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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now that I am happily settled on a vintage HR Link refaced from a 5 to a 7* by Erik Greiffenhagen, I have turned to the added complexity of tonal features offered by the ligature. A year ago I would have sneered at someone inferring that the ligature had anything to do with the sound of the horn but...I was wrong. That's right, you heard it here first, I Was Wrong.

The chase has thus far taken me through almost all the "stock" ligs that come on mouthpieces and, since we are in the vintage horn business, there have been numerous ligs that have come my way in the old horn cases. Many are nice vintage pieces of the two screw persuasion but still effective, mostly because they are made of lovely spring-hard brass and are very thin and low on mass.

I could go on and on but cutting to the chase, or maybe the flower stall I can never remember which is correct, anyway, I've centered on three which I can use interchangeably as my muse directs. One is the BG single screw L41, the next is the Rico "H" copy of the old vintage Harrison and last, a two screw of my own device which is a vintage thin two screw lig with four little 1/8" x 3/16" by 1/16" "pillows" soldered on the bottom of the lig just over the screw bushings. they are placed so that they put their holding force just inside of the edge of the reed.

Each of these imparts its own set of characteristics: the BG L41 being my favorite in that it is the darkest and most chirpless. Next is my lig which is like the L41 but brighter and last, barely, is the Rico H which is not so bright or dark and seems to deaden the reed a bit but so hardly that I could be wrong.

All of these provide a good stable hold on the reed for good sealing and are easy to change reeds and set up.

So, what is your favorite and most importantly...why?

Your Pal Sig
 

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I like the FL Ultimate as my default option. It really lets the reed speak, and is a very free-blowing ligature. If I need to make any adjustments, I can always change to something different.
 

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FOR ME------ ligs make a big difference in what we hear and feel with the sound.
For me, ITS NOT ABOUT WHAT OTHERS HEAR, it's what WE hear and feel when WE'RE playing.
When I play, I hear that my old Charles Bay lig for my alto, centers the sound and evens it out from top to bottom. It keeps away the really harsh higher partials and keeps the sound more focussed, without sounding or feeling dead. I like this lig alot.
 

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For a hard rubber piece - Selmer shorty Soloist, Bergonzi Slant Supreme, TM 42, and even an Ishimori I tried last week - I prefer a Bonade silver inverted ligature. I have never done well with ligatures that advertise that they hold the reed at only a few points and let it vibrate freely, such as a Vandoren Optimum or any of the ring ligs (Drake, JJ, etc). I tend to sound very bright and thin with those.

The Bonade gives me the dark but fat sound I prefer without deadening it too much, and while holding the reed securely when I need to move the mouthpiece on the neck. I like the inverted setup so that I can grab it without the screws digging into my palm.

YMMV.
 

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The FL ligs are very good, if you're interested in a brighter sound. Otherwise I would just go with a standard Selmer or Bonade 2 screw.
 

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I go with 10mfan on the alto Charles Bay (inverted, 2-screw) lig but I use it on my tenor Tonalin Streamline (Brilhart) (it's the Baroque model. http://www.charlesbaywoodwinds.com/ligatures.html)
For alto Tonalin Streamline mouthpiece, I am so lucky that a Luyben clarinet ligature fits nicely. Like the Bay, it does almost not dampen the reed. And the Luyben is more robust than the Bay, which will break if tightened too much.
 

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Oh yes the ligature trail.....

1. Jumbo Java A75 and Vandorens Masters ligature for funk.
2. Early 80's Alto Otto Link STM and Stock Ligature for jazz.
3. Guardala "Studio" Tenor and Selmer 402 (after an exhaustive expensive less than enlightening experience)
4. Ponzol Tenor M1 and M6 with Selmer 404.
5. GW Soprano Otto Link STM and stock ligature.

I tried all the more expensive ligs and found them lacking in various way but mostly I felt light in the wallet. I have gone back to either stock P-ligs or selmer two screw ligs. Sometimes simpler and cheaper is actually better.

