Early Babbitt HR Link. Small and not so small font U.S.A. Different blanks [Archive] - Sax on the Web Forum

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11-21-2011, 10:12 PM
Right now, I have two alto HR Links, that I both believed to be Early Babbitt, until I compared them side by side. Would be interested to hear fellow SOTW'ers opinion.
The whole story and the pics can be found here:

11-22-2011, 01:29 AM
The slimmer one on the left is older and a truer EB. Judging from the baffle I would say the other one is still an EB but a later blank.

11-22-2011, 02:42 AM
You have a large USA Florida made "straight sig" piece on the left. Also known as the "slant body" or "Florida blank" pieces. They came in two types, the earlier ones with the horizontal milling lines, and the later ones with a fatter tip rail and the vertical lines. The next pieces were the slim body "small USA" pieces (came in "21SW 5th St."), which are more like the big USA pieces. Then comes the piece on the right - the "fat body" pieces. After that they gained a number under the table and lost a bit of baffle and shortly after they changed the rubber compound to the (mostly plastic) junk made today.

I wrote about this stuff years ago when the phrase "early babbitt" was pretty fresh. I went on a quest to find out what was so special about the early straight sig pieces and I found out that there were obvious iterations that evolved into what they make today.

11-22-2011, 09:51 PM
I simply love this Forum.:)

08-19-2012, 10:24 PM
I simply love this Forum.:)
Me Too!

I have been confused about the Tone Edge pieces for some while and seen a fair bit written where post can contradict each other.

My recent curiosity after acquisition of tone edge pieces has bought me to this thread.
Post 3 has helped a lot as long as this stands for tenor pieces too.

After the generations of SLANT SIGNATURE models (which are easily recognisable and has descriptions that are widely available on the web...check out Theo Wannes mouthpiece museum) came
generations of Tone edges that changed over the years and were made in different locations as the factory moved premises.

My understanding is now this....
After the Slant sigs
The 1st Tone Edges had
Straight sig
Had the same blank as the latest slant sigs .
These had horizontal milling lines on the table.
A defined baffle often with a shape described as a clamshell.
Large font U.S.A on the shank & number on the side of the body.
A steep and almost over hanging curve at the rear of the beak as it meets the body.
Has also been called Slant Body or Florida Blank.
There was an alteration at approximately this time /slightly later where production techniques changed and the milling marks became vertical and the tip rail was fatter.
Came in 121 S.W. FITH STREET boxes.

The 2nd Tone Edges had
Straight sig
A defined baffle often with a shape described as a clamshell.
This had a slimmer body than the 1st straight sig version.
The font size on the U.S.A. and side of the body was smaller.
These came in 21 S.W. FITH STREET. Boxes which are white with orange writing.
They retain a tonal character like the 1st version.
Still had the steep curve at the rear of the beak.

The 3rd Tone Edges had
Straight sig
Still the defined baffle often with a shape described as a clamshell.
Were shorter and fatter than the previous version.
They retained the small U.S.A. font and steep curve at the rear of the beak.
Vertical milling marks on the reed table.
White with orange writing. Address may have changed to Elkhart IN, and 2201 Industrial Parkway?

The 4th Tone Edges had
Straight sig
Gained a casting number (typically a 1 or a 2) inside the chamber on the underside of the reed table which can be really hard to see. You'll need good light and possibly a magnifying eye glass to see it.
They lost some baffle definition.
And by the look of one I have in front of me now that fits this description ....
They also lost some of the steep angle on the back of the beak.
The window area immediately behind the tip is narrower than its predecessors.
The milling marks on the table are vertical.
They keep the small font for the U.S.A on the shank and the number on the side of the body.
White with orange writing.
Almost sure, Elkhart IN, and 2201 Industrial Parkway

