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 The AK clarinet ligature
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2017-09-12 01:48

While browsing through Kessler & Sons website, I came upon the AK clarinet ligature. (Scroll down to mid-page)

I did a BB search and came up zero responses.

It appears to be a new, unique design. I've read how it works but the design functionality is a bit difficult for me to understand. (See "About The AK Ligature") (Scroll down to mid-page)

IMO, it's rather pricey starting at $150 and going up to $199 for gold plated.

Has anyone tried one of these? If so, I'd like to know your impressions.

Even if you haven't tried one, I would still like to read your opinion of them.

My thanks in advance.

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-09-12 02:28

The ligature is really interesting. But these ligature companies all use the same phrases (allows vibration, does not cover up the sound, centered tone, etc.) and this company is no exception. That being said, I am not saying this ligature will be bad: I'm saying you can't really tell how good it is until you actually try playing it for yourself. Even someone who has played the ligature before will have trouble conveying exactly how it is better, and of course, one man's trash may be one man's treasure.

The only unique bit I see in this ligature is that it says you can change reeds quickly with this ligature. You only need to take a lever to swap the reeds, and you don't need to take off the ligature at all. Sounds convenient, but if that's the only difference, I'm not quite sure it's worth it. Looks somewhat similar to the Vandoren M/O Ligature, except the heel of the reed is covered...

-- Ray Zhang

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2017-09-12 02:54

I've never been able to use ligatures with a relatively large, protruding tension knob directly over the reed because I like to hold the clarinet relatively close to my chest while playing, and the knob annoyingly brushes against my chin. Players who like to hold the clarinet further away from the chest would not find the knob placement a problem. For me to use the AK, it would have to come in an inverse model that puts the knob on the opposite side of the mouthpiece away from the reed.

I don't see any mention of an inverse AK model on the Kessler website. Many today prefer the simplicity and lightness of the Vandoren M/O and M/O hybrid ligatures, and the AK by contrast looks complicated and heavy. But, of course, appearances can be deceiving.

Post Edited (2017-09-12 06:13)

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2017-09-12 17:51

Pretty interesting. Sort of a steampunk aesthetic. Can hear the footsteps of the not-a-cent-over-$50 folks coming. "Raw brass" has a visceral feel to it, like it would work especially well for Copland or Walter Piston. Implies that everyone else's brass is, well, cooked. Wonder if the reference to Kalashnikov is intentional. Never had a lot of luck with the ones with rails or raised points pressing on the reed, but it would be worth a try. There's a Riedel wine glass in the Museum of Modern Art, so why not a ligature?

Post Edited (2017-09-12 19:03)

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: Ed 
Date:   2017-09-12 18:52

Looks like an interesting concept and certainly well designed and thought out. I would be interested in learning more.

One issue that has been a deal breaker with me on some ligatures is that it needs to remain secure on the instrument when taking off the mouthpiece for clarinet switches or to swab. I would be interested to see how well this manages.

Post Edited (2017-09-13 03:15)

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2018-03-23 06:30

I have one and it is a fairly good reed testing ligature. The ligature clamps very tightly to the mouthpiece and reeds replace fairly easily with the knob. It adjusts so a clamp lever locks the reed in. But, If the reeds are different thicknesses, it has to be re-adjusted for each different thickness. In principal, a good idea and it has some uses. The sound is not that great for me because I use string type ligatures.

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2018-03-23 09:45

I was in Vegas at Kessler's last month and tried one. Super nice folks there. The creator of the ligature is one of the Kessler sons who is also a instrument tech. It's an interesting design and secures the reed very well. I found it very bright for my set up and concept. My thought was that if the contact points were wood instead it might be much better for me. Apparently one of the more famous Backun players really loves it and orders multiples at a time. I fully agree with Ken's comments and also use a string type ligature most of the time. Response was good but not better than my preferred ligature.

Post Edited (2018-03-23 09:48)

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: Caihlen 
Date:   2018-03-23 09:57

When you guys say "string type ligature" what exactly are you referring to? I have used and still occasionally use a string ligature. What's a string type ligature?

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2018-03-23 16:14

There are a number of them. I had one,¤cy=usd&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI9LDviLOC2gIVmo7ICh2mwQD2EAQYBCABEgIEP_D_BwE

But the rubber mounts were not on well and one fell off so I returned it.

The one I use now and like is,

One benefit is that the strings can be wet and keep the reed from drying.
I also recently learned to tie a string ligature and I really like how it plays. I don't use it in performances yet because it takes me a minute or so to tie it. There are some fine players who perform with them so when I am more secure with it I will use it all the time. Meanwhile, the Bambu is a good alternative.

Post Edited (2018-03-23 18:40)

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