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M/Pieces - Ligs Why Ligatures Matter

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
1,755
Ok, then you disagreed with something I didn't say. I didn't say that any Pro or indeed anyone I know buys "amateur" gear - presuming that "amateur gear" means gear that is of inferior ability.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
1,755
You turn up on time and with stuff that works and get the job done ASAP. studios are expensive
They are, and yes you should be turning up to a session with this attitude and ability. Sessions take many forms though and in these days of digital it isn't nearly as crucial. Tape cost a lot of money back in the day and editing was skilled and difficult. Punching in was a real art.
It also works both ways, back in the day you'd arrive to a session with an arrangement waiting for you, your simple task being to bring it to life. These days, it's often that you might turn up for a session with no music, no chords and possibly no musical direction at all as the composer/artist might not be a reader. I'm not saying that they are unskilled or don't know what they want, they usually do - but you have to find that for them.
 

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
Messages
3,021
You said a professional buys a lig because it sounds better and the reason why so many players use so many different ligs is because they all sound different. And this is why they don't buy a 'basic one-screw or two-screw ligature.'

You've extrapolated a conclusion that takes absolutely no account of any other factors. Firstly, that a professional's ears are somehow superior. Studies show this simply isn't true - Smithsonian - Can Pro Violinists Tell The Difference Between Classic And New Instruments and the more intensive study, Player Preferences Between Old And New Violins.

Secondly, that a musician wouldn't be judged by their peers if they turned up with a £3 lig from eBay rather than a much more expensive lig from anyone from Vandoren to one of the stupid ones made from cryogenically modifed unicorn testicles.

Thirdly, that a pro may choose their gear with more than one simple criteria, such as reliability, ease of use etc.

And lastly, the possibility that someone may choose a lig because it looks nice.

Your conclusion that there are many ligs because they sound different doesn't hold true. It might be true, but the evidence isn't there to support the supposition.

Whereas my argument is you turn up with gear that you know will get the job done and that the person paying the bill knows will get the job done.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
1,755
You may be able to do a perfect job with a £3 lig and a £350 Gear4Music sax but no one in their right mind would ever turn up to a job with this gear if they could help it because it simply doesn't look professional.
The problem with this example is that it won't quite do the job though, or will make for harder going. If you had used a more expensive (and new) - say £1200 - £2000 sax then this analogy works. £3 for a ligature implies no worth at all and possibly not fit for purpose - let's make it £10 - £20.

You said a professional buys a lig because it sounds better
I said, or implied that a Pro will buy something in their belief that it makes a difference - to sound, response or both. Whomever has the best ears on the planet, and the best musical brain to decipher these sounds is irrelevant - the point is that their ears will be at least very good, and therefore the reasoning behind gear choices shouldn't be dismissed easily.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
1,755
I can't open the first link you gave, but in the second 'scientific' study - this worries me:

"We asked 21 experienced violinists to compare violins by Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesu with high-quality new instruments."

"Experienced". What does that mean? Who was this control group of "experienced" players presiding over the top spot in the stakes of new vs old?

It could be correct. But it's a naff study and an unsatisfactory way of going about it.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
1,755
It's an interesting one Dave. It reminds me of the Dixieland clarinet players that swear the Albert System clarinet sounds more authentic than a Boehm. Most of the fingering if the same between the two. Perhaps the Albert system is a slightly smaller bore than "modern" clarinets. I've never taken issue with hearing any player and thought that his stick might be the wrong sort...

Same as using the saxes of the day for the old 20's/30's stuff. Can anyone tell the difference between someone playing in that style on an old setup and someone playing in that style on a modern setup?
 

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
Messages
3,021
The problem with this example is that it won't quite do the job though, or will make for harder going.
It will probably get the job done but it will definitely be harder and the instrument is more likely to develop a problem during the session. A professional, however, would be expected to turn up with the right tool for the job so that this wouldn't be an issue. Most employers will know the difference, too.

Even if you know for certain that something really cheap will definitely do the job and do it reliably, if your employer doesn't know that then they're more likely to choose someone who's equipped with gear that they 'know' is better. It just doesn't make sense for a producer/employer to take an unnecessary risk when they don't have to. And this is why I'm arguing that you won't see a professional musician with what appears to be cheap gear.

£3 for a ligature implies no worth at all and possibly not fit for purpose - let's make it £10 - £20.
<embarrassing confession>I've been gigging for a couple of years now with a £3 (technically 5€) lig on the alto,</embarrassing confession>

I do want to change it but not because of its build quality (it actually seems really solid), or because of a sound issue, but because it's a two-screw lig that I found took too long to work with when I had to do a really quick reed change right before I was supposed to do a solo during a gig.

