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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have followed a bunch of the ligature threads over the last decade or so, and even checked all of the old ones for more recent posts, but I thought I'd re-vitalize the old topic by asking if any ligatures have surfaced in the last few years that changed anyone's perspective on their favorite ligatures.
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Disclaimer #1: This is ENTIRELY subjective.
Disclaimer #2: Please don't fill this thread about how you use a rubber band, some DIY ligature, or how ligatures don't matter. Let's just assume/pretend they do for this discussion.
Disclaimer #3: I am aware that there are many other threads about this since the beginning of SOTW; please don't clutter the thread with these sorts of observations.
____________________

Now that we've cleared the air, let's discuss.

I haven't even thought about sax gear for years, so I'm curious what people's thoughts are on some of the new ligature manufacturers out there.

Has anybody tried the ridiculous expensive Reedmaster ligatures? How do they stack up to the vintage royalty (Winslow, Harrison, Brilhart, 404, etc.)? How do they stack up to the other powerhouse ligs like Ishimori, Saxxas, etc?

Has anybody tried the new Marc Jean ligatures? How do they compare to the 1st Gen ones?

Whatever happened to that kooky Saxworks ligature that was shaped like a U-Bolt? Looks like he updated the design since then to look like a *fancier* U-Bolt, but it says "sold out"; who has been buying these??

Also, please hip me to any other ligatures that might have come out recently that you really like. What are some of the weirdest or craziest designs you've seen? Do they make any difference to you as a player on your setup?

Let the ligature symposium commence!
 

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Whatever happened to that kooky Saxworks ligature that was shaped like a U-Bolt? Looks like he updated the design since then to look like a *fancier* U-Bolt, but it says "sold out"; who has been buying these??
I don't know who the buyers are, but inventory is a function of both supply and demand. If you make 10 items and manage to sell them all, then they're sold out.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Has anybody tried the new Marc Jean ligatures? How do they compare to the 1st Gen ones?
I prefer the original ones.

But then I don't believe youi can actually compare one ligature with another unless you specify the actual mouthpiece and any anomalies (e.g. flat of concave table). And this goes beyond just being a nice snug fit.
 

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This $2 ligature holds the reed tightly against the mouthpiece, a ligature's one and only job. It works better than my $80 Rovner which apparently cannot hold the reed properly due to the stretchy cloth and gimmicky design.

I have a large box of ligatures I've accumulated over the past 40 years. When I get a new mouthpiece that needs a ligature, I find one from my box that fits, then move on to more important things.

https://www.amazon.com/Mxfans-Bakelite-Mouthpiece-Ligatures-Resonance/dp/B07YC1CK4X/
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Has anybody tried the new Marc Jean ligatures? How do they compare to the 1st Gen ones?
I prefer the original ones.

But then I don't believe youi can actually compare one ligature with another unless you specify the actual mouthpiece and any anomalies (e.g. flat of concave table). And this goes beyond just being a nice snug fit.
This is completely true; it's tough to draw comparisons when the dimensions of a mouthpiece vary.

I have had the same daily burner mouthpiece for about 5 years now, so I often forget that certain ligatures work best for certain mouthpieces.

So, commenters, perhaps specify what your favorite ligatures are and which mouthpieces you particularly liked them on.

And people who have been able to try several ligatures on the same mouthpiece, your feedback would be greatly appreciated as well.
 

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If discussion focused on recent developments in premium ligatures happens here, I’ll watch that with interest. Potential for good reading, based on the subject matter itself, as well as the slight potential for controversy and flared nostrils. (Happens for any subject matter, from clarinet materials via rayon shirts and hats, by way of misspelling last words in a game thread).

Intrigued by “premium” ligs myself, I am currently quite happy with some more or less mundane options (depending on your definition of “premium”). I like the BG tradition or the regular dark BG (with the rubber mat) on 10mfan Daddy-O on the alto. On the tenor, Borrgani Flexitone is not bad on the slightly vintage HR Berg, but I actually like the stock Berg 2-screw a bit better. On bari, the Borgani is very good on the Vandoren V16 HR (B7/B9), as is the Vandoren Optimum. On the stainless Berg on bari, Rovner Verso is great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Also, has anyone tried the new Rovner Platinum with gold plating? How does it compare to the original? And to other ligatures in your arsenal?
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I found it had a somewhat warmer, darker tone. It played quite efforlesy and seemed to have more of an even scale. The transitions between registers were easier and smoother. It had superior control and a secure centred tone with great intonation.

Plus it is very pretty.

On the down side it didn't seem to bolster and solidifiy the lower register as did the original Platinum.

I'm just waiting for the platinum plated platinum version now. How mauch better could it get?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I found it had a somewhat warmer, darker tone. It played quite efforlesy and seemed to have more of an even scale. The transitions between registers were easier and smoother. It had superior control and a secure centred tone with great intonation.

Plus it is very pretty.

On the down side it didn't seem to bolster and solidifiy the lower register as did the original Platinum.

I'm just waiting for the platinum plated platinum version now. How much better could it get?
Pair that with a platinum plated horn and platinum-plated mouthpiece.

And how do you feel it fares against the other big names out there? The old Marc Jean, the Ishimori Woodstone, or even the simpler ligatures? I'm looking at HR tenor ligatures at this point, so maybe more in the realm of darker HR mouthpieces.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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And how do you feel it fares against the other big names out there?
As mentioned, I can't really compare ligtaures without taking into account the actual mouthpiece.

I like the original Patinum, it works fine, but found for my mouthpiece it worked better after a modification I did. Drilling out the holes that the screw goes through from 3mm to 4mm allowed it to form better around the mouthpiece.
 

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I will list the ligatures I own and have access to. There are many that are good, but I have favorites. Feel free to ask any questions:)

Mark Jean Version 1 and 2 for Hard Rubber Tenor and Metal Tenor. I prefer version 2, but version 1 is cool. Version 1, the ones I had at least, were darker and a hair less responsive.

Ishimori - Solid Silver, Solid Silver Pink Gold, Brass, Gold Plate, Copper, Copper Pink Gold for Hard Rubber Tenor and Alto as well as Metal Link Tenor. The Ishimori ligature and I have a love hate relationship. I absolutely love my Solid Silver on my metal link, but I cannot get it to work for me on any other style of mouthpiece. Solid Silver Pink Gold is hands down the darkest and most resistant. The copper is dark and free blowing. Solid Silver is a nice balance of dark with some highs still present and a nice little bit of edge.

Saxworks - The famous U bolt one size fits all. I have both the big and small versions of this. These work incredibly well. Darker and very free blowing. I keep them around for good reason, they fit everything.

Saxcraft - These are new and quite awesome. Super free with a LOT of volume and still have something to push against. I am going to get one for my Metal Link. They are made in Europe by a gentleman named Pieter and he is quite nice and works hard on his ligatures.

Francois Louis Pure Brass - Bare Brass, Gold Plate and Silver Plate for Clarinet, Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bari. Yes, I've owned all of these in all configurations for every instrument at some point in time. All for Hard Rubber Mouthpieces. These are my favorite ligature for HR pieces. I prefer the Silver plate. Brass is fairly neutral, Gold is dark and free blowing, Silver has more pop and stuff to push against.

Francois Louis Ultimate Ligature - I've used this on Metal Link and HR Tenor. Not my cup of tea. Stuffy and resistant for me on everything. I much prefer the Pure Brass.

Rovner Legacy - Cool version of the Rovner that I have for Metal Link and HR Alto. It's dark, but has a ton of punch and power. I really prefer these over the Eddie Daniels / Versa style configuration as they are freer blowing than the ED.

Eddie Daniels Ligature made by R.S. Berkeley - "I LOVE THIS LIGATURE", actually I don't, but when you open the box Eddie Daniels talks to you and says that followed by some crazy sax lick. It's well made and I can see why some would love it, but it's not for me, I'll stick with the Rovner Legacy.

