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Ligatures In need of a good, robust single-screw metal tenor ligature. What are people's preferences?


Café Supporter
London, Greater London
Hi everyone, hope you're all well.

A rather well-worn topic - LIGATURES! I'm currently using a Rovner Dark but I also want a single-screw metal lig for my new stock Yanagisawa HR tenor mouthpiece and I'd welcome any advice from you wise folk! ;)

Single-screw (first choice)
  • The Vandoren Optimum wouldn't fit! (Rigotti and - Vandoren reeds used).
  • The MO is too flimsy.
  • The BG Duo I'm unsure of.
  • The Yany Sixs? Very few reviews and £££.

Two-screw options (second preference)
  • The supplied lig is awful, threads won't work and sharp edges.
  • Wait for the Boston Sax ligature to be available in the UK?
  • A gold-plated Ishimori/ Wood Stone (£££).
  • Marc Jean, but I had a few issues with the alto version screw chomping my mouthpieces (2nd Gen.)

Ideally I'd love someone to tell me the perfect single screw lig, but anything metal, sturdy and that holds the reed in place will do.

Thanks everyone.

This might mention them as they were in the passaround

There are the Francois Louis pure brass and ultimate ligs. I have a pure brass although I prefer a BG fabric which I find more responsive and you would find it much livelier than the Rovner, either the one with the metal insert or the rubber insert, but the FL is a good lig. I like the look of the duo but can’t really justify the cost when I really don’t need another lig. Its a pain about the Vandorens, I have two that I love but neither fit what I play.
@Jimmymack Thanks for your reply. The FLs are too fiddly and fragile for me! I want something more solid, that allows for 'on the fly' MP adjustments and won't cause scratches. I did consider the BG with rubber as I enjoyed that on my alto for a while, but would rather find a metal lig that works for me.
Sadly you mentioned my favorite in that category:

- The Vandoren Optimum but if it doesn't fit, then it's not an option.

Too bad! :rolleyes:
Never tried this lig...I always thought it didn't look very robust! Do you use it regularly?

I do and it is fine on my HR tenor mouthpiece.

I think this is one of the designs that are copied or nearly copied and widely available from Chinese sellers on eBay for much less money. Several of them seem to be described as "twin screw", which I suppose they sort of are, although they tighten in different directions on a single shaft.

My ligature experience is more limited than one might expect from a dealer because it's been settled for almost 10 years.

Some findings (mentioning Optimum because you can measure some other comments worth against that, having had an Optimum):

- Optimum (memory is of alto): really nice tonally, and in general performance, but usually this lig slid around too readily for me. I like the replaceable plate option (and if you want to continue to pursue Optimums there may be one, say for another pitching, that fits your mouthpiece better.

- Rovner - not thrilled with the tonal results but these are an affordable, solid option that cling to the mouthpiece better than most 1-screw metal ligs. A wrong sized one will scratch up your piece thanks to the threads hitting the piece.

- Francois Louis / LeBayle -- 15 years ago in NOLA lots of pro players were using variations of this piece (below) but it wasn't practical for me because it scratches up mouthpieces too readily:

This (below) is the ligature I've been using for about 10 years -- it's more stable (less slippery) on the mouthpiece than Vandoren Optimum, less apt to scratch up mouthpieces than Francois Louis style, and I like that I can use it with the screw on the spline (opposite side of the mouthpiece from the table).

That's the first stuff that comes to mind.
Easy to pay heaps for ligatures when most can't tell the difference between them in terms of tone. It either does a good job of holding the reed on or doesn't. The Yani mouthpieces are kind of narrow, so fitting is the main hazard. If you're not worried about fit then check these:
Saxophone Sax Mouthpiece Ligature with Cap Clip Fastener for Tenor Saxophone | eBay

They're pretty good/useful. The price is certainly right. On the other hand you can pay big bucks for a Theo Wanne ligature and find that it separates from the mouthpiece and reed when you put the mouthpiece on or take it off. Total crap. The SYOS mouthpieces come with a plastic ring. Works do very stiff rubber bands. IMHO one should put their money into things that really make a difference like a good quality mouthpiece and reeds that work for you. I use fiberreeds which are expensive, but give me the tone I want and last for a very long time. Too easy to pay big bucks for equipment that does nothing to improve your playing... and there are lots of people out to sell you that stuff.
I'm happy to sell anyone who wants magic feathers that you put in the bell of your horn which make your tone 10X more luscious! Only $150 per feather plus postage!

Similar threads... or are they? Maybe not but they could be worth reading anyway 😀

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