Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece
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    Default Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    Hello!

    I've been debating whether to ask some questions I have. If some of these things have already been answered in other threads I want to apologize in advance, and if you could direct me there I would greatly appreciate it. I'm mostly just looking for advice. A lot of you have answered many of my questions and I'm most likely disregarding your answers. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. But I think I'm pretty sure that I'm close to knowing what I want.

    Now, as you'll read from the title I am in search of the best possible mouthpiece for me. I've narrowed my choices down to the Otto Link mouthpiece family (what a surprise right?). As of now the most comfortable mouthpiece I have owned is a stock Link "New vintage" slant HR 7* on my Selmer Mark VI. As good as this piece is I feel as though there is something missing... I've been able to play some vintage links, both HR and metal and they just have this whole different vibe to them in my opinion. I'm most interested in the vintage Double Ring, and the vintage Slant HR mouthpieces.

    I recently came across what seemed to me to be a very good example of a double ring worth buying on ebay. It was an original 5* owned by saxophonist Skip Gailes. I chatted quite a bit with him and said I would buy it later this week, but I was too late and somebody got it before me (should I try to hunt them down and buy it back Lol?). I got a hold of Skip and he let me know that he had one other mouthpiece as good as his double ring, a HR Florida Slant link original 5*. He kindly told me today that he's sending it to me in the mail tomorrow to try and that I can return it to him if I don't like it!!! And I have this feeling that I will completely love this HR Link. But I'm still quite interested in a really good Double Ring.

    I guess my questions are: How much is too much? Should try to get an original facing or one that had been refaced? Should I get a small tip like a 5* or look for an original 7? If I get a 5* should I get it refaced to a larger tip?

    I've also considered having Sakshama make me a custom Sterling Silver double ring, but I don't know if I should get a real one or his. I have experience with his pieces, but not sure how they compare to the real deal. Sakshama gets back from vacation in April, so I could get his Double Ring or in the mean time search for a real one.

    Playing this Slant from Skip and a really great Double Ring I think would really answer some of my greatest questions about mouthpieces. But I just don't know where to start on a double ring... they are all priced so differently and every single one is the holy grail, ya know? I'm pretty sad I missed Skip's Ring because I just knew it was a good piece... he played it for 20 years 6 days a week. Talk about good mojo.

    Here are a couple examples of pieces I've considered, what are your opinions?

    -http://hornedtoadmusic.com/otto-link-fl-double-ring-original-7-tenor-mint-treasure/#.WKLKRW8rKpo Assuming this will be expensive, but is it all it's cracked up to be?

    -http://www.saxalley.com/otto-link-vintage-florida-metal-tenor-mouthpiece-2663.html An example of a refaced ring

    -http://www.ebay.com/itm/122330234948?ul_noapp=true This was Skip's mouthpiece... I'm so sorry I missed it

    Thanks! This is quite the puzzle I know... but maybe you guys can assist me in solving it.

    -John Swendseid

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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    The purchase of a new horn (SBA Tenor) prompted me to reevaluate my set up and after 25yrs of professional playing on a STM 7* I switched to a HR Morgan 8 Large chamber. This piece is amazing, responsive through out the range, pp-ff, no problem. Not to mention it very comfortable in the mouth. I was concerned about switching and how it would effect my sound. I found the Morgan allows me to get my sound easier. These are are handmade, high quality mpcs at a reasonable price...Sorry sounds like I'm ranting here...definitely worth checking out IMHO. Good luck.

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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    This is a bit zen-like, but only YOU can find your perfect mouthpiece. When you ask this forum "what should I get?" , you'll just get everyone elses opinion on their favorite mouthpiece that works for them. You may find your perfect piece until next week when it's no longer the best thing in the world. Good luck, Godspeed.

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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by MrGreenLantern View Post
    Hello!

    I've been debating whether to ask some questions I have. If some of these things have already been answered in other threads I want to apologize in advance, and if you could direct me there I would greatly appreciate it. I'm mostly just looking for advice. A lot of you have answered many of my questions and I'm most likely disregarding your answers. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. But I think I'm pretty sure that I'm close to knowing what I want.

