Mike Hall Prof. UK saxophonist

The New Forza Thumb Rest for Saxophone.

I first approached Ton Kooiman to ask if his clever clarinet thumb rests would work with the soprano saxophone. Like most soprano players I know, I have acute problems with pain in my right thumb and wrist; transferring the weight down to the joint of thumb and first finger might have been a good solution. Ton explained why this wasn't practical but that I should try his Forza Thumb rest.

I managed to fit the Forza to my Selmer MK VI tenor easily. The first thing I noticed was that it allows the thumb to lie in a natural position; at the same level as the first finger, as it would if you were holding a paper cup full of hot coffee!
The thumb rest of most saxophones forces the thumb downwards. Indeed, my perceptions of most saxophone design is ‘the tone holes must go here, here and here so we will just have to stick the thumb rest wherever there is space left for it!' 
I bought a second Forza for my Yanagisawa curved soprano and found that I could position my thumb over the top of the F# trill key tone hole; just where it should be. Because of the positioning and shape of the Forza, the thumb is concentrating on pushing forward rather than upwards which is exactly what it should do!
The ‘lift' is provided by the sling! There is no need for the ‘hook' as on conventional plastic thumb rests. The Forza offers an increased element of flexibility to my overall playing posture.

It is not cheap but it is beautifully made and set against the cost of a professional saxophone worth every penny. Indeed, it should be standard on all new saxophones!

I have been using the Forza for over two years now and haven't given it a second thought! Just what is required from such an important ‘man-machine' interface! However, I'd still like to find a soprano saxophone which weights the same as a clarinet!

Mike Hall is a professional saxophonist based in Manchester, UK. He is Head of Jazz Studies and Tutor in Jazz Saxophone at the Royal Northern College of Music.






Many many musicians all over the world


I own 2 of your prima rests for flute and LOVE them !!!!...I have an alto flute that is begging for prima type rest..can you help me? I have an arthritic thumb from an injury and need an adaptive aid for alto...



Beste meneer Kooiman,

Al een jaar of 10 ben ik in het bezit van uw Kooiman steun en heb daar veel plezier van.

Ik krijg door mijn contact met andere hoboïsten zeer veel vragen over de Kooiman steun en heb al een redelijk aantal weten te overtuigen om uw steun aan te schaffen.

Christopher Bouwman (solo hoboïst van de opera van Valencia)


I have one of your flute thumb rests and it has helped me quite a bit-I have focal dystonia. I would like to purchase another thumb rest with some extra plastic connecting straps and plastic rubber cushions.What is the best way to order and pay-I'm in USA-New York City. Thank you.


I bought a Maestro about four months ago and I'm more than happy with it. I've been a pianist for 40 odd years and have always played clarinet but found that the strain on my thumb affected the piano, especially when playing fast "showoff" concert pieces.

Thanks to you that worry is a thing of the past, I'm now learning "showoff" clarinet pieces.

Adrian Ford,

Sydney, Australia



Hello Mr. Kooiman,


I have been using your clarinet Etude model for years

and it has saved me a lot of wrist pain. Now I am

playing a lot of flute and saxophone and having more

pain, and I would love to try your products for these instruments as well. Adrienne



I have recently bought a prima flute thumb rest and i had to tell you that I was very impressed with the item, and the way it eased my right hand completely.


it gave much more flexibility in my fingers, took the strain away from my thumb and wrist, and also prevented very much the flute tipping in towards me, especially with fast scale runs.



Beste Ton,

Ik heb de Etude2 ontvangen en direct op mijn klarinet gemonteerd. Ik ben heel erg enthousiast, de steun is veel steviger en voelt ook veel prettiger aan door het rubberen polster. Het is ook fijn dat hij beweegbaar is. Al met al ben ik onder de indruk van zowel het product en niet in de laatste plaats, in de uitmuntende service!!!

Hartelijke groeten, Monique



Dear Ton,
I hope this note finds you well.

