Friday, December 7, 2012

Forestone Reeds

Above are some recordings I made comparing the legato and articulation of the Forestone to those of the Vandoren V12. The answers are at the bottom of this post. More recordings from other players are available on the Forestone website HERE. 

As a clarinet player, I am always on the lookout for ways to make what I do easier. The dream of every reed player is the perfect reed; a reed that could be produced with complete consistency while still maintaining a beautiful sound and great response. Since this cannot be accomplished with traditional cane reeds we are relient on the synthetic reed industry for the realization of this dream.

I recently had the opportunity to experiment with some of Forestone's new Premium Cut synthetic reeds. These reeds retail for $30.95 and are available direct from Forestone's Website HERE.  There are things I like about these reeds. For one, they are extremely consistent due to their proprietary injection molding process which allows them to achieve a tip thickness of 0.1mm. They are also unaffected by humidity and require no soaking. This is true of all synthetic reeds, but what makes the Forestone unique is their use of real wood fiber in the reed, 50% of which comes from bamboo.

I disliked the response I experienced from the reeds. I tried different reed thicknesses on a few different mouthpieces and still never felt secure in my articulation or legato. I also found the tone to be thuddy with unwanted overtones and chirps that would sporadically happen when switching registers or tonguing.

Though these issues have been greatly improved since the original Forestone cut, they are still problems that will keep the Forestone from becoming my main reed. I could see relying on them for outdoor concerts or other occasions when humidity can really be an issue, but while reeds have come a long way in this area, they are still not, in my experience, anywhere near where I could play them as a viable alternative to a real cane reed. I will keep my eye on Forestone and other makers as they continue to perfect their design in the hope that someday, there will truly be a perfect reed.

Articulation A - Forestone
Articulation B - V12
Legato A - V12
Legato B - Forestone