I have reviewed Forestone’s filed and unfiled reeds, finding that each had its own sound characteristics. Recently, I was introduced to the Forestone Black Bamboo reed. I knew I needed to test-play this reed to find out how it differed from the filed and unfiled cuts.
For those of you new to the brand, Forestone’s reeds are combination of polypropylene resin and cellulose wood fiber, so these reeds are 50% synthetic and 50% bamboo.
I was sent samples in M, MH, and H strengths to test play on tenor (the Black Bamboo reeds come in strengths of S, MS, M, MH, H & XH).
Here is what Forestone’s website says in regards to the black bamboo reeds:“The Black Bamboo reeds contain the same amount of bamboo fiber as the filed and unfiled reeds but the black bamboo reeds contain a special carbon mixture for increased resistance and great projection.”
When I was test playing the M, MH, and H, I found the M, MH, and H to play a bit hard for my preference, so a MS is probably the right strength for me. I continued to play on the M reed for a few weeks to see how it responded. I found the Forestone black bamboo reed to be a bit more resistant than the filed and unfiled cut, but I was surprised by the overall projection and core that I was able to achieve on this reed.
I found the black bamboo reed to be the closest to what I am looking for in a traditional cane reed. I believe if you like the filed or unfiled cut, you will most likely want to try the black bamboo reed. I found the Black Bamboo reed comes closer to a traditional cane reed in my opinion compared to the filed and unfiled cut.
Forestone also mentions on their website that, similar to the filed and unfiled cuts, “The Black Bamboo reeds are very durable and completely unaffected by the influences of temperature, humidity and dehydration. The problems of reed warping, deterioration, and inconsistencies are gone.”
I still play on traditional cane reeds from such brands as Rigotti, Lupifaro, Vandoren, and Rico, but from time to time will practice with Forestone filed, unfiled, and now the Forestone Black Bamboo reeds. I still favor traditional cane over synthetic reeds but I believe that of all the synthetic reed manufacturers, Forestone comes closest to getting a synthetic reed to play, and even feel like a traditional cane reed.
I will continue to play on the Forestone Black Bamboo reeds to get used to the overall feel, as I believe the Forestone Black Bamboo reed is the best reed that Forestone currently offers.
Please feel free to chime in with any comments or questions.
Reed Strength Comparison Chart
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