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Technique & Instrument Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

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Old 08-15-2019, 07:10 AM   #41
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

Originally Posted by MacTallanambeann View Post
I see, I thought that straight cut meant the reeds where there is a 'slice' out of the blades from the soundbox to lips like those pictured on his website and that molded referred to those that don't feature this cut.
I believe straight cut and moulded are the same thing, and the ridge cut is the fat reed with a sharp ledge or ridge in it and very fine tips to the blades. The McCallister, Troy, Shepherd, Gilmour, I think MacLellan based on some I have, the macPhee, all straight cut. Chesney, Warnock, G1 - these are ridge cut reeds. That's my understanding of the terminology. I could be wrong.
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Old 08-15-2019, 08:50 AM   #42
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

Still a bit confused. Just reading Mr MacLellan's site and he gives the forms as Ridge Cut and a 'flatter profiled 'sanded' reed. What I have been meaning by molded was this 'sanded' profile where there is no obvious chiselled slice above the soundbox of the reed. Currently I am using RT Shepherd reeds which are of the type I thought of as 'molded' with no 'slice' or visible scoop out of the blades.

Last edited by MacTallanambeann; 08-15-2019 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 08-15-2019, 12:14 PM   #43
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

If you take a reed apart, it's pretty obvious that there's a bit in the middle where it's thickest. A ridge cut reed has the thickest bit near the tips, a "molded" or "straight cut" reed has it further down, underneath the binding.

The Shepherd reed is actually unusual, in that the ridge is closer to the binding than normal (as is the G1) with ridge cut reeds. Which type that make it I leave to the philosophers.
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Old 08-15-2019, 12:34 PM   #44
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

It really is a complex business this reed stuff isn't it? All these years I have been playing the pipes and I've never actually learned the secrets of the reed or even what constitutes different types. Times when I have been piping and times of being flush with cash have never really coincided in my until now so never had the luxury of trying a broad selection.

I have to say that I like the Shepherd's at the moment. Nice strength (just ordered from Hardies over the phone with no picking) good control and tone but I think my next shopping run to Hardie's (which will be soon as I need a bag etc. for a new set of sticks) I will chuck a couple of Colin MacLellan's reeds in the basket.
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Old 08-16-2019, 04:17 PM   #45
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

Complicated yes, but only because it has been intentionally made that way.

Unlike usual instruments like sax or oboe as examples, the GHB fraternity have dispensed with standards. If you buy a sax or an oboe you know exactly what pitch the instrument was allegedly made to.

If you buy a GHB chanter, apart from Henderson and Shepherd, (maybe another one or two) the makers will not state the fundamental pitch of their chanter making reed selection a lottery until experience kicks in.

Get a softer than usual chanter reed that will over blow the low A to the next octave. What pitch does it over blow to? Keep adjusting the low A til the octave over blown note is also an A. Now look at your tuner to see the pitch. Chanter fundamental pitch.

But there's more! Now consider that the chanter manufacture did make the chanter to be in tune at the time of manufacture with a particular reed profile. Notice how you never get to know the reed profile or pitch of the chanter design reed. This is why you have reed makers. They know how to untangle this mystery.

Shepherd and G1 (eg) make reed and chanter sets. A standard Shepherd reed will operate in a G1 chanter at the fundamental pitch pretty well. The G1 reed will give a sharper hG when you put it in the Shepherd chanter to the point where at least half a hole of tape may be necessary. (this can vary based on the pressure of the reed being used). Perhaps now we know why G1 moved the hG hole down the chanter 2mm more than Shepherd when related to the F. It suits their reed!

Shepherd makes a Classic 3 chanter which he states is 476 - 478. He also makes a 480 chanter. It has been written that no chanter has won more prizes than a Shepherd. He must know something about making chanters yet, he makes a 480 which is only a few Hz higher pitch than his Classic 3. He makes alot more money from reeds than chanters so it is not the $$$$ that had him make a new higher pitch chanter.

I guess that he knows that his reed for the Classic 3 will not operate balanced at the higher pitch to his satisfaction so he made a chanter that does. This is what we call reedcraft. An obscure dying art from the old days.

Now look at all the different chanter makers all with varied throat to bore relationships. Hole sizes and spacing and reed setting heights. The various pitches people expect to play at. Now think about what your reed maker has to contend with.

And still, apart from the Tattoos, there is no standard in GHB.

Yes, reed selection for the GHB can be complicated.
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