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Thread: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

  1. #1

    Default reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    Some players are getting use to reverse the ligature so that the screws are on top and are adjusted with the left hand.

    I've started using this method myself and apart from the aesthetic side (e.g. the MP's logo is hidden) and using the left hand (being right handed) I find this method much more functional...for example, the risk of deforming the ligature itself is reduced and no more out of shape edges plunging into the reed.

    A good example of how sometimes the old common ways are simply WRONG in their basic design concept?

  2. #2
    SOTW Administrator hakukani's Avatar
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    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    In my experience, some ligs are designed to have screws on top, and some are designed to have the screws on the bottom, and some have no screws.

    In fact, Bonade makes both a top screw and a bottom screw ligature.

    I prefer to use ligs the way they were designed to be used, but YMMV.
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
    Sax player theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- .010" at the tip)
    "Free jazz is the vegemite of the musical world. It's an acquired taste."-J. Jacques

  3. #3

    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    Quote Originally Posted by hakukani View Post
    In my experience, some ligs are designed to have screws on top, and some are designed to have the screws on the bottom, and some have no screws.

    In fact, Bonade makes both a top screw and a bottom screw ligature.

    I prefer to use ligs the way they were designed to be used, but YMMV.
    Agree with you that the design is meant for using them with the screw on the bottom (let's stick to the common ligatures - I know there are other types out there...), hence, using them upside down bring some usability problems; but having a sharp edge splitting a good reed is much worse!
    Normal use doesn't give any problem...e.g. when using the same ligature on the same MP...but when one starts experimenting with different ligatures onto different MPs, that's when troubles start...it happened to me recently and one good reed has got 2 sinister looking grooves.

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    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    There's nothing wrong with grooves on reeds. Some used to be made that way.
    (Was it Vibrareed? I played them in the 1950s, but I'm drawing a blank on the name).
    "Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your intelligence to buy a drink ..." e.e. cummings

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    SOTW Administrator hakukani's Avatar
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    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    As long as the grooves are not on the face, it shouldn't hurt them for playing.
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
    Sax player theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- .010" at the tip)
    "Free jazz is the vegemite of the musical world. It's an acquired taste."-J. Jacques

  6. #6
    SOTW Administrator hakukani's Avatar
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    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    Vibrators. I started on them. Coltrane is playing on one in the pic from Giant Steps.
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
    Sax player theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- .010" at the tip)
    "Free jazz is the vegemite of the musical world. It's an acquired taste."-J. Jacques

  7. #7

    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    If the lig grooves the reed & you flip it, It will probably groove the top of the mpc. I like inverted Bonades, & they'll usually groove the mpc, but I'll use a standard lig, "standard".

  8. #8

    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    Quote Originally Posted by chknbon View Post
    If the lig grooves the reed & you flip it, It will probably groove the top of the mpc. I like inverted Bonades, & they'll usually groove the mpc, but I'll use a standard lig, "standard".
    There is no damage to be done on the MP...the out of shape edge simply slides along the surface and in actual fact it helps readjusting the ligature back into shape.

  9. #9

    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    Quote Originally Posted by retread View Post
    There's nothing wrong with grooves on reeds. Some used to be made that way.
    (Was it Vibrareed? I played them in the 1950s, but I'm drawing a blank on the name).
    Those are controlled grooves...a totally different matter.
    Grooves like those in my reed keeps getting longer and in due time they split the reed.

    Let's face it. The basic design is wrong at the very core.

  10. #10

    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zannad View Post
    Those are controlled grooves...a totally different matter.
    Grooves like those in my reed keeps getting longer and in due time they split the reed.

    Let's face it. The basic design is wrong at the very core.
    If your reeds are actually getting split, you may be tightening the ligature screws way too much. It would take a lot of force to create a groove deep enough to split a reed.

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    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    My dad used conventional ligs (the usual way up) from 1934 till he gave me saxes in the late 80s, and never split a reed. Could it be a case of the workman blaming the tools?
    It's an ill wind that blows nobody down a long lane which has no silver lining.

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    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    Agree with those who say that a lig will not split a reed. If it is, you are tightening it down WAY too much. The point of a lig isn't to survive an earthquake, it's to hold the reed in place, no more - in fact the lig shouldn't be any tighter than it needs to be to keep the reed from sliding around. Less pressure is better, as it will allow the reed more freedom to vibrate.

    If you have to crank the ligs down enough to split a reed to get them to play, then you probably have other issues, like a warped mouthpiece table.

  13. #13
    SOTW Administrator hakukani's Avatar
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    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    In 42 years of playing, I have never split a reed with a ligature.

    When I first started, I would put the reed on first, then the ligature, and every once in awhile split a reed.

    Then I started putting the ligature on first, then putting the reed between the lig and mouthpiece. Never had a problem since.
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
    Sax player theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- .010" at the tip)
    "Free jazz is the vegemite of the musical world. It's an acquired taste."-J. Jacques

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    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    Back on the original subject, no one has mentioned the most dire consequence of using inverted ligs -- out-of-control nose hairs getting caught in the screws.
    "Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your intelligence to buy a drink ..." e.e. cummings

  15. #15
    SOTW Administrator hakukani's Avatar
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    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    Quote Originally Posted by retread View Post
    Back on the original subject, no one has mentioned the most dire consequence of using inverted ligs -- out-of-control nose hairs getting caught in the screws.
    I keep those trimmed
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
    Sax player theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- .010" at the tip)
    "Free jazz is the vegemite of the musical world. It's an acquired taste."-J. Jacques

  16. #16

    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    Hey, if it works, don't fix it.

    If it works for you, I'd say go with it, either way, upside down, backwards, rubber band, string, paperclip-if you could figure out how that one would work...use what sounds good.
    "Assiduus usus uni rei deditus et ingenium et artem saepe vincit" -Cicero

  17. #17

    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    Why bringing singulars/common cases like "it never happened to me" or else?

    Isn't that a strong signal brought from Bonade (if is true they make one of the best ligature available), that what seems obvious or accepted as a norm sometimes isn't the best choice?
    Also, Vandoren is doing it and those thin rails which help the tone (apparently) can only be used when the reed is supported by a static base not one that moves across the reed.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    Zannad, no one is disputing that inverted ligs work. But apparently no one, including me, believes that a properly used standard lig will split reeds.
    "Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your intelligence to buy a drink ..." e.e. cummings

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    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    If some dumbassis is splitting reeds at the stock with the 'pressure plate' area of the ligature.....They're tightening it WAAAAAAYYY too much.
    Or they are using a lig that's too small mouthpiece.

    I've used standard 2 screw ligs and the Bonade inverted for...Oh Gee, Going on 38 years now, and I've NEVER EVER EVER split a reed with the pressure plate.
    Old reed players are like fine wine. They only get better with age. Tom Hagen

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  20. #20
    Distinguished SOTW Member DavidW's Avatar
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    Default Re: reverse ligature (upside down)...pro and against.

    I think I still have an unopened pack of Vibrator reeds for tenor I wonder if they are worth anything these days?

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