M/Pieces - Ligs Ligatures - do they make a difference?

half diminished

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I just use the Rovnor Dark that came with the mp. On my old alto I initially used a BG but moved to the Rovner Eddie Daniels. I kind of think it made a difference.

Anyone done any test/comparisons? Is there anything I should try out? I have a Jody Jazz DV NY.

Or is it all bunkum and a laccy band will do!
 

Tommy Ng

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It does make a little difference if it is not too tight. I think at the end it all depends on your skill. Many professional players use only those metal ligatures with 2 skews.
 

jonf

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I've used metal two srew ones, Lawton clamp ones, Otto Links, Rovner, BG, crappy Runyon jobs, string, Sellotape and rubber bands. All different in terms of ease of use. Couldn't tell any difference in terms of sound between any of 'em. I've always found getting the reed very accurately placed to be of more importance.

Just my opinion. I know others will have a different view
 

dooce

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I've used metal two srew ones, Lawton clamp ones, Otto Links, Rovner, BG, crappy Runyon jobs, string, Sellotape and rubber bands. All different in terms of ease of use. Couldn't tell any difference in terms of sound between any of 'em. I've always found getting the reed very accurately placed to be of more importance.

Just my opinion. I know others will have a different view
I don't! Tried them all except the sellotape and agree 100%.
 
OP
half diminished

half diminished

Senior Member
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It probably depends on what you think it will do for you.

Being a lazy person, mine are two Rovner Lights and a Lebayle Solist because they are very easy to use. Mind you, new bits are great. ;}
Reminds me of a quote by Henry Ford. "Whether You think you can or can't you're right."
 

TomMapfumo

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The two ligs I have used most are the Rovner EVO-5 and Francois Louis Basic, and I tried all manner of ligs on my Ponzol HR Vintage Alto, and Francois Louis Spectruoso Tenor (neither are metal), preferring these two above the Rovner Light and Dark, but also liking a Selmer 2 screw metal ligature. They all have some metal in them, and it did lead to a clearer and more complex sound than with the more dominantly fabric ones.

The Rico H Lig has a high recommendation, but failed to get one. I think that an EVO-5 would be worth trying, and is a reasonable price. The other recommendation is a Selmer 3 screw (recommended by Phil Barone) which I think is available from sax.co.uk.

I can tell differences between ligs quite easily, in terms of preferred sounds when doing a direct comparison, but whether it matters when you are playing in a noisy, live situation would probably be a different matter.

Hope that helps!
Tom:cool:
 

Saxby

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Warsaw, Poland.
In my opinion they DO make a difference, especially in a direct comp situation, as Tom states, also agree in terms of not being that noticeable in a loud live situation...BUT in this case its what the lig/reed/mpce combo allows you to do..IE: perform without hindrance.
For what its worth some ligs seem to "dampen" the sound and others emphasise different parts of the horns range. I see it like using a graphic equaliser or simple bass and treble on a Hi-fi amp and rolling off or pushing certain frequencies.
But there are at least 2 aspects to lig choice, sound and articulation.
1.Sound.
In this case it may be said that some ligs push more towards the fundamental frequencies whilst others may emphasise the mids to higher partials of a note.
For my use on my Link Tone-edge (hard rubber) mpce, I prefer a Metal 2 screw lig as this produces a more complex mid/high sound within the individual note range.
Trying fabric Bg's, Rovners on this Mpce seems to smooth out the sound too much for me, seemingly "rolling off" the treble if you like..
Also on my metal "Law Buzzer" mpce, again I have settled on using a metal lig, a Selmer 3 band to be precise, (..for the time being anyway..) This again pushing the sound into a "brighter" range, finding again that the other ligs seemingly "crushed" or "smoothed" out the note removing both lower and higher partials, which is not the sound I am after.
I did a series of recordings once using different ligs, same type reeds and although the difference is not vast, too me its very apparent.
2.Articulation.
This is were it becomes perhaps more apparent.
Again, depending on what style of music you want to play depends on what articulation you may need.
I have found that for me metal ligs work the best for fast articulation, whilst fabric ones maybe remove the "bite" from the exact start of a note, although are great for more legato style playing.
Some ligs are great for the Lower part of the horn aiding fast articulation, others the opposite.
For me and my playing styles I need to be able to fast articulate notes below low D, and then do the same above high C into the altissimo (this I'm still working on by the way..!) and have really found that it becomes a balancing act between the reed, mpce and lig combo for this to be successful.
Then we get into the whole Filed versus Unfiled reeds scenario....and on it goes..!
Basically its down to experimentation and as everyone always says " find what works for you.."
Hope this helps.
 

