White and Black Masters

Dear Mr. Friedland,

I have questions on a few reeds. First, what’s the difference between whitemaster reeds and blackmasters? you’ve said before that whitemasters were the finest you know of. are the blackmasters any worse? will they fit on a regular clarinet mouthpiece (B45)? Also, how do they compare in strength to the blue box vandorens?

I’ve heard only good things about the Gonzalez F.O.F reeds. Everyone seems to agree that they’re great, but some say that they’re harder than vandorens, some say that they are considerably softer, and then, some others say they play around the same as one. What are your thoughts on them?

Best regards to your infinite wisdom.
Hi A:
First, as to white and black master reeds
White Master Reeds and Vandoren Black Master Reeds are designed for German and Austrian clarinet players, respectively. Their cut is particularly calculated to suit the characteristics of the German system Clarinet mouthpieces.
Black Master Reeds have a larger and thicker cut than White Master Reeds.In our terms they do play on a north american mouthpiece, but you have to be very careful to center them or else you will have a problem.

But I remember them (white masters) as being better looking in terms of what we know to be a goodlooking reed, and they are thicker in the heart of the reed and are by comparison very responsive.The blue box VDs are not as consistent and do not play as well. I do however like the 56 rue Lepic VD. (You can keep your pet frog or turtle in the box, which is very sturdy…..just a few holes).

I have heard good things about Gonzalez reeds and several of my students play them, however I myself do not. The word from those of us with grey hair is that they are similar to the Morre reed.But reeds are simply “all over the place” which is the nature of the beast.

Stay well, my friend.



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