B
 

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On my HR pieces my favorite lig is actually the Francois Louis Basic XL. I prefer it to the Ultimate as it is less fiddly and doesn't move around the reed if you have to make adjustments the way the Ultimate does. I prefer it to the Vandoren Masters and Optimum (don't get the hype of this lig at all), better than the dull and deadening nature of Rovners, and it seems a step up from the generic 2 screw pieces I have.

I just started playing metal pieces and just got a Selmer 402 today for my Guardalas so it's too soon to say. I do say I like the Brancher lig for my Ponzol. I may look into one of these for HR pieces as is seems simple and it works well and is stable. It's usually $65 so pricey but it works. Not sure why the Branchers aren't more popular as they seem to do everything you'd expect a ligature to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
From a tone and response standpoint I actually prefer the Francois Louis Ultimate - brass but it's not in my top 3 because I had a bad experience on the stand one night when I went to adjust my mouthpiece with just a little twist and the whole thing came apart. Other guys said the deer in the headlights look was priceless. I wasn't quite so humorously disposed.

Sig
 

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yep, one reason I don't like using it for live playing haha. Never have this problem with the basic XL as the cage is 1 piece not a swiveling cup shaped metal shim as on the Ultimate. Most frustrating aspect I found with the Ultimate is when using Legere synthetics, the cup shaped metal shim slips off either side if the reed as the cup retainer is too wide for most reeds. If they designed that shelf to be flatter and less radiused this would not be a problem.

From a tone and response standpoint I actually prefer the Francois Louis Ultimate - brass but it's not in my top 3 because I had a bad experience on the stand one night when I went to adjust my mouthpiece with just a little twist and the whole thing came apart. Other guys said the deer in the headlights look was priceless. I wasn't quite so humorously disposed.

Sig
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If they designed that shelf to be flatter and less radiused this would not be a problem.
Fusion old boy you've given me a small brain storm. I think I'll experiment with making some replacement plates for the Ultimate. More center support allowing the edges of the reed to vibrate more freely. How's that sound? It'll be like Theo's plate set for his lig. Yeah!, This'll be fun.

Your Pal Siggy
 

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That would be an improvement Sigmund. I'd be interested in seeing what you come up with. I haven't used my Ultimate in a while, and I could be wrong, but isn't the curved plate riveted on and not removeable for the most part?
 

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Paraschos Wooden lig for my vintage Selmer Soloist C* mouthpiece - that was replacing the Rovner Mk III lig.
 

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On my 10E TE, I use either FL Ult., or what I believe to be a Buescher. It's the one you've seen Joe Henderson use. (not Selmer)
 

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I'll try my new Selmer ligature tonight. Looks cool and if it works it might be my go to lig on HR pieces. I'm assuming this would work inverted or regular position. I'll try both.

 

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I'm assuming this would work inverted or regular position.
I wouldn't assume that. It clearly has a flat only on the side opposite the screw - intended for "inverted" use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Fus you are a trial Man. Now I gotta go get me one of those. Actually I'm trying to empirically draw some correlation between the apparent reed support and pressure areas and amplitudes and the effect of the ligature on both the sound projected and the sound heard by the player, since it has been argued here that they are different. I'm also hoping for the "longest sentence" award on SOTW.

Empirically,
Sig
 

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I'm a good contestant for run on sentences myself Sigmund haha.

I also like to figure out how things tick and I'd like experiments on which points influence vibrations in a complimentary way on reeds. I am interested in your idea of removeable plates for the Ultimate lig. even though I don't like the idea it swivels.

Perhaps a flat plate with a stripe of 6/8/10 dimples in the middle of the reed table sort of like a colon only look sideways : : : :

Maybe a centimeter or less apart from left to right, and make 4 rows along the length of the reed like I illustrated spacing them equidistant from the end of the reed to the vamp.

p.s. DR. G I think the curvature of the other side of the single band might still be OK to use the non-inverted way. I'll try it now...
EDIT: yes! it works and fits perfectly both inverted and non-inverted.

INVERTED LIG:







NON INVERTED LIG:





 

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It's clearly intended for inverted use by right-handed persons, and for non-inverted use by left-handed people. ;-)
 
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