A few words of praise for your Etude Thumb Rest.  I am a 58 year old just beginning Clarinet and have arthritis in my upper thumb joint ( the first joint right under the thumb nail ). After 15 minutes of practice that joint on my right thumb gets swollen and develops a painful and highly visual bump. I have tried pads and other thumb rests but they do not help and the only relief is to stop playing for 2-3 days until the bump has gone down.

I was on my 2nd day of down time when the Etude Thumb Rest arrived.  As I put down my Clarinet to write this note I have now been playing 2 days with a total of 6hrs practice time and there is no swelling or bump at all!  I am now supporting the weight with my hand not just the end of my thumb what a relief.  My whole hand is more relaxed and I am no longer doubtful that I can continue my Clarinet playing.
The Etude is an excellent invention!  I can't wait to see what other things you have under development.  Thank you very much.



Look, as an older new clarinet student, I found the Etude ( a hook

to rest the clarinet on my thumb with no pain on the rest of my arm as it

happened when I started last year and my local teacher said when I

complained: it hurts!. He said: Oh, I just had forgotten that in the

beginning it really hurts!). So, fortunately, I discovered the Etude.

I sound like a TV show, but this was so for me. I believe that many

musicians to be, face a stage of body pain: guitarist the tip of the

fingers, clarinetist, the elbow and forearm, harmonicist, lips, and tongue.

Etc. (Those are my lifetime three instruments I have attempted to learn).

So, the ETUDE, solves for clarinet pain.




Thank you very much for sending two new Etude Thumb Rests. Im very happy with them. They are a great help to me. I can only recommend them to other players!

Thank you again for this great service.

Kind regards, Hans


Dear Ton,

I have received the thumb rest.  I have used it for about two weeks.  So far I am impressed.  I have much less fatigue in my right hand.  I just finished four 2 1/2 hour recording sessions without any right-hand fatigue!   The other flutists were very curious about this product.  I will forward your e-mail address to them if it is OK

Again, thank you for sending this product.  I will put in a good word to other flutists in the area.

Regards, Jackie


Dear Ton,
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my letter. I cannot tell you what a difference your thumb rest has made for my playing! Please send the mounting slide to:


Hi Ton,

Hoe gaat het. Ik heb een hoofdstukje over jou duimsteun op mijn website gezet. Alle kleine beetje helpen. Ik ben nog steeds zeer tevreden over de duimsteun.

Met vriendelijke groet,

Johan van der Linden

visit my website!www.johanvanderlinden.nl



Dear Mr. Kooiman,

Now that I have had an opportunity to use the

new parts to your thumb rest, I think I can speak to its effectiveness.

Both the new thumb "casing" and the padded thumb "plateau"

provide a better "fit" for my hand.My hand "posture"

feels more natural. Making the clarinet feel more

apart of the hand or an extension of.

It is a definite improvement making it easier to "set-up" and get use to.

Thank you very much!

H. Kazarian


Kooiman flute head joints.....

I´m very happy with the headjoint! We are doing the Concerto in D for harpsicord and small ensemble by Falla, and it works very very good! it blends amazingly with the rest of woodwind instruments and has many possibility for colours...

I wish you merry christmas and a happy new year!

Lina León



Hello Ton

Thank you !!!! I received the part intact this morning. Thank you for top quality customer care!! I will certainly  keep recommending you to all my fluttie friends!

All the best



Hallo Ton

Begin maart hebt u twee duimsteunen op mijn instrumenten geplaatst. De aanpassing is zéér vlot verlopen. Telkens als ik in de les een hobo van een leerling bespeel (ter controle) weet en voel ik dat ik niet meer zonder die duimsteun kan.Mijn duim is niet genezen, volgende week volgt er zelfs een kleine operatieve ingreep. Maar tot hiertoe heb ik steeds zonder pijn kunnen spelen.

Nogmaals mijn allerhartelijkste dank.

Vriendelijke groeten

Marcel, Stedelijk Muziekconservatorium Hasselt



dag ton,

ik wil je laten weten dat ik weer heerlijk kan spelen op mijn bas
hij doet het weer als vanouds
nogmaals bedankt

met vriendelijke groet,

marie cecile




By the way, I think like the thumb rests are great.  They

make a huge difference.  Not just just for finger technique, but for lifting

the clarinet into the embouchure.  I couldn't do that before; it's a

powerful thing for the clarinet tone.



