Best Synthetic Clarinet Reeds

For some the very idea of a synthetic reed is a foreign one with many used to the traditional clarinets available in the market that are made from wood, ebonite or plastic. The synthetic reed finds its design from the traditional reed that has being in existence for years. According, to history synthetic reeds can trace their origins from the World War II when there was a shortage of reeds in France to produce clarinets.

As technology advances there has being an increase in the production of synthetic reeds. Many companies have boosted production by investing in heavy machinery and new materials. Today, you will find a variety of synthetic clarinet reeds that are made from molded plastics, epoxy resins, polyester and styrene. While the sound is not exactly like for the wooden clarinets, companies have done a good job of producing sounds that are similar. In this review, we rank some of the Best Synthetic Clarinet Reeds in the market.

Best Synthetic Clarinet Reeds – Comparison Table

ModelWeight (pounds)Dimensions Availability
Fibracell Strength0.13.5” x 0.75” x 0.5”Check Price
Firestone Hinoki Synthetic Clarinet reed0.7 oz.4.33” x 2.2” x 0.31”Check Price
Fiber reed Bb Clarinet0.35 oz.4.53” x 2.17” x 0.2”Check Price
D’Addario Venn Bb Clarinet Reed0.6 oz.5.12” x 2.76” x” 0.98”Check Price
Legere European Signature0.48 oz.4” x 0.5” x 0.12”Check Price
Silverstein Alta Vivace cut0.8 oz.4” x 2”x 0.25”Check Price

Reviews of Best Synthetic Clarinet Reeds

Fibracell Strength – Best for bright and fluent sounds

This reed is made from Kelvar which is a lightweight rosin material. It offers quick response with brilliant overtones. The Fibracell is a great reed for intonation and pitch stability. Fibracell is a cheap synthetic material that lowers the overall costs for the product. It is in fact one of the first mass produced synthetic reeds in the market. According, to the company that manufacturers the product it is made from sophisticated composite aerospace material with sound absorbing Aramid fibers.

The Fibracell reed is responsible for producing a bright sound that is quite easy to produce. This allows you to produce a variety of sounds. At the front side of the reed you will notice that it very much resembles that of a cane reed.

What we liked:

  • The front surface feels like a cane reed
  • Affordable price
  • Offers bright and fluent sounds
  • Great for playing pop and jazz music

What we did not like:

  • At times you will find some fiber sticking out of the reed


View price here


Firestone Hinoki Synthetic Clarinet reed – Best for classical and jazz music

The Hinoki is a reed that gives you the feel that you are playing a bamboo instrument. It offers you a slightly light tone with no visible fiber or rough spot. Firestone a Japanese company are responsible for the production of the Hinoki. This reed is a sort of hybrid where polypropylene resin is mixed with cellulose wood fiber. Since more than 50% of the wood fiber is bamboo you experience a characteristic wooden sound.

The Hinoki comes has a distinguished look with the front side mimic a cane reed and the backside a synthetic reed. This gives the reed a smooth backside. When you start playing the reed you will have some mixed feelings with the sound being like that of a cane reed with some resistance while the front side having a cane friction kind of feeling. The end is a slightly muted sound that when compared to other reeds is not that bright.

What we liked:

  • The front side has a bamboo texture
  • Lacks any visible fiber or rough spot
  • Slightly light tone
  • Makes it easy to hit high notes
  • Well balanced for jazz and classical music

What we did not like:

  • The tip is not 100% asymmetrical


View price here


Fiber reed Bb Clarinet – Best for dark earthly tones

The Fiber reed is designed for the Boehm clarinet. It is made from high tech hollow fibers with some 80% organic material. This means you have layers of birch, hemp and walnut tree. The reed produces a dark earthly sound. The Fiber reed hemp is great looking and this makes it quite appealing for a number of new customers.

During production the company experiments with a number of synthetic and organic materials to make their reeds. The reed is quite distinguishable on the lips and feels like wet pieces of paper.