Pee Dee

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In my brief experience the only difference in ligs I have noticed are between metal and fabric. Basically metal seems sharper and fabric muffled, if that makes sense.
I like the Vandoren lig that came with the mpc. Typically french it is obverse, the screws are at the top, and I love to do be awkward!
 

Pete Thomas

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I believe any difference in sound could be due to ligs not working properly or there being something wrong with either the reed or mouthpiece table, in whcih case the way a lig clamps the reed may differ. But if the reed, table and lag are all in working condition I don't think there would be any difference.

One thing though: a metal lig either holds the reed tight enough or not. With a fabric lig there are more "degrees of tightness" I think so there's more chance of a situation where the reed is only just held tight enough. It's very tempting not to tighten Rovners up enough and this could be the cause of perceived differences in sound, ie the lig just isn't quite doing it's job, as opposed to a metal lig which is either working or not.

Hope this makes sense.
 

visionari1

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Out in the Countryside of Nelson NZ
Some time ago while trying out new Mouthpieces in a Yamaha Shop, which had a sound prof booth I trialed several, selected what I thought best, then tryed various ligatures.
For me the sound was noticibly different and had to review the whole lot again, however I felt the new ligature in this case a Rovner was for me superior.

However it's a can of worms as reeds & mouthpeices combinations must also come into the picture.
Hmmm not sure!:mrcool
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
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My 10p-th on this. The difference in ligatures (when there is one) is in their response, not their sound. The vast majority of ligs don't seem to produce any major differences (smaller than the difference in two reeds) but there are exceptions- The Francois Louis I use on my Berg Larsen really helped in evening out the response from top to bottom of the horn. There's a noticable difference in how easy it is to get the extreme registers of the horn to kick in cleanly & purely (or raucous and honkily in my case). Sound-wise there's little to choose between ligs but playability does seem to vary...
 

losaavedra

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Rojales, Spain
In my humble opinion rather a lot of variables affect what sound eventually emerges when we introduce some wind into the sharp end of our horns:

1. The material the reed is made of (cane or man-made).
2. Reed 'strength' (1.5, 2.0, 2.5, etc.).
3. Flexibility of reed generally (how damp it is or becomes).
4. General condition of reed.
5. Amount of saliva that adheres to underside of reed as one plays.
6. How the reed is attached to mp (type of lig, material of lig, how securely).
7. What the mp is made of.
8. How the mp has been faced ('accuracy', tip gap, etc.).
9. Mouthpiece dimensions (window size/shape, table, rails, etc.).
10. Saliva accumulating in mp barrel as one plays.
11. How the reed is positioned on the mp (in relation to mp tip, straightness, etc.)
12. Embouchure of player (position of bottom lip, etc.).
13. Playing style being attempted.
14. Frequency of note being attempted.
15. Condition of rest of horn (pads, springs, etc.).
16. Frame of mind the player is in (!).
17. Player confidence for piece.
18. Time elapsed since player last ate or drank anything.
19. Air temperature around performer.
20. Acoustics of playing area.
21. ... and probably several other things!

None of the above are straightforeward 'yes' or 'no' variables unfortunately so any attempt to come up with the answer to the 'perfect blow' won't get us very far. In this thread the above item number 6 "how the reed is attached to the mp" is being discussed. So I'll say a bit more about that:

An alto reed is approximately 7cms long. Half that length is designed to waft around in the breeze while the other half (the thick end) is supposed to be held down somehow. The ideal is some sort of fixing that firmly holds the thick end over its entire 3.5cm because, if that doesn't happen, transient vibrations occur when different notes are attempted ... which of course affects the sound that mostly comes out at the other end of the horn. I use the word 'mostly' because sound comes out of lots of other places too ... but that's another story!

To continue ...

Most of us have done the following at some time or other:

Take a 12" thin metal ruler and place it over the edge of a desk at its halfway point, hold the other end down and give it a 'twang'. A note comes out. Move it further out and a lower note happens, further in a higher note. Now alter the 'holding down' in different ways. Five fingers spaced along the part of the ruler on the desktop gives a pretty pure note because its well held down and can't move. Removing fingers in various combinations will cause other notes to appear too (harmonics I suppose) as bits of the ruler held down earlier vibrate in sympathy with the main note. That's what I think different ligs do if they don't hold the reed absolutely firmly on the table for half of its length. Item 12 (embouchure, particularly what the player's bottom lip does both in terms of position and firmness) also messes with the reed's ability to vibrate as it would otherwise.