Rovner Platinum and Platinum Gold Plated - These are pretty crazy. For me they are insanely free blowing and very "buzzy". Not bad if that's what you are going for, but definitely different.

Vandoren M|O - Aged Gold, Pink Gold, Gold Plate and Gold Lacquer for HR Tenor, Alto, Soprano and Bari. All really nice ligatures for Concert type of music. Kind of like an Ishimori-Lite. They have a great core and a medium amount of resistance, but are hard to push to extreme levels.

Vandoren Optimum - Darker and more resistant for me than the M|O on all corresponding saxes.

Borgani | Rigotti Flextone - Meh ... Meh ... I don't like ring ligatures of any type. they are just are strange.

Silverstein Cryo and regular - These are really cool. Definitely Dark, but they project really well and have a great core sound. I prefer the Cryo.

BG Duo, Traditional, Jazz and Revelation - Well BG has a picture of a saxophone on their packaging and it's the mirror image of a sax. Never got over that. Ligatures themselves aren't bad, the DUO is my favorite and the Revelation my least. Thing is, they just never stood out as anything special at all so I stopped trying with them a long while ago.

Echo Brass for Metal Otto Link - forgot about this one, so I'm editing it in. Cool lig. Dark in nature with a quick response. Dryer in sound as well.

I'm sure that I'm forgetting some, but I'll add those later. I like ligatures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I will list the ligatures I own and have access to. There are many that are good, but I have favorites. Feel free to ask any questions:)

Mark Jean Version 1 and 2 for Hard Rubber Tenor and Metal Tenor. I prefer version 2, but version 1 is cool. Version 1, the ones I had at least, were darker and a hair less responsive.

Ishimori - Solid Silver, Solid Silver Pink Gold, Brass, Gold Plate, Copper, Copper Pink Gold for Hard Rubber Tenor and Alto as well as Metal Link Tenor. The Ishimori ligature and I have a love hate relationship. I absolutely love my Solid Silver on my metal link, but I cannot get it to work for me on any other style of mouthpiece. Solid Silver Pink Gold is hands down the darkest and most resistant. The copper is dark and free blowing. Solid Silver is a nice balance of dark with some highs still present and a nice little bit of edge.

Saxworks - The famous U bolt one size fits all. I have both the big and small versions of this. These work incredibly well. Darker and very free blowing. I keep them around for good reason, they fit everything.

Saxcraft - These are new and quite awesome. Super free with a LOT of volume and still have something to push against. I am going to get one for my Metal Link. They are made in Europe by a gentleman named Pieter and he is quite nice and works hard on his ligatures.

Francois Louis Pure Brass - Bare Brass, Gold Plate and Silver Plate for Clarinet, Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bari. Yes, I've owned all of these in all configurations for every instrument at some point in time. All for Hard Rubber Mouthpieces. These are my favorite ligature for HR pieces. I prefer the Silver plate. Brass is fairly neutral, Gold is dark and free blowing, Silver has more pop and stuff to push against.

Francois Louis Ultimate Ligature - I've used this on Metal Link and HR Tenor. Not my cup of tea. Stuffy and resistant for me on everything. I much prefer the Pure Brass.

Rovner Legacy - Cool version of the Rovner that I have for Metal Link and HR Alto. It's dark, but has a ton of punch and power. I really prefer these over the Eddie Daniels / Versa style configuration as they are freer blowing than the ED.

Eddie Daniels Ligature made by R.S. Berkeley - "I LOVE THIS LIGATURE", actually I don't, but when you open the box Eddie Daniels talks to you and says that followed by some crazy sax lick. It's well made and I can see why some would love it, but it's not for me, I'll stick with the Rovner Legacy.

Rovner Platinum and Platinum Gold Plated - These are pretty crazy. For me they are insanely free blowing and very "buzzy". Not bad if that's what you are going for, but definitely different.