What we liked:

  • Dark mid and low register
  • Attractive design
  • Versatile
  • Good looking

What we did not like:

  • Chips easily


View price here


D’Addario Venn Bb Clarinet Reed – Best for its clean look

The D’Addario combines some unique polymer fibers that give the reed a more natural feel like a cane reed. Since it is combined with resin it makes the reed more resistant to adverse weather elements that cause damage to the cane reeds. The reed is available for use in the Alto, Bb, Saxophone, and Tenor clarinets.

D’Addario prides itself in making a completely unique reed with a high quality and promising sounds. This means that the company is always pushing its engineers to work out the best reeds. At times you may not even tell the difference between the Venn and cane reed. On the surface the reed is quite clean with an awesome reed color. To add to its aesthetics it is glassy and polished.

What we liked:

  • The lower register produces a good and harmonious sound
  • The reed tone is slightly muted but it is still quite good
  • Great aesthetics
  • Company continuously improves its reed quality

What we did not like:

  • Comes in several layers which makes it over packaged


View price here


Legere European Signature – Best High quality synthetic reed

When it comes to producing synthetic reeds no one does this better than Legere. The company has been responsible for producing some of the world class reeds that are used by leading clarinetists in the world. The company states that it uses polypropylene to make single and double reeds. Polypropylene is a popular synthetic material that has been used for production of rugs, food containers and many other packaging materials.

Legere passes its plastic materials through an orientation process to make them more stiffer. The Legere European is a versatile reed with a feeling of fullness. You can play it comfortably with little resistance. It also registers a lower resonance which allows the reed to make a sound that is louder than the rest.

What we liked:

  • The plastic is stiffer than other reeds
  • Great sound on all register
  • Company constantly improves quality of their reeds
  • Fast response of register
  • Easy to control dynamics

What we did not like:

  • You may find some micro fiber sticking out occasionally


View price here


Silverstein Alta Vivace cut – Best packaging for reed

The Alta Vivace is made from ambipolymer, which happens to be the world’s first synthetic material to be used for reeds. The material is capable of wetting the cane and absorbing moisture. This helps boost the harmonic response of the reed. The reed has a record of retaining moisture for up to 5 hours. It is also handy and won’t be affected by humidity, temperature, or altitude. The Alta Vivace is adjustable with sandpaper, a knife, and ReedGeek.

The ambipolymer is a reed material that was initially designed for reeds and is made from double injection in the molding process. The Alta vivace cut is a transparent reed that feels comfortable on the hands. It also comes in very attractive packaging with a little card where you can mark your name and another card that gives you instructions on how to prepare the reed.

What we liked:

  • Very bright and rich in sound
  • Attractive packaging
  • Good lyrical sounding
  • With great care lasts up to 8 months

What we did not like:

  • Quite expensive


View price here


Buying Guide for Best Synthetic Clarinet Reeds

For many years many of the reeds have being built upon wood material. However, wood has the disadvantage of being subject to weather elements and this can affect its quality. It is for this reason that clarinet manufacturers started using ambipoly which is a material that operates like cane. Ambipoly is capable of absorbing water and by this helps adapt the mouthpiece facing. The best part is that the material remains unaffected by humidity, temperature, and altitude.

Before you can identify the right reed you might go through a lot of trial and error to find the right one. How to choose the right reed is something you will have to go on when starting your musical career. Here are some factors to consider:

Cane vs. synthetic

Historically most of the reeds have being made from cane which happens to be a naturally growing material that resembles bamboo. However, due to complications of humidity, cane may not be the most suitable material for reeds. In this regards, many instrumental companies have being looking for alternatives hence the development of synthetic reeds. The decision of which to go for will depend on the environment you are using the reed. If you choose to go with a synthetic reed do not keep switching from cane to synthetic as this will create some sort of discomfort on your lips. While the synthetic reed does not need to be wet it is imperative that you give it some moisture occasionally. With time you will realize that the synthetic reed becomes more stable the longer you use it. Another key benefit of using synthetic reeds is that they are budget-friendly and this can save you lots of money in the long run.


