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hello everyone,
i've got a straight forward question, do ligature have an effect on the sound ? :doubt:
 

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You can sound good on a lousy ligature, you can sound crummy on a good ligature. Assuming your mouthpiece table is flat and your reed stable, the lig doesn't have to do anything more than keep the reed securely in contact with the table. That's my experience, but there are plenty of sax players who will tell you about the amazing improvement in sound provided by the "X" ligature with gold plating, interchangeable reed plates, and acme threaded screws. Clarinetists are even more adamant. That's just the way it is. I've got a bunch of ligs; I've swapped them around — I prefer some to others because of ease of adjustment, secure grip, or even looks, but I've just never noticed a difference in response and I doubt anyone in the audience ever did either.
 

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I picked up a soprano a few months ago. Spent some money on getting it fixed up. I plan on playing it with a rubber band. Cheap and efficient, I already have a lig for my alto otherwise it would be a rubberband too
 

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with all due respect for a relative newcomer this is not intended as a rebuke. There must be many dozens of threads on this and other favourite questions and one of the great points of keeping the archives for SOTW is accessing all the previous discussions
indeed a simple search on the imperfect SOTW search engine with the words " ligature effect" brings you to many many threads, happy reading!
http://www.saxontheweb.net/Resource...t&sa=Site+Search&siteurl=www.saxontheweb.net/
 

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Many, many years ago I bought one of those fancy Rovner ligs - used it on my alto with a Selmer E (I think) piece.
I thought it was the bees knees, the moment I put it on I could hear how my tone had improved.
I played on it for a few years - and then one evening on a gig, as I was swapping a reed out mid set, it broke. Fortunately I had the original metal lig in my case, so I grabbed it and put it on.
I was amazed - the sound opened out, everything seemed so much more responsive.

I didn't know why at the time, but I do now. You always revert to your core tone. That's why mouthpieces that sound so great in the shop often end up being a bit of a disappointment a couple of weeks later.

These days I just use whatever holds the reed on, and take great care over reed positioning.

Regards,
 

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hello everyone,
i've got a straight forward question, do ligature have an effect on the sound ? :doubt:
Yes, a ligature that is broken or a bad fit for a specific mouthpiece will most likely sound bad.

One that holds the reed correctly will most likely get the best sound, though how good that sound is will depend mostly on the player.

I have sometimes thought one ligature is better than another, but then found out that it was purely a matter of being correct for the mouthpiece. Of course manufacturers of expensive ligatures will try to say that their ligature "sounds better" than other ones.
 

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"[T]ake great care over reed positioning."

Amen, brother.
 

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hello everyone,
i've got a straight forward question, do ligature have an effect on the sound ? :doubt:
Yes, they do. It's not just a question of "if" a ligature holds the reed against the table; "how" a ligature holds the reed against the table matters, as well. Try a few different styles/designs of ligatures and see/feel/hear for yourself.
 

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I recorded a whole album with my tenor reed held on by gaffer tape. Absolutely NO difference provided (as has been said) the reed is held firmly in the right position.
 

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Goldy,

A function of the ligature is also securely fastening the reed to the mouthpiece. If the reed shifts while playing, or is poorly fitted to the mouthpiece to begin with, consequences may include a noticable and potentially disagreeable change in the sound.
 

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Probably an example of a poor ligature must be that which is supplied with the Otto Link STM. No matter how tightly one clamps with the under-slung knurled screw, it is always possible to swivel the reed.
 

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Captain Beeflat,

Two screws are better than one, in my experience, for precisely that reason. Personal experience, at least for personal benefit, is set screws on top of the mouthpiece rather than underneath.
 

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I picked up a soprano a few months ago. Spent some money on getting it fixed up. I plan on playing it with a rubber band. Cheap and efficient, I already have a lig for my alto otherwise it would be a rubberband too
I'd rather play with a jazz band. heehee

Every lig I've ever used either holds the reed on too tight, or too loose. There is a subtle difference in response between different ligs, in my experience. The only lig I can't use are the rovners. (I have two of those 'awful' link stock ligs on my tenor, either holds the reed fine for me).
 

