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Rovner dark = stuffy?

Ed

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
For a long time I played standard metal ligatures. They worked well and let's face it they came with the mouthpiece that was in case nine times out of ten. Then at some point I decided to try the Rovner's and generally preferred the lights over the darks. I do sometimes use the darks but only if I can't find anything else. I find the dark Rovner's to be stuffy and unresponsive when compared to a standard metal ligature or a Vandoren Optimum.

Any other thoughts out there on the Rovner darks?
 

Steve

Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
same here and on clarinet too

I try not to tighten the snot out of the Rovners. Seems like the tighter they are (and on other ligs) the less responsive the reed is .. even if ever so slightly.

on sax i haven't used a regular lig in ages. back in HighSchool I was given some of those Harrison ligs - alto and tenor, and have used those most of the time.

I bought some Optimums several years ago and use those too.

I used the Rovners on my metal pieces and they make a good match. THe metal selmer ligs really seem to give a much brighter and edgy tone .. yuck. The rovner really brings it inline to what i favor in my tonal perspective. If it wasn't for the Rovners I wouldn't play metal on alto or tenor. Now I just got an optimum for the tenor metals .......
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I generally find any of the Rovners (dark, light, EVO5, EDII, and the heavy one with the parallel stitching against the reed) give me less resonance than stock metal ligs. I've also tried other styles (like Winslows and the Vandoren Optimum) and view them as just another gadget.

In my experience, the quality of the reed I was using had a lot to do with how the ligature responded. But I always go back to my stock metal ligs when I want some punch and resonance. DAVE
 

Merlin

Content Expert/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
SteveSklar said:
I try not to tighten the snot out of the Rovners. Seems like the tighter they are (and on other ligs) the less responsive the reed is .. even if ever so slightly.
I use Rovners on many of my horns, notable bari and bass clarinet - the two I play the most. And I do "tighten the snot out of them."
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
I use Rovners on virtually all of my horns, with the exception of my sopranos, where I use the stock lig that came with my Runyon Customs.

As a general rule, I too prefer the light over the dark ones. Where I do use the darks is where the horn's sound needs to be toned down...Most noteably on my Medusa bari. That bari is so full of overtones that using a light would allow it to sound like a chain saw...Not necessarily a bad thing in the right setting, but not something that I currently need.

I just had a thought...I wonder how many players attach their Rovners either with more pressure forward or more pressure backwards on the reed.

Generally I tighten them with more pressure towards the tip of the mouthpiece. This also brightens up the sound of course.
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Helen: I've tried it all different ways and for those ligatures that provide options (like Winslows with the various pegs, and the Optimum with the different plates), I've tried all of those designs, too.

I really think it is one of those things that make the tides go in and out . . . over time, it made no difference to me. With the Rovners, I've tilted them, put 'em on upside down and backwards, etc., etc. No dif. DAVE
 

Ed

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Dave,

Let's face it metal ligs are cheap and durable. To my ears they seem to do a better job. Or at least I feel the responsive is better which is something pretty subtle for an audience to hear.
 
I've been alternating between a Rovner Dark and my stock Tenor Link Lig for the past couple weeks. In fact there were more overtones with the metal lig. I thought that the altissimo popped out a little easier with the Link lig too. There was one BIG downfall though. I could never figure out why, but I have a heck of a time with the metal lig and reed sliding around during the colder months of the year. The Rovner lig darkens the tone a little, but it locks that reed onto the mouthpiece. I have to be a little more careful with my altissimo voicing with the Rovner, but I'd rather put up with that than have the reed slide a little on the table and cause a squeak.
 

Roger Aldridge

Composer in Residence
Distinguished Member
Ed,

I, also, find Rovner ligatures to (as I put it) dampen my sound. I suspect that folks may get different mileage depending upon the usual cast of variables.

Personally, over the past year or so I've come to be deeply impressed with the Vandoren Klassik string ligature. For me, it's significantly better in terms of clarity of tone, reponse, and projection than ANY metal or fabric ligature I've used over the years.

Vandoren currently makes the Klassik only in soprano clarinet and alto sax models. However, the alto sax lig expands enough to provide an easy fit for my tenor mouthpiece. The only place in the US that I know of that sells the alto sax Klassik is 1stopclarinet.com. The clarinet Klassik can be found more easily in a selection of shops.

Roger
 
I hate Rovner Dark ligatures; I'm on a personal mission to debunk the idea that they somehow darken the sound. They don't. What they do is muffle the vibration of the reed by binding the edges...if you don't believe it, you can try the tape recorder experiment. Play something with the Rovner and a tape recorder next to the mouthpiece, and then use a standard metal lig and do the same thing. You won't hear a darker sound; it will sound like someone has put cotton in the throat of the mouthpiece.

The light ones are better because they don't bind the edges in the middle, but better still are the Consolis which don't bind them at all. The Rovner Mk III was actually designed to alieviate this problem somewhat by putting the big seams on the middle of the reed, but they don't really work either. Bonades work on this same principle of they're made right, but the quality control on those hasn't been very consistant.
 
J.Max said:
I hate Rovner Dark ligatures; I'm on a personal mission to debunk the idea that they somehow darken the sound. They don't. What they do is muffle the vibration of the reed by binding the edges...if you don't believe it, you can try the tape recorder experiment. Play something with the Rovner and a tape recorder next to the mouthpiece, and then use a standard metal lig and do the same thing. You won't hear a darker sound; it will sound like someone has put cotton in the throat of the mouthpiece.
I have found the effect you're describing is particularly apparent on vintage HR pieces with smaller tip openings. I had a Brilhart Tonalin that I was sure was defective somehow until I stopped using the Rovner dark with it. Even without the screws really tight, it just killed the tone. By contrast, I don't notice too much difference when I use it on my Vandoren V16 T8 or my Morgan 8L. Mr. Morgan actually recommended the Rovner with his pieces.

R.
 

Ed

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
I used to recommend Rovner's as well. But after a while I went back to using standard metal ligs and found a vast improvement in how they responded. Ralph was a great guy but he would have also told you that a reed needs to vibrate optimally for a mouthpiece to perform as well as it can. I don't believe that Rovner's allow this.
 
Ed Svoboda said:
I used to recommend Rovner's as well. But after a while I went back to using standard metal ligs and found a vast improvement in how they responded. Ralph was a great guy but he would have also told you that a reed needs to vibrate optimally for a mouthpiece to perform as well as it can. I don't believe that Rovner's allow this.
I think that Ralph recommended Rovners because that's what he used to test his pieces. Problem is that part of the reason he used them was because they don't scratch the mouthpiece. Since he really couldn't use anything else, he generally would recommend them because he knew exactly how they would respond with his pieces.

Ed's right though. I spoke with Ralph on many occasions and we talked about how the ligature could impact the optimal vibration of a reed.
 
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