The lig I'm looking at as a replacement is the one made by Selmer, which is all of £18 from Sax. I'm not arguing that choice is made on 'I spent this much' but on the best tool for the job. And if there's more than one choice of tool then many factors come into play.

I said, or implied that a Pro will buy something in their belief that it makes a difference - to sound, response or both.
You're assuming that something is bought because it makes a difference when it's just as logical to assume a choice is made because it doesn't affect anything. For me, this assumption in the case of ligs makes more sense. Rather than improving something, it has no affect at all - most importantly one that is in any way detrimental either in feel, sound, practicality or simply being visually displeasing.

As I said, though, I'm not saying you're wrong, rather the evidence isn't there to say you're definitely right.

It could be correct. But it's a naff study and an unsatisfactory way of going about it.
Neither are brilliant studies. Although both used professional players, neither gave them as much time to evaluate each instrument as you'd hope, even though the second study gave much more time than the first. They were both peer reviewed, however, so while they're not what you could describe as definitive, they do give a strong suggestion that saying X is better than Y simply because the person/company that made it has a certain reputation or that even the best musicians aren't susceptible to artificial influence that has no factual basis is not a reliable stance to take.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
1,755
It will probably get the job done but it will definitely be harder and the instrument is more likely to develop a problem during the session. A professional, however, would be expected to turn up with the right tool for the job so that this wouldn't be an issue. Most employers will know the difference, too.

Even if you know for certain that something really cheap will definitely do the job and do it reliably, if your employer doesn't know that then they're more likely to choose someone who's equipped with gear that they 'know' is better. It just doesn't make sense for a producer/employer to take an unnecessary risk when they don't have to. And this is why I'm arguing that you won't see a professional musician with what appears to be cheap gear.



<embarrassing confession>I've been gigging for a couple of years now with a £3 (technically 5€) lig on the alto,</embarrassing confession>

I do want to change it but not because of its build quality (it actually seems really solid), or because of a sound issue, but because it's a two-screw lig that I found took too long to work with when I had to do a really quick reed change right before I was supposed to do a solo during a gig.

The lig I'm looking at as a replacement is the one made by Selmer, which is all of £18 from Sax. I'm not arguing that choice is made on 'I spent this much' but on the best tool for the job. And if there's more than one choice of tool then many factors come into play.



You're assuming that something is bought because it makes a difference when it's just as logical to assume a choice is made because it doesn't affect anything. For me, this assumption in the case of ligs makes more sense. Rather than improving something, it has no affect at all - most importantly one that is in any way detrimental either in feel, sound, practicality or simply being visually displeasing.

As I said, though, I'm not saying you're wrong, rather the evidence isn't there to say you're definitely right.



Neither are brilliant studies. Although both used professional players, neither gave them as much time to evaluate each instrument as you'd hope, even though the second study gave much more time than the first. They were both peer reviewed, however, so while they're not what you could describe as definitive, they do give a strong suggestion that saying X is better than Y simply because the person/company that made it has a certain reputation or that even the best musicians aren't susceptible to artificial influence that has no factual basis is not a reliable stance to take.
Mmm... I’ve never worked for any employer in the industry who had any interest at all in my or any one else’s gear.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
1,755
Probably because you've never turned up with gear that would draw attention. ;)
Actually that isn't true. I've done live radio with a plastic Yamaha clarinet and later on the same show with a Buffet RC Prestige. Nobody has a clue on gear. The only comment you'll get, if any is from the same instrument family player sat next to you. Usually it will be along the lines of "you like those?". Hopefully followed by, "you sound great".
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
1,755
Even if you know for certain that something really cheap will definitely do the job and do it reliably, if your employer doesn't know that then they're more likely to choose someone who's equipped with gear that they 'know' is better. It just doesn't make sense for a producer/employer to take an unnecessary risk when they don't have to. And this is why I'm arguing that you won't see a professional musician with what appears to be cheap gear.
Honestly. I've never worked for anyone who had any interest in a players gear. It's how you play, and to a certain extent your conduct and punctuality. Professionalism.

Most new ideas in ligature design have come about since the '80's/90's. Many of the top pros I'm talking about have been so before this plethora of choice. If it were down to merely doing a good job of holding the reed in place, one assumes that this particular holy grail had long since been found.
 
