PPT mouthpieces

Mouthpieces Who believes in Link Chops?


Senior Member
Breakfast room since '06 UK
Prompted by something I just read, I wondered how many people think that playing an Otto Link to a point where it really works for you is a technique that can be harder to come by than for a lot of other mouthpieces.

I have heard this terminology used for many years just as you hear 'chops in a box' for some high baffled mouthpieces.
I kind of believe in it and thats down to my experiences. I have had my fair share of mouthpieces since 1989 and without dipping in and out of everything I personally owned let's just say I wanted to like Otto Links particularly on Tenor and particularly the STM.
So I bought alto, tenor and baritone but found them all either dull or hard work and usually both. At the same time I had other mouth pieces new and used coming into my possession and took to most of them much easier and found them more pleasing (i.e. not dull). The issue was accentuated with the Tone Edge.
Otto Link stood almost alone in the 'Yuck' category. If you were to look back through Breakfast room archives I've probably expressed my dislike for them somewhere in the past.
But over the years feeding my saxophone sound hunger listening to players and their sounds, which is a processing of maturing the ear too, I could not get away from the enormous presence of Metal and rubber links on the crook of so many necks.
If you like, I still wanted to like Links and I was still better off without one. That doesn't mean I like the sound of everybody I see and / or hear playing one but it does confirm their lofty place in the list of choices.
Anyway after 23 years or so almost at the same time I found both a STM & a Tone Edge that I got on with. Both were standard modern offerings just like all the others I had tried many times before. Not dull, not hard work. The only thing that had changed was other mouthpieces in my possession and I guess I was looking for in those was what I perceive to be a good link sound.
So in effect did I go in the Link direction with the design characteristics of the other pieces I owned? that part wasn't deliberate if so. More unwittingly though, it would of course fit with reasoning as to why I might suddenly get on with Otto Link.
From that experience forward, so far as Tenor is concerned I get on with so many Otto Links its like a switch has been flicked.
So there you go, I believe I have Link Chops. When you have link chops it doesn't replace any other chops you had, I can still get on with other stuff that I used to.
Better still, I get what I like from any degree of baffle in them and differences in sound remain minimal. That said the least expressive and powerful for me are the modern links (but still OK) and I'm sure thats quality issue and they could be bought to life.
I have an tenor OL TE6 and I have been using it that last few days. I didn't like it and still find it harder than my Geo M Bundy or Yamaha 4c. I use the OL TE6 alto version and it works easily. I also have a vintage OL that is at Mojo's for refacing. I can't wait to see how it will play.
In my memory it was easy to get a good sound with a link to on tenor and bari, but it was more difficult to make different sounds on it, compared to a Dukoff D mouthpiece. It feels as if the muscles have to do more on a Link to change between sounds. You could call the muscle memory needed for this Link specific chops.
I still play the Link on the bari.
Well, first of all, the Otto Link is just one of a type of mouthpiece:

Chamber about same diameter as cork bore
Small rollover baffle
Concave side walls under window.

Meyer is the other major most-common name that falls into this category but there are others.

I wouldn't say there is such a thing as "Link chops", I'd say those are "playing the saxophone" chops. If you don't have a well developed airstream, firm yet flexible embouchure, open throat, and flexible voicing, you can kinda sorta mask that by using a high baffle small chamber reed-buzzy grass cutter duck call mouthpiece (but it won't sound near as good in reality as you think it does, in the practice room) - but even in the practice room, a Link or Meyer will sound like poop if you bring that set of saxophone chops. Get your business set right, and they'll all sound good: Link, Meyer, Berg, Dukoff, Vandoren, Selmer Soloist, Brillies in all their variants, even the dreaded "Selmer Goldentone".
I’ve blown on one only a few times; both a long time ago and also last year.
Each time I’ve wondered how anyone could sound good on one, so for me it’s not a “blow n go” piece.
But to quantify what I said earlier, that’s only from the standpoint of people that can get a relatively upfront bright sound from one.
I understand what you are saying generally.
You need good form and experience in the attributes you mention to have 'good saxophone playing chops'.

