage Otto Link Slant Signature hard rubber mouthpiece on the left with orange/brown refacing dust on it.  On the right is the counterfeit Otto Link Slant Signature made out of a resin (plastic) with  grayish refacing dust on it from the resin material.


Comparison of Counterfeit Shank Ends(two on Left) with Real Otto Link Slant Shank End (the one on the Right)

Brian Powell mentions in his email above that “there is evidence on the shank ends that shows their reverse engineered molding process“.  The photo above shows the two counterfeit Slants on the left side of the photo and a real Early Babbitt Otto Link  “Slant Blank” tenor mouthpiece that I own on the right and if you look closely, you can see the differences between the ends of the shanks. The real EB Otto Link on the right is smooth on the end of the shank and the two fake Slant Otto Links on the left have a texture and what look like layers on the end of the shank. Besides this obvious difference with the shanks, I don’t see much else to  warn potential buyers that these are counterfeit mouthpieces.

Like I stated in the beginning, the two tenor mouthpieces in the photos are copies of a Vintage Otto Link No USA Slant Signature Tenor Mouthpiece and the alto mouthpiece is a NY Bros Meyer alto sax mouthpiece.  It’s probably not a coincidence that Theo Wanne on  his mouthpiece museum page writes that these two vintage saxophone mouthpieces are the most sought after (and most expensive) in the vintage mouthpiece market. Coincidence?   Yeah, I don’t think so either……If you are going to counterfeit something, might as well go for the big bucks……

Counterfeit Meyer NY Bros 4 Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

Below are photos of the Counterfeit Meyer NY Bros 4 alto saxophone mouthpiece.  I compared these photos with photos of real NY Bros Meyer mouthpieces on the internet. Many of the NY Bros Meyer have New York written on the top of the shank and these were the early version of the NY Bros Meyer.

The later version of the NY Bros Meyer alto sax mouthpiece had the chamber size written on the top of the shank like the counterfeit Meyer NY Bros photo below so this is apparently a copy of the later version NY Bros Meyer alto saxophone mouthpiece.


Counterfeit Meyer NY Bros Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

Besides the obvious difference with the texture of the shank ends, the only other thing that I see in these photos that might sound alarm bells for me is the amount of shininess I am seeing in the photos. Usually, a mouthpiece that is 60-70+ years old will not have a lot of shine on it.  These mouthpieces seemed to be really shiny and new to me.  You never know though, maybe the seller put some kind of oil on them to help them sell better which some people do.


Counterfeit Meyer NY Bros Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

I am in no way a vintage mouthpiece expert so I will leave the fine detail of any differences between these counterfeit mouthpieces and the real vintage originals to the experts out there.  I have provided a boatload of photos so that the experts out there might be able to chime in if they can see any differences that I can’t.

Honestly, if these are really good counterfeits of the vintage mouthpieces then it would be hard to tell the difference between them and the real mouthpieces by looking at photos if the counterfeiters are any good.  I guess that would be a primary goal for these counterfeiters.


Counterfeit Meyer NY Bros Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

At first, I thought this amount of shine on the baffle area would be a sure sign that this mouthpiece is plastic but if you look at this review I did of a vintage NY Meyer alto mouthpiece last year, the baffle area also has a good amount of shine to it’s hard rubber so I’m not sure how useful the shine factor is in differentiating between a real and counterfeit mouthpiece.


Counterfeit Meyer NY Bros Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

As these mouthpieces are counterfeits and technically illegal, I will not be playing them nor reporting on how good or bad they are.  I know some of you will be disappointed to read this but I just feel like writing any kind of review of these mouthpieces will legitimize what these guys are doing.  I have no idea how many of these have been sold but I feel awful for the players out there that might have seen a great deal and perhaps bought these as an investment or even bought one because they always wanted to try one and now they find out that these are fake copies made of plastic.

The thought of providing a review that might actually make player’s out there want one of these illegal mouthpieces more is not something I want to be a part of.

Besides the moral objection to reviewing these mouthpieces, their tip opening are much smaller than I am used to or even like on a sax mouthpiece so I am honestly not even tempted to try these mouthpieces.  Even if they were my perfect tip opening, I would not post a review of these mouthpieces due to the corrupt character of the sellers.


