ISHIMORI Clarinet Ligatures
We often get inquiries as to what ligature works best on our various lines of mouthpieces. Following an extensive search and detailed evaluations we have found the Ishimori Wood Stone line of ligatures to function at the highest level. Our search contained everything from basic performance standards - a series of "litmus tests" which the ligature had to pass in order to be considered, to interviews with many prominent performers around the world as to which ligature they use and recommend.
Our litmus tests included the following considerations:
1. The ligature must stay on. Since many of our clients are orchestral players who require solidity of construction and a secure hold of the reed - to better enable quick changes from Bb to A clarinets, your ligature must hold the reed in place without slipping or changing its grasp. Amazingly this simple test eliminated the majority of ligatures on the market! Ishimori is the best fitting ligature we have had the experience of using.
2. The ligature must be metal. Through countless interviews, and through decades of empirical studies and personal evaluations combined, we have determined that the right kind of metal combined with the right kind of construction will provide the best combination of tonal solidity and flexibility. The sound focuses better when the ligature is of a solid material. Ishimori Wood Stone ligatures are available in your choice of metal materials - allowing greater control over the playing experience, and the different metals allow you to personalize your choice for not only appearance but sound as well.
3. The ligature must be inverted and constructed with two screws. By inverting the ligature, the screws will not be an irritant for players with "strong chins." Additionally, inverted allows you to grasp the ligature in a secure and comfortable manner when changing quickly from Bb to A clarinets. And finally, two screws provide more control. A properly constructed mouthpiece table is made with a very slightly concave table, and a ligature made with two screws enables you to modulate the playing experience by "working the table." You can actually "fine tune" your reed's response, sound and overall playing experience by adjusting screw tension on the top or bottom screws as desired. Yet due to Ishimori Wood Stone's solidity of construction, your reed will remain securely held in place.
4. The ligature should be beautifully made and be as scratch resistant as possible. Ideally a metal ligature which is properly constructed should be able to fit snugly on a variety of mouthpieces and sizes, and it shouldn't mar your mouthpiece's body with ugly scratches. Ishimori Wood Stone ligatures are the most scratch free metal ligatures we have experienced.
5. The ligature should contribute in your tone production system. It should invite reed stability, response, and it should allow your sound to easily center with full resonance. Ishimori Woodstone sounds the best!
6. Your ligature should easily last a lifetime. Ishimori Woodstone ligatures are not fragile. They are very well constructed and with proper handling should last many generations of dedicated and continued use.
7. Your ligature should be constructed in a way to provide a comfortable grip when handling, or changing instruments. We have found that many ligatures are made in a way which can contribute to "repetitive motion injuries." Your ligature should feel comfortable in your hand when securing the reed in place. It shouldn't hurt when tightening the screws securely. Two things - we have found that Ishimori Wood Stone ligatures have a wonderful feel as the screws engage from loose to tight. There is a usable range of "degrees of tight". This provides a wider range of control and "tuneability", and it is also much more comfortable to use. The screws perform with what seems to be a comfortable and usable clutch. Combined with the ergonomically comfortable screw heads, Ishimori ligatures help reduce wrist stresses on your tightening experience. Tennis elbow, wrist pain, and repetitive stress injuries are best managed with Ishimori Wood Stone!
8. Your ligature should be compatible with a variety of mouthpiece caps. It is very important to be able to use a cap to both protect your setup from accidents, and to maintain your reed's humidity level. Ishimori Wood Stone ligatures not only work with many caps, but their design is such that most caps fit with just the right amount of "grab" to keep everything secure, yet the cap is just free enough to allow for silent and easy removal, when quick access to your instrument is needed. Additionally, safe and secure mouthpiece storage is enhanced by Ishimori Wood Stone's snug fit. (Behn recommends the use of plastic mouthpiece caps instead of metal caps. This helps reduce the likelihood of mouthpiece scratches during accidental misuse).
9. Your ligature should easily store, assembled with your mouthpiece and cap - inside your clarinet case when not in use. Due to Ishimori's sleek profile - it has no unnecessary protuberant bits - it fits in all clarinet cases. On the other hand, many other ligatures require a specially made oversized cap, which in turn does not fit inside your clarinet's case. This is a problem since it requires storage outside the case - which means you are at a greater risk of forgetting to bring your setup when packing for your next gig. This may seem a paranoid concern, but there is nothing like the feeling of showing up to your performance to realize that you left your mouthpiece, cap, and ligature home!
We found Ishimori Wood Stone ligatures to pass the above tests with flying colors. Simply put, nothing compared - it was a home run.
We are proud to offer Ishimori Wood Stone ligatures in our preferred materials: Solid Silver plated with Pink Gold, Solid Silver, Gold-plated Copper, and Brushed Satin Gold-plated Copper. Eb and Bass ligatures are available in Gold-plated copper and Solid Silver.
How Do They Play?
Ishimori Gold Plated Copper is very flexible, warm and colorful. It is the best value for the money in that it does everything really well. If you are coming from a leather or cloth type of ligature, Gold will provide a familiar experience, but you'll welcome Gold's added ring, depth and security.
Ishimori Brushed Satin Gold Plated Copper biases toward a super crisp response and centered sound. It is flexible in its playing experience, it rings beautifully, and it works great on all sorts of reed strengths, but its response is what makes this one shine.
Ishimori Solid Silver is the most solid in feel and sound. It is powerful and creates a superior hold on the playing experience, and it works great on lighter reeds.
Ishimori Solid Silver plated with Pink Gold is both solid in feel like Silver but flexible like the Gold Plated Copper. This ligature very compellingly blends the playing experiences of the other three into one.
For musicians who desire the most free, flexible and colorful experience at a desirable price point, then Gold Plated Copper is a great option. Brushed Satin Gold Plated Copper adds nimble and crisp response, and blends added stability with tonal center. Solid Silver is the most powerful and solid. It works great with easy lighter reeds - it actually inserts strength, body and security of response into the experience! Solid Silver-Pink Gold is everything combined; it adds the flexibility and color of gold, but maintains the power and strength of Silver.