How It Came To Be: Morgan Excalibur Tenor Indiana Model
Author: David Hoskins
In the early 1970s, the Otto Link Company in Florida was purchased by the Babbitt Company in Indiana. The first hard rubber Otto Link Tone Edge Model tenor saxophone mouthpieces made by the Babbitt Company had more baffle and material in the floor than other Tone Edge pieces made prior or since. This version of the Tone Edge has become known as the "Early Babbitt" Tone Edge Models. These early 1970s Tone Edge mouthpieces retain the core tone associated with Links but have more edge and punch. The original "Early Babbitt" version of the Tone Edge Model continues to be highly sought after.
For several years now, a mouthpiece refacer not associated with the Morgan Mouthpiece Company had been working with another manufacturer to develop a mouthpiece similar to an “Early Babbitt” Otto Link. In a collaboration with the Babbitt Company and another manufacturer, they produced a few different versions, but for various reasons could not continue the versions they liked or didn’t quite like other versions.
Frustrated, this refacer contacted Erik Greiffenhagen early 2017 to see what he could do. Erik took one of the blanks for our Excalibur Medium Chamber Model, grabbed his files and sandpaper and went to work. While the "Early Babbitt" Links are large chamber mouthpieces, Erik started with our Medium Chamber Model blanks because it has “all the right meat in the right places”. Our large chamber model has a different design on the interior which would not have worked. So Erik carved out the chamber to the proper Otto Link chamber shape and shaped the baffle area so it would have the longer shelf or clam-shell baffle similar to an Early Babbitt Link.
When Erik made this piece, he was thinking it would be a “one-off” custom piece. We really did not plan on creating another new model of mouthpiece. Well, our customer freaked out about how great the mouthpiece was. As far as I know, he is still playing it. It was exactly what he had been trying to produce for years with the other manufacturer. Since it turned out so well, we decided to start producing this new model and it is a great addition to our lineup of tenor mouthpieces.
The Excalibur body shape is a streamline body shape. The beak feels smaller in the mouth and it takes a smaller ligature (standard alto size ligature). Since the walls are thinner, it has a quicker response and is more brilliant in sound than our Jazz body mouthpieces. We will offer this same interior on our Jazz bodies soon. The Excalibur Indiana mouthpiece is made from the Morgan rubber formula which is pretty much the same as the rubber formula used by most companies in the 1940s - 1950s...including Otto Link.
The same process used to make the “one-off” piece for our customer is still how these are made. They are completely handcrafted on the interior. The chamber, baffle, facing, etc are all done by hand by the most experienced craftsmen in the business.
We have three large chamber Excalibur model mouthpieces. All have a darker core tone with some edge to it. This model has the most edge of our large chamber Excalibur model mouthpieces. If you have experienced Early Babbitt Otto Links and enjoy them, then this is certainly a mouthpiece to try. If you generally like Otto Link tenor mouthpieces, but would like a bit more edge, then this is one to try. Click the following link for more information: