Could this new ligature offer the perfect balance of resonance and mouthpiece-reed connection for an authentic vintage sound?
When it comes to ligatures there are many different schools of thought. Consequently there is an endless array of designs on the market. One of the common problems though is trying to get the reed to vibrate freely, while still being held securely.
Dutch sax repairman and designer Pieter van Kessel has come up with a new design that solves this and much more. “I was frustrated that so many ligatures used a big piece of metal to hold the reed in place which meant that the reed couldn’t vibrate fully,” says Pieter. “There are other designs that have smaller contact areas but many have rubber mounts that absorb the reed’s vibrations.”
Pieter’s new design uses a single small piece of copper to contact with the reed which is connected to a large thumb screw. The mount is really positive and feels very secure.
The body of the ligature is milled from a single piece of stainless steel making it very sturdy. “I love the sound of older players like Coleman Hawkins and Arnett Cobb,” says Pieter. “I designed my ligature to fit perfectly on the body of the mouthpiece and that connection gives a much deeper sound that you can feel when you play,” he says.
Testing the ligatures this month on both alto and tenor I have to say I can definitely see what Pieter means. The Saxcraft ligature is a weighty piece of kit but to me the sound definitely feels more “connected” when I’m playing. Listening back to recordings of my playing, I can also hear a darkness in my sound using this ligature that is great when going for a vintage sound.
The Saxcraft ligature is currently available in a range of sizes for all four saxes that will fit most mouthpieces. Because it is designed to fit snugly on your mouthpiece, you do need to get the right model though.
135 Euros / 150 USD