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Get A Grip: Clarinet Ligature Sales

Christian Wissmuller • January 2020Survey • January 13, 2020

With only 7.1 percent of participants in this month’s dealer survey – sent out to over 250 MI retailers – reporting that sales of clarinet ligatures are down and nearly 93 percent (92.9) claiming sales that are up or level when compared to December 2019, this appears to be a fairly robust market segment.

Another big takeaway? Rovner is an absolute monster when it comes to ligatures. Almost 85 percent (83.3) of dealers cited the brand as a top-seller. As Pat M. Bowles of North Little Rock, Arkansas’ Saied Music Company observes, “More and more people are using the Rovner ligatures.” Tim Paul of Piano Trends Music & Band Company (Crystal Lake, Illinois) agrees and offers reasons for the brand’s loyal customers: “The Rovner is almost always preferred when we demonstrate how easy and how much better the fit is.”

“We are offering, as a service, ligature and mouthpiece matching. As the clients get to experience the value of proper ligature placement, load distribution, and enhanced playability, we can create a custom feel for each individual.”

Scott Mandeville

Tim’s Music

Carmichael, California

What trends have you been noticing in terms of clarinet ligatures – end-user preferences, design and features, et cetera?

“Stocking multiple grade levels of the products we sell is our modus operandi. For non-pro customers, we encourage an upgrade to the inquiry by explaining the FAB of doing so during the presentation. It’s also an opportune time to have the ‘reed discussion’ for the beginning and intermediate player. We also allow our discerning pro clientele to demo the product on the gig. It’s ‘old school’ retail, but it still works for us.”

Jerry Vesely

Vesely Music

Parowan, Utah


“Mississippi Music, Inc. has a large percentage of schools that require a step-up mouthpiece and a Rovner ligature. Rovner’s recent packaging change has helped to increase profit even more with the ‘no box needed’ savings. We also see an almost 0 percent fail rate.”

Mike Guillot

Mississippi Music, Inc.

Flowood, Mississippi


“Certain teachers encourage and require cloth ligatures and others can’t be bothered at the middle and high school levels.”

Karen Janiszewski

Music Room

Cheektowaga, New York


“The school kids break or lose their ligatures on a regular basis. When they come in for a replacement we don’t just sell them a $5 cheap replacement – we sell them up to a Luyben or Rovner. Those are far superior ligatures and they cost quite a bit more, but they seem to take care of them better due to the extra expense involved. Remember, you’re supposed to be a salesperson…so SELL!”

Tim Bascom

Morgan Music Service, Inc.

Lebanon, Missouri


“Rovner Dark remains the leader for us.”

Eric Downs

PM Music Center

Aurora, Illinois


“Once a student gets past beginning band, they want the best they can get.”

Dan Patterson

Roger’s Music

Fort Payne, Alabama


“The market YTD over last year is only down nominally. The 80/20 rule is in full effect with ligatures – you need a broad selection to move what the best sellers are for your market.”

Nick Rail

Nick Rail Music

Santa Barbara, California


“Rovner products are hands-down our best sellers. We’re even seeing Rovner knock-offs; some are pretty good quality, too, but nothing beats the real thing.”

Steve Gibson

Absolute Music

Reno, Nevada

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