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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not too long ago I purchased two silver plated ligatures at the same time, one for clarinet and one for alto.
Over time, I started noticing that the clarinet ligature was darkening quickly, the silver plate tarnished extremely fast whereas the alto one has barely tarnished at all. At this point, the clarinet one is basically black with tarnish but the alto one still looks brand new.
I'm just curious, is this something to do with it being in the clarinet case? Or more to do with when its being played? I just don't get how the same ligature used for the same amount of time as the other can become so tarnished. This has happened to me with numerous Vandoren clarinet and bass clarinet ligatures but never with any sax ligs.
Any help is much appreciated, I'm stumped
 

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If you switch to a Selmer Clarinet, all your problems will be solved. :) Seriously, the reason I asked is that vulcanized rubber has sulfur content, and that can cause accelerated tarnish of silver.


Assuming your mouthpiece is hard rubber, it's possible that the smaller interior volume would cause a greater concentration of sulfur and other chemicals which cause tarnishing and make the ligature tarnish faster. Try a polish like Hagerty's which contains some anti-tarnishing agents with the polish. Alternatively, perhaps an anti-tarnish strip inside the case after it's been polished could slow it down too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you switch to a Selmer Clarinet, all your problems will be solved. :) Seriously, the reason I asked is that vulcanized rubber has sulfur content, and that can cause accelerated tarnish of silver.


Assuming your mouthpiece is hard rubber, it's possible that the smaller interior volume would cause a greater concentration of sulfur and other chemicals which cause tarnishing and make the ligature tarnish faster. Try a polish like Hagerty's which contains some anti-tarnishing agents with the polish. Alternatively, perhaps an anti-tarnish strip inside the case after it's been polished could slow it down too.
Wow thanks for the info John! I had know idea about the sulfur content in the wood
 

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Couple of notes to consider:

1). Might be overthinking the situation. The Alto lig might have an anti-tarnish ‘lacquer’ coating on it. The Clarinet lig might not. Even if the two are the same brand, there could be a manufacturers defect on the clarinet one.

2). If you use an anti-tarnish product such as Haggerty, make sure to soak your ligature in water for about 15 minutes after you are done...and then dry it off. If the residues are not fully rinsed, the re-tarnish process will actually accelerate.

3). If you ever used a polishing cloth on your clarinet ligature to touch up a ‘spot,’ that would have accelerated the tarnish big time on the clarinet lig. Most of those tarnishing cloths leave a residue that super accelerates the tarnishing process.

4). 3M used to make a produce called Tarnishield Strips. They are designed to put in a cabinet with your silver. They emit something into the air which inhibits tarnishing. Might be the right thing to stick into your clarinet case if this is an ongoing problem. Don’t know if they make the product any more.

I would personally recommend tarnishing up your Alto ligature. Ugly black metal produces the exact same sound as shiny silver, but is less likely to be swiped at a gig.
 
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