Counterfeit Meyer NY Bros Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece

You can see a clear line in what I would consider the bore of this counterfeit mouthpiece above.  The original later version of the NY Bros Meyer mouthpiece also had a line in the chamber but from the photos I have seen the line in the original looks to be more forward towards the rear of the chamber where the bore starts.  This line looks to be further back in the bore of the mouthpiece but it could also just be the angle of the photo.


Counterfeit Meyer NY Bros Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece Shank with uneven surface

You can clearly see the rough surface of the shank end of the mouthpiece in the photo above which according to Brian Powell is evidence of the counterfeiter’s molding process.

 

Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 5 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Below are photos of the counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant Signature 5 tenor saxophone mouthpiece.  This mouthpiece does not have USA on the bottom of the shank so it is a copy of the second version of an Otto Link No USA Slant Signature mouthpiece.  Here is what Theo Wanne says about this mouthpiece on his mouthpiece museum page:

The second version had a squarer shank, and had the tip size on the side of the mouthpiece.   These were made standard up to a 9 and had a lot more baffle material in them. The No USA version had a roll-over baffle similar to its metal brother, however, perhaps even higher, and are considered the most desirable of the slant links along with the later USA ‘Slant Signature’ version.


Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 5 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The shape of the mouthpiece and engraving above look pretty darn close if not exact to the real thing to my eyes.  Maybe someone who deals with fonts can discern a difference in the lettering but I have gone back and forth between these photos and photos of real Slant Signature Otto Link mouthpieces and could not find a clear and certain difference in the engraving.  If you see something please let us know….(although you will probably be letting the counterfeiters know also……)


Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 5 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Be aware of these kinds of scams because they are getting better and better.  Who knows, after this blog post they might figure out how to fix the few issues I wrote about in this article.

Very important!  Always read any negative reviews a seller might have.  I have read many reports of these sellers having many positive reviews and only a few negative reviews  but in each case the negative reviews were something like “These are all fakes!  It’s a scam!  Beware!” Make sure you read any negative reviews that are there regardless of how many positive reviews there are.


Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 5 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

I would also suggest that if you are brave enough (or foolish enough….) to take a chance on buying one of these vintage mouthpieces that might be counterfeit that you immediately try lightly rubbing some really fine sandpaper on the inside of the bore or on the end of the shank to see what color the dust is. (This is something I would admittedly be nervous about doing myself but others have suggested it.  I take no responsibility whatsoever for anything you do to your mouthpiece……)

If it is white or gray dust then you can file a claim with Ebay and report that you received a counterfeit item and perhaps get your money back from what I have been told.

Or, you could do like my friend did and send the mouthpiece to a mouthpiece refacer to have them check it out.  Of course, this involves more money for shipping, insurance and the refacer’s time but at least you would have a clear answer.  You could even have the refacer write a statement attesting to the fact that the mouthpiece is counterfeit as proof for Ebay and to the seller.


Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 5 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

My goal in writing this blog post is not so much to give you hints on how to detect these counterfeit mouthpiece but just to warn everyone that these counterfeit mouthpieces are out there and that even mouthpiece refacers are having a hard time telling the real mouthpieces from the fake ones.  Be cautious!  If you see a bunch of vintage mouthpiece being sold out of a country like Serbia, Bulgaria  or a sketchy place like Florida (just kidding…..) and they look to be brand new you should be nervous.

If the mouthpieces look brand new or even if they look worn or faded by the sun, think about whether the condition and look of the mouthpiece could have been faked.  I have seen discussions about mouthpieces where many people thought they were fake but the pieces looked faded and old nonetheless.  I was wondering what elaborate steps the counterfeiters might have taken to make the mouthpiece “look” old and “vintage”…….


Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 5 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece with what look like original milling lines on the table

In the photo above, you can see what appear to be milling lines on the table of the mouthpiece. I have heard people claim that these lines are proof that a mouthpiece is a real vintage Otto Link mouthpiece in the past but obviously that is not the case with these counterfeits.


Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 5 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

One idea in dealing with these unethical sellers is to communicate with them and tell them that you will be immediately sending the mouthpiece to a mouthpiece refacer to check its validity.  If the mouthpiece is real, the seller should have no problem with this.  If it is not, then most likely the seller will not respond or they may even block you from the sale.  This seems to be a common tactic with these sellers.  If you ask one question about authenticity you are blocked from the sale.   I even read one post by a person in Australia who asked the seller a question and the seller said he was blocking all of Australia because of the guys question……..


Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 5 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Again, you see a line towards the rear of the chamber of the counterfeit Slant mouthpiece photo above.  This looks to be in a similar spot as the line in real vintage Slant Signature mouthpiece photos that I have seen.


Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 5 Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece with overlapping layers of plastic on the shank end

In the photo above, you can clearly see the sloppy layers around the shank end of the mouthpiece. Again, this is a clear sign of the molding process.

Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 6* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Below are photos of the counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant Signature 6* tenor saxophone mouthpiece with quite a shine to it.


Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 6* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece


Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 6* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece


Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 6* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The table and baffle in the photo above seem to have a texture and graininess that seems a bit rough and odd for hard rubber to me but this is just my gut feeling and I am not an expert on all the ways hard rubber can be affected by the environment.


Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 6* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece


Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 6* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Normally, I would say this tip opening number being so close to the edge of the mouthpiece might be a sign this mouthpiece is a counterfeit but I have seen lots of Otto Links through the years with tip opening number askew or slightly off position so I am not sure this number on the edge is a sure sign of anything.


Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 6* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

The chambers of all three of these mouthpiece all look pretty typical in shape to real Otto Link Slant and Meyer NY Bros chambers.  I don’t see anything that sticks out as confirming  that this is a counterfeit.

Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 6* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece with rough textured shank end

In the photo above, you can see the rough porous contour of the shank end of the mouthpiece.  Real vintage Slant signature Otto Links have a smooth edge to the hard rubber shank end of the mouthpiece.


Counterfeit Otto Link No USA Slant 6* Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

Like I wrote above, the goal of this blog post is to warn you about these mouthpieces.  Be careful!  If you are intent on owning a real Otto Link Slant Signature tenor mouthpiece or NY Bros Meyer mouthpiece then make sure you ask questions.

What these sellers are doing is illegal and immoral.  They are lying about the authenticity of these mouthpieces and selling them to unsuspecting buyers who have no idea that what they just paid 1200 dollars for is a piece of plastic.

I have no problem with craftsman making their own versions of a vintage mouthpiece like many of the mouthpiece makers out there are doing but when you make an exact copy made of plastic and say it is the real thing then that is fraud and illegal and crosses the line.

Let’s work as a community to stop these unethical sellers and con artists or at least try to limit their illegal income by informing as many saxophone players as we can!   I know this post is lengthy but I hope it shed some light on this subject for you.  If you have anything to add or any insights or experiences to share please feel free to post your thoughts in the comments below.    Thanks and good luck out there!      Steve

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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 30 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. Fake Meyer & Slant sellers on eBay (also blue Vandoren Jumbos):

    All have sold MULTIPLE fake pieces at a time, some MANY TIMES

    If you REALLY think someone in Bulgaria (or wherever) has like 9 or 10
    PRISTINE-looking Alto Meyer Bros pieces sitting around then you are stupid,
    because these pieces are RARE and genuine sellers only have one or two at most

    nenkpisko0 – Thessaloniki, Greece
    leventbud-0 – Budapest, Hungary
    rainraw – Stirling, Scotland
    vespasiana1981 – Tranent, Scotland
    balthazar56 – Tranent, Scotland
    vip2028 – Musselburgh, Scotland
    lachpedia – Stirling, Scotland
    jimlou2006 – London, England

  2. Avatar Michael Schuette says

    Nicely done, Steve!

  3. Thanks, Steve, for this valuable service. When I run across these, I write to the seller, and they respond claiming to know nothing about counterfeits. Of course, the same seller is also selling “rare” coins, invariably. I am curious about the process — I know that Aizen in Japan is able to make great copies, probably using some kind of 3-D scan process, but their resin material is matte finish and not trying to fool anyone. I wonder if these scammers in Greece, Hungary, etc. are using a 3D printing process, and then some kind of hand-finishing. In any event, caveat emptor!

