The ligature on a Saxophone mouthpiece helps keep the reed securely in place and allows it to resonate creating the sound you hear. It seems like a small piece of equipment but without a working ligature your saxophone, reed and mouthpiece would make no sound! As such, it’s important to buy the right ligature for your mouthpiece and reed combination. We keep a range of options from top brands such as Vandoren, Rovner, BG, WoodStone, Silverstein and more.
How to Buy
All of our Saxophone ligatures are available to buy online for rapid home delivery. Alternatively, you can visit our store and try a number of models. All the ligatures we sell are on 14-day approval so you can try them at home to make sure you’re happy. It’s quick and easy to order on our website. Any orders received before 2pm are sent out that day (Mon-Fri) and you can choose your delivery method during the checkout. You can buy 2-3 models and compare them at home using our approval system. If you are able to visit our shop in Maidenhead, Berkshire you can try from a selection of ligatures. One of our award-winning support team will also be on hand to help advise on the makes/models available.
How much do Saxophone ligatures cost?
There are increasing numbers of models available now and manufacturers are experimenting with different designs and materials. These factors all affect the pricing. Basic metal ligatures for student mouthpieces can cost between £5 - £10. When you get into the upgrade range the material can vary including leather, fabric, brass and even solid silver. These upgraded models can vary from £20 - £150.
How to choose
The first consideration is to choose a ligature that will fit your current mouthpiece. On the face of it, this should be simple, however, some mouthpiece sizes can vary, even within the range of Alto Sax mouthpieces, there are various sizes of body diameter. We state the fit on most ligature models we stock, but if in doubt please contact us for fitting advice.
Once you’ve established the right size/fit then the next consideration is about function vs cost. If you’re looking for just a basic ligature for a beginner, then look at the two screw metal ligatures from Windcraft (£5 - £10) or the first level of fabric models from Rovner are also very popular (£15 - £25).
If you’re a more experienced player and you’re looking for something a little extra from your ligature then we would encourage you to take advantage of our approval system where you can try up to 3 ligatures at once to compare and choose the best one for you. Simply order all the models online and send back what you don’t want within 14 days for a refund.
How tight should a ligature be?
Our general advice is ‘finger-tight’, i.e. you want the ligature to be securely holding the reed, but you don’t want it so clamped on that it throttles the vibrations of the reed, or too loose so that the reed moves left to right on the mouthpiece table.
Do Saxophone ligatures affect the sound?
This is something we are asked about regularly. The short answer is that if they made no difference there wouldn’t be the range of choice on the market. So, yes, they can affect both the sound and the feeling of resistance and resonance that the player feels when they are playing.
The material can make a difference to the feel and sound, for example, an all fabric or leather ligature will commonly feel darker and warmer than a thin metal ligature which will generally offer more brightness and ‘ping’ to the sound. So, it’s a case of personal preference and balancing the influence of the ligature with the reed and mouthpiece.
No piece of equipment will play the right notes for you or make up for hours of practice. But finding a ligature that works harmoniously with your reed and mouthpiece set-up will result in you feeling more comfortable with your sound emission.