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Ligature/ Intonation Problems

Connor Lee

New Member
Messages
12
Hello,
I appear to have a dented ligature and I recently ran into the realization I have some intonation problems.I was wondering if a ligature dented in such a fashion would have anything to do with that.

Can you notice the dent straight in the middle? If you need a better picture, I can provide one. I was thinking of buying this really high quality ligature, but I don't know if it's that important. http://www.wwbw.com/Bay-Alto-Saxophone-Ligature-472912-i1414131.wwbw
I also notice a bit of a peculiar pattern, which is that my high D and D sharp is really difficult to keep in from being so sharp, they nearly go up a half step, while my low D is always incredibly flat. My low C and my low B and B flat are nearly perfectly tuned, and my other notes give me problems but they're not TOO bad. I use a flat-bridged Rico Royal B5 mouthpiece with size 1 1/2 reeds and a tip that's about half a millimeter. I understand the intonation issues are also probably my fault, but I've been working on it for hours with no improvements, to I was wondering if I could get some help, advice, or a diagnosis. :)
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Lee, it's probably not the lig. As long as it hold the reed firmly, especially at the tip end of the lig, it'll be fine. But it's difficult to see how it is from this pic.

To get the octaves in tune (not just for D) you need to experiment with a tuner and different mouthpiece positions. Basically adjust the mouthpiece position until the octaves are the same amount flat or sharp across the from D to B - get the best compromise here. Then adjust your embouchure. If you're sharp overall, loosen up, if you're flat overall, tighten up.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,073
No need to spend a furtune on a ligature. So long as it fits the mouthpiece, and most metal ones will bend and adapt themselves to a particular mouthpiece, it will be fine.

I would replace the ligature. The mishapen nature of the ligature in the picture may mean that it's only holding one side of the reed and crushing the fibres at that side. Amazon have rico ligatures to fit your mouthpiece.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rico-Nickel...cal-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1363038358&sr=1-3

A rico B5 has a 0.079 or 2mm tip opening. http://www.saxophon-service.de/homep/mundverg/vergl-as.html

What is measuring 0.5mm?

The saxophone doesn't play in tune by itself. You have to make it play in tune. As suggested above you may have to set the mouthpiece so that you're pulling down at the bottom and pushing up at the top. Use a tuner for best and easiest results. Tongue position can affect tuning too. Practice bending notes by playing a tune on just the mouthpiece.
 

Connor Lee

New Member
Messages
12
While I understand what you guys are playing, I can play my school's soprano in tune at ease, and that thing's literally falling apart. It's a shame, I honestly think it got dropped down a bunch of stairs. While the sax itself is fine, the keys are all bent. The low C and B keys are too short and fall off if you're not very careful. Anyway my point is, the soprano's beat up but it's got a perfect, tight ligature and I've tamed it after playing only for 3 days. I will definitely look into getting a new, less expensive ligature. I was also thinking of trying cloth. Any tips on that? :)
Thanks,
-Connor
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Rovner are good. So are BG. I have a couple of no name chinese that are OK, if you can live with the rubber insert falling off every now and again. Be sure to get the size for Hard Rubber mouthpieces, not metal - those ricos are quite large.

However I don't believe that the lig is causing intonation problems - squeaks, other noises yes, but not intonation. ymmv.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Interesting quote from an interview with Mr. Rovner in 2011:

"Q. How much of an impact does a ligature have on the sound?
A. "Although there are players who claim the ligature has little or no effect on tone and playability, I and many others find that the ligature greatly influences all aspects of tone, intonation, and playability. A great percentage of our ligature sales are the result of school band directors who insist that a new class of clarinet and saxophone players use our ligatures, as the resultant improvement in the students performance is a significant factor in the school band's overall good sound and intonation."

Q. What are the pros and cons of rigid vs flexible ligatures?
A. "The performance of a reed is heavily influenced by how much vibration takes place in the heel of the reed. A rigid ligature causes the vibrational energy to be reflected heavily back toward the reed's tip, thus increasing the contribution of the reed's resonance to the overall tone. A flexible ligature allows the energy to flow into the heel of the reed, where it can be dissipated, thus allowing the air column resonances to dominate the tone, and also to minimize the reed's vibration from tending to bias the pitch away from trueness."

