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Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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7,415 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
When DG mouthpieces were really taking off, WW&BW did a deal with him to handle his mouthpieces. Dave was already selling all he could make but he did the deal anyway, which put him in a bind to deliver. What he did was, he cut some corners on the hand finishing and plating on the pieces sent to WW&BW. On a Studio, for example, he left the 'step' at the end of the baffle sharp without the rounding off he usually did, and on a King Curtis the throat ring would be left complete without being expanded on the lower half down to the bore line and with the resultant blending back to the end of the window.
The table and facing were fine and the baffle always had his trademark file marks. These mouthpieces play in-between a Laser-Trimmed and a hand-finished sold from his shop - pretty darn good but usually not quite up to the total in-house job. The plating was okay on the silver ones but on the gold, he skipped the silver plating before the gold and the plating doesn't usually last a long time.
Still, these are good mouthpieces and have the typical markings and pink insert. This subset of DG mouthpieces is not well known but no more were made after WW&BW began to sell the Laser-Trimmed model.
I bought an alto and a tenor in 1989 from WW&BW without knowing about the differences. The tenor KC was my only tenor piece for ten years and I kept it to play on my Martin after I got another KC that came from his shop to play on my MK VI. I eventually cut the throat ring down in it and had Jon Van Wie reface it. It was pretty darn good but I sold it a few years ago (with full disclosure, of course).
I still have the alto Studio and I just did something that I have been wanting to do for a long time - round off the end of the baffle and cut the ring down to the bore line. Something like this takes me a long time because I don't do it often and I 'think twice and cut once'. It went well and I didn't mess anything up. After finishing it I had to do something else but I'll play it tomorrow to see if it made any difference - I've felt for several years that the alto was a little too bright and this should take a little edge off.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
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7,415 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Okay, I did get to play it this evening and it went very well indeed - a noticeable change for the better, with less edge and more depth/character - now it behaves like a larger-chamber piece, supporting a lip trill for example without jumping octaves. At the same time there is still plenty of power and buzz when pushed but with a little less edge. It always was a great piece but now that I have put some of me into it I'm no longer thinking of trying any mouthpieces. What I did to the alto Studio was basically what DG did to a tenor Studio for Brecker.
My alto is a Selmer USA 'Omega' from 1983 with a new Selmer Paris Ref. 54 Jubilee neck. The neck made a big improvement in intonation and checking in on the tuner with the modified piece everything was the same.
It just plays smoother now with much 'fuller' low notes.
BTW, I use only files - no Dremel or sandpaper. I have several sets including 'Riffler'-style. I also don't mess with the table or facing - I'm not a 'mouthpiece guy' - if a mouthpiece doesn't play I get it fixed or get something else. But, I've done a fair amount on every other aspect of a mouthpiece over the years and I'm proud of my results. I have re-contoured beaks, un-dented shanks, replaced inserts and modified baffles and throats on my own stuff - I haven't worked on anybody else's mouthpiece and don't plan to.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
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7,415 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
After doing the work, I realized I didn't have any 'before' pictures but I think its pretty evident what I did from these 'after' pics. 'SAG' is 'Studio, Alto, Gold'. Only the altos were marked as the other sizes were judged to be self-evident. Note the chamber behind the baffle is round - in the pic showing the ovaled ring, you can see a dark spot where he burnt the brass with a dull ball mill and it showed through the finish. The camera is better than my eye - I thought I was done with the ring but in the pic you can see there still is a small ridge on the bottom and its a little one-sided too. On the other hand, its doing what I hoped for as it is so I might just ***eddaboudit. This describes the eternal battle between the desire for craftsmanship and the reality of 'good enough for rock 'n roll'. Dave Guardala and other master mouthpiece makers demonstrated that a great-playing piece can also be beautifully crafted. I'm just a tinkerer.





 

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Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
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7,415 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Wow - the work I did definitely was the thing to do for this mouthpiece, my sax and the way I play. The change is subtle but meaningful. In short, it improved my set-up and encourages me to play new things in ways I haven't been able to fully access before.
 
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