Vandoren M|O - Aged Gold, Pink Gold, Gold Plate and Gold Lacquer for HR Tenor, Alto, Soprano and Bari. All really nice ligatures for Concert type of music. Kind of like an Ishimori-Lite. They have a great core and a medium amount of resistance, but are hard to push to extreme levels.

Vandoren Optimum - Darker and more resistant for me than the M|O on all corresponding saxes.

Borgani | Rigotti Flextone - Meh ... Meh ... I don't like ring ligatures of any type. they are just are strange.

Silverstein Cryo and regular - These are really cool. Definitely Dark, but they project really well and have a great core sound. I prefer the Cryo.

BG Duo, Traditional, Jazz and Revelation - Well BG has a picture of a saxophone on their packaging and it's the mirror image of a sax. Never got over that. Ligatures themselves aren't bad, the DUO is my favorite and the Revelation my least. Thing is, they just never stood out as anything special at all so I stopped trying with them a long while ago.

I'm sure that I'm forgetting some, but I'll add those later. I like ligatures
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WOW! :notworth:

Very detailed and incredibly insightful summary of your collection. I'll have to bookmark this in case anybody asks about ligatures in the future.

Ligatures certainly are very fun; I haven't tried many in the last few years, so this is a very useful guide for the ones that I think I might enjoy (free-blowing and on the darker side, but not to the point of choking any frequencies or "covering" the sound)

You haven't happened to have tried the Reedmaster ligature yet, have you? That's one of the newer ones that I've barely heard any buzz about, but in the one audio test I heard, the person demonstrating played it next to a bunch of other ligatures (including the FL Pure Brass, one of my favorites as well) and it sounded much warmer and sounded like it was easier to play.

Any other manufacturers that you forgot, feel free to chime in with; I feel like I know 95% of those, but there are some brands that slip through the cracks to me.
 

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I will list the ligatures I own and have access to. There are many that are good, but I have favorites. Feel free to ask any questions:)

Mark Jean Version 1 and 2 for Hard Rubber Tenor and Metal Tenor. I prefer version 2, but version 1 is cool. Version 1, the ones I had at least, were darker and a hair less responsive.

Ishimori - Solid Silver, Solid Silver Pink Gold, Brass, Gold Plate, Copper, Copper Pink Gold for Hard Rubber Tenor and Alto as well as Metal Link Tenor. The Ishimori ligature and I have a love hate relationship. I absolutely love my Solid Silver on my metal link, but I cannot get it to work for me on any other style of mouthpiece. Solid Silver Pink Gold is hands down the darkest and most resistant. The copper is dark and free blowing. Solid Silver is a nice balance of dark with some highs still present and a nice little bit of edge.

Saxworks - The famous U bolt one size fits all. I have both the big and small versions of this. These work incredibly well. Darker and very free blowing. I keep them around for good reason, they fit everything.

Saxcraft - These are new and quite awesome. Super free with a LOT of volume and still have something to push against. I am going to get one for my Metal Link. They are made in Europe by a gentleman named Pieter and he is quite nice and works hard on his ligatures.

Francois Louis Pure Brass - Bare Brass, Gold Plate and Silver Plate for Clarinet, Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bari. Yes, I've owned all of these in all configurations for every instrument at some point in time. All for Hard Rubber Mouthpieces. These are my favorite ligature for HR pieces. I prefer the Silver plate. Brass is fairly neutral, Gold is dark and free blowing, Silver has more pop and stuff to push against.

Francois Louis Ultimate Ligature - I've used this on Metal Link and HR Tenor. Not my cup of tea. Stuffy and resistant for me on everything. I much prefer the Pure Brass.

Rovner Legacy - Cool version of the Rovner that I have for Metal Link and HR Alto. It's dark, but has a ton of punch and power. I really prefer these over the Eddie Daniels / Versa style configuration as they are freer blowing than the ED.

Eddie Daniels Ligature made by R.S. Berkeley - "I LOVE THIS LIGATURE", actually I don't, but when you open the box Eddie Daniels talks to you and says that followed by some crazy sax lick. It's well made and I can see why some would love it, but it's not for me, I'll stick with the Rovner Legacy.