    Now, as you'll read from the title I am in search of the best possible mouthpiece for me. I've narrowed my choices down to the Otto Link mouthpiece family (what a surprise right?). As of now the most comfortable mouthpiece I have owned is a stock Link "New vintage" slant HR 7* on my Selmer Mark VI. As good as this piece is I feel as though there is something missing... I've been able to play some vintage links, both HR and metal and they just have this whole different vibe to them in my opinion. I'm most interested in the vintage Double Ring, and the vintage Slant HR mouthpieces.

    I recently came across what seemed to me to be a very good example of a double ring worth buying on ebay. It was an original 5* owned by saxophonist Skip Gailes. I chatted quite a bit with him and said I would buy it later this week, but I was too late and somebody got it before me (should I try to hunt them down and buy it back Lol?). I got a hold of Skip and he let me know that he had one other mouthpiece as good as his double ring, a HR Florida Slant link original 5*. He kindly told me today that he's sending it to me in the mail tomorrow to try and that I can return it to him if I don't like it!!! And I have this feeling that I will completely love this HR Link. But I'm still quite interested in a really good Double Ring.

    I guess my questions are: How much is too much? Should try to get an original facing or one that had been refaced? Should I get a small tip like a 5* or look for an original 7? If I get a 5* should I get it refaced to a larger tip?

    I've also considered having Sakshama make me a custom Sterling Silver double ring, but I don't know if I should get a real one or his. I have experience with his pieces, but not sure how they compare to the real deal. Sakshama gets back from vacation in April, so I could get his Double Ring or in the mean time search for a real one.

    Playing this Slant from Skip and a really great Double Ring I think would really answer some of my greatest questions about mouthpieces. But I just don't know where to start on a double ring... they are all priced so differently and every single one is the holy grail, ya know? I'm pretty sad I missed Skip's Ring because I just knew it was a good piece... he played it for 20 years 6 days a week. Talk about good mojo.

    Here are a couple examples of pieces I've considered, what are your opinions?

    -http://hornedtoadmusic.com/otto-link-fl-double-ring-original-7-tenor-mint-treasure/#.WKLKRW8rKpo Assuming this will be expensive, but is it all it's cracked up to be?

    -http://www.saxalley.com/otto-link-vintage-florida-metal-tenor-mouthpiece-2663.html An example of a refaced ring

    -http://www.ebay.com/itm/122330234948?ul_noapp=true This was Skip's mouthpiece... I'm so sorry I missed it

    Thanks! This is quite the puzzle I know... but maybe you guys can assist me in solving it.

    -John Swendseid
    John, May I ask why you are focusing on a Double ring or Slant? They are the two most expensive vintage models out there. I really hope you are not equating expensive with the best. Finding the right mouthpiece for you is a personal match. I have played 1000 dollar plus mouthpiece that were not even close to being for me. I have also played 100 dollar mouthpieces that I was surprised by and felt were a perfect match. The cost and rarity of a mouthpiece has nothing to do with how it will be perfect for you. You might get lucky but the chances are higher that you will be disappointed. Especially if you are putting all your hopes and money into one purchase. I would just keep that in mind. I myself don't buy original links unless I talk to the player (like you did with Skip) and get a personal affirmation that the piece is "killer". Even then, I have bought pieces that I found far less than "killer" and had to have refaced afterward.


    PS. As I side note, I never buy brand new looking Links in their original facing because my first thought is "If this mouthpiece is so kick*** why does it look like no one has ever played it" I'll leave that for the collectors out there. I like the ones that look as ugly as possible because I know some player played that piece to death because it was awesome..........