Reeds tend to be cut differently depending on preferences. This means you can have a tailor made reed suitable for your unique style and design. When it comes to the reed strength it is not about how thick it is but more about the flexibility of the cane. The strength of the cane reed is determined by the kind of mouthpiece you use.

Tips when using reeds

If you are to ask a number of people who use reeds they will inform you that the best reed is the one that works for you. This means you will need to use several types of reeds to find one that matches your unique tastes and preferences. While choosing the right one for you pay careful attention to the cut, strength and brands to get the best reed for you.

Do not commit to one quickly. Try using a variety of reeds over the course of the week after you have broken them in and see how they respond. The break-in process is an important process as helps in the longevity of the reed.

While purchasing your reed you will need to learn some basic reed adjustments like using sandpaper, reed knives, and other materials. This adjustments helps in producing the best of sounds. If you have a musical teacher you can ask them on how to do this but there is also an inexhaustible amount of books on the subject.

To help you find the best reed it is important to rotate them so that you can find one that best suits you. This prevents you from causes premature wear to your reed. Once you start playing your reed it is important to constantly revaluate your needs occasionally.

Clarinet accessories

If you own a clarinet then there certain accessories you will need to keep your clarinet in good shape. The first accessory is the polishing cloth. Most of the polishing cloths in the market tend to have some amount of silver polish which helps keep clarinet wood in prime condition. This will help boost the lifespan of the instrument while also reduce chances of erosion that come from the natural oils present in the hands of the player.

Another key accessory you may need to look at is a pull through. This is an invaluable accessory made from leather, microfiber, or chamois and helps protect your instrument bore from bacteria. It is highly recommended for wooden instruments.

Cork grease is mainly used for clarinets as it helps the tenons not to be stiff. This helps keep the key work in alignment. The recommended way to use the cork grease is to first remove any grime or grease on the key work with a kitchen roll then using the cork grease.

If you are a student player you may want to get yourself a clarinet stand which helps protect your instrument from breakages and damage. This will result when someone accidentally knocks off your clarinet when it is not in use. The damage can be quite significant if you have a pricier clarinet. Younger players can also consider purchasing a clarinet string, which helps in carrying the clarinet.

Differentiating between wooden and plastic clarinets

Due to the increase of plastic clarinets it can be quite challenging differentiating between a wooden and plastic clarinet. One key way to tell the difference between the two is that wooden clarinets have a dull grain appearance while the plastic ones have a shiny and smooth look. Also, check the interior if it appears a bit dull than you are dealing with a wooden clarinet while if its shiny then it is most often made from plastic.


While there is no standard price for clarinets you will find most clarinets prices ranging from $100 to $3000. The level you are in mostly determines the kind of clarinet you go with. If you are a student you can opt to purchase a budget-friendly clarinet than upgrade to a more expensive one as you become more proficient with the art. This means a student clarinet will cost you less than $400 while an intermediate clarinet goes for $500 to $1000 with professional clarinets going as high as $1,000.


Are synthetic reeds easier to play?

The benefit of using synthetic reeds is that they do not require any pre-moistening and this means they last longer than cane reeds do. This makes them a bit easier to play than the cane reeds

How long does a synthetic reed last?

Depending on what is advertised by most brands they do have a shelf life of 6 to 8 months. After this you will start experiencing some softening. The reeds make more economical sense than purchasing the cane reed. They are also more consistent and produce a decent tone

Which are better – synthetic or wooden reeds?

Synthetic reeds have the benefit of being consistent, do not need lots of care and lack the durability that wooden reeds have.


Synthetic reeds are a great alternative to the wooden clarinets that are quite popular in the musical world. They come with the benefit of a consistent sound and do not require pre-moistening like the cane reeds. They do have a shelf life of 6 to 8 months after which they start becoming soft. In some cases, synthetic reeds are made from Ambipoly which is a specially engineered material that is used in a variety of musical applications. The material is unaffected by humidity, temperature and altitude.


Leave a Comment