Rovner Platinum and Platinum Gold Plated - These are pretty crazy. For me they are insanely free blowing and very "buzzy". Not bad if that's what you are going for, but definitely different.

Vandoren M|O - Aged Gold, Pink Gold, Gold Plate and Gold Lacquer for HR Tenor, Alto, Soprano and Bari. All really nice ligatures for Concert type of music. Kind of like an Ishimori-Lite. They have a great core and a medium amount of resistance, but are hard to push to extreme levels.

Vandoren Optimum - Darker and more resistant for me than the M|O on all corresponding saxes.

Borgani | Rigotti Flextone - Meh ... Meh ... I don't like ring ligatures of any type. they are just are strange.

Silverstein Cryo and regular - These are really cool. Definitely Dark, but they project really well and have a great core sound. I prefer the Cryo.

BG Duo, Traditional, Jazz and Revelation - Well BG has a picture of a saxophone on their packaging and it's the mirror image of a sax. Never got over that. Ligatures themselves aren't bad, the DUO is my favorite and the Revelation my least. Thing is, they just never stood out as anything special at all so I stopped trying with them a long while ago.

I'm sure that I'm forgetting some, but I'll add those later. I like ligatures.
Whew, I wish you would have included the cost for each of them. Very impressive list, one can only wonder what kind of investment you made for all those. Are they insurable? :TGNCHK: Personally I only have two criteria to purchasing ligatures. One, how secure does it hold the reed on the mouthpiece and two, how quickly can I replace a reed. Other then that I find very little difference in my sound from using different ligatures. But, just changing reeds can make those subtle differences as well. However, neither one is a big enough deal for me to worry about. As they say, there are bigger fish to fry ...
 

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My favorite, not mentioned so far:

Bonade inverted. No, it's not new. No, it's not expensive (but more than $2 LOL). No, it's not fancy. But it works perfectly. Only downside - it comes in 4 or 5 sizes only - Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, and Soprano, Alto, Tenor Saxophone. (Sax ligatures are for standard hard rubber sizes only). The Marc Jean is based on this ligature, and is a more expensive alternative.

My second favorite, which I bought on a whim because it looked cool and I had the money: Echo Master (used to be Echobrass). These are based on the Brilhart 3-band, so similar to the Bonade, but with a plastic area that holds the reed. They are very well made, with thick-ish brass, and very nice screws. They come in more sizes; you can get them at Get-A-Sax. Expensive, but not too much.

In third place, and only because it's no longer made, is the Rico inverted ligature (the nickel plated one, not the H-ligature). Cheap, can still be found on Amazon sometimes, and E-Bay, and remarkably well put together.

Honorable mention goes to any two-screw "standard" lig. These can be turned around to play "backwards", and are easily bent to accommodate any mouthpiece shape.

All the other "fancy" ligatures, unless made to fit a particular mouthpiece, are a waste of time. I've tried a lot of them. They slip around when adjusting the mouthpiece (Francois Louis, Rovner, Theo Wanne), don't hold the reed well (BG, Rovner, Francois Louis, Silverstein), are "fiddly" and most are too expensive.

I understand that the Echo Master, my second place ligature is also expensive, but it's made very, very well, and works very, very well. It would be my favorite except for the price, which is too much in my opinion. That said, I bought three - alto, Link-style tenor and soprano, and all are in use.

Honorable mention goes to the ligature that comes with the new Meyer New York mouthpiece, but it's not available separately.

If you have an Otto Link STM (either vintage, or new, or in between) the ligature that comes with that is sometimes good, and sometimes not. They can be fixed with some fiddling (sometimes), but just slap an inverted two-screw that's made for a Link tenor mouthpiece on it (the Rico, or the Echo Master) and you will be good to go. The Selmer 404 is OK too, but I prefer an inverted ligature, and that means it has to go on backwards.

Hope this helps.

