Tips and tricks
Clarinet and saxophone players often purchase higher-strength cane reeds than they wish to play on in order to leave room for adjustments and to compensate for the natural softening of cane that takes place during the break-in process. Forestone reeds require a different mind-set. Try to determine your actual practice and performance comfort zone and choose the Forestone strength accordingly. What you are aiming for with Forestone is the strength of reed you wish to play on from the moment you first affix the reed to the mouthpiece, not the (higher) strength of the pre-adjusted, pre-broken-in cane reed.
Many woodwind players have several mouthpieces and like to try new models as they become available. While there is nothing wrong with this practice, it can be a problem when working out your preferred strength of Forestone reed. The best strategy is to try one or more Forestone reeds of different strengths on your main mouthpiece. We advise against trying to fit the mouthpiece to the reed, as some reed manufacturers would have you do. You can then choose a different strength reed for a different mouthpiece, if you like, but at least you will have a good basis for making your selection.
Forestone reeds are exceptionally consistent reed to reed but the discerning player will always notice minute differences between two or more reeds of the same strength. After discovering your preferred strength, you might want to purchase several reeds to give yourself maximum flexibility in different playing situations. Also, having several reeds in your case will enable you to optimize their life by playing them in rotation.
Some player habitually adjust all of their reeds to their individual preferences using knives, files, Dutch Rush, sandpaper and other tools and methods. Nothing prevents you from doing this with Forestone reeds. In terms of using a reed clipper to beef up a reed’s playing resistance, this can also be done successfully. Indeed, some players find that clipping is even more successful with Forestone reeds than it is with cane.