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Monday
Nov252013

The Silverstein ligature

Not long ago, on Facebook, you couldn't go five minutes without seeing a post from Silverstein Works promoting their Silverstein ligature.  I admit, their posts seemed to be alot of marketing hype. But then I saw they had a "Trial for Pros" program.  Register and they'd send you a ligature to try  for two weeks.  I decided, "what the heck, I'll give a try just to see what it's all about."

 Steve Neff has a very detailed review on his blog including pictures.  I refer you to his post because he is much better at writing reviews than I, and my experience with the Silverstein parallels his

 As a clarinetist, I played a string ligature made by Sounds of Woodwinds in the past and liked it pretty well.  I had two of them that ended up breaking in one form or another.  These ligatures were platic screw mounts with a thin nylon string.  Perhaps due to their age, or previous use, the plastic was a bit brittle and on one, the threads stripped, and the other, the screw mount flat out shattered.

The Silverstein has all metal hardware, so not much fear of of the issues I had  with the vintage SOW ligatures.

 From one source, I learned that the string is some kind of Kevlar reinforced woven construction.  Considerably thicker than the old SoW ligature string and more rigid.

The first few times I tried to use the Silverstein, I wasn't terribly impressed.  It was a decent ligature.  It did what a ligature was supposed to do; hold the reed to the mouthpiece.  The one I received was, I thought, a little small for my mouthpiece, and I was having difficulty getting it low enough on the reed so as to not close off the tip opening. I gave up trying to get better results with it for a while.  Then a few weeks later, I forgot my Vandoren Optimum on my stand.  Luckily, I had the Silverstein in my case.  I went ahead and gave it another chance.  Perhaps it had gotten broken in, but it seemed to fit better and my tone was noticably freer and more vibrant/responsive. 

 

I will admit that, initially, I was  not sure that it was such an improvement that I would say, "shut up and take my money."

I have since changed that viewpoint.

As I have been becoming more familiar with the ligature, I continue to find new qualities I like, that I've never seen in other ligatures.  For instance; just the other night,  in my community  band rehearsal, I could feel the reed's vibrations on my lip better than ever before.  It's hard to explain. It was some kind of tactile feedback that was comforting.  Even though the band as a whole is sometmes too loud to really hear myself, I could tell I was in tune and that my sound was blending in by the way the reed felt.  Soft low note attacks were less work, and the notes in the palm key range were fuller and easier to keep in tune.

 

Also, the folks at Silverstein Works are excellent. There was a SNAFU in the shipping of my ligature and it seemed to be lost in the  postal system. Most businesses would have just said "give it some time and see if it shows up." and expect the matter to eventually be resolved by the carrier or plain forgotten about  But these folks were eager to see that I received my ligature and rushed a replacement.  I gather that this is a relatively small company very intent on providing the best customer service possible.  communication was always prompt and direct.  Even since getting the ligature and trying it out, the director has been in regular contact checking up on how it has been working for me and seeing if there was anything I needed changed/improved upon

 I can't tell from a quick look at their website if their trial program is still active.  But I certainly wouldn't hesitate in suggesting you try it out if it is.

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