Since I play tested their line of reeds at the 2012 NAMM show, Forestone has added into their catalog a line of saxophones and saxophone accessories. Craig Denny over at St. Louis Music was nice enough to send me some Forestone ligatures for alto saxophone as well as some hard rubber tenor and alto Forestone mouthpieces to try out.
I was sent three Forestone ligatures which came in brass, silver, and gold-plating. Along with the ligs I was also sent with two tenor mouthpieces (tip opening 6 & 7) and a single alto piece.
When I first opened up the Forestone box and looked at the ligature, it reminded me of a combination between a Brancher ligature as well as Vandoren’s new M/O ligature. I found the build quality between the three various finishes to be strong and the ligs were not easy to bend. It fit snuggly around the Forestone mouthpiece, but of course you’d have to try it out with your own mouthpiece to find out how it fits.
When I test played the brass, silver, and gold-plated Forestone ligatures, they all allowed my reed to vibrate more freely and offered me bit more edge and dynamic flexibility then I would get with a standard stock ligature. I found that the ligature did not brighten or darken my overall sound.
In terms of comparing the various three finishes, I believe that the effects of the various finishes is more cosmetic than anything else. To my ears, there was not much of a difference in sound between all three ligatures, although some players have said that the gold-plated ligature is a bit brighter in comparison to the brass and silver models. I would recommend test playing all three to see if you find a difference in the sound between all three finishes.
All in all, the Forestone ligatures were well-constructed and enhanced my sound overall. That said, I would recommend comparing the Forestone ligatures to the Vandoren M/O as well as the Basic Francois Louis ligatures to see which one works best with your current setup and gives you the additional boost in your sound that you are looking for.
I received both 6 and a 7 tip opening Forestone hard rubber tenor saxophone mouthpieces, and decided that the larger opening on the 7 worked better for me than the 6. The tip and railings on the two pieces were even and consistent from mouthpiece to mouthpiece.
When I received the Forestone tenor saxophone mouthpiece, the design reminded me mostly of a Meyer. When I test played my Otto Link hard rubber mouthpiece to compare it to the Forestone tenor mouthpiece, I found both mouthpieces to respond differently in terms of sound and resistance.
The Forestone mouthpiece was neither bright nor dark throughout all the registers. On the Forestone mouthpiece, I was able to play chromatically with much ease and found the sound to be big and spread compared to my Otto Link which is more focused and compact. The intonation on the Forestone mouthpiece was great from top to bottom.
Overall, I would recommend the Forestone tenor mouthpiece to someone looking for a consistent mouthpiece from top to bottom in terms of playability and intonation. This mouthpiece would work well in a classical as well as jazz situation based on its tonal characteristics which keep it from leaning towards too bright or too dark.
Like the Forestone tenor mouthpiece, the Forestone alto mouthpiece, reminds me of a new Meyer mouthpiece. Like its tenor counterpart, the Forestone alto mouthpiece is consistent in terms of evenness between the rails and tip opening. I found this mouthpiece to play very similarly to a new hard rubber Meyer mouthpiece, but it leans a little more towards the brighter side, reminding me of my Vandoren V16 alto mouthpiece.
My recommendation is to test play this mouthpiece against a new Meyer to see which one you would prefer because they are similar, but each offers its own unique attributes.
The Forestone mouthpieces and ligatures are great new additions to Forestone’s line of reeds as well as saxophones. I would highly recommend play testing Forestone ligatures and mouthpieces to see how they compare with your current setup. I would like to thank Craig Denny at Saint Louis Music for sending me these mouthpieces and ligatures to test play.
Please send me an email with any questions.
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