  4. Thank you for the article! Yes I have been seeing all of these fake pieces pop up, and one thing I could tell is that the color of the lettering does not look correct, especially the Meyer pieces. And yes, once you see the seller feedback and the negative reviews due to the counterfeit coins, it’s a dead giveaway. At one point when these fake pieces were detected early on, almost a year ago, there were a few fake slants and meyer bros that had been “vintified” in the same exact way, making it look like hard rubber that is discolored at the shank and bottom of the table. Here is a thread someone started in January, when these pieces started to emerge: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?350980-Is-this-a-fake-Slant
    I tried reporting a few of the sellers to Ebay, but I’m not sure what Ebay did. After that a bunch of the pieces from Greece, etc, started to pop up, and by that time, it was too out of hand with so many of them being listed. I believe that I almost bought a fake Meyer NY USA soprano mouthpiece a few months ago. I won the auction, then realized that the piece looked funny. I then saw the seller’s feedback, and sure enough it was one of those coin sellers. I told him I accidentally bid on it, he cancelled the transaction. I’m not sure if he knew I was on to what he was selling. Anything Meyer Bros, Meyer NY, or vintage Otto Link HR tenor, please always look closely at the pictures. Look for the shininess as the article suggests, look for the color of the font, it usually looks off, also look for typical signs of wear. A real piece has wear that is inconsistent and irregular, like tooth indentations, and gouging/scratches on the top from ligatures. The fake ones may have light surface scratches to make it look real. No matter what, look at the feedback whenever purchasing one of these mouthpieces on Ebay. I’m sorry to whoever has gotten burned by buying one of these pieces, and hopefully we could all continue to learn from this and spread the awareness.

  5. Avatar Walter George says

    Steve,
    Thank you for bringing this fake vintage mpc problem to our attention which potentially includes all mpcs. So we all need to be more vigilant and develop some sort of reporting system as others have suggested.
    If one is trying to sample the composition/material color of the HR mpc with sandpaper, one might think about taking the sample inside the butt rather off the table or baffle where damage to the mpc would be less likely. One would not do much damage using 1000grit sandpaper.

  6. If you get three good quality copies of classic mouthpieces for $1000 dollars your are surely getting a bargain, if they play then they play, why else did you buy them? If you are buying them because you think they are cheap and you can, possibly, sell them on at a huge profit doesn’t that mean that you are happy to exploit the original sellers for your own gain? The sellers are of course lying about the product but they are only exploiting the greed of the buyer and are, at least, selling something that can be used.

  7. Avatar Bruce Couillard says

    I wish I’d seen this a month ago. Last month on Ebay, I bought what appeared to be a vintage slant link 8 from Ebayer nenpisko0 for $710. The seller lists himself in Greece, but the mpc was sent with a return address of Sofia, Bulgaria. Frabily, it played great, just like my original slant 8 that is my primary piece, and it sounded almostbidentical yet somehow “smaller.” I compared them sideby-side, and it was 1/2 inch smaller in diameter. I alerted Ebay that it appeared to be counterfeit, initiated a claim with them, returned the piece (to an address in Essex UK), and yesterday when it was delivered Ebay issued a full refund without issue. Lesson learned, and fortunately Ebay’s buyer-protection is now very good.

    PS: seller changed his ID to: makedonianseller

  8. Great article! I don’t have interest in these, but this is a great service to those that do. I’d rather spend money with Theo Wanne and get a nice piece that is legitimate – and perfect from the factory.

  9. Avatar KEITH CHARLES EDWARDS says

    Merry Christmas, all!+ Jail them with hard time. I buy nothing sight unseen. I learned the hard way, Even those who advertise in the press have not in clean underwear. I investigated after the fact learning that they were not nice people who stiffed contractors in the US and Canada. All my dealings are by USPS m/o and with those whom I can trust.

  10. Thanks for the head’s up Steve. People always have to realize they take a risk with ordering from Ebay. When buying from Ebay make sure to look where the seller is located. If you buy anything it is better off to buy domestically rather than from somewhere overseas. One word of advisable common sense is that one should not fall into the mindset of “impulsive buying.” Make sure the product is legit. If one has doubt don’t buy the product that you may feel is suspect. It is best to buy from a legitimate mouthpiece manufacturer getting something perfect that meets your needs as a player.

