Shopping Cart
0 item(s) - $0.00
top

Ligatures

WHAT MAKES A GREAT LIGATURE?
( Or Ligatures 101)

William Stubbins, the well known Clarinet Pedagogue of our last generation once said: “ A loosely held vibrator is a poor vibrator”. Truer words have never been spoken! Ligature design is not rocket science. If one simply applies several basic laws of Physics to the issue all of the smoke and mirrors and the Voodo falls by the wayside!

Try this simple experiment: Take any inexpensive plastic school ruler and place two thirds of its length over the edge of a desk. Then, holding the part on the desk firmly with the palm of your hand, pull down and release the free end of the ruler. Notice the strong, intense vibrations that take place. Next, repeat the Experiment only this time hold the ruler lightly. Notice the very weak or non existent vibrations in stark contrast to before. Now let’s apply this information back to the subject at hand, the effect of a ligature upon the reed and mouthpiece.

The woodwind reed is a highly specialized vibration producing spring that is governed by the same physical laws that were involved with the school ruler. This is why a ligature that holds the reed firmly and securely will produce the most intense vibrations and thus send the maximum amount of sound waves through the instrument. The “color” of that sound can be effected by the type of MATERIAL that is used to hold the reed firmly to the mouthpiece. Metal will emphasize the uneven partials and softer material will emphasize the even partials. However, whatever material is used, the important thing is that the reed must be held as firmly and securely as possible to produce the maximum tonal vibrations. Applying this basic law of vibrating objects to the multitude of different kinds of ligatures available today it becomes much easier to eliminate those that work contrary to physical laws. It quickly becomes obvious which ligatures are the result of a careful application of these laws, and which ones are simply an attempt to be different or appeal to our fascination with “eye candy” or things Unique!

LIGATURES, REED WARPAGE, AND REED STRENGTH
One of the most important issues we wanted to address with our ligatures is the problem of REED WARPAGE. Any piece of wood, reeds included, will warp if uneven pressure is applied for any length of time. The reed is particularly susceptible to this problem due to the fact that it is in a high humidity situation while pressure is being applied. Unfortunately, most ligature designs that use either narrow rails, or small pressure points on the reed surface actually are the major cause of reed warpage. The wetting and drying out process is a minor factor IF uneven pressure is not applied to the reed while it is wet. So, one of the most important aspects of a good ligature is that it applies firm EVEN pressure across the entire non vibrating surface of the reed! Ligature designs that do not hold the reed evenly may seem to play well at first, but in a very short period of use they WILL cause reed warpage! You will notice over time using our ligatures that reed warpage will be greatly reduced if not eliminated. REED STRENGTH: You will also find that you may need to use a softer reed strength with our ligatures due to the fact that the reed is vibrating more strongly, being held more evenly and securely. Thus a softer reed will produce the same power of vibration as the stronger reed held less efficiently.

In conclusion, THE IDEAL LIGATURE must do the following:
First, it must hold the non vibrating part of the reed firmly and securely. WITHOUT damaging the reed or the mouthpiece. It must allow the performer to remove the mouthpiece from the instrument for swabbing and for instrument changes WITHOUT any concern for the reed or ligature moving or sliding off the mouthpiece. Secondly, the ideal ligature will emphasize the balance of even and odd partials, or overtones that the performer desires in the sound they wish to produce. However, the mouthpiece plays a much greater role in this aspect of tone production.

That’s It! No gimmicks! No Voodo! Just Physics!


Product Image Item Name- Price
GHOSON Eclipse Clarinet Ligature

GHOSON Eclipse Clarinet Ligature

Lomax Classic is pleased to announce the addition of the GHOSON Eclipse Clarinet Ligature to our line of World Class woodwind products. The GHOLSON...
$90.00

... more info

LOMAX CLASSIC Model

LOMAX CLASSIC Model

A silver plated inverted style metal ligature that features a thin reed pad made of Kangaroo leather. The metal gives strong reed vibration for...
$115.00

... more info

LOMAX "Euro" Model

LOMAX "Euro" Model

Back by POPULAR DEMAND! Duplicates the tonal color of the traditional string ligature used by the German and Austrian clarinetists, with the ease and...
$95.00

... more info

Lomax Elite Model

Lomax Elite Model

Kangaroo leather has fantastic qualities! It has a very high tensile strength and very unique acoustic properties that add warmth, smoothness, and...
$115.00

... more info