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Tone Issue Ligature or Horn Based?

So, I'm a 5th year player (currently in 9th grade, been playing since I was 10.) I've been playing on a Rover Dark ligature for a while now, and I've been pretty happy with it. Recently, I've noticed that my tone has taken on a more cramped, pinched sound. I feel as though I can't use full air support, as if there's a barrier pushing against the sound. Over the last year I've upgraded my mouthpiece and barrel (currently playing on a Selmer HS Star mouthpiece and Buffet ICON barrel) as well as moving to a new reed (the Vandoren 56s). However, I've had all of my new equipment for a couple of months at this point, and the pinched tone issue is quite recent. I'm still on my Buffet E11 at this point, but I'm planning to upgrade to an R13 this winter. My question is, is the tone problem coming from me outgrowing my instrument, or is it the ligature restricting my reed? I've heard various complaints that the Rover Dark stifles sound and restricts resonance, but I've been playing on it for a considerable amount of time (close to 2.5 years) without issues like this. Could it be the ligature reacting to the equipment changes I made, or the instrument as a whole? Any information would be really helpful.


Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
could as well be that your instrument needs some servicing - you know, some minor leaks or other issues formed and you're compensating for them with more grip or different embouchure, resulting in a cramped tone or otherwise unsatisfactory playing experience.