The 5th Tone Edges had
Straight sig
These are what the current models stem from where the material composition changed away from the rubber to a more plastic evolution.
The baffle is all but non evident or even concave behind the tip.
There is profile change from the 4th version in particular the steep curve at the beak is now much more shallow.
Typically they have a muddy sound or tend to feel more stuffy due to the lack of baffle/manufacture quality.
Possible that slight changes have continued from the onset of this version to todays ?
White with orange writing. Address '2201 Industrial Parkway Elkhart In'

EDIT: 21st August 2012
Ref post #7 from Zenben,
The PT/SP/V models slot in here.
Thanks to Tim Glesmann @ SAX ALLEY for helping me out here and supplying some of the following information.
Introduced in....???
Made from a different blank than standard hard rubber links.
PT = Paul Tenney
SP = Special
V = Vintage
They were hand finished by a babbitt employee.
The PT and SP were essentially the same piece and the Vintage had chamber and baffle work more in line with gaining the sound the name suggests.
They stopped producing them when the New Vintage Slant was introduced.

So the numbering below shifts out how ever you feel it best to make sense of it and as this thread is a work in progress it could be especially good to refer to the date of each post you read it.
(Hopefully a tidy version will be created as facts appear).

The 6th Tone Edge
Introduced around 2009?
Also known as the 'New Vintage Slant'
Still available at the time of writing this post.
Made as a 90th anniversary model with a 'large link' chain decoration at the front of the body.
The signature is slanted.
Changes internally to recapture earlier character.
More baffle.
Changes externally from current production.
Serial number added to the side of the body.
Sold in an Orange Box with white writing. Address '2201 Industrial Parkway Elkhart In'.

The 7th Tone edge Exclusively sold by Tenor Madness.
Introduced 2010?
The core is believed to have been made from a mould that was originally used during the Early Babbitt years.
It has since been permanently retired.
Variation exists from one piece to the next due to the state of the tool.
Straight sig.
Return of the steep curve at the back of the beak.
All the white cosmetic markings are as Earlier versions.
Increased baffle with a defined shape like earlier versions often described as a clamshell.
Sold in an White Box with Orange writing. Address '2201 Industrial Parkway Elkhart In'.

The 8th Tone Edge Exclusively sold by Tenor Madness.
Coming soon!! late 2012.
Made from a mould that was created from the best half dozen examples of the 7th Tone edge that are favoured by Tenor Madness.
EDIT Sept 2015.... rumours circulating since maybe April that these are finally being produced as a first batch but Tenor Madness website has still not changed. Prototypes?

I'd love to know if anyone can date these changes, help take the question marks out of my post, add to or dispel information and confirm which versions are Florida from EB from current production.
Also when did they stop being Florida (straight sig) tone edges and become EB's (or were they always EB's)? was it right on the change to straight sigs? it wouldn't appear so from the box address given in post #3 but thats how I read the Theo Wanne information.

So far from the information it makes sense to me that version 1 & 2 are Florida made.
Version 3 EB
Version 4 later EB
Version 5 Babbitt current production

For what its worth, my Tenor Madness EB remake looks the same over all length as version 2 and 4 but has a shorter body making for a longer shank.

08-20-2012, 10:12 AM
Some pics of what I have, picture quality was better before upload, I guess compression has been applied automatically?





08-20-2012, 11:48 AM
Great list Saxlicker.

Where do you think the Tenney Slant and the SP/PT/V models fit in?

08-20-2012, 12:14 PM
Great list Saxlicker.

Where do you think the Tenney Slant and the SP/PT/V models fit in?
I'd love to know....
My knowledge has only come from personal ownership and this thread so hopefully someone can chip in with some clear information.
Is the Tenney slant a purchased Otto Link blank that has been altered after it left the factory?
For instance Link Phil Tone pieces?
What are the SP/PT/V models?

08-20-2012, 12:39 PM
The Tenney Slant is an Otto Link branded piece that Doc Tenney had (maybe still?) made from an old core from the slant era. There was some debate as to wether or not these were actual slant molds or not.