I received the replacement Etude thumbrests yesterday, and I thank you

for your prompt and efficient response. Your response exemplifies what

good customer service should be.

Thank you, Matt


Dear Mr. Kooiman,

I wrote to you a couple of years ago concerning my daughter, Sarah, who had severe tendon problems from playing the clarinet.  After weeks of not playing, and having physical therapy, she began playing again, this time using your Maestro thumb rest.  It has been wonderful, and we have had absolutely no problems since!  We bought a second (Etude) for our spare clarinet, and now we have bought a third (Maestro) thumb rest for our newest R13 Buffet clarinet.



Hi Ton,

Thank you again for sending me the Prima Flute Thumb Rest.

It is helping tremendously. I was also able to rehearse today for

almost 2 hours with no discomfort in my thumb.

It is enabling me to play my master's recital with comfort instead

of pain.

Thank you, Natalie.




I have fitted a thumbrest to my clarinet.  The result is amazing: it is now much easier to control my instrument (especially if I move between notes that are below and above the break)  The right hand feels a bit odd (because of the "thicker" dimensions), but I am sure that within a few days I will not notice it any more.Thanks again for the thumbrests!




Dear Ton, I have bought your Etude thumb rest and it has solved all my problems! I just wished to have a try but I really didn't believe it would had taken away all my difficulties. My congratulations!



I am well satisfied and find the maestro very comfortable.  It didn't really take very long to adjust it to suit my hand.  If ever I find I can afford a new C clarinet, I'll come back to you for another mounting plate.

Best regards,


Dear Ton

The thumb rest has arrived safely. It is now fitted and once again made

clarinet playing a pleasure. Very many thanks.

Kind regards from a happy & satisfied customer.



I installed your Maestro's plates on my oboe and English horn using the two existing thumb holes.  I then used the adjustment screw to hold the EH rest lower.  It feel pretty good, and I've already seen where I need to practice my scales as they flow much easier and I don't have to compensate for the horn movement I used to have.  Has stopped the hiccups on tonguing scales. I agree I will need to purchase another rest for the EH as I can't change rests and put the reed on the EH in a timely manner I will call Forest's and tell them to order one for their stock and get me another. Stephen Copland is the guilty party for showing your attachment at the Fresno State Double Reed Day

Thank you for your help, Jay.




Dag Ton,


zo maar even mijn bevindingen. (na de drukte van een nieuwjaarsconcert

gisterenavond nu weer even de tijd voor andere dingen):

De etude -2 speelt voor mij nog een stuk fijner. Op de één of andere manier

hield ik altijd last van een wat bewegende  klarinet tijdens het spelen. Al

bij de eerste paar maten merkte ik dat de klarinet met de nieuwe steun

minder wegdraait als ik minder vingers op de kleppen heb.

Wat mij betreft dus helemaal goed met die veranderingen.

Zo jammer dat niet heel klarinetspelend Nederland dit weet..., Ik merk in

mijn omgeving dat mensen denken dat je gehandicapt moet zijn voor je over

gaat op het spelen met de etudesteun.

In plaats dat u het instrument passief in de banden/pezen van uw duim en

hand laat hangen zult u het instrument nu actief gaan dragen. Waarbij de

kracht verdeelt wordt over meer spieren en pezen en ook onder een andere

hoek terwijl u ook nog een extra steunpunt heeft in de holle uitsparing van

de kast (U draagt daar echter niet).

Saskia van Andel.




wat is jouw duimsteun toch goed Ton !!

Mijn Buffet heeft echt een hele nieuwe "feel " ik kan nu ineens dingen die ik voorheen

een tikje lastig vond veel beter. Pure ontspanning en een gevoel van meer controle.

