Marketing Ligatures . . . .
I spent the weekend in Melbourne seeing my family, and taking the opportunity to visit Melbourne Brass and Woodwind in Ormond. I spent almost 2 and half hours there trying several different soprano pieces (by choice) and several ligatures (by suggestion).
The ligatures I tried were a BG L51 Tradition Soprano Sax Ligature ($160.00), H-Ligature ($55.00) Vandoren Optimum Ligature ($139.00). My control was a standard Yamaha 2 screw ligature ($20.00) on a Yamaha 7C Soprano Mouthpiece with a Rico Jazz Select 3S reed.
I will say that each ligature changed the sound in a different way. Each bought out different qualities in the sound. None of these qualities made the sound better. Therefore none of these ligatures made the sound better. Every time I went back to my control, the sound was better than with any of the above ligatures.
What surprised me the most was the cost of the BGL51 given the material taken to manufacture it and the net result on the sound which proved negligible at best. The Vandoren Optimum and H-Ligaure seemed to be of better structure and quality, but again both of them had a negligible impact on the sound.
My conclusion is therefore that the Yamaha 2 Screw Ligature not only provided for a better sound but it did so at a fraction of the cost.