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.
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.
- 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)
1.) Vandoren M|O Pink Gold Finish:
2.) Vandoren M|O Aged Gold Finish:
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.
November 9, 2019 @ 3:02 am
As much as I love to experiment with equipment and the differences they make, I think I draw the line at ligature finish. That’s not to say there is absolutely no difference, but in my mind it’s so insignificant that it’s not worth considering. Although I did enjoy trying the MO a while back and it has a good balance of Reed support whilst not damping the sound very much. One of my favourites.
November 9, 2019 @ 5:51 pm
It’s very subjective. I think finish or material can be a difference but the to what extent its difficult to say and is very much a personal preference but I do see your point and agree that the M|O is a good overall ligature.
December 24, 2019 @ 2:30 am
Hello Zach, don’t you think it would be appropiate to also test two MO with same finish against each other? to conclude if these differences aren’t just because its a different piece rather than finish.
December 24, 2019 @ 10:02 am
I hoping to potentially do so at NAMM 2020 this year. The Pink Gold finish M|O model is not as easy to get as the other models which is why I only tried one.