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Old 06-22-2018, 02:22 PM   #1
Patrick McLaurin
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Default What *interesting* drone reed *combos* work well in your pipes (and why)?

I'm curious what *interesting combinations* of reeds you've decided work well in your pipes, and why.

In my:

Gellaitry set = X-treme bass (huge tone) and original Kinnaird tenors (great volume match without the buzzzzzz)

1960ish Sinclair set = Redwood bass (huge tone) and Selbie tenors (quiets those loud Sinclair tenors, surprisingly considering Selbies are usually a louder reed) - this pipe is just the opposite of all my other pipes, fantastic but very different

Colin Kyo = Redwood tenors* (good volume but easy to tune) & original Kinnaird bass (solid reed) or X-treme bass (huge tone)

*OR Ezeedrone tenors (for their excellent ringing tone) BUT ezee tenors with kinnaird bass IS NOT interesting as that's what a lot of people use (or with a Henderson Harmonic Deluxe bass reed, so no need to mention that either )
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Old 06-22-2018, 04:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: What *interesting* drone reed *COMBOS* work well in your pipes (and why)?

In Grainger & Campbells (1976) Xtreme tenors, Kinnaird Evo bass

In a friendís Kintails that I was setting up,against a MacLellan Senior reed for a learner: Selbie tenors, Henderson Harmonic bass really brought them to life despite the low, low playing pressure.To the point where it was quite hard to give them back to him.

In Naills: full set of Xtremes...with putty in the tuning screws. Obvious combo maybe but very good sound.

All give excellent if quite different results.

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Old 06-22-2018, 07:30 PM   #3
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Default Re: What *interesting* drone reed *COMBOS* work well in your pipes (and why)?

I play a pretty typical set of old Lawries (small-bored tenors, cannon for a bass), and so I use long Ezee tenors (screws backed a quarter of the way out),
and a Balance Tone High Resonance bass (jammed all the way to the shoulder of the telescoping joint).

Pitch is 476. Tenors just over a quarter-inch out on the hemp, bass maybe a finger and a half on the bottom joint. Tone a mile wide.

Mundane reeds, yes, but I always chuckle a bit when I see the bass reed being shorter than the tenor reeds.
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Old 06-22-2018, 10:44 PM   #4
Green Piper
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Default Re: What *interesting* drone reed *COMBOS* work well in your pipes (and why)?

I just competed with Ezeedrone tenors and Kinnaird Evo bass in my Robertson drones. Got great compliments and the tuning as rock solid.

I have borrowed an Ezeedrone bass, but also need to try other reeds such as Canning poly bass.
"Melancholy as the Drone of a Lancashire Bagpipe" (Behn, Aphra 1678. Sir Patient Fancy)
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Old 06-23-2018, 04:14 AM   #5
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Default Re: What *interesting* drone reed *COMBOS* work well in your pipes (and why)?

Well, I'm in the mundane camp. I settled on Ezeedrone tenors and Henderson Deluxe basses in both my 90s Naills and 2007 McCallums. The Naills have a very rich sound, but needed a bit more oomph to the bass. Henderson Carbon/Ezee was the most balanced and blended combo I found. Nice, smooth, integrated sound.

I like the Ezees in the McCallums because of the extra loud ring off the tenors, but don't like the Ezee bass in them. I landed on the Henderson after my previous reeds died - it adds warmth and depth to the overall sound. Again, smooth, but not integrated - distinct tenor and bass sounds, and not as rich as the Naills. I also like Cannings and Crozier Carbons in the McCallums, although the Crozier bass is a little quiet.

I'm still experimenting with the c. 1940s Hendersons I'm breaking in. So far my favorites are Ezee tenors/Ezee short inverted bass and (surprise) Ezee tenors/Henderson Deluxe bass. With the full Ezees I get a smooth, rich sound similar to my Naills, but louder and with a touch more bass (i.e., slightly bass-dominant, rather than fully balanced). With the Henderson bass the set comes alive - the entire thing resonates and I can almost feel my bones vibrating. Big, powerful, solidly bass-dominant sound.

