What are Bonade Ligatures?
Bonade ligatures are among the most widely used ligatures for both professional and amateur clarinetists. These ligatures are available in both a "regular" style (screws on the same side as the reed) and an "inverted" style (screws on the opposite side from the reed). Generally, the regular (non-inverted) style has a brighter, clearer, more responsive sound while the inverted tends to be more covered, with a more stable core. These two styles allow players a range of flexibility and sound options at an amazing price point.
What are our options and why?
The purpose of the plating on Bonade ligatures is first and foremost to protect the base brass metal from oxidizing, and also to maintain a nice aesthetic finish. However, this plating has an added effect of slightly changing the sound. Some players are looking for a sound that is difficult to produce with silver or nickel/chrome plating as offered by the manufacturer. Thus, we set out to hunt for the perfect plating material.
After trying a number of options, we are proud to offer three different platings: Rose Gold, 24K Gold, and “Black” Platinum (PlatinumNoir). There seems to be a general trend in sound amongst all the ligatures of a similar plating. The Rose Gold plating is typically the clearest and brightest in sound. The 24K Gold is the warmest and most covered. The PlatinumNoir is a great balance of both with the most depth of sound.
Our Selection Process
Here at RDG, there is a legacy of providing the highest quality products and services to many of the great performers and teachers since our founding in 1949. For this reason, we take pride in our process for providing the best Bonade ligatures in the market today. When we receive a batch of ligatures from the manufacturer, we first individually shape them to fit the mouthpiece better. Once this is done, each ligature is test played and ligatures that show great promise are set aside for plating. We find that only through play testing the ligatures can we find the best ones. Sometimes, this may mean a ligature doesn’t fit the “textbook” definition of what a good ligature should look like, such as if the side body of the ligature touches the reed. We select the ligatures for their sound characteristics, and we have found that often these physical variations are not consequential. The ligatures chosen for premium plating are then hand finished in the interior so that they no longer slip off the mouthpiece during play or when the mouthpiece is adjusted on the instrument. After hours of selection and adjustments they are finally ready to be plated.
Our Plating Process
In order for our ligatures to be plated successfully, each ligature is first cleaned thoroughly; if there is any grease present the plating process will not work. The electroplating process can then begin.The RDG Signature Ligatures are plated using a process called electroplating, where a base metal is coated with another metal via electrolysis in order to better its corrosion resistance. Basically, an acidic liquid solution is used to dissolve and suspend a particular protective metal in a solution. An anode and cathode are then immersed into this solution creating a magnetic current that deposits the suspended particulate onto the opposite charged base material part. The metallic particles eventually coat the ligature, making a beautiful finish.
As you can see, we invest a lot of time into making our RDG Signature Bonade Ligatures a truly great product, taking care to attend to every detail. These ligatures have been very well received since their introduction in the spring of 2019. We invite you to try them today!