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Ligature tightness?

breathless

Member
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270
Hi all, been learning to play tenor for around 2-3 months now and have been having lessons from day one and slowly progressing.
I bought a Yanagisawa T901 which came with a Yanagisawa N06 which my tutor advised to put aside for a while and use a Yamaha 4c which ive been doing just fine with this setup, struggling a little with the high octive notes but getting there.

however just this week, well yesterday and today while practising I discovered a new loud voice (so to speak)!
I was practising as usual and hadn't noticed but had allowed the mouthpiece to slip further into my mouth than usual but more surprisingly the volume increased 10 fold! I got quite excited and extended my usual practise time by nearly double time simply because I was enjoying the new level of volume I had discovered I could play at!

Now my question! when I came to pack away I discovered my ligature was far looser than I normally have it, so How tight do you do up a screw type ligature? (ive been doing mine up very tight since I started playing)!

could this of been the reason I was able to blow louder or have I just reached a point in my ability that allows it?

Rgds Lee.
 

BUMNOTE

Senior Member
Messages
573
Hi breathless,i started the same thread a few months ago..if you go into the forum and look under saxophones and accessories you may find some answers.Bumnote.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Surely the experts on the tightness of ligatures would be the Thuggees and Albert Pierrepoint?

Probably made the same point on the other thread.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,662
The simple answer is tight enough to hold the reed in place. You don't want to do it up too tight.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
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13,999
Much might depend on the flatness of the table.

If the table is flat (and the reed undistorted) then the pressure would need to be just enough to hold the reed.

If the table is concave (and some are by design) then there is a point at which the ligature may appear to be holding the reed, but as you tighten it a bit more the reed will bend slightly into the concavity, which is necessary to form a seal. In this situation the type, placement and position of ligature can all be important, and it is also this situation (or distorted reed) that gives rise to the view that different ligatures or placement can affect the sound.

I would also advise caution when assuming that taking in more mouthpiece has improved your sound, either by altering the tone or making it louder. You can also get a better/louder sound by working on embouchure and breath control.

There is a point at which taking in more mouthpiece can mean that you have less control over the sound and pitch, or that articulation suffers as your tongue has to be pulled back further. It's up to you or a good teacher to determine the best place.

I have found the less mouthpiece works best for me on the larger saxophones, and has also been the case for many students when I used to teach.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
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8,010
I second using the Bruce Pearson approach to finding a starting point to position the teeth on top of the mouthpiece. I find that I take a bit more mouthpiece into the mouth when playing on a jazz set up than when playing on a classical mouthpiece. Pete's point is well taken that it is about finding a balance between volume and control.

On the topic of ligature screw tension. I use the word "snug" with my students to convey the concept of not too tight or too loose. I also recommend that the forward screw be a bit less "snug" than the back to facilitate the vibration of the reed.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
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13,999
I also recommend that the forward screw be a bit less "snug" than the back to facilitate the vibration of the reed.
I'm tempted to argue with that on the grounds that where the ligature goes is not the vibrating part of the reed.

But I won't.
 

breathless

Member
Messages
270
Thank you to all, really helpful for a beginner!

its all new to me but a lot seems to be logical, ive found there is definitely a sweat spot as to how far the mouthpiece is in my mouth, to far and as you say Pete I loose control and not enough and I again struggle! however there does seem to be an amount I can move around in and it is the furthest in of this amount that allows me to blow louder (or so it seems to me).

Im still struggling to produce High G`s consistently and there's many other areas that need a lot of work so I don't want to cloud the waters (so to speak) with changing technique at this time although I was very keen to discuss this finding.

thanks again for all you constructive help.

Rgds Lee.
 
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breathless

Member
Messages
270
I'm tempted to argue with that on the grounds that where the ligature goes is not the vibrating part of the reed.

But I won't.
just noticed this comment Pete. Thats an interesting point as it was my understanding that the ligature is there to firmly clamp the non-flexible part of the reed to the table? therefore I would have thought that it should be quite tight, and based on that assumption, it would mean that its purely down to the amount of flex in the front portion of the reed to do its job and vibrate?

Lee.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
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8,010
I'm tempted to argue with that on the grounds that where the ligature goes is not the vibrating part of the reed.

But I won't.
I would agree with your argument if you could prove to me exactly where the vibrations in the cane begin and end. ;}
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,667
The entire reed resonates and the lighter the lig pressure the less damping of the resonation.

The reed vibrates pretty much from the beginning of the facing curve.

I dont have to worry about that, though I use a one screw BG lig that I got off a discount table that was like 70% off which made it affordable. I think ligs are a little more critical on sop and alto (which is all I play) I tried a number of ligs on sop and actually felt and heard differences between them.

With alto, I find placement affects response and while I dont like the sound I get from fabric ones (which probably cant be heard 3 feet away) my table is dead flat, the backs of my reeds have been adjusted to take out the transverse warp when wet and played, and I cant tell the diff between my Yamaha and Selmer 2 screw and my BG one screw. I like the support rails on the BG as it presses on the reed nicely and only has one screw to do up.
 

breathless

Member
Messages
270
I would agree with your argument if you could prove to me exactly where the vibrations in the cane begin and end. ;}
im certainly no expert on reeds and Ligs but I do have 30+ years of engineering background and in simple mechanical logic the shape of a reed dictates that the thinnest leading edge is going to move the most and that movement will become less as the thickness of the reed increases. and were the thickest part starts there will be minimal if no movement.

so looking at the mechanics I would say that only the tapered slope of the reed moves and dependant on the hardness of the reed this factor will dictate how much therefore it can only be down to the sloped portion that produces the sound.

I would add that if the front screw (nearest the tapered edge) is slightly loose then you may encounter minimal movement in that portion of the reed however this will be completely stopped at the point the ligature grips the reed.

Im looking at this purely from a mechanically logical view point and am always open to evidence that changes that point of view.

Rgds Lee.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,667
I play with what Jerry Bergonzi calls the no embouchure embouchure.

When i put the reed on with Minimal pressure, play a long tone my lips are buzzing from the reed movement.

If i clamp down hard on the lig (easy on a 1 screw) i can feel and hear a difference. As my ears are attached to me i cant tell if one can hear a difference at 3 feet.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Funny, I was playing around with this last night. Cos it wasn't sounding right. Turned out I had the lig too tight. And I've found that having the screw nearest the mouth a touch loose is a good source of squeaks.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,667
If i record myself and notice a difference then i would feel duy bound to post it. Which would mean figuring out how to do that. Lol
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,999
I'm tempted to argue with that on the grounds that where the ligature goes is not the vibrating part of the reed.
But I won't.
I would agree with your argument if you could prove to me exactly where the vibrations in the cane begin and end. ;}
But I had no argument to agree with.

If I was going to argue, which I'm not, I would use the boinging ruler over the table analogy and suggest that no part of the ruler vibrates significantly until the point at which it hangs over the table, not where you are holding it.

I would then go on to argue that if you slacken the pressure on the part of the ruler on the table so that the pressure is less than snug, you would hear a distorted boing rather than a nice boingy boing.

To try this you hold the ruler on the table in two places with thumb and finger, but you'd probably find that the distortion of the boing would only be significant by slackening pressure from the finer nearest the edge.

However I'm not going to use that argument.
 
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