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Mark VII Tenor with V16 7M
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I typically use Légère Signature and American cut. Like both, but would love to include an even darker synthetic reed in my setup (not the Classic or Studio Cut 'cause I have a feeling those will eventually be discontinued).

Anyone have suggestions for good darker synthetics? Other "synthetics" I sometimes use are Venn 2.0 and Plasticover, but both of these sound brighter than Légère Signature and American cut. My regular mouthpiece is an S80.
 

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Mark IV Tenor, Yanagisawa Bari, Yamaha Soprano, Yamaha Alto, Buffet Bb Clarinet
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I can't say I've had the pleasure of trying these myself, but I've heard great reports about the Forestone reeds. Looks like the Black Bamboo is a much darker sound.

These aren't completely synthetic though as they use a mix between polypropylene resin and cellulose wood fibre.

 

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YAS-62 Series 1 | YTS-62Siii : Holton 241 Tenor (1952)
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I like the Forestone Black Bamboo on my alto setup (YAS62 using a WCW'56) and it does sound darker to me, and I prefer it to, the equivalent Legere American Cut. Funnily it doesn't play at all well on my tenor, where I like the Legere Sig Cut (which is darker than the American Cut for me) much better than the Forestone. I suspect the Forestone reeds might be a bit more mouthpiece sensitive than the Legeres
 

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I typically use Légère Signature and American cut. Like both, but would love to include an even darker synthetic reed in my setup (not the Classic or Studio Cut 'cause I have a feeling those will eventually be discontinued).
I'm not sure why you are lumping the Signature and the American Cut together, other than the fact that both are made by Legere, since the latter is noticeably brighter IMO. Thus, "darker than the Sig" and "darker than the AC" are two different quests. Let's try the first one.

As noted by others here, the Forestone Black Bamboo is a good choice. (Stick with the regular Black Bamboo, not the weird Black Bamboo W Blast.) The White Bamboo is a little brighter -- more on par with the Signature. Forestone reeds have thin tips and tend to run soft, which some players don't like. The BB is a bit on the sturdier side.

The original D'Addario Venn was much darker than the Venn 2.0. It also easily eclipses the Signature. However, even assuming you can find some leftovers, you might not like its reduced playability.

The Silverstein Alta Ambipoly Classic (I can't vouch for the Jazz model) is pretty dark, but it's quite expensive, and also quirky because you have to wet it and treat it more like cane.

Some synth reed companies, such as Harry Hartmann and BARI, don't make a single model that would qualify as acceptably dark from a classical, blue box perspective.

The Classic is Legere's darkest reed by a wide margin, so it's a shame that it doesn't interest you. It's not as responsive as the Sig, however.

Not exactly a cornucopia of choices, is it? It doesn't help that the darker synth reeds often have responsiveness/resistance issues (Legere Classic, original Venn, Alta to an extent). Most synth reeds do tend to get darker as you move up in strength, like cane reeds, but of course that's a trade-off.
 

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My experience with the Forestone reeds we're a little mixed - I tried a Black Bamboo (W Blast - whatever that is..) It started off good, not too bright, but after about an hour of playing it just like fell off a cliff - it ran soft. That was the medium. I would suggest try a hard, because of that.
 

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I had a similar experience with Black Bamboo: limp after 20-30 minutes.

I used to use Legere Classic on my Raschers, which produced a beautifully dark tone, but I do appreciate the better response on the Signatures, so I'm willing to accept the trade-off.

I have a Silverstein Ambipoly Classic on bari because the Legere Signature 3.5 isn't hard enough for my Rascher. I'd say it's similarly dark, maybe a little darker. I'd like to try them on the other horns for a better comparison, but I'm not willing to pay that much for them.

On the jazz side of things, if a mouthpiece is too bright I darken it with Signatures. Too dark, I brighten with American Cut or Fibracells.
 
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R&C 2V Sop, YAS61S, YTS61S, YBS62.
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The Forestone reeds do go soft at the tip due to the plastic heating and softening. If you take one off, lay it flat and let it cool, it comes good again.
I tried these again last night (on Soprano) along side Bari, Fibrereed and Legere just out of curiosity and none were more responsive or sweeter sounding than the cane Wood Stone, Brancher or Marca Superieure (my faves).

Long live cane.
 

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Mark VII Tenor with V16 7M
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all!

It sounds like Forestone Black Bamboo is a good option. I'll give it a try. I had seen Forestone mentioned in old posts, but since I had never heard of them assumed it was discontinued or something for a really niche market.

I'm not sure why you are lumping the Signature and the American Cut together, other than the fact that both are made by Legere, since the latter is noticeably brighter IMO.
Yup, I agree. There was no specicific reason other than the fact that they're the two types of reeds I use 90% of the time. Ideally I would find something darker than Signature.

Stick with the regular Black Bamboo, not the weird Black Bamboo W Blast.
Thanks for the pointer (y)

The Silverstein Alta Ambipoly Classic... ...you have to wet it and treat it more like cane.
Good to know. I do really love the fact that I don't have to wet my reeds currently, but the main reason I use synthetics is because I like the consistency and because I don't like the taste/feeling of bamboo. So I might give these a try at some point too.