The Sp/PT/V was a model available at the same time. Sad Alley sold them unmodified. Bob Ackerman sold them refaced. Some people say they are the same mold as the Tenney Slant.

Both of these came out 7-8 years ago. Im not sure if Tenney makes his anymore. The sp/pt/v is no longer available.

08-20-2012, 03:17 PM
Does all of the above pertain to tenor TEs and not necessarilly to alto pieces? My Florida TE alto piece has a different kind of baffle.

08-20-2012, 03:35 PM
Complicating all of these efforts at mouthpiece archeology is that fact that, during any given period of time, multiple core molds and multiple exterior molds were in contemporaneous use. Meaning, of course, that two different mouthpieces made on July 1, 1975 quite possibly are as dissimilar as two mouthpieces made a decade apart. I don't discount the interest of noting trends -- and do it myself -- but that is a giant caveat that must be acknowledged.

I present an assortment of Otto Link Tone Edge mouthpieces for assessment. I will be interested to see what, if any, consensus is possible.

There are two 8's and four 7*'s -- some have known provenance to me, some do not. All are in original, non-refaced or otherwise altered, condition. None are currently for sale, or up for sale in the foreseeable future, FWIW. Overall lengths are practically identical, but there are clearly differences in how that length is proportioned between shank and barrel lengths. Beak drop off angles vary widely, and there are certainly visible differences discernible in the height, length, and shape of the various baffle configurations. The only one with a chamber mold number visible in the interior is the older-looking 8 (#3), which has a '1' in the chamber. None of the others have a number of any kind visible. I lightly penciled the actual tip opening and facing length on some of them (i.e. .100"/48), but that is just for my own reference--again, no work has been done on any of them.

For reference and discussion, we can refer to them simply as #'s 1-6 from left to right.

1. 7* with a JR2 sticker
2. 7* with a JR1 sticker
3. older-looking (browner) 8
4. older-looking (browner) 7*
5. 8 with no JR sticker
6. 7* with no JR sticker

http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa213/wyosaxo1/Otto Link Tone Edge photos/P1010499.jpg

http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa213/wyosaxo1/Otto Link Tone Edge photos/P1010500.jpg

Numbers 1-3 (part of 4 visible):
http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa213/wyosaxo1/Otto Link Tone Edge photos/P1010501.jpg

Numbers 4-6:
http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa213/wyosaxo1/Otto Link Tone Edge photos/P1010502.jpg

Numbers 1-6:
http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa213/wyosaxo1/Otto Link Tone Edge photos/P1010503.jpg

Numbers 1-3:
http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa213/wyosaxo1/Otto Link Tone Edge photos/P1010504.jpg

Numbers 4-6:
http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa213/wyosaxo1/Otto Link Tone Edge photos/P1010505.jpg

Numbers 4-6 (again):
http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa213/wyosaxo1/Otto Link Tone Edge photos/P1010506.jpg

Numbers 1-6:
http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa213/wyosaxo1/Otto Link Tone Edge photos/P1010507.jpg

08-20-2012, 03:54 PM
Thanks for posting!
From your info, this archaeology could be a waste of time then or at the least very difficult to get right.
I don't want to start guessing games but it looks like you have 2 Tenor Madness versions to the right of the pic and I know that even they differ so is iy possible that the 2 to the left are also Tenor Madness?

08-20-2012, 04:00 PM
Thanks for posting!
From your info, this archaeology could be a waste of time then or at the least very difficult to get right.
I don't want to start guessing games but it looks like you have 2 Tenor Madness versions to the right of the pic and I know that even they differ so is iy possible that the 2 to the left are also Tenor Madness?

Not that it's a waste of time -- just that it is going to be tricky, and most importantly that assumptions regarding playability of the mouthpiece based on external cosmetic features will be on rather shaky ground. I'll wait to respond with information about these particular mouthpieces until several people have weighed in with their assessments.