Sometime soon I want to pick up a set of the X-tremes to try out in the Naills and Hendersons.
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Old 06-23-2018, 04:19 AM   #6
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Default Re: What *interesting* drone reed *COMBOS* work well in your pipes (and why)?

J&R Glen McGillivray-Doucet Repros Redwood tenors and Kinnaird Evo bass

The bass gives good volume, and the Redwoods seem to be a bit more refined in sound and and blend well with the bass.

I have all Redwoods in an old ebony John Center set which give a beautiful mellow overall sound. I have wondered why Redwoods seem to have disappeared from the market.

Last edited by Greenpipe; 06-23-2018 at 04:23 AM.
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Old 06-23-2018, 04:39 AM   #7
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Default Re: What *interesting* drone reed *COMBOS* work well in your pipes (and why)?

Re: Redwood being uncommon, if my set, purchased in 2017, are indicative of the current product, their design is severely flawed and quality control lacking. The bridles are not even remotely sufficient to secure the tongues, the air inlet is way too large, and the tenors were ostensibly mismatched. I could get everything calibrated, but it was a critically unstable setup that gulped air like you wouldn't believe. Some have had good experiences with Redwood, but I think there's a good reason my instructor had never heard of them
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Old 06-23-2018, 10:10 AM   #8
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Default Re: What *interesting* drone reed *COMBOS* work well in your pipes (and why)?

In my band pipes (Soutar) I have Redwood tenors and standard Kinnaird bass.

My tenors are perfectly matched. No matter how the blowing changes they stay precisely tuned to each other. I found the Redwood bass was on the verge of roaring in my pipes so I put in the Kinnaird. I don't notice them using any more air than any other reeds. I should try the Redwood bass in other pipes.

In my solo pipes (J&R Glen) I have Crozier Omega tenors with a Highland Reeds bass. I don't remember why I replaced the Crozier with the Highland, but I must have thought it as an improvement ;-)

I have a third set (plastic McCallum) for foul conditions and it has Kinnaird tenors with a Kinnaird Evolution bass.
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Old 06-23-2018, 12:48 PM   #9
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Default Re: What *interesting* drone reed *COMBOS* work well in your pipes (and why)?

I used a set of Redwoods off and on for several years and never found them particularly difficult to set up or play. This was several years ago, so I can't comment on claims of quality control issues with more recent sets. The tenors really made the most of my otherwise unextraordinary early-90s Hardies. In those pipes, the bass reed was pretty dull; it sounded like a window-mounted air conditioner, but at the time I wasn't playing Highland pipes all that often and was too lazy to do anything about it.

When I got back into playing more and got my Lawrie drones, I found the tenors to be very lively, harmonic, and easy to tune. The bass sounded a bit better as well, but sometimes roared on strike-ins. The one minor drawback of these drones is that they can be finicky about bass reeds. I quickly switched to a Kinnaird bass. I remember this being a very nice combination. Then one of the tenors began leaking air, so I switched to using Kinnaird Evo reeds (sometimes with Ezee tenors, boring I know) soon after.

I'd be happy to have a set of RedWood tenors again if I could find someone selling just tenors only for a decent price. It is true that they don't seem as widely available as they used to be. The Piper's Hut has complete sets for $95 USD. Ti Ar Sonerien* in Brittany has the best price I've seen so far at €75, which is €20 less than at Xavier Boderiou's own website and only €10 more than his tenors-only price.

*Not to further derail the thread, but for any Breton music-heads out there, Ti Ar Sonerien (www.sonerien.com) is an excellent site, BTW. I could easily blow way too much money there. Good tutors, books and CDs for pžobaireachd, too.

Last edited by Graineag; 06-23-2018 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 06-23-2018, 01:00 PM   #10
Chris Knife
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Default Re: What *interesting* drone reed *COMBOS* work well in your pipes (and why)?

Canning tenors with Kinnaird base = great sound in the SL4 McCallum.
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