Die steun is ook redelijk breed en groot waardoor je hele rechterhand een stabieler gevoel heeft. Niets dan lof !

groeten, Sander Beumer



I have been using your products for years and just recently completed my collection so that I now own the clarinet, flute and saxophone thumb rests. Your products have made such a difference in my playing as I am recovering from tendosynovitis and don't know how else I would be able to continue playing.

I will be in Amsterdam on June 30 and was wondering if you have a storefront there that I could come visit and admire your other products.

Thanks very much,





Dear Ton,


I'm a big fan of your thumbrests (1 Maestro and 2 Etudes for my clarinets, 2 Forza for my saxes).

Before I discovered them I had many problems with my hand and arm, caused by tension and unergonimical original thumb rests.

Kind regards and greetings from Germany,




I received the package today. I had actually not yet seen your email,

but I found it shortly after and I wanted to express my most heartfelt

thanks to you! It is rare to find such generosity, and when combined

with the unmatched quality of your products, it's easy to see why you

have achieved such a degree of success. My sincerest thanks once more,

and I will certainly continue to recommend your thumbrests






Marc Mommaas telling about Lee Konitz

Hello Ton,

Roberto heeft een van jouw duimsteunen aan Lee Konitz gegeven, en hij is er helemaal gek op. Hij speelde er afgelopen week mee in Birdland. Hij had veel last van zijn
rechter duim en hij was er dan ook heel blij mee.

Groetjes, Marc Mommaas


Roberto (Roberto's Winds NY) gave one of your thumb rests to Lee Konitz and he really likes it. He played last week in Birdland with it.
He had a lot of trouble with his right thumb so he was very pleased with it.


(Marc Mommaas is a great Dutch sax player based in NY city. Check his website: www.mommaas.com

From Stephen Caplan professor of Oboe

From: Stephen Caplan

Sent: Friday, April 24, 2009 12:19 AM

To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Subject: : book recommends Kooiman



Hello, I just wanted you to know that I have written a book "Oboemotions--What Every Oboe Player Needs to Know about the Body." More information can be found at www.giamusic.com It has just been published by GIA Publications, Inc and includes a chapter on oboe thumbrests. Below is a copy of what I've written about the Kooiman products. I have used Kooiman thumbrests for several years now, and have been very pleased. Congratulations on your work! I will be at the International Double Reed Society conference in Birmingham, England in July. Will Kooiman be represented there? Sincerely, Stephen Caplan


From "Oboemotions" Chapter 7:

Kooiman—a new model for thumbrests

Illustration: Kooiman oboe thumbrest and Etude thumbrest

The branches of a tree are thickest and strongest where they join the trunk of the tree. If I'm climbing a tree I stand confidently on this part of the branch. I wouldn't walk out towards the very edge of the branch, for I know it would break under my weight.

Your thumb is constructed in a similar manner. The part closest to your hand can bear weight much more easily than the tip of the thumb. Yet traditional thumbrests deliver all the weight of the instrument to the tip of the thumb. Recognizing the fallacy of this, a Dutch manufacturer, Ton Kooiman, has developed a new mechanism that transfers the instrument’s weight to a part of the thumb that can best bear the load.

Of all the products described in this chapter, I feel that Ton Kooiman’s products (etude thumbrest, oboe thumbrest and English horn thumbrest) are the most elegant, practical and universal. They can be used whether you’re sitting or standing; playing chamber music, solo music, or orchestral music; and it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing! Most important, they completely relieve any tension created by traditional thumbrests. These devices actually help you find the best possible position for moving your fingers on the instrument--no callouses, no pain, no injury.

The Kooiman thumbrests are supported by an excellent website, describing the various products and providing many suggestions for how to properly attach and adjust them. The website claims, “the oboe thumbrest can be adjusted in all possible directions to meet the highest individual demands.” This is true and is one of the great advantages of this thumbrest over the less expensive etude version. It can also be a source of frustration at first. Because the thumbrest is made to adjust in so many different directions, it takes great patience to find the best position to suit your hand and your method of playing. It is useful to have a friend or teacher helping you make these adjustments.



Stephen Caplan is Professor of Oboe at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He also serves as Principal Oboist of the Las Vegas Philharmonic and the Sierra Winds.