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Discussion Starter #1
I bought an Optimum ligature for my alto sax meYers MP and went through the 3 plates - listening against a wall, liking, not liking, tried it w/different reeds etc, then, two weeks later I happened to put on my beat up old Selmer two-screw, screws-on-bottom ligature.
What a difference! It's better from top to bottom, sub-tones are easier, I can go higher with no-register-key harmonics, and the tone, the staccato, in fact just about every aspect is better.
All I have to say is - Less is more!

ATJ
 

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Let's see -- first stage, denial; second stage, rage; third stage, indifference; fourth stage, acceptance: you're working your way up the 12 steps of GAS, my friend!:D Just repeat this pattern twice more and you're there!
 

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ATJ: I totally agree with you. My Optimum is for soprano. I went through all the plates, settled on one, but in the end, I always go back to the Selmer metal ligs. Basic stuff and they work great for me.

By the way, nothing wrong with GAS if one can afford it. DAVE
 

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Have you tried string yet?
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Optimum ligatures can sound a bit buzzy close up (possible as with playing into a wall). From a distance (ie from an audience perspective) there's no difference in sound that I can determine.

I agree a standard metal 2 screw is a very good ligature (but so are Rovners)
 

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Everyone out there, please try string....
When that is said and done, you'll have a drawer full of old, unused, vintage metal ligatures that are just taking up space. My ligatures are over flowing, yet they all sadly don't respond as full as a simple piece of string.
It's unfortunate that the saxophone accessory companys seem to jump on the band wagon with the next greatest thing since Adolf Sax himself!!
Maybe it's just my secret, that noone wants to hear about.
I try to spread the message that string is better, but no takers??
 

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king koeller said:
I try to spread the message that string is better, but no takers??
Alright, I am curious. I do have a optimum for my tenor Vandoren blue Java.

I've seen these strings being used (vandoren has a sort of elastic sock too) mostly by classical clarinet players. I have no idea how to tie one of these strings. Would you mind to elaborate?:)
 

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Wet the reed, place on the mouthpiece.
Tie the string around the reed once using a simple over-under knot,
Now continue to go around and around,
When finished, tie a double square knot.
You can now, slip the entire string loop off and on carefully,
Now, center the reed perfectly, and tighten the string by pushing to the back of the conical shaped mouthpiece.
You're all set to play.
Good Luck and go for it!!
For once the reed is really free to vibrate!!
Your set-up will feel so responsive and dynamically more expressive.
Let me know what you think?
Sorry i don't have pictures yet,
coming soon...
 

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I'll wait for the pictures.....
 

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king koeller said:
Everyone out there, please try string....
When that is said and done, you'll have a drawer full of old, unused, vintage metal ligatures that are just taking up space. My ligatures are over flowing, yet they all sadly don't respond as full as a simple piece of string.
It's unfortunate that the saxophone accessory companys seem to jump on the band wagon with the next greatest thing since Adolf Sax himself!!
Maybe it's just my secret, that noone wants to hear about.
I try to spread the message that string is better, but no takers??
I'd like to see the pics, too.
I just sold a Vandoren Klassik string lig for a pretty good loss that I originally bought based on recommendations here. That string didn't do a thing for me. Others mileage will certainly vary.
 

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there's always the famous broccoli rubber band, hey presto, super cheap ligature.......or the plumbers O rings......
 

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Discussion Starter #13
A question and an observation:
Question: What the heck is GAS (No puns please!!)

Observation. Getting that broccoli rubber band on the MP must be fun.

Extra observation, no charge. I tried string on my clarinet. Not a lot better than a Rovner but a lot more work. You should know that American MPs are not designed for a string ligature. German clarinetists have circular grooves on the surface of the body of their MPs. Vandoren actually offers them for sale.
My best ligature on clarinet is the Luyben (Buddy DeFranco uses one. That's how I learned about it.) Too bad they don't make one for alto sax.

ATJ
 

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You have to remove the broccoli first! ;)
 

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I have a theory. It could be completely wrong, but I'll stick by it until proven otherwise (somehow): All ligatures sound the same to the audience. If my theory is correct it doesn't matter much what lig you use. What matters to me is ease of use. So I like and use a one-screw lig, the Optimum. I also am fine with the FL, except I hate the cap for that one. Now, I know what you're all thinking. Why did I spend the $$ on those fancy ligs if they all sound the same? Good question. My theory was formulated after purchasing those ligs, and more (Rovners, etc). I finally realized the 2-screw lig sounded and responded just as good as any of those fancy ones. But it was a (minor) pain to deal with the 2 screws, so I stick with the one-screw Optimum.

String would work too, no doubt, but I know I'd make a mess of it, tangle it up, drop it on the floor, etc.
 

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I think ease of use, how well it fits your mouthpiece and how it works, ("feels"), for you, would be the most important points to consider. I think how much of the ligature covers then reed, then what the lig's made of would be lesser in importance. And I don't do string.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I don't think that there is any question that metal ligatures are brighter and have more edge than soft ligatures (as in Rovner).

ATJ
 

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I've just got to chime in on this one for a sec...

I've been experimenting with my lig setup on clarinet and alto for the last couple of weeks, and yes, i bought three for each.

Rovner light (lite?), 1 screw
D. Bonade inverted, 2 screw
Vandoren Optimum, 1 screw (the alto lig is on the way, but i've used one before for a few weeks from a friend of mine)

The rovner has it's place for me...it's nice and responsive, with a soft tone, but not great for cutting. The bonade will cut, and is certainly louder for me, but it's a bit less quick to respond. The optimum for clarinet blew me away more than anything...i was trying out new clarinets the other day, so i had them bring me an optimum to try out on my clarinet (to get a feel for it with my playing) and then with the new clarinets, and then i tried my other ligs, too.)

The optimum was so responsive for me that I was thinking i'd been doing somehting wrong and had some sudden revelation...too bad i'm still not that great haha. I could control it better than either of the other two, and it was a meld between them...i bought it on the spot.

There may be just as much hocus pocus in ligatures as there is in the high f# key, but I like my optimum lig, and i can't wait for the alto lig to arrive.
 

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Anybody still interested in pictures of how to use string as a ligature? - check post #43 in the "String?" thread.

Greetings

Bo
 
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