08-20-2012, 09:01 PM
Yes all of the pieces in your pics look to have 'meat' in the baffle and beyond, the least being in the number 3 yet it still has baffle without a concave section in the chamber behind it by the looks of it.
Could it be that the reported stuffiness in modern links is mainly down to that concave area alone?
I'm sure this topic has been covered in part many times so sorry if you are reading repeat stuff but you don't necessarily find the threads you are after from what you type into to the search box....

08-20-2012, 09:10 PM
#3 plays great -- med. bright with excellent altissimo response. While the baffle profiles differ, what they have in common is a higher floor. Most have a table to floor drop of .580" - .600" , whereas relatively "tubby" modern Tone Edges have a drop around .650" -- the result appears to be a loss of focus and perceived projection.

08-21-2012, 02:08 PM
A great thread is shaping up here. Should it be moved to the tenor area?

08-21-2012, 03:07 PM
I think so Mr or Ms moderators please
Although it did start with alto questions and grew into the Babbitt thing...oops!

08-21-2012, 03:31 PM
Good idea - hope that the OP won't mind. I'll leave a re-direct just in case.

08-21-2012, 08:17 PM
A great thread is shaping up here. Should it be moved to the tenor area?
Being the OP, I totally agree.

08-26-2012, 07:21 PM
Thanks Peter

More threads


08-27-2012, 11:06 PM
Wow this thread's really helpful. Always wondered whether EB was just a myth of people trying to sell non-Slants at a higher price =P This clears it up a lot.

08-27-2012, 11:21 PM
Great info :). Maybe somebody could try to make a HR Link identification sheet in the style of >this< (http://forum.saxontheweb.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=34806&d=1334250979) scheme for metal Links.

08-28-2012, 12:35 AM
Here's something interesting posted by Doc Tenney many years ago on the subject of vintage Links....

"Let me try to clarify this a bit. The angle of the Otto Link cursive script on the barrel of a vintage HR Link tells you NOTHING about the actual baffle/chamber configuration and the resultant "voice" of the mpc since there are so many variations in the original "Slant-Sigs" including the New York, Pompano Beach and initial Babbitt versions. I've observed that most "vintage Slant-Sigs" are purchased based in the belief that they consistently have virtually identical (and very desirable) tonal and response characteristics. I have seen and played enough examples to know this is simply not true. Many (but certainly not all) early Babbitt "Straight-Sigs" will "play better" than many (but certainly not all) original "Slant-Sigs" of any vintage. The current "Slant-Sig" reproductions custom-made by Babbitt for me using a specific core mold are individually hand-selected and hand-finished to ensure consistency not present in the vintage "Slant-Sig" mpcs. This doesn't mean that every player will like or benefit from playing one. There are many comments about these mpcs posted on SOTW. My advice is to always "audition" a mpc by playing it and do not make any assumptions based on the brand or the markings on it. The same holds true for vintage "B.D." Dukoffs, MeYer Bros, Berg Larsen and Brilhart mpcs. Brand, model and prices asked are not any indicator of how "good" any particular mpc may be for your own playing"

08-28-2012, 01:21 AM
Doc is a wise man!

08-28-2012, 11:27 PM
Doc is a wise man!

Putting it mildly!

08-30-2012, 04:44 AM
Sage advice indeed. I've bought mpcs sight unseen that were well finished, but not to my liking sound concept-wise.

06-27-2015, 03:01 PM
No more questions. All answered. Thank you!

09-12-2015, 08:58 AM
Post number 5 edited.

Given my continued increase in experience, its even clearer to me that Doc Tenneys information in Post 23 is definitely what matters.
But I'm adding that my personal preference/observation is that the slant sig (or same straight sig blank) is 'The one' worth trying in its original form if possible because of the possibilities with this blank. Work with it from there if need be.
Regards a slant worked on before you buy it...Audition is clearly the best way forward if possible.
Later pieces will still satisfy many!