Accessories

Does a really good alto ligature actually make a difference? This is a question we get a lot, have heard many times and we believe it’s finally time to give all you saxophonists out there the truth whether or not it has an effect on one’s sound. Here’s the deal, there are two main objectives with a ligature.

The first objective is to simply hold the reed on the mouthpiece. The second objective is to make the reed vibrate in a way that provides you the opportunity to best express yourself through playing your alto.

Experienced saxophonists will be the first ones to tell you that the ligature will help your alto sax performance by keeping the alto mouthpiece and reed in its place, but can a good ligature give you an advantage?

Through trial, error and experience, we review five ligatures for the alto saxophone that we believe will give players a little something extra they’ve been looking for in their sound.


Find the Best Alto Sax Ligature - Our Top 5

this is an image of the Vandoren LC27P ligature

The Vandoren LC27LP creates a warm, round sound that gets the reed vibrating almost perfectly. It is genuine leather, which is nice on the hands and gives the player quick and precise tightening.


Curious to see how the three different pressure plates will affect your sound? If yes, then you may want to purchase this one. Each pressure plate gives you the option of making your sound a little brighter (more powerful), darker, or a little edgier.


It’s designed to customize your playing and may give you the extra edge you’re looking for. It is (in our opinion), without a doubt the best ligature for your alto saxophone to go with vandoren v16 mouthpiece. It’s affordable, yet on the high end, which makes this product very special.

A great option if you use a Meyer, Selmer, Yamaha, JodyJazz, or a D’Addario mouthpiece. Rovner designed their ligatures to hold the reed to the mouthpiece without pressure points. Since there are no pressure points, the reed sits evenly on the mouthpiece, which reduces thickness, thus providing clear tone.


Our take on the Rover C1RL MK III is that it is super affordable, holds the reed in place and provides a great vibration.


There are so many players out there that get a cheap mouthpiece and ligature, then regret making that choice. The reason behind that is going cheap often makes it difficult to play the notes you truly want to play on your alto sax. Case in point, invest in quality and go with reputable brands.

If budget isn’t an issue, we say go with the BG L11BG. In addition to budget not being a factor, if you are looking for the best jazz alto sax ligature, this one is it. The control that players get is literally unbelievable.


This ligature will always stay on the mouthpiece when taking it on or off. In addition to that, you will get great vibration and crystal clear sound.


What we don’t like about the BG L11BG, is that it doesn’t fit on rubber mouthpieces and doesn’t fit on Meyer mouthpieces. So, if you have either of those, you’ll need to find something different. 

The Francois Louis Pure Brass is very similar to the Vandoren LC 27P when it comes to the sounds you can play. For your future reference, material has a really big bearing effect on the sound. In this case, it comes in three different materials: bass, silver and gold.

These materials are designed for different sounds. For example, the brass ligature opens up your sound, the silver is more resistant and you will need to blow harder and the gold ligature gives you more of an elegant sound.

If you play jazz music, the brass is a phenomenal choice because it will allow you to open up your sound and play brighter and darker tones. It’s always a good idea to try out all three, just to see which one fits you best.

We already reviewed another Vandoren, and since they are one of the top brands for ligatures, we decided to review the LC07P. If you use a vandoren V16 mouthpiece, this is a great option for you.

The one thing that so many alto saxophone players keep saying about this ligature is that it holds the reed super tight to the mouthpiece.

What is the best ligature for alto sax?

The answer is it depends. It can be one of many ligatures that are out there. At the end of the day, a good ligature keeps the reed on the mouthpiece and doesn't let it slip away. It should also provide good vibration so you can play any music and hit any note.

You will have to test some of these out on your own so you can see which ones do those two things the best. Yes, there are some ligatures out there that have some extra features. However, go see for yourself and do some trial and error. 

Conclusion

The only other brand that we didn't mention, but deserves "Honorable Mention" is JodyJazz. They create wonderful mouthpieces and they have ligatures to go with them. They have the Silver Power Ring and the Gold Power Ring ligatures. Excellent products, for sure.

