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Discussion Starter #1
I have a vintage Guardala Super King Curtis, the model with the highest baffle, here for trial. I had a King before, but never a Super King. My first impression is that it lives up to the information I could find online: very loud, a lot of focus and projection. Yes, this baby will cut through a complex sonic situation.
What surprises me, on the other hand, right from the start is the fact that there is indeed another side to this model: you need to adjust your embouchure, but it can sound a lot softer and more spread if you can manage a balance between losing your muscles yet holding on to a proper airstream.
Have you experienced the same surprise with your Super King Curtis concerning a "double character"? Mine is a 5-digit silver plated with the original round brown box, lit and black plastic cap. Engraving says DG and SKC, and the diagonal file marks plus the near perfect state (no loss of plating, no dents, perfect rails) make this mouthpiece very tempting.
I will have to give it back within a week. If I can't decide: how rare are these models? I would hate to let it go if I'm undecided and to find out later I can't find another one if I regret returning it.
 

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If you can handle a true .125 more power to you. I like my 'King Curtis' which is .116 for the exact same reasons you mentioned. Yes, it was bright and brash when I first got it but after starting to use it regularly it began to 'come in' for me. These can be great mouthpieces if you get a good one. The only difference in a 'King Curtis' and 'Super King Curtis' is the SKC is bigger. It should have the throat ring filed down flush at the bottom and forming an oval. The later ones also have a more squared-off window. BTW, not many were marked 'SKC'. Dave had to stop using the name 'King Curtis' because whoever owns it wanted royalties. After that they were simply 'King' and Super King'. So when he decided to add the 'Super King Curtis' to the line-up he had only made a few when he had to change the name. I bet the one you have is a killer! If I were buying it, I think I would keep it regardless - its got to be worth a lot and it will increase in value.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, 1saxman. I'm not sure about the throat ring, so I'll add a couple of pics. It does look like it was filed down. The bite plate has a protective seal that was put on by the shop who's selling it. For legal reasons I have rendered this seal white because I'm not sure if I'm allowed to make their logo available to the public.
I have measured it with my feeler gauges, and the tip opening will be something between 0.120 and 0.122.
There is a 3-digit King Curtis available at a shop in Berlin at the moment, but I'm not too sure if the gold plating on that one is original: I can't detect the typical file marks. On the other hand, I do not know if the gold ones show them as well as the silver ones.

https://www.saxophon-service.de/detail/index/sArticle/1673/sCategory/1547
 

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I have seen a lot of WWBW Kings and Super Kings. They were CNC Copies of the late handmade (hand finished) DG mouthpieces which were made from CNC blanks.

The handmade SK you have looks similar to the WWBW SK. The throat is still round like in the King only it is offset toward the table. That makes the lower baffle going into the throat higher and a tad brighter. The sound is dominated by the baffle which is the same in both. I personally do not think there is a significant difference unless you have one of each side by side to compare. Even then, you would probably choose which ever one had the better facing work.
 

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Yeah, that's it on the throat, although looks like he got that one a little lopsided. Most likely will make no difference. I have to say, that is the only 'SKC' I have seen.
There is no reason in this case to even mention the WWBW 'laser-trimmed' 'Super King' as it only introduces uncertainty where there really is none.
Again, the KC and SKC both have the same baffle and throat - only the tip opening is different.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I guess the "lopsided" impression is due to the camera being held off-axis. I just have a small Ixus at hand that makes it impossible to control a correct perpendicular position.
What always puzzles me is the matching of serial numbers to production years. If I got you right, 1saxman, my SKC features a "more rounded" window, making it an earlier model. How does that correspond with the 5-digit serial that indicates a later model? If you go to the link above showing a 3-digit King Curtis in Berlin and look at the pictures you may find that its window looks more like a square than the one on my SKC. Moreover, as I said, the 3-digit KC looks like the files marks are filled with plating or lacquer. Strange. How did DG handle those serial numbers, btw?
I just found this old thread you started, 1saxman:

https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?119372-Guardala-Serial-Number

Well, at least I can say that the number engraved on my SKC (14115) shows there ARE mouthpiece that Dave made which feature a 5-digit serial number. Maybe he changed his system somewhere on the way from a consecutive number regardless of the different models to a complex number of a model plus serial or a year of production plus serial. We'll never know....
 