  11. Avatar Walter George says

    Steve,
    Thanking you for this article.
    The obvious thing to say is that if you are spending a lot for a mouthpiece, it is in your interest to be damn sure it is legit, and not buy it if you are not absolutely sure it is.

    This brings us to a parallel subject which is knowledge about mouthpieces. For most of us it is like a black box, with highly secreted knowledge, that only a few few people know. It is time we demystify mouthpieces and their construction. It is something that is entirely doable. The process could start by a thorough analysis of famous mouthpieces, including the more current Syos mpcs, then demonstrations of how mouthpiece changes affect the sound they produce. The basics of refacing could be taught, like flattening the table, opening the tip, measuring the facing angle. It could be followed by workshops where one takes a plastic mouthpiece and makes changes to it and then the sound is assessed. One could make changes to a mouthpiece using non-permanent materials to try to enhance its sound, and then reassess the sound. One has to remember that mouthpiece creation even by the experts is a trial and error process, as evidenced by comments from Theo Wanne and Syos.

    Perhaps the time has come for people to become more knowledgeable about mouthpieces and gain the expertise to even create their own by refacing an existing mouthpiece. If nothing else, they certainly would become a better judge of the authenticity of a mouthpiece. The definitive guide to mouthpieces covering these topics with instructional videos would sure be welcome. Perhaps a retiring noted refacer would write such a book.

  12. there’s a person on Ebay from Bulgaria with an abnormal amount of Vandoren Blues that jump up in bid by $600 a bid looks fishy when I called him on it he blocked me buyer beware

  13. leventbud0 from Budapest Hungary is the guy with the Blue Vandorens that get bid up $600 a bid

  14. I just bought some fake vintage mouthpieces from Bulgaria.
    It is possible to return the item claiming the mouthpiece is fake.
    So I advise everyone who was fooled around with these fake sellers to return it back and get a full refund.

  15. I just bought some fake vintage mouthpieces from Bulgaria.
    It is possible to return the item claiming the mouthpiece is fake.
    So I advise everyone who was fooled around with these fake sellers to return it back and get a full refund.

    Ken, Do you know what the time frame is for being able get a refund according to Ebay? Thanks, Steve

  16. Thanks for the heads up James. This seems like these guys MO. As soon as you question anything they block you…….

  17. Steve,
    Thanking you for this article.
    The obvious thing to say is that if you are spending a lot for a mouthpiece, it is in your interest to be damn sure it is legit, and not buy it if you are not absolutely sure it is.

    This brings us to a parallel subject which is knowledge about mouthpieces. For most of us it is like a black box, with highly secreted knowledge, that only a few few people know. It is time we demystify mouthpieces and their construction. It is something that is entirely doable. The process could start by a thorough analysis of famous mouthpieces, including the more current Syos mpcs, then demonstrations of how mouthpiece changes affect the sound they produce. The basics of refacing could be taught, like flattening the table, opening the tip, measuring the facing angle. It could be followed by workshops where one takes a plastic mouthpiece and makes changes to it and then the sound is assessed. One could make changes to a mouthpiece using non-permanent materials to try to enhance its sound, and then reassess the sound. One has to remember that mouthpiece creation even by the experts is a trial and error process, as evidenced by comments from Theo Wanne and Syos.

    Perhaps the time has come for people to become more knowledgeable about mouthpieces and gain the expertise to even create their own by refacing an existing mouthpiece. If nothing else, they certainly would become a better judge of the authenticity of a mouthpiece. The definitive guide to mouthpieces covering these topics with instructional videos would sure be welcome. Perhaps a retiring noted refacer would write such a book.

    Walter, This is a great idea! The biggest obstacle in my mind is that mouthpiece makers in general are really cautious about sharing any “inside” information in regards to facing curves and stuff like that. I understand their caution as the more people that know the details, the more people out there will be trying to do it themselves or even starting new mouthpiece companies. My old repairman, Ernie Sola used to have a book where he wrote down all the facing curve measurements he encountered. He just dabbled in refacing as a hobby but he loved to get the measurements of any new mouthpieces I brought in. I remember bringing in some Freddie Gregory pieces and he was really excited to measure those out as he considered Freddie to be one of the best out there…….

  18. Avatar Tomo Takemoto says

    Hi, Steve,

    Thanks for sharing the great post.
    Do you know when these counterfeit stuffs start to appear on ebay?

