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Hello; I am a rising senior in high school. I'm looking at purchasing a new ligature, and was curious at to what your viewpoint is regarding them. I currently posses two ligatures for my alto saxophone: the standard metal one that came with the horn and a leather Rovner ligature. I was using the Rovner for a while, but I was noticing that it was darkening my sound a lot, far more than I would like. I switched back a few months ago to the standard metal ligature, but I'm thinking it's probably time to upgrade. I play on a Vandoren Optimum A4 with size 3 Valdoren reeds, so it would seem only natural to complete my "Vandoren setup" with a Vandoren ligature. However, ligatures vary vastly, so I was hoping that you would guide me in my search for a good upgrade.

I asked a saxophone professor that I've worked with in the past, and he recommended the Ultimate Ligature, but made a clear warning that it has a tendency to fall off and "buzz." He also recommended the Charles Bay. However, I then journeyed onto SOTW, and there are SO many different opinions! Basically, I'm looking for an upgrade from my standard ligature and leather Rovner that won't darken up my tone like those did and will improve tone quality and color. Also, I'm a classical player, so I definitely am NOT looking for a jazz mouthpiece!

Thanks!
 

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If your standard metal ligature works, why "upgrade"? Actually, I don't think there is such a thing as "upgrading" a ligature. They serve one purpose - and that is to clamp the reed onto the mouthpiece table and hold it firmly. Nothing else.

Having said that, over the years (that would be 56 now), I've collected a lot of ligatures and yes, I have found a subtle difference among them. But I've concluded that it has a lot to do with the mouthpiece's table and the particular reed one is using. On one reed, my standard two-screw Selmer ligs work great. On other mouthpieces, my Rovner Eddie Daniels II (and the more recent version of the EDII, the Versa) seem to be a better choice. But beyond that, it certainly has nothing to do with tone-plates, rubber bumpers, and other gizmos marketed to a gullible musical market.

So, I'd recommend that you stick with your current ligatures and accept the fact that their sole purpose is to clamp the reed . . . and one can do it almost the same as another. DAVE
 

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I would recomend a BG Super Revalation, but I am still waiting to try the Vandoren Optimum and Francois Loius.
Upgrading and changing ligatures is a very controversial topic. The best thing to do is try as many as you can, and buy what works best (even if it is your metal ligature!!!). I changed to the BG purely because I liked the sound of it with my mouthpiece, and what works with my saxophone, reeds and mouthpiece will not necessarily work on yours; by all means take and ask for recommendations, but don't let that sway your decision.
That's all from me!
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YAMAHA JUNKIE
 
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