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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece


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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    I agree with Sacks of Phones and Neff. You really need to try before you buy. Especially at this price range. I also agree with click about Saxscape pieces. They are great and not that expensive. The Sakshama pieces are also really good. If you really want a double ring piece I would go with his. I think he will also make any adjustments you want after receiving the piece but I doubt you'll need that. Also, look at Ted Klum pieces. A friend of mine loves them.
    YTS-21 / Mouthpiece Cafe Bergonzi 7*

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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by MrGreenLantern View Post
    Should try to get an original facing or one that had been refaced?
    Do not buy second hand refaced mouthpieces. You're basically inheriting someone else's mistake and they will be hard to unload when they don't work out for you. Take what you don't use and offer it in trade or sell it outright. Then pick up a mouthpiece you're interested in on the second hand market, but only those that are unaltered. That way if they don't work out for you, you can resell or trade them for the value paid if you're unable to return them outright. This is not the quick and easy process, but over time you'll get to experience a variety of options without losing a lot of money doing so. Of my alto, tenor, bari and soprano mouthpieces of choice, three out of four of them were picked up on this very site using this process some years ago. And yes... Years ago. You find your match and you stick with it. No need to stay on the mouthpiece merry-go-round.

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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by MrGreenLantern View Post
    I guess my questions are: How much is too much? Should try to get an original facing or one that had been refaced? Should I get a small tip like a 5* or look for an original 7? If I get a 5* should I get it refaced to a larger tip?
    If you are not yet settled on tip opening, then you are certainly not in a good position to jump on the vintage mouthpiece merry-go-'round. Similarly, if you don't yet know whether you want a Slant or a Florida, it is silly to consider dropping a kilodollar on a "vintage" mouthpiece. FWIW, I played through a case of Florida STMs at Ponti's, and there were a great many that were not good playing mouthpieces - and now they would draw top dollar if still original.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrGreenLantern View Post
    I've also considered having Sakshama make me a custom Sterling Silver double ring, but I don't know if I should get a real one or his. I have experience with his pieces, but not sure how they compare to the real deal. Sakshama gets back from vacation in April, so I could get his Double Ring or in the mean time search for a real one.
    Why go silver? That's just adding more money to an uncertain purchase. On the other hand, if I were committed to having Sakshama make me a piece, I, too, would go silver. But I don't know which of his models I would buy...

    You will likely not Nail the Grail on this quest, unless you are ready to commit to whatever you get and MAKE it your #1.

    Since you have some experience with Sakshama, I'd suggest you wait 'til you can TALK with him, and sort out what you need.

    G'luck.
    Go for The Tone,

    g



    "When you are doing well, don't forget to do good." - Sichan Siv.

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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by Sacks Of Phones View Post
    This is a bit zen-like, but only YOU can find your perfect mouthpiece. When you ask this forum "what should I get?" , you'll just get everyone elses opinion on their favorite mouthpiece that works for them. You may find your perfect piece until next week when it's no longer the best thing in the world. Good luck, Godspeed.
    Well I guess I'm not necessarily asking "What should I get?" but "How best to look for what to get?". The zen-like approach is what I would love to achieve.

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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by Nefertiti View Post
    John, May I ask why you are focusing on a Double ring or Slant? They are the two most expensive vintage models out there. I really hope you are not equating expensive with the best. Finding the right mouthpiece for you is a personal match. I have played 1000 dollar plus mouthpiece that were not even close to being for me. I have also played 100 dollar mouthpieces that I was surprised by and felt were a perfect match. The cost and rarity of a mouthpiece has nothing to do with how it will be perfect for you. You might get lucky but the chances are higher that you will be disappointed. Especially if you are putting all your hopes and money into one purchase. I would just keep that in mind. I myself don't buy original links unless I talk to the player (like you did with Skip) and get a personal affirmation that the piece is "killer". Even then, I have bought pieces that I found far less than "killer" and had to have refaced afterward.


    PS. As I side note, I never buy brand new looking Links in their original facing because my first thought is "If this mouthpiece is so kick*** why does it look like no one has ever played it" I'll leave that for the collectors out there. I like the ones that look as ugly as possible because I know some player played that piece to death because it was awesome..........
    I've been able to play a few of the double ring and slant mouthpieces briefly and they just sounded so awesome. I'm by no means making the assumption that expensive is good, I love my modern HR Link. But it's the same concept that I just discovered with saxophones. My new Mark VI vs my Yamaha 82ZII is no comparison the VI is comfortable, amazing sound etc. But that doesn't make the 82ZII bad horn do you see my thinking? Thanks for your advice I will keep it in mind during my search!

