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Chief67 07-15-2019 08:52 PM

Problems with High A?
I am having a real fit getting my high A correct...I have relatively easy set up as I have Parkinson's-yes imagine the problems with stiff shaking fingers and playing ...but I digress...Its Macallums, running regular easy drones with a inverted base and a Easy Abedour reed that is pretty light. Most notes are acceptable, but the high A seems very quiet or light. If I blow harder I can get a bit more sound-almost acceptable but doing so affects my steady blowing..Any ideas what may help?:shrug:

el gaitero 07-15-2019 09:42 PM

Re: Problems with High A?

Originally Posted by Chief67 (Post 1338859)

I am having a real fit getting my high A correct...:

IMHO....Change to a easy-Medium Shepherd standard reed. Ca 27-28” h2o strength. Pipers Hut. OH. Ask to have it checked by manometer for strength.

Patrick McLaurin 07-16-2019 07:33 AM

Re: Problems with High A?
I guess I don’t view a quiet high A as incorrect. It is what it is at the strength of reed you’re playing, apparently.

After your first sentence I was waiting for you to tell us it was really sharp or flat. But if it’s just “quiet”, there’s no problem. Additionally, it might actually mean it’s in excellent tune and will blend with the drones nicely giving a (sort of) staccato effect in those high A tunes (e.g. Glasgow Police Pipers). I understand many’s desire for a strong clear high A, but I for one appreciate a blended high A because it sounds cool AND is in tune!

Pip01 07-16-2019 12:37 PM

Re: Problems with High A?

Ah, Chief67,

If I may offer a thought... that is not even a
suggestion... but is simply a consideration...

Rather than any reed issues... as you seem
to have and use ones that suffice... or any
harder blowing issues... pro or con... as your
present blowing is well fitted to your present
situation... perhaps... this matter may be best
addressed... and even possibly resolved... by
re-directed attention... to your elbow... and the
air pressure... in the bag.

Many of us... and possibly most :) ... have
bumbled about with... a-less-than-well-liked...
High A... :)

What I have stumbled into... is not for any
harder or any additional blowing... but and
rather... simply to have... as I approach...
that High A... enough regular air reserve in
the bag... to allow me to increase my elbow
pressure... to allow a respectable High A... to
be gently pushed...and find its way... into the

And, I would think... that I am not... alone...
in this approach... :)

Trusting that you can find a proper technique
for your situation,

With regards,


jackhawkpiper97 07-16-2019 02:57 PM

Re: Problems with High A?
This is going to seem a little small, but if you can, please post a picture of your chanter reed. Pictures of the broad side of the reed, the side edge, and the very tip from the top down (like you are trying to look into the reed through the tip).

I have a suggestion, because I was dealing with something similar and was able to save the reed with some small manipulation, but I don't want to steer you the wrong direction if it isn't what I think it is.


Klondike Waldo 07-16-2019 08:27 PM

Re: Problems with High A?
Here's an alternate solution, (unorthodox, but I've known it to work: (particularly on a light reed))

For a weak High A, try this alternate fingering:

Bonus: 0/xx0/xxx0 will produce a G#, should you need one:thumb:

Chief67 07-18-2019 04:51 PM

Re: Problems with High A?
Thanks everyone for the advice. I will try all these suggestions til one works-Or as suggest also there may be nothing wrong at all with it-My instructor says its "fine for now" -He says that alot , which most of his students take to mean "its good enough for your current skill level"..For instance he says the same thing about my Birls...when I know full well they are low end of When I put it on the tuner it is a perfect green light at the same 480 as the low A..Im tuned at..And it sounds really nice and clear..just quite high and quiet, but the tuner says its spot on.. It sounds as if when its played it starts out clear and strong enough esp when its thumb grace-notes gracenotes, but when played for a full 1/4 note or so it starts strong then fades or rises to not being able to be heard at all... Again thanks for the responses. I know its a common problem and a noob question, but it just makes me not as happy with some songs like Amazing grace..I will try to get those pics out of the reed to see if its the same issue Jackhawk is thinking it may* be but it may take a cple days,..

Patrick McLaurin 07-18-2019 05:49 PM

Re: Problems with High A?
Does it have any tape on it?

Jim Fogelman 07-20-2019 04:14 PM

Re: Problems with High A?
Because of the conical bore of the chanter HA will naturally be quieter than the other notes and LG will be louder. If it’s in tune, I wouldn’t worry about it.

Jay Close 07-21-2019 06:55 AM

Re: Problems with High A?
Decades ago, I played a piobaireachd for a well known American judge. He said my high A was too quiet and that it got lost in the drone sound. I kept my mouth shut, but thought to myself that was the point in that tune. Anyway, the judge's advise was to tape the high A hole just slightly flat or set the reed to the same effect. The flattened high A would then stand out slightly from the drone background. I hear lots of high A's on the pro' boards that are noticeably flat. An acquired taste, in my opinion, but it might be something else to try. Cheers!

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