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I mentioned the WWBW King and Super King differences because they represent copies of what Dave was producing by “hand” at that time. Dave and Jeff met with the WWBW company and gave them examples of what should be copied for the LT models. I have seen oval and round handmade throats. But the round ones are what was copied for the LTs.

The handmade DG do vary in design and finishing a little. Dave would try stuff and sell his experiments. If he liked what he did he would keep doing it. But the LTs are very consistent except for the MB2s. I think there was a tip opening change on them in the middle of the WWBW run.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for your expertise, MojoBari. Concerning the 'King' vs 'King Curtis' mystery: the typical round box that came with this mouthpiece says 'Super King' whereas the engraving on the mouthpiece itself shows the 'C' for Curtis. I don't know if the older boxes made it 'Super King Curtis', but it might be that Dave did not really fear a 'C' on the mouthpiece might cause legal hassle whereas a 'Curtis' on the box certainly would.
 

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Yes, the 'Laser-Trimmed' versions did not have the DG throat ring modification. This is easy to do if you can handle simple tools without ruining the mouthpiece. There is no 'mystery' about 'King' versus 'King Curtis' - 'King' appeared on the Laser-Trimmed' and also the later hand-finished ones for the reason I mentioned. I don't know about DG's serial numbers - I have a 'King Curtis' with a 5-digit number and it has the 'squared-off' window. I have no idea when it was made.

There is also a whole range of mouthpieces made before the 'Laser-Trimmed' ones and sold only by WWBW. This is an odd batch and I apparently am the only one who knows about them. What happened was, DG and WWBW agreed that they would sell his mouthpieces Unfortunately, DG did not finish the ones he sent to WWBW as well as he did the ones he sold from his shop. They played, but just didn't have that special 'something'. It was a long time before I realized the difference. So, you can't just refer to the 'WWBW mouthpieces' unless you qualify them as 'Laser-Trimmed' or 'hand-finished'. Also, DG started using CNC very early-on to make his blanks for hand-finishing. The earliest brochure I saw from him was around '89 and he always started with bronze bar stock and machined out the blanks rather than casting them as everybody else did. When he went to CNC for making the blanks it helped him to increase production but somebody still had to finish them by hand. He hoped that the 'Laser-Trimmed' process would eliminate hand finishing but it really didn't. These mouthpieces were good and extremely consistent but simply lacked the 'artist's edge' that the good handmade ones had. To this day there is no substitute for the hand of a master on a mouthpiece.
 

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What a beautiful mpc. I played the first LT super king. I bought it from WWBW and played it for a long time. After over 15 yrs of hard playing I wore it out. Then I had it refaced (twice), but it lost the mojo. I then bought another mint Laser-Trimmed SK (unplayed from a forum member) I still have it as a spare and valuable collectors item..

But since then I have moved to the Jen Price handmade tenor mpc. I don't mean to derail but I'm a big fan of the Super King.

A truly great mouthpiece.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I bought this mouthpiece because I had always wanted to play a Super King Curtis. I still love it, but the playing time it gets and the money involved cannot really justify its life in my drawer. So I have decided to put it up for sale. I know these special Guardala mouthpieces will always go up in value, but I'm not really a collector and am not really planning to become one.
 

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The gold 'King Curtis' mouthpiece you linked is not original. If it had been originally gold-plated, the marking would have been 'KCG' (King Curtis, Gold). Moreover, the facing is most likely also not original and overall it looks pretty bad. Probably a $100 mouthpiece, most useful as a blank for rebuilding. It does have the correct 'window' end shape for an early KC, being rounded. He later went with a more square end.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I never said it was a gold plated Super King Curtis. The engraving SKC clearly indicates it's either a "Silver King Curtis" or a "Super King Curtis" model. The label on the box says it's a "Super King" model:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/u9d568nonr53dtc/AAAD2kb_E21sOCZAB7C92w1ca?dl=0

I have owned and played a lot of Guardala mouthpieces over the years, and both plating and facing do look original and genuine.
 
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