We believe that a ligature can give a player an added bonus of playing a wide variety of sounds. The top five listed above are definitely the best options out there, in our opinion. Still, we encourage you to go to your local music store, or purchase a few online and test them out yourself. Trial and error is key for picking up new equipment and accessories. Good luck and we hope you find a ligature that fits your alto saxophone playing style.

Everyone always wants to know when they buy their first alto, does it come with a mouthpiece that can hit every note and produce the tone I'm looking for? The answer depends on what brand and model you buy.

With that being said, if you are serious about investing in a great alto saxophone and becoming the best player you can be, then you will want to check out these mouthpieces, providing you VERY even tone throughout the full range of your horn.

Our Featured Mouthpiece for All Skill Level and Genres

Keeping play-ability in mind first, then making sure it can fit your budget is exactly why this piece is here. After analyzing hundreds of reviews (good and bad), this is the best choice by far. It's great for all skill levels (beginner through professional) and excellent for all genres, including jazz and classical. The Altissimo range sounds great with Model 6!

Below is our list of the top selling saxophone mouthpieces with keeping your budget in mind. We’ll start the guide by showing you which piece is better for certain genres and skill levels (beginner to professional). The whole point to getting a better piece is to have more control and better overall tone, so you can take your skill to the next level.

The links will guide you for purchasing on Amazon.com, which is where most musicians buy many of their music gear (and of course everything else).

The prices on amazon are probably the cheapest and super competitive. In addition, if you have a Prime account, you can get these mouthpieces with free shipping and easy returns with no hassle.


Top 3 Jazz Mouthpieces for Alto Saxophone Players

For many saxophonists, they will be the first to tell you that they picked up this instrument strictly to play jazz music. It's a beautiful thing when you can mix and match tones fluidly to create beautiful music. Most professional saxophonists that play jazz gigs around the world will also tell you to invest in quality, proven equipment.

Whether you're about to join the jazz band in high school, or about to hit the road to play at your next gig, now is the time to find an elite alto sax mouthpiece for jazz!

Below, you will see the top three (3) jazz mouthpieces. It will help narrow down your search. If you use any one of these, it will improve your play. Again, this is hours of research and analyzing hundreds of reviews, so take advantage and enjoy!

#1

Vintage inspired and a true jazz style music mouthpiece for alto saxophone players. There is a HUGE difference between a regular mouthpiece and a jazz one. This is a known fact in the woodwind industry.


One of the elite brands, D’Addario did it again! They crushed it with this model as the Select Jazz line is milled from solid rod rubber using their high-tech computer-controlled creation technology.


If you know how good the Klums are, this Select Jazz sounds just as good and plays very even better. In addition this mouthpiece generates beautiful sound, it’s super simple to control and the intonation is pitch-perfect. These reasons alone make this piece a great value and an excellent first choice for playing jazz music.

#2

Compared to the D'Addario, the JodyJazz Super Jet 7 is a much better and more powerful mouthpiece for jazz music, but will cost more money. If budget isn't an issue, we highly recommend the JodyJazz 7 strictly on the ability to hit any note with so much control that playing jazz has never been easier and more fun. Here it is in action (video below) with Jody Espina, a wonderful player.

#3

This one is the least expensive of the three, but is still a wonderful choice (especially for jazz). The budget-friendly option that is under $150, can be a major upgrade from any mouthpiece that comes with the purchase of your new saxophone. Sometimes, it's just flat out smarter to invest in a better one that will help improve your tone and give you more control.


In fact, most players who are just getting serious about playing jazz will invest in the Vandoren SM811M A5 Chamber V16, and it will almost never disappoint because it will prove as a significant upgrade. There are over 50 reviews on this product and most are five-star ratings. Take a look at these recent customer reviews for the V16 mouthpiece below:

this image shows customer reviews of the Vandoren SM811M A5 Medium Chamber V16

#1 Professional Mouthpiece

Most professional alto players are afraid to try metal mouthpieces because they are afraid it is too bright (too much power). The JodyJazz DV Alto is so free blowing and so smooth. One of the reasons it's so special is because it has all this horsepower, including brightness, power, yet fullness. And that fullness comes from the secondary window, which is patented.


