I've been experimenting with this for some time now and I sure don't have the answers. But I've found that the Rovner helps produce a darker sound on the metal pieces I've been working with. But to me, they seem to reduce responsiveness.
Bryan: Ligature darkness? Hard to answer because SO much depends on your chops AND the particular reed you are using when you test various ligatures. Remember - one person's dark is another person's bright - this has been documented several times here on SOTW and I've had personal experience with those questions and other players..
Generally speaking, I think the standard Rovners will take the buzz out of your tone and that could lead most players to think their tone is darkened in that process. But with the Rovners, it is also generally accepted that they may take the guts out of your sound. A personal decision for sure.
Yesterday I was experimenting with STM Link 7* and 8* with stock Link ligatures as well as a small Rovner EDII (different from the standard Rovners). I concluded the EDII lig worked darn good on my Links. It DID reduce the buzz (brightness?) and yet provided a stable sound - not nearly as "live" as the Link ligature but much better control.
As an aside to that, I was using it on my MKVI-clone KUSTOM and I was pleased to note the intonation improved considerably with the Links.
As to reeds and "darkness" - another difficult question to answer. Everyone has their favorite reed brand and cut (although I really question those selections because reeds are SO inconsistent).
As you go through boxes of reeds and various brands, cuts, and strengths, you will probably conclude that there is no base-line upon which to establish a norm. At least that's what I'VE concluded after 50+ years of playing. Others will, of course, argue that comment
I favor Vandoren Java and Alexander Superials but beyond that, the actual strength, as long as it runs between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2, means little because I adjust EVERY ONE of them before putting them in playing rotation. Still, I'm sure that if I switched to Rico JS or Lavoz or whatever other brand, my results would be similar.
I think you'd be better off teaching yourself to adjust your reeds rather than going into the reed-chase for darkness. After all, they are probably all cane - a natural product. DAVE
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