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Ligatures What a difference a ligature makes.


I was in London recently and had planned a visit to for 2 reasons: check out a bari mouthpiece and ligatures for the soprano. The bari mouthpiece was the primary thing on my mind. I bought a Yamaha YBS-32 second-hand last year. Is pretty good shape for an instrument that had been used professionally, but it came with stock Yamaha 5C mouthpiece. This was adequate to start on, but I felt the sax could deliver more.

There were some metal mouthpieces on offer but I have found the Otto Link 7* on tenor too hard on my lips (will try to sell on Ebay soon). So my preference for plastic meant I had a Meyer 7 and an Otto Link 6 to try. Went into the practice room and was trying them for 15-20 minutes with my own reeds. Didn't want a new reed to interfere with choice. Thought Meyer was nicer but something wasn't quite right. I tried Otto Link but sound was not bright or clear. Anyhow I realised it was 1pm and I was late meeting the missus, so I had to make my excuses and run. Anyhow came back an hour later and said I'd like to try them again. I did say I didn't like the Link ligature: screws were not working well, so they gave me a different one. What a change! Ended up buying the thing and having played the bari at a few rehearsals since, the mouthpiece gives me a better dynamic range and there aren't so many squeaks at higher register.

And then comes the soprano story. I bought a Meyer 7 plastic mouthpiece last year in the US. Got it at a good price, half what I'd pay in Ireland or Europe. Tried some Rovner ligatures, although I've given them up nearly 15 years ago on tenor and alto. I can't remember if I tried a metal ligature, but when I went for the Vandoren Optimum. Wow! :happydance: :sax: Sax just sings now. Volume has probably doubled and I can play _very_quietly as always in ensemble work. I did have to think twice about it as the ligature cost more than the mouthpiece but it has been worth it.
... Went into the practice room and was trying them for 15-20 minutes with my own reeds. Didn't want a new reed to interfere with choice. ...

Hello Doodah

Old reeds can bed into the facing of your existing mouthpiece. The best reeds to use are a selection of almost new reeds, broken in over two or three days, but not bedded in. Also, different mouthpieces can work better with reeds of a different strength than those which you are used to.

The breaking in routine that I use was recommended by Alexander Reeds, playing a new reed for just a few minutes the first day and 5-15 minutes the next.

I'm glad you found something that suits you. I used a Vandoren Optimum ligature for years on a Vandoren V16 metal tenor mouthpiece, since it was a perfect fit (perhaps unsurprisingly). I couldn't hear a difference between the lengthwise and widthwise ridges, but the plate with a dot on each corner made my reeds very difficult to control, so I avoided that one. However, I've since switched away from metal mouthpieces, and use fabric Faxx ligatures on my alto (Vandoren A35) and tenor (PPT 9*) mouthpieces. I'm very happy with both setups.

It sounds like you're inspired by your new setups, and I look forward to hearing you play in the future. With a name like that, you could form a Bonzo Dog tribute band :)
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