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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001117.txt from 1998/03

From: "David B. Niethamer" <>
Subj: Re: Rovner Eddie Daniels II playing test
Date: Sun, 22 Mar 1998 13:45:40 -0500

Almost two months ago, Jim Fay wrote a "review" of his test of the new
Eddie Daniels II ligature from Rovner. His post led me (at long last!) to
try the ligature, and below, interspersed with Jim Fay's comments are my

I'll start by saying that I'm a bit of a cynic when it comes to the
"latest and greatest" in equipment. After a lot of experimentation I've
come to play on an inverted Bonade ligature, silver plated, which I like
for its resonance and projection, and also for its evenness of timbre
from top to bottom of the clarinet. I've periodically tried many
different ligatures, including a few flavors of Rovner, but never found
anything I liked better.

JF>Tried the new Rovner Eddie Daniels II ligature, comparing it to an
JF>inverted Bonade (with the middle cut out) and an old Rovner Dark.

My comparison was my inverted Bonade, and both types of Eddie Daniels. I
don't like to cut the middle out of my Bonades, because I think (for me)
that it makes the timbre from note to note less homogeneous. I wanted to
get a Vandoren Optimum also, but they were out of stock. Maybe another

JF>Before the test, I had a partiality for the Bonade because of its
JF>resonance and projection, but it made my reeds warp in the Winter here
JF>in Maryland and Virginia, and so used the Rovner Dark, which had a
JF>darker sound, but it lacked that ring and projection characteristic of
JF>the Bonade.
JF>The ED II was tried with 2 Zonda 4s, and 2 Vandoren V-12 4s, both
JF>adjusted to the Rovner Dark, and tried on a Cicero Kaspar reworked by
JF>Bob Scott, with a Scott barrel (Moennig taper), on a Moennig Buffet
JF>(#80003) bought from Moennig in 1964 (along with an A) for me by my
JF>teacher then, Joseph Gigliotti (father of Anthony). If I recall
JF>correctly, I paid $250 each.

I tried these ligatures with "Niethamer Special" reeds, made on a
ReeDuAl. They were pretty new, so they hadn't "adjusted" to the Bonade
completely (marks from the metal on the front of the reed). I don't have
those same warping problems with hand made reeds. My mpc is a stock
M13Lyre, played on a pair of Yamaha clarinets, 72CS Bb, and a 72cx A.

JF>The ED II has curved, spring-like rails that contact the length of the
JF>bark like the Bonades, but farther toward the edges. It comes with 2
JF>metal inserts (slugs) that slip under the rails and don't seem to
JF>contact the reed. There are flaps which can quickly be placed under
JF>rails, or over one or both of them such that they contact the reed
JF>at the rails. The thinner slug would not stay in place on my ligature,
JF>perhaps because the springs need to flatten out with use.

Both of my slugs stayed in place without a problem. I opted to use the
ligature without either one, because for me, either slug deadened the
sound too much.

JF>I liked the ED II very much, especially with the larger slug inserted.
JF>Seemed to have more substance to the tone with the slug in. The tone
JF>powerful and rock solid stable, and with a great deal of flexibility
JF>dynamics. I was surprised to notice that the tone held its core even
JF>a whisper, but also could be pushed to its limit farther than the
JF>2 ligatures.
JF>Compared to the Dark, the ED II had more ring and resonance. Compared
JF>the Bonade, it had more guts and a richer tone, and was more stable.

I too found the sound on the ED II to be very stable, focused, and even,
from bottom to top. It played with as much resonance and dynamic range as
my Bonade. One of the things I noticed in the orchestra (we played Mahler
4 last night, and after two rehearsals with the ED II, I decided to give
it the "acid test") was that the core of the sound was easy to hold at
pianissimo dynamics, and the response in soft staccato was very quick.
Thus all that "pecky" stuff in the Mahler was easy to do. I also though I
felt more "depth" to the sound, though colleagues in the immediate
vicinity said the difference (if any) was minimal.

JF>The surprise came when I put on one of the Vandorens, which was a bit
JF>bright sounding. I instinctively flipped the flaps up over the rails
JF>(with the larger slug still in), which took about 2 bars of 4/4 time
JF>Moderato tempo, and yes, the tone was perceptively mellower.

During one of the rehearsals, I used the flaps to cover the rails of the
ligature, and there was a definite difference of timbre to me, and to
nearby colleagues. I'm just speculating here, but I think this could be
really useful for those of us "orchestral drones" who also play chamber
music and recitals. I know I fix reeds a bit differently for those
occasions, and the ligature with "flaps out" seems to help with the more
intimate sound I'm striving for in those situations.

JF>This new model, in my view gives us the best of both worlds, and a
JF>little flexibility to boot.


JF>I don't know Mr. Rovner, and never met him, and I payed $59 for this
JF>puppy, but I think he is definitely on the right track.

I have no commercial connection to Rovner or Jim Fay (!), and I agree -
this ligature is worth exploring. I got mine from Muncy for $42.95 +
shipping, and they will let you get it on trial for two weeks. My one
beef is the tacky metal Rovner and Eddie Daniels logos that "adorn" the
sides of the ligature. I may remove them if I keep it.

BTW, just one more little item about ligatures. In Pamela Weston's
"Clarinet Virtuosi of Today" she interviewed Harold Wright, who said that
he replaced his ligature (inverted Bonade) every year because they tend
to stretch. I was cynical (do you see the pattern here?!?!), since I've
learned not to over-tighten ligatures, but I took my "old favorite" and
got a couple of new Bonades to try. Sure enough, all of the new ones held
their focus a lot better than my "old favorite". After that, I got a new
one every year! Coincidentally, I had just gotten two new ones a month
ago, so I was testing against a "fresh" version of the Bonade.

I may be keeping this one - I'll decide after next week's concerts.
Thanks, Jim, for bringing this to our attention.


David Niethamer
Principal Clarinet, Richmond Symphony

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