    Thanks.

  19. Tomo, Not sure exactly but I believe I started seeing questionable Ebay mouthpieces like Otto Link Slant Sigs in larger quantities about 18-24 months ago. I’m not exactly sure of the specific time just because I didn’t make note and track what I was seeing but that is my recollection. Steve

  20. Hi, Steve. Thanks for the quick reply. The reason why I asked you is there is very suspicious one for sale around me now, and the seller says he bought it in Jan of 2017. So, I assume they have done the business for quite along time to fool people. Thanks! Tomo

  21. Yes, it is important to realize that not everyone selling one of these is the perpetrator of these fake pieces. Many of these have been sold over the last few years so a seller could have one and have no idea that it isn’t real. They could be honest good hearted people that just don’t know. Steve

  22. Avatar Steven Thomas says

    Hi.reading articles on fake ottolinks their are 4 for sale on ebay uk 2= 8 star vintage, 6 star, and 4 star, selling by RAINRAW sterling scotland what are you thoughts ?.

  23. Avatar Steven Thomas says

    O and he is also selling roman coins ?

  24. Yes, I have heard some of them are selling ancient coins as well. Steve

  25. Don’t buy them……..

  26. Avatar Sandor Zsemlye says

    Hello,
    it’s Sandor from Hungary. I think it’s a fake news that these mouthpieces are from here. I know every mpc makers here in the country. It’s a very low market. People who can produce these pieces must have knowledge in making good replicas. There are only 2 guys who would able to produce them but they don’t have the capacity to conterfeit the labels. On the other hand they would never do it! But Turkey has talented people… 🙂 Greece and Bulgaria are in the neighborhood and they work all over in EU.
    I hope you can save yourselves and your money!

  27. Beware, it appears that the suspected counterfeiter Nenko Piskov has surfaced again on Ebay under this user ID: alektrai

    I’ve reported his listing of a Link that appears to be made of Delrin as fraudulent using the Ebay reporting option. I tried to call it in, but Ebay has suspended phone support during the pandemic.

  28. Avatar Al Stewart says

    Hi Steve,
    Good service yet again on another aspect of our crazy endeavours to find our own personal Holy Grails. Thank you from us all.

    I have been reporting all occurrences that I’ve spotted on eBay for well over a year now. I realize it’s their policy not to divulge what action (if any) they take, but I’ve never seen any evidence that my efforts have had any effect whatsoever. It strikes me that eBay are happy for the turnover and all the while that buyers are (naively) happy with their receipts, or embarrassedly hide their sorrows and don’t shop the perpetrators, they will allow it to continue. I refer here to the intentional peddlers of fakes as opposed to those who are moving on counterfeits unwittingly after some time in their ownership.

    The coins thing is certainly a common bedfellow as is, in many cases, the multiple numbers of ‘rare’ mouthpieces seemingly in a given seller’s possession – and in locations not generally thought of as being exactly at the throbbing heart of the music scene! Big siren from that one, plus, as pointed out by several folks above, the generally pristine look they tend to have along with minimal description/evidence of player-type knowledge in the listing.
    ‘Caveat Emptor’ and; ‘if something looks too good to be true, it probably is’, would appear to be the watchwords here.

    Always open the ‘See other items’ of a given listing. No guarantee, as I suspect they’re becoming wise to this, but this will (currently at least) steer you away from the likes of Bruce’s pet hate above – who’s still very active a month on and a good 6 months on from my first report on him. I’m intrigued by how much business – and for how long – some of these guys do before any negative feedback is received by them, though I was amused recently to see someone giving positive feedback with words; ‘excellent fake’, having spent a not inconsiderable amount on a ‘Meyer’.

    Also hope all of those who have received any of these items are happy that a) they paid somewhat below ‘market’ price for the genuine article and b) that they can console themselves with the fact that they play well for them. After all, if these are good copies externally, they ought to be accurate internally too and thus work reasonably well, if perhaps with a little help.

    Feel free to edit out anything contained herein that you might consider potentially helpful to the forgers – most of it, I suspect. Obviously, my prime aim, as is yours and all other contributors to this discussion, is to try to help protect our merry band of players and quash this insidious activity.
    Keep it real!

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