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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000247.txt from 2002/05

Subj: [kl] Ligatures (was: Crystal Mouthpieces)
Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 09:54:14 -0400

Bill Wright wrote,
> I experimented with a couple of metal ligatures, and I ended up with.....
>The generic 'nickel-and-dime-store' ligature that came with my first
>plastic student clarinet. It probably cost all of $4.95, but now I
>wouldn't trade it for love or money.

LOL! That's what I use on my best 1930-ish hard rubber mouthpiece. I bought
several cheap ligatures from Ferree's because it seemed that every flea
market clarinet I dragged home came with a bent, folded, spindled and
mutilated ligature that wasn't worth fixing. I just wanted something
decent-looking to put into the case with these student-grade clarinets when I
sold them at the local auction. (These were my "learn to re-pad your own
clarinet in ten really difficult lessons in which you stab all ten thumbs ten
times each with the !=#$%^&*!!! needle springs" clarinets--didn't actually
lose money on them, but probably paid myself at the rate of about ten cents
an hour, if that!) Naturally I tried out the merchandise. Whaddya know, I
play better on the cheapie ligs. Maybe that's a placebo effect that occurs
because I'm a cheapskate and because knowing the ligs are cheap gives them
that certain panache de la tacky.

After hearing a friend play beautifully with a shoelace lig, I tried that,
but unfortunately, Shadow Cat decided the shoelace was closely related to the
dangerous serpent she must battle and kill every morning because the forces
of darkness magically revive it during the night. The same friend (who also
lives with cats--hmm...) had switched to a homemade Velcro lig the last time
I saw him. He played extremely well on that, too, so next time I've got the
sewing machine out, I think I'll give Velcro a try.

I can understand the price of high-end clarinets, mouthpieces and barrels,
because there's so much expert hand-finishing on those; but the price of some
of these mass-produced ligatures seems out of whack with what they can (and
can't) do. OTOH, maybe I just don't play well enough to get the benefit out
of a fancy lig. YMMV.



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