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I don't find a difference though I prefer 2 screw inverted metal ligs (like Vandoren Masters, or Harrison) when I can get ones that fit because I like the ease of mounting and adjusting the reed. I won't claim that there isn't an effect because I may just not be good enough to tell the difference. This just makes ligs a lot like most other consumer goods (computers, golf clubs, skis, bicycles, cars, etc.) which IMO long ago reached a level of quality, capability, and precision far above the typical user's ability to either decern a difference or make use of the (perceived) added quality. That doesn't mean nobody can tell the difference (Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Lindsey Vonn, 'your favorite pro sax player', etc..) but it may be a very elite group at this point.

What I find more interesting is that two of the most popular high-end ligs these days, Theo's Enlightened and Francios Louis' Ultimate, are basically modified versions of the Otto Link STM ligs that nobody seems to like- go figure..
 

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the effect is minimal to the listener. for the player the difference is larger. some ligs seem to favor the upper partials of the sound, others do not. You'll sound like you on any good lig, but some seem to play (respond) more easy to certain notes. The FL lig makes a difference IMHO but I prefer the Vandoren optimum for it's easy and quick to use.
 

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Changing ligatures is similar to changing from one "cut" of reed to another. It affects sound but in subtle ways mostly.

Different parts of a reed are either constricted or left free to vibrate by the differing design of the particular ligature and where it makes contact with the reed.

It's just a subjective observation, I'm not a physicist with white papers to back this up. But since different parts of the reed affect different partials (as you find when you adjust reeds with sandpaper or knife) compressing or freeing a different part of the reed (which most ligatures do) alters tone quality as well. Changing ligatures or moving ligatures to different positions, inverting them, etc. are the sax player's version of EQing the sound.

On an everyday, pratical level I would generalize this way:

1) For the beginning to intermediate player any ligature that holds the reed snuggly will get you almost the same result. A metal two screw lig and a fabric lig should differ somewhat, but beyond those two distinctions you will find little reason to waste money on expensive tools like the Optimum, FL, BG Revelation, etc.

2) Some mouthpieces have a "built in" kind of sound where the timbre just doesn't vary. You can play them loudly or softly, in or out of tune, well or badly, that's about it. These are your higher baffle, smaller chamber type pieces, and changing ligatures will have little effect that is discernable to others. However some you will find give you more pop or responsiveness and ease of playing so don't totally discount trying a couple different ligs if you are a Guardala or Dukoff player. Don't spend a fortune on it though the variation will be slight and mostly significant to yourself not others.

3) If you are a jazzer/serious improviser seeking an artists sound....a sound which is most often achieved by playing the "blank-slate", chameleon type pieces (STM, Jazzmaster, Slant Link, Older Brillharts, etc) then YES, the ligature and reed combinations are going to play a serious role in what you come up with tonally.

4) The larger or louder the ensemble the less difference you will find in how you sound with different ligatures. That wash of sound around you, the ambient environment in which you play...it just wipes out the nuances. So once again don't waste a lot of money. Play and have fun.

:glasses7:
 

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2) Some mouthpieces have a "built in" kind of sound where the timbre just doesn't vary. You can play them loudly or softly, in or out of tune, well or badly, that's about it. These are your higher baffle, smaller chamber type pieces, and changing ligatures will have little effect that is discernable to others.
This can also happen with low baffle large chamber mouthpieces I think

3) If you are a jazzer/serious improviser seeking an artists sound....a sound which is most often achieved by playing the "blank-slate", chameleon type pieces (STM, Jazzmaster, Slant Link, Older Brillharts, etc) then YES, the ligature and reed combinations are going to play a serious role in what you come up with tonally.
I disagree totally. I don't think a ligature plays a more serious role based on the genre of music you play. I'm not really a "jazzer" but frequently I'm a serious improvisor who seeks an artists sound (I think) and I achieve that with the help of various mouthpieces. But ligatures? No.
 
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