Designing best theoretical sax/clarinet mouthpiece ligand

In summary, the conversation is about designing a ligature for a clarinet mouthpiece made out of string material. The purpose is to create a cost-effective option with good acoustic qualities for students. The two main design options being discussed are wrapping a string around the mouthpiece and creating a hexagonal support system for the reed. The question is whether the ligature will have a significant impact on the sound quality, as the player's lower lip pressure on the reed is more influential. Other considerations include the distance between the reed and mouthpiece and using a mouthpiece designed for a string ligature. The conversation also touches on the influence of materials and the potential for a breathy sound with the suggested design.
  • #1
matthieu1973
7
1
Hey to all..

I am in the process of designing a ligand for a clarinet mouthpiece for my own use created only out of string material (braided kevlar).

For those uninformed (like me a few weeks ago) saxophone/clarinets are instruments where the vibration of the standing wave through the instrument is produced by a reed that is tied with a ligand to a mouthpiece over an opening (window).

The surface where the reed is tied to consist of three parts. A closed part (behind the window) where the back part of the reed is tied on, a rail part where only the sides of the reed are supported and a part where the reed (tip) can vibrated until it closes the window.. looses it's airflow.. so it opens again.. continuing the vibration cycle. (yes I realize there is a lot more to it but this is supposed to be just a simple explanation on the setup)

Now there is a lots of money going on in the ligand business and I am on the path of designing a ligand that can be home made by anyone and has the best (better) acoustic and practical qualities compared to the expensive once on the market. After which I want to throw it on instructables to help out other students like me.

Before I get to the practical part of the design I need to figure out which of the basic setup ideas I (and everyone else's basically) am playing with would constitute as the theoretical BEST acoustically.

1) first idea is basically the simple Idea of wrapping a string around the reed and the mouthpiece (which is basically a tube through which the standing wave travels). This has been the old method and is still considered to have a relative "superior" acoustic qualities, but one have to take in account the low cost. Unfortunately it has many practical issues people, specifically students deal with.

2) second idea is to create a hexagonal (6 point) support system around, where the string is only touching the support system and the reed of course and not the mouthpiece itself, the reed and the support system touch the mouthpiece and less strings would be involved.

Option 1 basically re-creates the tube like structure of the mouthpiece with the string and would have similar acoustic qualities, as the tube vibrates, the string would move along.

Option 2, does not create another tube directly around the mouthpiece but the force is put on the 6 small parts of the tube, with no other interaction then the required resting place of the reed itself. Which IMHO would influence the acoustics. The question though is, would it be influenced in a positive or negative manor. (which is an entire other discussion, that is keeping audiophiles entertained for decades now). So personally I tend to go for option 1, but the more expensive ligands tend to go for a design more like option 2.. IMHO the reasoning for this is that it is easier to really tighten the 2nd option plus when using shiny gold stuff as support bars it is easy to charge more money (psychology introduced into the reasoning here).

As I tend to design the support structure of the string material itself.. If I go for option 2, I feel it might have less influence compared to hard materials.

So any thoughts on these reasonings?

Kind greats

Matthieu
 
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  • #2
Just a few comments from an old clarinetist:

You will have to experiment to determine what has the best sound. The player will use pressure on the reed with the lower lip when playing and this determines the length of the vibrating portion of the reed, rather than the ligature. So I am not sure how much the ligature will contribute to the sound.

I think you will find that if you increase the distance between the reed and the mouthpiece as you seem to be suggesting that you will get a rather breathy sound.

If you are going to use a string ligature, you should start with a mouthpiece that is designed for a string ligature (ie. has grooves for the string all along the ligature). This keeps the string (and reed) from sliding along the mouthpiece. If you use a string on a mouthpiece designed for a metal clamp ligature, the string will have to be very tight to keep the reed and string from sliding. This could defeat the purpose of a string ligature, which, I would think, is to allow a broader frequency range for the reed, especially on low notes, which enriches the sound quality.

AM
 
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