I’m a beginner. I’ve just bought a Ridenour Lyrique C clarinet. I’ve
been unhappy with the Vandoren and Rico reeds and came across your
discussion about the Forestone reeds. I had a look at their selection
on their website and don’t know enough about clarinets to work out
which one might be a good for me. I want to play folk music and am
looking for a slightly easier blow without sacrificing too much tone.
I recently tried my friend’s Vandoren mouthpiece, it was incredibly
easier to blow than my (Ridenour made) mouthpiece but there was a
great loss in the richness of the tone, it was much thinner and
The best sound I’ve had on my set up so far has been with a Vandoren
two and a half but I found it quite a hard play.
P.S. Your website was invaluable to me when I spent long nights
researching which instrument to buy out of the forest of the clarinets
Thank you for your note. I’m happy you like your new clarinet, and can completely understand your frustration with the Van Doren and Rico reed situation as being unable to satisfy your desires.
In my experimentation with the Forestone reed on different mouthpieces, I have found one simple truth: the forestone reed enhances the response of every mouthpiece I own. Speaking of Van Doren specifically, I tried it on an M13, a Van Doren mouthpieces which is the mass produced reed manufacturers take on the Chedeville mouthpieces of the past. Now I played cane on this mouthpiece for more than a year. The mouthpiece responds more freely with a Forestone reed as all of mine do. This includes Richard Hawkins R, and S mouthpieces as well as a Gregg Smith which was unsatisfactory for me, and Hawkins refaced. All were excellent or much better with Forestone . I also own an unusual crystal mouthpiece with Gino B Cioffi as well as Obrien etched on it , and now, with RH as well.Mr Hawkins expertly refaced for me. It is quite special. .
All of this gives me a very strong message that the methodology of the Forestone is simply the best in the making of a synthetic reed. I have not played on the Ridenour mouthpiece you have and cannot comment on that. On all others the reed has enhanced all of the qualities of the mouthpiece, tuning, response, and timbre.
Now, as to strength, I would have a difficult time in making a recommendation, but would suggest that you begin with a 2.25 Forestone Reed. If able, I would suggest buying three, one on either side of the first, half a strength higher and lower. Most probably you’ll be able to play all three, but one of them will be most suitable.
As I write this I know that you will find the right reed, which is unusual for a reed recommendation, however my own experiences has proved that your reed troubles will be over with Forestone.
Their injection molding invention of being able to make extremely thin tips,( thinner than ever before), consistently on each reed they make is what makes the statement true. Also the reed contains the material of cane: bamboo.
If you play any of the popular Van Doren facings: B45,5RV,B44, B46, or V360, M13, M30, M40, you should have success. Should you wish to try the more sensual sounding Zinner blank, try a Hawkins S or one of the others. All are very responsive, dark, and rather adventurous to play..Good luck, and let me know how it’s going.
best wishes, Sherman