Friday, February 10, 2012

Update on Neckstrap and Ligature Position

Lig to the back?
Yesterday I was experimenting trying to see if I could improve my saxophone playing experience, and I had two successes in a row. In way they were just reviews of my past experiments, but they made all the difference.

So here is where I started or what I've been doing normally. My neck strap has been in a position where the mouthpiece enters my mouth pretty much straight on - no angle up or down really. This is a pretty middle of the road neck strap position, not too high or low. My ligature, on the other hand, has been towards the very back of the mouthpiece.

Or to the front?!
Here is a clip with this neck strap and ligature position:

Alright, not too bad, however the lack of lows has been bothering me recently. My first discovery was that by moving the ligature forward towards the middle of the mouthpiece I introduced some lows into the sound (possibly removed a couple of the highs), and I also decreased the air resistance of the horn.

Here is a clip with the new ligature position:

I believe the slightly warmer sound is apparent on the recording, and you'll just have to trust me that this ligature position also feels easier to play.

Finally, I also experimented with my neck strap position. I pulled it a little higher than I normally would causing the mouthpiece to enter my mouth at a slight angle. It takes a moment to adjust to the new feeling and possibly lift your head. This higher neck strap position provides new highs to the sound without sacrificing lows, the most enjoyably vibrant of the three in my opinion. 

Here is a clip with the neck strap raised and same ligature position:

1 comment:

  1. I actually had the same experience with my Link and I tend to carry it over into other mouthpieces. I've known lots of guys that put the ligature way in the back because (I think) there are way more pictures of Coltrane with it in the back than anywhere else but I just got better response when it was closer to the front and this was true with the stock Link lig as well as my Rico H. It may have something to do with the usual warping in the middle of the reed and bringing the lig forward counteracts the problem but I don't know for sure. I also have way less trouble with warping since I started using the Reed Geek based on a buddy's recommendation.

    The neck strap thing is something that I have fought as well. My college sax teacher used to always tell me to go ahead and raise it until there is no pressure left on the bottom lip/jaw at all and I knew from experience that this helped everything to vibrate in a more pleasing way but it was very hard for me to be comfortable with it. I think doing it helps my posture as well as my sound but it still feels awkward even after all these years. Oh well, I'll keep fighting the good fight on that one. :-)