OP
randulo

randulo

Playing alto 25 months
Subscriber
Messages
3,485
I obviously have no weight on the sax session thing, but I've played on many sessions on guitar and mostly, no one cares about what equipment you show up with. My longtime drummer friend put it succinctly, "It don't matter if you playin' a steam caliope, but, man you better be smokin' on it."

Personality and hitting it off with them is far more import as a second aspect. And hey, this is about ligatures! :D
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
1,755
I obviously have no weight on the sax session thing, but I've played on many sessions on guitar and mostly, no one cares about what equipment you show up with. My longtime drummer friend put it succinctly, "It don't matter if you playin' a steam caliope, but, man you better be smokin' on it."

Personality and hitting it off with them is far more import as a second aspect.
Exactly.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,552
I spent an afternoon with a violin luthier who makes inexpensive (10-20 thousand $$$) copies of great violins. He showed me his methodology including matching the Chladni patterns. He uses computer mapping and cadcam routing to fashion the tops and backs and hand finishes

His great customers tell him they get 99% of the sound way more easily on the copies and they don’t have to worry.

I think the biggest difference between ligs is the response particularly under extreme circumstances such as altissimo

When I used to use cane I tested reeds holding them on the mouthpiece with my thumb and pressing each side to see if the response was balanced
 

scotsman

Member
Messages
330
Here's a question..On a percentage scale. What would be the percentage difference between the various makes of ligature available make to your sound? As opposed to practicing more that is???? Now personally I would suggest less than 1% but hey, that's just me..Excuse me while I remove my anorak..Regards
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
1,755
Here's a question..On a percentage scale. What would be the percentage difference between the various makes of ligature available make to your sound? As opposed to practicing more that is???? Now personally I would suggest less than 1% but hey, that's just me..Regards
You might be right. Something like that. Maybe 5%, but nothing more. Thing is, I obsess about my sound.
 

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
Messages
3,021
I was starting to think I was mad ;) but here's Scott Devine making the same point:
View: https://youtu.be/B1_6Wny5wg0?t=593


I guess it's not something you see or experience until it goes wrong. I'm wondering how many musicians are told anything if this situation occurs or if they simply don't get a second call (unless the producer is really desperate ;) ).

My only direct experience of this was while working for a producer (in a completely non-musical capacity) who was working on backing tracks for some TV show. There was a musician who he'd worked with over the decades numerous times who was having a problem with his sound (rather than playing ability) which was creating issues in the studio, so they just got someone else in instead. As far as I could tell, he wasn't told why he was replaced, he simply didn't get 'the call'.

The only reason I found out was because the musician in question was so incensed by not being called for the next sessions that he phoned the producer up and within seconds was screaming threats at him - he was so loud it couldn't be ignored no matter how discrete I tried to be and not hear anything. After the call I got the full story, which was basically he couldn't get the sound they wanted because his set-up apparently couldn't do it and they'd wasted one too many hours trying to 'fix it in the mix'. I'm not sure his tantrum helped his case for future work, though. ;)
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
1,755
I was starting to think I was mad ;) but here's Scott Devine making the same point:
View: https://youtu.be/B1_6Wny5wg0?t=593


I guess it's not something you see or experience until it goes wrong. I'm wondering how many musicians are told anything if this situation occurs or if they simply don't get a second call (unless the producer is really desperate ;) ).

My only direct experience of this was while working for a producer (in a completely non-musical capacity) who was working on backing tracks for some TV show. There was a musician who he'd worked with over the decades numerous times who was having a problem with his sound (rather than playing ability) which was creating issues in the studio, so they just got someone else in instead. As far as I could tell, he wasn't told why he was replaced, he simply didn't get 'the call'.

The only reason I found out was because the musician in question was so incensed by not being called for the next sessions that he phoned the producer up and within seconds was screaming threats at him - he was so loud it couldn't be ignored no matter how discrete I tried to be and not hear anything. After the call I got the full story, which was basically he couldn't get the sound they wanted because his set-up apparently couldn't do it and they'd wasted one too many hours trying to 'fix it in the mix'. I'm not sure his tantrum helped his case for future work, though. ;)
This certainly doesn’t relate to ligatures. It’s either a gear gremlin - they happen. Or the player wasn’t informed properly about the type of sound/vibe wanted or simply the wrong guy was booked for this session.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
1,755
I was never an advocate of turning up with substandard gear, I don’t understand the poignancy of the video.
 

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
Messages
3,021
You created a supposition that because clarinet players have so many different types of lig it clearly demonstrates that they therefore must have a direct affect on the sound, which is why they bought them, when it can just as easily, if not more so, come down to simply not using crappy gear.
 
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