The JodyJazz DV Alto is a very versatile all-around mouthpiece and the reasons we recommend this for professionals is because of the warmth, power, and clarity that you can generate with this special mouthpiece.

Pros

  • Unbelievable Altissimo
  • Secondary window, providing extra power and warmth
  • Proprietary CNC facing technology
  • Cleaner Articulation
  • Effortless Playing
  • Improved Intonation

Cons

  • It is Made of Metal (can be difficult to switch to)
  • May not fit your budget (Sells at $550)
  • Must make sure this fits your playing style and what you're used to. For example, Meyer 6 players, will usually play a DV Alto 7
  • Be prepared to use a harder reed than you normally do due to the free blowing nature of the DV alto.


Top Choices for Beginners

There are times in a saxophone player's life that shed light on their journey of reaching greatness, and that time is choosing the right one. We're all aware by now that the mouthpiece that comes with your instrument is just another average one. The thing is, musicians have a mentality to be great, and an average mouthpiece isn't the answer.

No more stressing out while playing with one that just won't hit the notes you're looking to play. It's time for an upgrade. Maybe it's your first purchase, and if that's the case, you should always start off with a piece that fits you best.

So, without further ado, here are the Top 3 choices for beginners. We list these in order of budget first! That means, the cheapest one is at #1. However, they are all excellent choices for beginners. They are also great for intermediate players, and some professionals use these mouthpieces as well.

#1

An outstanding choice for beginners, as well as intermediate players. The Yamaha 4C has over 300 positive reviews mainly because of how much easier it allows you to play your alto. Hitting the right tone with the right power (as we all know) can be difficult without the right equipment. The 4C gives you every opportunity, especially if you are just starting out. Whether you are a student in high school or an adult ready to embark on a musical instrument journey, the Yahama 4C is affordable (under $30) and a perfect starting point.

#2

Bundle this with the right ligature and cap and you are looking at an exceptional value. The YAC AS4C fits any brand of standard alto saxophone and is easy to obtain a balanced, yet clear and focused tone in any octave. This one in particular is made for beginner players and will allow you to focus on practicing, instead of worrying. Easy blowing along with state of the art manufacturing makes this a wonderful beginner alto sax mouthpiece.

#3

One of the biggest perks of purchasing a Meyer mouthpiece is that they all come with a ligature and mouthpiece cap. The MR-402-6MM has VERY clear response ranging from the lowest of notes all the way to altissimo. There are so many great players out there that rave bout the MR-402-6MM, mainly because it is very easy blowing and produces rich and full tone quality. The price makes it affordable (under $150), especially since you won't need to buy a separate ligature and cap. It's really a great overall choice for beginners. 

What Are the Top Brands You Should Know About?

Choosing a brand is like choosing which pair of brand shoes you like. It all depends on what your preferences are and how your body responds to the particular style. With that being said, we also believe that there are better brands out there for mouthpieces specifically. In addition, there are brands you should also avoid, especially if you are looking to play at an extremely high level.

Here's our quick list of top, reputable brands that you really can't go wrong with. Most of them are on our list.

  • JodyJazz
  • Vandoren
  • Ted Klum
  • D'Addario
  • Meyer
  • Yamaha
  • Selmer

Final Thoughts

We analyzed hundreds of reviews on our way to this list. Our enthusiasm has never been higher because we believe this is the best list out there. The entire goal was to break it down by skill level, budget and genre (mainly jazz).

Only you will know when the right time comes to upgrading your equipment. When you do make those choices, chances are your performance will also improve. That's the beauty of new technology in the musical instrument industry.

Finding the right mouthpiece isn't easy. The one thing that you don't want to do is waste a bunch of time searching around for one. At the end of the day, you're going to have to go out there and test some out to see which one you like the most. Every successful musician will tell you that once you do find the right one, you won't ever have to get another!