Equipment Recommendations Part 4

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What We’ve Covered

About 10 months ago we began a series of posts that provided a list (and reasons) of equipment recommendations. Previous to this series we had provided general recommendations concerning equipment so you could choose from all that is available.

In contrast, these newer posts provide actual brand names and models of various pieces of equipment. So if you’re confused about all the equipment available, and you just want to know what you should get, we’ve got you covered. If you want it narrowed down even more, simply ask in the comment section below! We’re happy to help.

Since it’s been 10 months since we began this series, I have provided links to the previous posts below for review. To be honest, I even had to go over them myself to remember all that was discussed! Here they are:

  1. Equipment Recommendations: Part 1
    • Covers pro saxophones
  2. Equipment Recommendations: Part 2
    • Covers mouthpieces
  3. Equipment Recommendations: Part 3
    • Covers reeds

Ligatures

The ligature is the piece of equipment that holds the reed on the mouthpiece. You may think, “How can you write a full post on ligatures?” (We’ll actually have 2 posts on ligatures) All you need to do is search “saxophone ligatures” on the internet and you’ll have the answer. In fact, you may be confused by all the options. This wide selection of ligatures might be surprising when you consider the purpose of the ligature: to hold the reed on. Not a complicated job!

But of course we always like to improve our equipment and make it better, even if the job is simple. With this in mind (and the array of ligatures available), let’s start with an analogy.

The Analogy

Another simple product that we use every day are shoes:

  • How many shoe manufacturers are there?
  • How many different “models” of shoes are made by each company?

The shoe has many functions:

  • They keep your feet warm
  • They keep your feet dry
  • They keep your feet cool
  • They keep your feet comfortable
  • They keep rocks out
  • And more!

So here’s the question: when we step into a shoe store, do we become overwhelmed by the choices? Usually not, because we know exactly what we want. We want a shoe such as a:

  • Running shoe
  • Skate shoe
  • Dress shoe
  • Beach shoe
  • Bowling shoe
  • Football shoe
  • The right size shoe

We don’t walk over to the boot section if we want a shoe that is good for running. Every shoe has its purpose and so does a ligature.

Narrowing It Down

In order to be in control and not become overwhelmed (by all the ligatures that are available), let’s take a second to see what your needs are. Like shoes, if we can identify our needs, then the selection of ligatures becomes less.

Check out the 2 categories below to narrow down your ligature choices. If your needs are described in one of the bullet points, you’ll know the right ligature for you:

  1. A Generic Metal Ligature
    • You are a beginner
    • You just need something that will hold the reed
    • You have never played the saxophone before
  2. A Professional Ligature
    • You have been playing for a year or two and are ready for the subtle benefits of a ligature
    • You have become comfortable and confident with your articulation and tone, and you would like the added benefits a quality ligature can bring

As you can see, it’s not really important to but an expensive ligature as a beginner. You can if you want like; it won’t hurt your playing at all.

Next

Next week we’ll cover both of these categories in more detail to help you determine the right ligature for you. We’ll also provide specific ligature brands.

Question

Have you ever tried multiple ligatures?  Could you tell the difference between them? Feel free to share in the comment section below. Our saxophone community would benefit from your experiences. Thanks!

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Comments 2

  1. Thank you for the information on ligatures. I look forward to the more detailed post next week. I think that I am due for an upgrade and will benefit from your wisdom and expertise Jeff.

    Laura L.

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