Does a ligature really make a difference?
Much has been written and discussed about ligature design and relevance to your sound production on saxophone. Although some players will argue that a ligature makes little difference to the tone, I have found over the last 25 years that it can make a huge difference not only to the quality of your tone but also to how the reed behaves. And, this in turn can ultimately influence your playing style.
I have recently had the opportunity to experiment with the beautifully crafted ligatures from Silverstein Works. And I have to say that I am a massive fan. These ligatures may be a little pricey ($140-$190) but they do make a dramatic difference to the responsiveness of the reed.
So what is it all about?
The Silverstein ligature is a modern take on the traditional string ligature. The string ligature was really the main method used by clarinet players back in the 1600s to keep the reed in place. As you can imagine, a simple piece of string is probably the most low tech ligature solution possible. The thing is though, once you worked out how to put it on, it worked great because the flexibility of the string allowed the reed to vibrate, leading to a fuller sound.
Some classical clarinetists today still use a string ligature for this reason.
The Silverstein ligature takes the string idea and brings it more up to date with a beautifully crafted and yet simple screw mechanism. This makes the ligature much easier to fit than a string lig but still allows the reed to vibrate freely.
String is probably the most low tech ligature solution possible…but it works!
I found on both a hard rubber sax mouthpiece and a clarinet that it holds the reed well with very little need for adjustment. Best of all though I found a noticeable improvement in the openness of my sound and the response I got back from my reed. The Silverstein really does free the reed up to do it’s job beautifully.
If you do get a chance to try one of these ligatures I would definitely recommend it. In comparison to a standard metal ligature I’m sure you will hear the difference – you just need to work out if you can justify the price tag.