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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    FWIW, the classic pairing with a Mk VI tenor is a 7* Otto Link.

    I'd either go with a Phil-Tone "Tribute" or Sakshama "Double Ring" - I've played both and they are excellent.

    If you are already playing a 7*, why would you chase a 5*? Are you changing concept?
    Go for The Tone,

    g



    "When you are doing well, don't forget to do good." - Sichan Siv.

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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    In reference to what Dr G said:

    I was asking about the tips because some come as original 5* some come as original 7. I prefer a 7-7* tip opening, but yesterday Skip talked about how if you get used to the smaller 5* you can do a lot more with it. He said you have to loosen your embouchure and that it helps with dedicating yourself to the mouthpiece. Also that is my dilemma I don't want to get a terrible mouthpiece like you say I'm just so sorry I missed Skip's double ring. The reason I mentioned a Slant is because I'm getting one to try in the mail right so that will either be on or off my list.

    I already have owned Sakshamas Double Ring but it was in an 8* facing and slightly too big for me. He already had it made so I figured I'd give it a try and it was awesome, but had to work too hard. I've pretty much nailed down that 7* is the best tip for me, but I hear the original 5 openings are really good players sometimes. So other than my query about the small tip I'm positive the next mouthpiece I were to get from Sakshama would be sterling silver.
    Last edited by MrGreenLantern; 02-14-2017 at 03:43 PM. Reason: Bad attempt at a multi quote

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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr G View Post
    FWIW, the classic pairing with a Mk VI tenor is a 7* Otto Link.

    I'd either go with a Phil-Tone "Tribute" or Sakshama "Double Ring" - I've played both and they are excellent.

    If you are already playing a 7*, why would you chase a 5*? Are you changing concept?
    I tried to quote your other post but it went wrong lol.

    I'm certain that 7* is my tip opening. I just want to know what it's like to play on a vintage 5* opening. Lots of people have said that the original 5* play really good and differently (in a good way).

    I've played Phil's mosaic but never given his tribute a good try. And I know Sakshamas pieces are killer for sure I've owned 2 so far in tips I don't like 6* and 8*. That's sort of how I discovered 7* is the one for me. But even Sakshama himself tells me an original 5 ring will play way different than his ring even though they are so close. And I've been interested ever since =)

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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by MrGreenLantern View Post
    I was asking about the tips because some come as original 5* some come as original 7. I prefer a 7-7* tip opening, but yesterday Skip talked about how if you get used to the smaller 5* you can do a lot more with it. He said you have to loosen your embouchure and that it helps with dedicating yourself to the mouthpiece.
    Committing is good advice. "More with a 5*" is less objective - that'll depend on what direction you want to take it. I've recently gone from a .115 to a .100, and like what I'm getting, but changes will always include some compromise. It just depends on your concept, and what you want out of a piece for your circumstances.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrGreenLantern View Post
    I already have owned his Double Ring but it was in an 8* facing and slightly too big for me. He already had it made so I figured I'd give it a try and it was awesome, but had to work too hard. I've pretty much nailed down that 7* is the best tip for me, but I hear the original 5 openings are really good players sometimes. So other than my query about the small tip I'm positive the next mouthpiece I were to get from Sakshama would be sterling silver.
    .105 vs .080 is a Substantial Change. Unless something is really driving you to revisit your approach to tenor, I would stick with the 7*, and ask Sakshama to make you a nice one. Yeah, in silver... I think that's the way to go because there is no questioning of what happens when the facing is finished - no more polishing, no plating. It is left in it final perfected state.
    Go for The Tone,

    g



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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr G View Post
    Committing is good advice. "More with a 5*" is less objective - that'll depend on what direction you want to take it. I've recently gone from a .115 to a .100, and like what I'm getting, but changes will always include some compromise. It just depends on your concept, and what you want out of a piece for your circumstances.


