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Hi,

A while back, I bent a Selmer 404 ligature to fit around a metal link tenor mouthpiece. It was sort of trial-and-error - I put the lig on, tightened it a bit, tried to get it to follow the ridge on top of the link, took it off, bent a little more with needle-nosed pliers, put it back on again ...

Now, I have a backup Selmer 404 that I want to bend to the same link piece. Before I go through the same experiment again, are there any best practices for doing this better, quicker, and more accurately? This seems like there must be many tips that aren't recorded anywhere ... yet.

Thanks,
Steve
 

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Just a guy who plays saxophone.
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Loosen it all the way and put it on with a reed in place, you’ll have to bend it into the basic oval shape of the STM. I think I used a pencil to shape it to the ridge. I really liked the 404 on both link pieces I played and a Barone. Just don’t tighten down too much, the metal does weaken especially after being Linked and un-Linked a couple times.
 

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+1

The 404 is soft enough that all you need to do is coax it to shape - don’t use pliers.

Sometimes they will be slightly too large for the Link. In that case, remove the two screws and use a “smooth” file to remove some material from both sides of the mating faces.
 

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I use a 404 with a tenor Otto link STM NY which is slightly bigger/wider than normal STMs.
Use an older/dead reed and screw it tightly, and it will get the form for ever.
That's what I did and many people I know do the same.

The 404 is incredible I just love it. !
 

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I have shaped 404s for a couple of mouthpieces. For Links, usually it's enough to put the ligature on with a reed and then squeeze it around the mouthpiece with my hands, but I did reshape one to fit a Lebayle that was less round than the a Link (the sides of the body were actually flat) by tapping it gently with the side of a Bic lighter and angling the bottom a bit with a pair of needle nose pliers. A plastic ball pein mallet would be perfect for that, but I don't have one.

Are the Selmer two-screw ligs for HR mouthpieces as good as the 404/402? I have been using some generic two-screws on my RPC tenor mouthpiece, but they dig into the reeds a bit in a way that the 404 doesn't. I'd be very happy to replace that with something that works as well (and with as little fuss) as the 404 I use on my Link.
 

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Selmer used to make a very nice brass two-screw lig for HR pieces but AFAIK they quit making it several years back. If you can find an older one in good shape for a reasonable price buy it. Otherwise if you don't mind spending the $$$ the Ishimori ligs are very nice though the best bang-for-your-buck in a two-screw lig is probably a Bonade. These are a bit higher quality than the Chinese cheapies that have taken over the two-screw lig space but reasonable at $20-$25.
 
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