The full text is here: http://curiousclarinetist.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/interview-with-phil-rovner-ligatures.html
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,003
The ligature in the photo can be repaired. You simply put it on the mouthpiece upside down with a reed and tighten the screws. Then you "burnish" the bent area using a smooth piece of metal like a thin handle of a butter knife or the narrow shaft of a screwdriver.

The only difference one ligature has over any other is convenience and/or prestige.
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Subscriber
Messages
8,895
Interesting quote from an interview with Mr. Rovner in 2011:

Q. What are the pros and cons of rigid vs flexible ligatures?
A. "The performance of a reed is heavily influenced by how much vibration takes place in the heel of the reed. A rigid ligature causes the vibrational energy to be reflected heavily back toward the reed's tip, thus increasing the contribution of the reed's resonance to the overall tone. A flexible ligature allows the energy to flow into the heel of the reed, where it can be dissipated, thus allowing the air column resonances to dominate the tone, and also to minimize the reed's vibration from tending to bias the pitch away from trueness."
An easy way to test that would be to put some 'insulation' under a rigid lig, it should make some difference so that if you liked what you heard you could then assume Mr Rovner is right and buy one of his.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,971
An easy way to test that would be to put some 'insulation' under a rigid lig, it should make some difference so that if you liked what you heard you could then assume Mr Rovner is right and buy one of his.
i'm not sure there is any eveidence to back up what Mr Rovner says. All that matters in the end though is what one feels and hears as a player, and for me, it doesn't matter where a ligature is flexible or solid, as long as it fits and is not broken or distorted. It certainly never causes bad intonation, I'm perfectly capable of doing that myself
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,483
Intonation and ligatures? :shocked:


marketing |ˈmärkiti ng |
noun
the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.

.........

Even the best shops sell relatively few saxophones and make maybe 35% on the sale of a saxophone, while they sell tons of accessories and make 50% or more on those. If someone goes into a shop to sniff around there are few chances that they will come out with a new saxophone but there is a big chance that they will buy a new ligature or a strap o something like that.

It’s your birthday? Have a new ligature!

Chances are that players have multiple mouthpieces and ligatures laying in one (or more) drawers, I know I do.


A few years ago, Francois Louis asked several retailers their opinion on the way forward for him, whether to go and produce things like the (useless) Aulochrome or the (so called ultimate...........but then he made a few more after that! So not ultimate after all!) ligature that he had just made.


The verdict of the shop keepers was unanimous: “ Give us the ligature!” he did, and is still making a fortune with it.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Men buy mouthpieces & ligatures, women buy shoes and handbags, retailers continue to have jobs, pay taxes and keep the economy going - makes sense to me. Good to see a win-win situation in action! :thumb:

Anyway, just off to have a stove top espresso.......................................:w00t:
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,282
I am with most on here who say that ligs don't have an influence on intonation,the important thing is that the lig fits well and holds the reed well,but i wouldn't personal play with a damaged lig.
The easy answer to your problem is go and buy a new lig they are not that expensive providing you steer clear from all the designer brands,in fact many music shops have used ligs floating about that you can buy for pocket money,if it helps your problem great,if it doesn't then you know its probably you.
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,419
Personally I prefer the single screw Rovner as I find it less fiddly than a metal two screw one. Also I just have this innate feeling that a fabric lig is kinder to both reed and mouthpiece than a metal one which can damage either, but that's just how I see it.

The flat low D and sharp upper D sound typical of many saxes. You always need to be aware of tuning issues with a sax and be prepared to lip up or down. You could do some exercises starting with a tuner to get octave notes in tune, begin on the low note and once in tune go to the octave above. When you've got it right dispense with the tuner and hear the notes in your head.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Personally I prefer the single screw Rovner as I find it less fiddly than a metal two screw one. Also I just have this innate feeling that a fabric lig is kinder to both reed and mouthpiece than a metal one which can damage either, but that's just how I see it.
Hi Col!

The only thing I'd add to what you say is that not all metal ligatures damage mouthpieces - such as Francois Louis Pure Brass and Basic ligs, Marc Jean ligs, amongst several others. A lot of damage can be the result of some cheapo metal, sharp edged, ill fitting ligs which are overtightened. It is perfectly possible to save money on ligatures and lose any money saved on a damaged mouthpiece
 
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