Favorite Ligatures


Staff member
What do you guys like for ligatures.

My favorites are mostly standard metal ligs. I like the functionality of the Vandoren Optimum but rarely use them anymore.

I have a rather nice collection of ligs to chose from including harrisons, vintage links, assorted Selmers, and a number of off brand stuff. I still have the ligature that came with my student horn. I did finally sort them by instrument type last year.
I don't really know why, but I've been using Rovners forever. The more horns I got, the more Rovners I got. It's to the point now that I can't afford to switch, even if I wanted to!

The only mouthpieces I don't use Rovners on are my Runyon soprano (use the stock Runyon one on that) and my modified Runyon bari pieces for bass (use stock Runyon ones on those as well).
Stock lig with my STM and a Lebayle Scala with my Morgans. The Lebayle was a perfect fit and it has only one topscrew.
I do keep a spare leather BG in my case, but hardly ever use it.
I tend toward the stock Selmer metal ligatures (two-band/two-screw models), but I keep a variety of ligs in my cases for various acoustical situations. Another thing that will impact my choice is individual reed characteristics and how a reed works with any given mouthpiece.

I have most of the Rovners (solid strap, open strap, straps with holes, EDII, EVO), a soprano Optimum and two Bonades for sop, alto, and clarinet. A couple of years ago I gave away all of my Winslows.

My general results are more resonance with the Selmers, somewhat better response with the Rovners. The EDII Rovners have more resonance than do the Rovners with straps - at least for me. The Optimum falls somewhere between the Selmers and Rovners. Again, reed-quality is a factor in my choices. DAVE
Stock Selmer window ligature for me. I can get about 5 to 6 years out of the alto ligs, then the screws begin to tear off. Jerome gave me a whole bag of them when I tried to buy one in Paris years ago, so I have a lifetime supply.

The price was right.
I've switched from the Selmer 404 on my STM to a FL lig: it's not the greatest lig for setting the reed and adjusting the mouthpiece, but it really opens up the mouthpiece in cool ways.

Stock STM ligs on link, BG tradition on clarinet, Optimum on HR berg tenor, Bonade on alto C*.

Rovner dark on bass clarinet, but I haven't tried anything else other than a stock selmer lig which was OK. Still searching for this one.

(Yes, the good stock link lig's are very good.)
Rovner Light I bought for the Caravan per recommendation after my ED (Mk I... I think I'm the only one who bought one) kept sliding around too much to tune...

I tried using the stock Meyer lig for my new 6M, but it wouldn't fit over the mpc AND reed... I had the choose one or the other. Needless to say, its in the box in my drawer.

I have a feeling I'll end up with something else down the road... nature of the game.

I've been using the metal Brancher ligs with one screw on tenor and baritone. They don't slide around and they look cool. Those are my only reqirements of a ligature. I'm one of those who believes the ligature doesn't make much difference.

However, It's good to get a ligature that fits well. That's why I like the Branchers. The single screw helps them fit mouthpieces with an odd taper that are hard to fit otherwise. If I can find a standard, well made 2 screw ligature to fit any mouthpiece I use, that's usually what I'll get.

But I must admit I'm a sucker for a gimmick. I bought a Fortissimo ligature immediately as soon as I saw one. It looks like a dental retainer. I seldom use it, but I love it. It would be perfect on a Conn-O-Sax at a costume party.

Another oddball is the ligature from the 1920s (I think) with the attached flip-up reed guard (no cap needed). I have three (alto, C melody, tenor). I'll use one on a job occasionally when other saxophone players start thinking I'm becoming normal.
It must be my hearing. I have a box full of ligatures. I can't hear a difference. So I use whatever fits the mouthpiece. Usually that's a standard two-screw for HR tenor pieces, the stock lig for link STMs, and whatever Rovner is handy for the other tenor metal pieces.

My problem is caps. Having tossed them all in the same box, I always have to root around to find a cap that fits whatever I'm playing. I don't know where some of them came from because they don't seem to fit anything.

(The only remnant from the YTS82Z UL, which I sold, is the unlacquered brass cap that came with it. Really looks vintage-tarnished on my ratty old VI.)
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