I bought this piece because my Tone Edge Hard Rubber Link just didn’t have the gutsy sound I was looking for. Even though I know better than to order a Otto Link or Berg Larsen from the net without playing it first, I was was sure that I would get lucky and get a gem of a piece.
First Impressions: The mouthpiece is heavy. It weighs in at 5.9oz. For comparison my hard rubber Yamaha 5C piece I use for classical/ensemble work is 2.13oz and my Vintage steel Brilhart Level Air piece weighs in 3.3oz. I am not sure if the weight effect the tone but I like the extra weight of the piece.
Ligature: I used the stock one screw ligature and a Rovner Dark. I couldn’t tell the difference in tone between them. The Rovner did secure the reed much better than the stock ligature.
Reed friendliness: Reeds used in play test: Rico Orange Box 3, Hemke (3, 2.5), Fibracell (2.5, 4), LaVoz Medium Hard, Legere 2 1/4. This piece did not like any of the reeds.
Response: I had issues with reed compatibility on this piece. I played around 20 different reeds and all of them played slightly poorly with this mouthpiece. I then played the same reeds on the Rousseau, A Level Air, HR Tone Edge link and they played with various levels or success. It would seem that this Link suffers from some issue related with its facing. This piece has a date with Eric Falcon over at Warburton for a reface later this month.
Tonal/Dynamic Flexibility: The best performing reed at my disposal was a Fibracell, which is not my favorite reed for Otto Links but provided a way to experience the playing characteristics of the piece. The piece has a very “Link” like tone. What I mean by that is that the sound can be modified by the player and his/her preferences in reeds and embouchure. I have been a Baritone Link player for the last 12 years and still consider them a great overall piece.
Other: The stock ligature did not hold the reed very securely and allowed it to move around. I have since paired it with a Rovner Dark ligature.
Intonation: This piece will be a great piece after being cleaned up at the refacer. My YBS-61 played exceptionally well in tune with this piece although the altissimo was weak sounding. I suspect it could be an issue with the reed.
Take Away: This piece has the potential to be grand but until it’s worked over it is a bit of a dud. In the future I will purchase Links only if they have been worked over by a known pro or I have played it before purchasing. I do get the impression that it will be fantastic when complete.
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