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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. https://www.kesslerandsons.com/ (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") https://www.kesslerandsons.com/product/ak-clarinet-ligature-raw/ (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,
https://www.wwbw.com/Silverstein-Works-Cryo4-Gold-Ligature-J11588.wwbw?source=TWWR5J1BB&cntry=us¤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,
http://www.prowinds.com/category/754

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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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: Jimis4klar 
Date:   2020-07-06 00:18

Can anyone compare the AK gen 1 and the AK gen 2 ligatures? Also, has anyone tried both silver and gold? What's their differences in sound?

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: Hurstfarm 
Date:   2020-07-06 02:48

I'm not generally someone that fusses about ligatures, having found that a shoelace can beat a fair proportion of commercial ligatures in sound quality, if not in convenience! Having the right mouthpiece/reed combination is much more important. That said, the AK ligature impressed me enough to buy one. Having lived with it for nearly a year I recently ordered another, so I now have both the 1st and 2nd generation versions.

The main difference between the two is that the 2G version has a lower profile, as shown here:

https://www.facebook.com/akligature/photos/pb.649362601907826.-2207520000../1325548064289273/?type=3&theater

The new version is sleeker, and perhaps better suited to those who find ligatures sometimes touch their chin, although that's never been an issue for me. The logo has moved from the side of the G1 ligature onto the reed clasp on the G2, and although the sides are narrower in the new version, the mountings for the steel pins are sturdier.

I can't claim to have found any difference in sound quality between the two if set up identically.

I've only tried the gold plated version, so can't comment on any differences in sound between the gold and rhodium plated ligatures. However, I do have a pair of silver plates, which can be easily swapped with the standard brass equivalents without removing the ligature. For me, the silver plates make for a fractionally richer sound, just enough to be detectable in blind testing with another musician in the family, but the difference is tiny and comes with a hefty price tag.

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: Jimis4klar 
Date:   2020-07-07 18:03

Wow! I didn't expect you to say that! Silver plates make richer sound??? I thought gold touching the reed gives more harmonics than silver...

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: Hurstfarm 
Date:   2020-07-07 23:23

The choice for the reed plates is brass (which is the standard) or silver. There’s no option with gold touching the reed!

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: cigleris 
Date:   2020-07-08 01:47

I own the AK ligature in gold. It is the second version. I like it very much but don’t use it regularly. I had an email exchange with the maker regarding the silver plates. I was told that they are not currently making them because the process and the cost is high. I would like a set of silver plates however. If you know anywhere with them let me know.

Peter Cigleris

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: Hurstfarm 
Date:   2020-07-08 19:50

I suspect the only place to get them is direct from Kessler’s. I was in the same boat but they recently produced a batch of the silver plates, and I got an automated email when they were back in stock. At $69/£55 plus international P&P they’re not cheap but as this is now my first choice ligature I thought I’d go for it.

I feel the reviewer on their website overstates it when they describe the silver plates as a “necessity” which adds “much more resonance”. For me at least, it was more a tiny, incremental nudge - but in the right direction!

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: Jimis4klar 
Date:   2020-07-09 14:02

Hello Peter! I don't know If this is what you ask, I found these Solid Sterling Silver plates:https://www.kesslerandsons.com/product/sterling-plate-kit-ak-clarinet/
I couldn't find Rhodium plates.. There's the complete ligature made from Rhodium with Rhodium plates:https://www.kesslerandsons.com/product/ak-clarinet-ligature-rhodium-plated/

It seems weird to me you don't want to use the 24k gold plates came with the ligature, why???
As I know, gold gives more harmonics and richer sound on reeds, why you want to change them???



Post Edited (2020-07-09 14:05)

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: Hurstfarm 
Date:   2020-07-09 18:08

The ligature comes with brass plates, not gold. The alternative is silver. There are no rhodium plates.

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2020-07-09 23:48

Hmm, thought it came also with Gold but nope

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.ClarinetLessonOnline.com


Post Edited (2020-07-09 23:49)

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2020-07-10 08:46

It appears that Kessler & Sons has Gold plated and rhodium plated AK clarinet ligatures. (Scroll to bottom for small, rhodium plated ad.)

https://www.kesslerandsons.com/product/ak-gold-plated-clarinet-ligature/



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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: Hurstfarm 
Date:   2020-07-10 10:32

It’s the ligatures that are plated. The plates that hold the reed are solid brass or solid silver. Seems there‘s been some confusion over “plating” (a surface covering of gold or rhodium on the ligature itself) and “plates” (the metal bits that hold the reed).

The rhodium plated version has been discontinued according to a Facebook posting by the manufacturer:

“We have decided to discontinue all finishes other than 24k Gold Plate for the time being. Silver plating tarnishes too easily (especially on certain hard rubber formulations of mouthpiece).

We had offered Rhodium in the past, but ran into some issues with the Rhodium reacting with solder in the plating process, leading to far too many rejected parts, thus increasing the overall production cost per batch.

So for the time being, and for simplicity's sake, we are only going to offer the 2nd Generation model in 24k Gold.“

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: Max S-D 
Date:   2020-07-14 05:09

I had the chance to try out the AK ligature at Kessler music in Las Vegas back in December or November of last year. I thought it was a very interesting design and was made beautifully.

I had the chance to talk to Adam Kessler (AK) about them and the process of developing them and making them in his garage. To be fair, though, his garage is probably not like yours or mine. Unless you have a CNC machine, I guess.

He was a very nice and forthcoming guy and I'm sure if anyone has questions he'd be happy to answer them. The price is too high for me, but I understand why they cost what they cost. I obviously have no way of knowing for sure, but I doubt that Adam is getting rich off of these.

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: Jimis4klar 
Date:   2020-07-25 17:54

Hello, anyone knows information about the white bronze AK ligature? When It'll come out??

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 Re: The AK clarinet ligature
Author: Hurstfarm 
Date:   2020-07-26 02:23

Best to ask Kessler’s directly, as Adam Kessler makes them.

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