P.S. The ligature in my avatar is a Bonade inverted alto ligature, on a skinny tenor hard rubber mouthpiece (Babbitt "Streamline"). Plays great :)
 

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Whew, I wish you would have included the cost for each of them. Very impressive list, one can only wonder what kind of investment you made for all those. Are they insurable? :TGNCHK: Personally I only have two criteria to purchasing ligatures. One, how secure does it hold the reed on the mouthpiece and two, how quickly can I replace a reed. Other then that I find very little difference in my sound from using different ligatures. But, just changing reeds can make those subtle differences as well. However, neither one is a big enough deal for me to worry about. As they say, there are bigger fish to fry ...
These are ligs I've collected and played over the past 10 plus years. A lot of them I bought used, many new and some surprises in cases of horns I bought. So while I spent a good chunk of bread, I also got good deals along the way. Many of them I've sold to students or friends too, so there is some return. I've kept my favorites along the way and have a fairly nice collection.

As per sound, most ligatures don't affect the sound too much in my experience, mostly just resistance level, articulation and response. Some can have a profound impact on the tone like certain Ishimori's and the Saxcraft.

Everyone's mileage can vary and while some guys just like a good ole 2 screw lig, some guys nerd out a little more. Nothing wrong with either if you are practicing smart and having fun.


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WOW! :notworth:

Very detailed and incredibly insightful summary of your collection. I'll have to bookmark this in case anybody asks about ligatures in the future.

Ligatures certainly are very fun; I haven't tried many in the last few years, so this is a very useful guide for the ones that I think I might enjoy (free-blowing and on the darker side, but not to the point of choking any frequencies or "covering" the sound)

You haven't happened to have tried the Reedmaster ligature yet, have you? That's one of the newer ones that I've barely heard any buzz about, but in the one audio test I heard, the person demonstrating played it next to a bunch of other ligatures (including the FL Pure Brass, one of my favorites as well) and it sounded much warmer and sounded like it was easier to play.

Any other manufacturers that you forgot, feel free to chime in with; I feel like I know 95% of those, but there are some brands that slip through the cracks to me.
I have not tried the reedmaster ligature. I will look it up!

I did add my thoughts on the Echo Brass lig I own for metal Link on my original post.

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I have followed a bunch of the ligature threads over the last decade or so, and even checked all of the old ones for more recent posts, but I thought I'd re-vitalize the old topic by asking if any ligatures have surfaced in the last few years that changed anyone's perspective on their favorite ligatures.
____________________

Disclaimer #1: This is ENTIRELY subjective.
Disclaimer #2: Please don't fill this thread about how you use a rubber band, some DIY ligature, or how ligatures don't matter. Let's just assume/pretend they do for this discussion.
Disclaimer #3: I am aware that there are many other threads about this since the beginning of SOTW; please don't clutter the thread with these sorts of observations.
____________________

Now that we've cleared the air, let's discuss.

I haven't even thought about sax gear for years, so I'm curious what people's thoughts are on some of the new ligature manufacturers out there.

Has anybody tried the ridiculous expensive Reedmaster ligatures? How do they stack up to the vintage royalty (Winslow, Harrison, Brilhart, 404, etc.)? How do they stack up to the other powerhouse ligs like Ishimori, Saxxas, etc?

Has anybody tried the new Marc Jean ligatures? How do they compare to the 1st Gen ones?

Whatever happened to that kooky Saxworks ligature that was shaped like a U-Bolt? Looks like he updated the design since then to look like a *fancier* U-Bolt, but it says "sold out"; who has been buying these??

Also, please hip me to any other ligatures that might have come out recently that you really like. What are some of the weirdest or craziest designs you've seen? Do they make any difference to you as a player on your setup?

Let the ligature symposium commence!
I have the marc jean one and two for tenor (metal robusto) and alto (Jody Jazz HR*). They play exactly the same imho. The biggest upgrade I see is that the little wood rods on the version one come off and get lost (cue person who says I’m wrong because it’s never happened to them..), where the chunk of wood seems to stay in place well on the version two. I got pretty good at making my own replacement sticks before replacing them with the new model.
 
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