    .105 vs .080 is a Substantial Change. Unless something is really driving you to revisit your approach to tenor, I would stick with the 7*, and ask Sakshama to make you a nice one. Yeah, in silver... I think that's the way to go because there is no questioning of what happens when the facing is finished - no more polishing, no plating. It is left in it final perfected state.
    I would revisit my approach to the tenor if the 5* was that good. The slant Skip is sending me is a 5* so hopefully that can answer some of my questions about tip sizing. But I do agree that Sakshamas Ring would be a solid choice regardless. Thanks Dr G!

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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by MrGreenLantern View Post
    I would revisit my approach to the tenor if the 5* was that good. The slant Skip is sending me is a 5* so hopefully that can answer some of my questions about tip sizing. But I do agree that Sakshamas Ring would be a solid choice regardless. Thanks Dr G!
    I think you're entering chicken/egg territory, John. You'll likely have to make some considerable adjustments to get the most out of that 5*. If you don't, it may not play so well for you. Heck, just dialing in reeds from what you are using now will be a minor challenge.

    Isn't questing for mouthpieces fun? I am SO glad that I'm done with that.

    G'luck!
    Go for The Tone,

    g



    "When you are doing well, don't forget to do good." - Sichan Siv.

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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by MrGreenLantern View Post

    I'm certain that 7* is my tip opening. I just want to know what it's like to play on a vintage 5* opening. Lots of people have said that the original 5* play really good and differently (in a good way).
    I don't think there is such a thing as "my tip opening"

    Apart from the fact that different manufacturers connote the the tip opening differently, it is al related to the facing curve. Without the facing curve a tip opening is nearly meaningless in that you can make a .115 feel the same as a .105 merely by changing the length of the curve.

    I apologise for throwing this cat into the pigeons, but people need to know that without the other measurements, the distance between reed and tip is not that relevant.
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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by MrGreenLantern View Post
    I've played Phil's mosaic but never given his tribute a good try.
    My first thought reading your OP here was you should definitely give the Phil-tone Tribute a good try. I haven't played many Links, but I've owned a couple and the Tribute is by far and away the best Link or "Link style" mpc I've played (again, I haven't tried them all...), both in terms of how well it plays and the tone quality. Also, what I found with the Tribute, as I do with all the best mpcs, is that after playing it for a while it gets better and better and I'm more able to get the sound I want out of it. Anyway, if you're looking for a Link, you shouldn't pass up the Tribute.

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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    I don't think there is such a thing as "my tip opening"

    Apart from the fact that different manufacturers connote the the tip opening differently, it is al related to the facing curve. Without the facing curve a tip opening is nearly meaningless in that you can make a .115 feel the same as a .105 merely by changing the length of the curve.

    I apologise for throwing this cat into the pigeons, but people need to know that without the other measurements, the distance between reed and tip is not that relevant.
    Thanks Pete sorry I should have been more specific by 7* I mean .105 is the facing I like most. I was also refering to otto link pieces. I did not know that about the facing curve that's pretty interesting actually. There is a lot to discover about mouthpieces!

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    Default Re: Guidance on my search for the perfect tenor mouthpiece

    Quote Originally Posted by JL View Post
    My first thought reading your OP here was you should definitely give the Phil-tone Tribute a good try. I haven't played many Links, but I've owned a couple and the Tribute is by far and away the best Link or "Link style" mpc I've played (again, I haven't tried them all...), both in terms of how well it plays and the tone quality. Also, what I found with the Tribute, as I do with all the best mpcs, is that after playing it for a while it gets better and better and I'm more able to get the sound I want out of it. Anyway, if you're looking for a Link, you shouldn't pass up the Tribute.
    What link model is the Tribute based on? a Double Ring? I never gave it a fair chance simply because the mosaic had a lot more projection. I'll look into trying one out.

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