Vandoren M|O Pink Gold Ligature: Can Finish and Material Make A Difference?


At the 2019 NAMM Show, I stopped by the DANSR booth and had the opportunity to briefly try the Vandoren M/O Pink Gold (some call it Rose Gold) ligature. Recently, Michael Fenoglio, Vandoren Brand Manager, was nice enough to send me a Vandoren M/O Pink Gold ligature for tenor saxophone. I will be comparing the Pink Gold finish to my Vandoren M/O aged gold finish to see if I notice a difference. For those of you who are not familiar with the Vandoren product line, please see my overview here to get up to speed.

Product Overview

Similar to the very popular Vandoren Optimum Ligature, The M|O ligature combines the lightweight construction of the Vandoren Masters ligature with the tightening mechanism found on the Optimum ligature. Some characteristics of the Vandoren M/O ligature are as follows: lightweight, symmetrical tightening, 2 small contact points, and most importantly (or at least to me), very easy to adjust.


The Vandoren M|O ligature for saxophone comes in the following finishes: Gold, Pink-Gold, Gold-Plated, and Aged Gold. There recently has been quite a few conversations around the material or plating of a ligature and if it makes a difference in the response and sound or if it is simply just for aesthetics. To further test, I played my Vandoren M|O aged gold finish to compare it to the Vandoren M|O Pink Gold finish (see setup below for full context).

I believe the Vandoren M|O ligature is made out of brass material with various different plantings applied, but was not able to confirm with Vandoren if the Pink-Gold ligature was a combination of other materials such as brass, copper, zinc, etc.

Testing Equipment

  • Saxophone: Lupifaro Platinum Tenor
  • Reed: Boston Sax Shop 2.5 (T)
  • Ligature: Vandoren M|O Aged Gold & Pink Gold
  • Mouthpiece: D’Addario Select Jazz (7)

Sound Clips

1.) Vandoren M|O Pink Gold Finish:

2.) Vandoren M|O Aged Gold Finish:

Final Thoughts

The sound and response is subjective based on what your current setup is, but what I found after play testing both Vandoren M|O finishes was the following:

  • Sonically, I noticed both finishes were very similar.
  • I found the age gold finish had a bit more buzz or edge to the overall sound while the Pink Gold finish had more clarity and depth.
  • From a response standpoint, both ligatures responded almost exactly the same. I did feel the response on the Pink Gold finish was a tad freer blowing which made it slightly easier to execute phrasing at various dynamic levels.

Overall, I preferred the Pink Gold finish over the aged gold finish but this is completely personal. Aesthetically, the Pink Gold finish reminded me of the Yangisawa AW020PG saxophone which if you have not checked out, I think you will be pleased.

With that being said, the Pink Gold finish, from my research is about 2.5 times the price of the normal gold and aged gold finish. If you enjoy the M|O ligature but are on a budget, I would recommend purchasing the standard gold or aged gold finish. If you do not have a budget and like the overall response, sound, and finish of the M|O Pink Gold in comparison to the other finishes, I think you will be very happy with your purchase.

Finally, I also would recommend comparing the Vandorn M|O Pink Gold finish to other ligature in a similar price range like the Ishimori and BG ligatures to find which one works best for your setup.

Once again, a big thanks to Michael for sending me the Vandoren M|O Pink Gold ligature to further play test.

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences play testing the various Vandoren M|O ligatures finishes.