So, yes, different ligatures, with different 'hold down' patterns, will likely have different affects on the resulting sound. I don't personally think what they are made of makes any significant difference, its their mechanical efficiency that matters most. Tightly wound on elastic bands, used in emergencies, do the job pretty well for a mechanical reason rather than any other, as do several other fixing methods.

That's my take on all this. In an attempt to be amusing I was tempted to conjure up a spoof formula, using all the above variables, that would reveal the 'perfect sax sound'. I'll leave that to someone else!!!!!
 
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OP
half diminished

half diminished

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I beieve any difference in sound could be due to ligs not working properly or there being something wrong with either the reed or mouthpiece table, in whcih case the way a lig clamps the reed may differ. But if the reed, table and lag are all in working condition I don't think there would be any difference.

One thing though: a metal lig either holds the reed tight enough or not. With a fabric lig there are more "degrees of tightness" I think so there's more chance of a situation where the reed is only just held tight enough. It's very tempting not to tighten Rovners up enough and this could be the cause of perceived differences in sound, ie the lig just isn't quite doing it's job, as opposed to a metal lig which is either working or not.

Hope this makes sense.
So Pete, how tight should the ligature be. I have tended to do up mine 'just tight enough' so the reed is held firmly against the mp table. If I tried, I could move the reed without too much pressure. Is that too loose?

My 10p-th on this. The difference in ligatures (when there is one) is in their response, not their sound. The vast majority of ligs don't seem to produce any major differences (smaller than the difference in two reeds) but there are exceptions- The Francois Louis I use on my Berg Larsen really helped in evening out the response from top to bottom of the horn. There's a noticable difference in how easy it is to get the extreme registers of the horn to kick in cleanly & purely (or raucous and honkily in my case). Sound-wise there's little to choose between ligs but playability does seem to vary...
This is interesting and I could do with every bit of help in this department!
 

Pete Thomas

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So Pete, how tight should the ligature be. I have tended to do up mine 'just tight enough' so the reed is held firmly against the mp table.
The answer is not easy to write down, I suppose I would say "quite tight". I think you just have to experiment, but

The problem is a turn of a screw with a metal lig may be much tighter than that same amount of turn with a fabric lig, due to the elasticity. Maybe.
 
OP
half diminished

half diminished

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The answer is not easy to write down, I suppose I would say "quite tight". I think you just have to experiment, but

The problem is a turn of a screw with a metal lig may be much tighter than that same amount of turn with a fabric lig, due to the elasticity. Maybe.
Don't you just love all this 'inexactness', 'feel', 'experience' surrounding the saxophone!

Makes life even easier (NOT!). >:)
 

oldcorollas

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Sapporo
LOL, better that than just having it boil down to a science that anyone can do easily :D

I agree with Pete and losaavedra.. (not that my agreement counts for much ;) )
you can have a reed 100% held... say either with glue on the table, or a perfectly clamping metal band that prevents any red movement (except internal) beyond the window..

failing that, basically every lig is some sort of compromise on that 100% by design, and then further reduced by having lig (and thus reed) looser and looser...

tighten your lig, then loosen it bit by bit.. see what happens :)
 

Pete Thomas

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Don't you just love all this 'inexactness', 'feel', 'experience' surrounding the saxophone!

Makes life even easier (NOT!). >:)
I think you can do a fabric lig up very tight. If you start to get the feeling you are crushing the cane, then that's too much.

But that's unlikely as the fabric stretches. With a metal lig, I think it might be much easier to crush the fibres of the reed a bit, which might affect the sound, but even then, I don't think this bit of the reed vibrates so it would have to be very very tight to be a problem

Hope that helps.
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
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3,352
I am a big fan of ligature's and have had many and responce is the key word for me,some feel stuffy,dead,brighter,free,etc etc.I have a box of lig's and i just got a Rico H lig for alto and it's great,very free and no dead spot's.There based on the old Harrison lig which Dave Sanborn play's on his Dukoff mp.I can hear changes in sound when i mess about with my lig's,only slight but i feel the difference more in my attack and responce of each note.
 
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