The Van Doren Ligature….Star Wars?

Hello Mr. Friedland,
I was wondering what your thoughts on the new vandoren optimum ligature were? as to how it actually improves your tone quality and if the 3 pressure plates actually do anything.
thank you
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Hi:
Right off Joey, I know that a ligature cannot and will not improve your tone quality. That quality is something that you make, you work on and it is yours, or should be.
The ligature can make you feel as if the sound is different and perhaps you do hear it differently, however with that particular ligature, there is so much weight to it; it seems like a tail wagging the dog. You make the sound, not the ligature.
The plates will given you a different aural picture of your sound but it will remain yours, no improvement at all.
The thing I did not like at all about it, not counting the weight, was the sheer gadgetry of it. It is a big heavy shiny thing and it costs big bucks as well.
For me it is not worth the weight nor the investment. The other day I taught an adul,t a lesson and had to assess her in about 30 minutes. I noticed a couple of interesteing aspects. One was the fact that she used a neck srap to help support the instrument, and she moved her shoulders as she played. I asked her about the neck strap and she answered that it helped support the instrument. The movement was not particularly graceful and it does take away from your finished product. Finally she used the heavy ligature which is the VD ligature. It seemed to me to add to her problem, rather than to simply them. Certainly there is nothing particularly wrong with using a neck strap, however one would think that difficulty in holding the clarinet ought to be lightened as much as is possible.
best wishes,
sherman friedland
addenda:
these ligatures have plates that grip the reeds in different places with different shapes of three different plates which are changeable.
I find that my students at the Crane School who use these ligatures may distort a reed terribly by tightening the screw too much leaving a mishapen reed. Is this a good idea? I think not.

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