But I knew that anyway and whilst I am an amateur (with many years of playing) the following 2 replies are also from very experienced players and @Pete Effamy is a pro. (I have you on Spotify right now Pete, loving it! creep creep :rofl::w00t: )
I believe he and @Colin the Bear will always have been mindful of developing good air support, flexible embouchure etc etc over many years yet Links are not for them.

Now, there are other pieces I didn't like when I didn't like Links but there was a difference.
I just didn't like them but could play to an extent where I could manipulate them but didn't like them.
The Links were different, I just couldn't get away from their inherent dull resistance.

As for 'Get your business right' and they all sound good.
Again I see the general truth in this, its like the better race driver you are, the more cars you can win races in.
But is the Link a car with an engine that doesn't like to rev freely so you have to find another way to drive it thats not typical.
We all drive differently too, to keep with your race car analogy. At the end of it all, a good sound has a decent core to it and support. What else we bolt onto it is our own preference of course.
This either results in a sound that nearly everyone likes, or everyone else likes apart from us (mostly me in my life), or we love it and everyone else doesn’t :oops:
Most of us struggle, once we fix the things that are “on fire” we focus on a whole new load of problems.
This thread is under investigation by the Guild of Otto Link Tone Edge players secret society

When I play a high baffle mouthpiece, I tend to sound quite bright, on a more conservative design, I tend to sound a bit more subdued. But I find that whatever I play, fundamentally, I sound like me. Shades of difference, but still me. When I've had standard Links, I sound kind of middle of the road me. I did play a Link on tenor for years, still got it, which makes me sound like quite a modified version of me. That's a beast of a thing, a 10, with a big added baffle. Bright, full and loud. Still me, though.
The first time I played a Link on tenor it sounded and felt horrible. I had been playing alto exclusively for several years, and my chops were too tight. I was borrowing a horn from a student to make a recording session, and was horribly sharp. Which shows that my saxophone chops were not correct - if ever you need “loose but firm” it’s on a Link on tenor.

A couple years later I bought a tenor, and did a search for Links. Found one that played well for me. I played 8 or 9 to find that one. I think this emphasizes @Saxlicker ’s issues when first trying Links. All the rejected ones were stuffy and tubby. The one I got had a clear tone with a nice core.

I agree with @turf3 about “saxophone chops”. Getting the most out of tenor and Link vastly improved my alto playing. But Links are notorious for being inconsistent. My current mouthpiece is a Link inspired Phil-Tone Tribute; it is neither tubby nor dead. It’s an amalgam of Theo Wanne’s and Phil Engelman’s favorite Links, and it’s everything a Link wants to be.
Who believes in Link chops?

I do! I believes in everything that makes sax players to sound better. Even if it's placebo effects. Never owned or played one. Links were so expensive back in the 70's so a Berg Larsen was a better , when it came to money, alternative. Everything that was made in USA was connected with more money compare to European/Japan manufacturing. A Conn Director tenor was more money compared to a Yamaha YTS 61!!!!

Some of my favorite sax players were/are on Link:

"I'm a Link boy. I'm going to switch back as soon as I'm ready with my current mouthpieces." Some kind of guilt for not being faithful to his old Link?

"This is a STM Otto Link, made out of a high quality bar of brass. Refaced by XX up in Cedar Falls. This is the tone that I like on my The Martin Tenors." A life long partnership.

My chops are Rovner Deep-V.
Last edited:
I have been playing less than a year, started with a yam 5c, I dropped it/broke it. Then I got a link hr 5*, played for a couple of months, dragged to a boot sale by the wife and lo and behold. Found a guy selling musical bits and bobs. Bought a set of guitar strings and then i spied in a shoe box several mouthpieces, a hr link/tone edge 8 for forty quid
I couldn’t spend my wife’s money fast enough, got it home and gave it a damn good scrubbing.
I have been playing it ever since, do I wish to try anything else no, if it works it works.
The thing that puts me off with the links I've tried is the lack of flexibility. It feels to blow one way and one way only. Very focused, and sincere. A bit too worthy.
I've heard other players sound great on them, with a light flexible tone and delicate articulation. I need a Selmer to get anywhere near what I want to sound like.

Latest: Members' Recordings

Forum statistics

Latest member

Support Cafesaxophone

Tutorials CDs PPT mouthpieces
Top Bottom