The Classic is Legere's darkest reed by a wide margin, so it's a shame that it doesn't interest you. It's not as responsive as the Sig, however.
I might reach out to the company to see about discontinuation plans. The main reason I ruled those out is because I'd hate to love a reed, get used to it and then it become discontinued six months later.

Most synth reeds do tend to get darker as you move up in strength, like cane reeds, but of course that's a trade-off.
Yeah. I might slowly work on moving up. I currently use 2.5's so there's still loots of room to experiment.
 

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Mark VII Tenor with V16 7M
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I tried a Black Bamboo (W Blast - whatever that is..) It started off good, not too bright, but after about an hour of playing it just like fell off a cliff - it ran soft.
Thanks. Good to know. I rotate my Légère to deal with that, so would likely buy a couple Forestone and switch in the middle of practice if I like them.
 

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I had a similar experience with Black Bamboo: limp after 20-30 minutes.

I used to use Legere Classic on my Raschers, which produced a beautifully dark tone, but I do appreciate the better response on the Signatures, so I'm willing to accept the trade-off.

I have a Silverstein Ambipoly Classic on bari because the Legere Signature 3.5 isn't hard enough for my Rascher. I'd say it's similarly dark, maybe a little darker. I'd like to try them on the other horns for a better comparison, but I'm not willing to pay that much for them.

On the jazz side of things, if a mouthpiece is too bright I darken it with Signatures. Too dark, I brighten with American Cut or Fibracells.
I had the exact same problem. Even their hardest reed played way too soft with just a few minutes of play. In my mind that are not a suitable reed making music as they do not suit the purpose they are advertised for.
 

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The Hartmann Fiberreed in hemp is a good option.
I really liked the sound I got on that, but it warped on Day 1. Happened on both tenor and bari. I've tried a couple of Hartmann's other offerings, and I've more or less given up on them. I am curious about the Onyx though.
 

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Mark VII Tenor with V16 7M
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I might reach out to the company to see about discontinuation plans. The main reason I ruled those out is because I'd hate to love a reed, get used to it and then it become discontinued six months later.
Wow, Légère were super fast at getting back to me. Here's what they said:

We have absolutely no plans to discontinue the Classic
Guess I was being over cautious 🤷‍♂️

I now have 3 or 4 potential reeds to first order then try... exciting times 🎶😎
 

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I really liked the sound I got on that, but it warped on Day 1. Happened on both tenor and bari. I've tried a couple of Hartmann's other offerings, and I've more or less given up on them. I am curious about the Onyx though.
I use the onyx and and some of the others. The onyx is cheapest and somewhat bright. The OP's question was specifically about a darker sound, so that's not the "onyx". The onyx is a bit fragile and I accidentally chipped my first one...still played surprisingly though. I'm more careful with them now. Very surprised that they warped on you. Never saw that. I live in a wet/humid climate. Are you in an hot very dry place?
 

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Very surprised that they warped on you. Never saw that. I live in a wet/humid climate. Are you in an hot very dry place?
Indoors can get pretty dry in winter, but otherwise, no I live next to a big lake. It varies from pleasant to oppressively humid. Maybe "warped" isn't the right word, but the sides of the tip curled so that when the reed is on the mouthpiece it looks like the mouthpiece is frowning.
 
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I typically use Légère Signature and American cut. Like both, but would love to include an even darker synthetic reed in my setup (not the Classic or Studio Cut 'cause I have a feeling those will eventually be discontinued).

Anyone have suggestions for good darker synthetics? Other "synthetics" I sometimes use are Venn 2.0 and Plasticover, but both of these sound brighter than Légère Signature and American cut. My regular mouthpiece is an S80.

Legere is still making the classic which I like on bari but the alto version is much too dark for my tastes. As for the potential discontinuance of product, buy 5 I say, if you find one that works for you. That'll do you for about 10 years.
 

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Totally disagree with Forrestone Black Bamboo being darker than Legere Signature. For me, Legere Signature is the only one that can produce a characteristic classical sound, and even then, only about 1 in 10. I’ve used Black Bamboo for jazz with limited success, and for me it basically falls in with all other synthetics I’ve tried: unusable.

It’s not just about bright/dark. It’s about the character of the sound, feel, and whether it has that “plastic” buzz, which I detest.
 

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Mark VII Tenor with V16 7M
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Totally disagree with Forrestone Black Bamboo being darker than Legere Signature.
Thanks for the additional point of view @greyoboe. I'll still likely want to try one out just to get a feel for what they sound (just waiting to buy during an up and coming trip to Japan), but it's good to know opinions of them vary.

and for me it basically falls in with all other synthetics I’ve tried: unusable.
Interestingly enough, I've gone back to using cane reeds since I originally posted this. I still use Legere for general practice and when I want a brighter sound, but cane is now my preferred choice for classical and jazz.
 

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I used Legere Signature for 10 years in some very high profile situations. They can be great. I’m primarily a classical player but have used them with several jazz mouthpieces as well. I’ve used them on SATB with good success; mouthpiece matters here. I am mostly back on cane now, but I still prefer Legere when outside. I’ve tried just about every other synthetic that I am aware of, and did not like any of them. Almost liked Black Bamboo for jazz, but ended up liking cane and Signature better.
 
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