Welcome to
the forums at bobdunsire.com
bobdunsire.com forums bobdunsire.com forums
You can reset your password by going here. Be sure to try your current email and any email addresses you may have had in the past.
Otherwise please use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the forums. In order to help you, please provide the following info: Your Display Name from the old forum and any possible email addresses you would have used before. Without that info we cannot locate your account.


Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Great Highland Bagpipe > Technique & Instrument
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

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

Platinum Sponsors
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 05-14-2010, 08:43 AM   #1
PiperT
Forum Gold Medal
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Charlotte,NC
Posts: 573
Default Balance Tone Drone Reeds

Just wanted to get opinions on these reeds from forumites who use or have used them in the past. How do they do as far as moisture? Are they stable after being played awhile, You know the standard questions. PiperT
PiperT is offline   Reply With Quote
Gold Sponsor
Old 05-14-2010, 09:05 AM   #2
Bushido
Forum Clasp
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Sweden
Posts: 784
Default Re: Balance Tone Drone Reeds

I think the balance tone are very good for beginners. They strike in easy and so on, have a good steady tone (bass is a little "buzzy", but not too much. I quite like it) and are bot air efficient and very easy to set up. However, they don't handle moisture too well. If any droplets get underneath the tounges they will become prone to cutting out (being all plastic they do not absorb any of it, it just sticks). So if you play for longer periods of time (20 minutes-half an hour straight or so) you'll benefit from a proper drone MCS such as the bannatyne or ross cannister systems. All in all, pretty good reeds. Excellent for beginners, but works for others as well.
__________________
Hear, hear, the pipes are calling!
Bushido is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2010, 10:21 AM   #3
EquusRacer
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Salem, Oregon
Posts: 3,709
Default Re: Balance Tone Drone Reeds

I agree with some of Bushido's evaluation, though other experiences are different...and I'm not a beginner. I've used a set (but only the tenors) since last summer and I like them very much. I do not have the moisture issues; and, in fact, these reeds have channels to wick away moisture (arguable how well that works, but they're fine for me).
I like the somewhat cane sound, though some describe it as "buzzy". In addition, these reeds have a volume control!
EquusRacer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2010, 10:29 AM   #4
ratherbpiping
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 2,513
Default Re: Balance Tone Drone Reeds

I don't have them, I have had students with them and have tried them. I would not recommend them. Not based on water issues. I found them just not great to work with. Old habits maybe, but I prefer the simpler Kinnard, or Murray Henderson type. Even Ezee drone. PArticularily I don't like the Slip stick design.
__________________
We do this for fun, travel, and to meet people
ratherbpiping is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2010, 08:06 PM   #5
Ray Main
Forum Silver Medal
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Paducah Kentucky
Posts: 497
Default Re: Balance Tone Drone Reeds

Balance Tones all the way !!!

I've got Balance Tones in my Drumrans, and they're hugely loud with lots of harmonics and when the drones are right on most of the buzziness goes away, you just get a big huge hummmm. They also lose some of their aggressiveness after they've been played for a couple of months.

I've used Balance Tones in my Pakistani Pipes, poly, rose wood, mystery wood, and ebony... and the reeds simply worked well in all of them.

They have the widest and easiest range of adjustability out of any brand of drone reed I've used.

Once they've been played in .... you'll never miss a strike in or have a honking bass.

Once they've been played in they are virtually impossible to shut off with a surge to your bag.

They have an extreme tolerance to moisture from my experience.

One of the best things about these reeds is that they will easily play up to your strength as it improves over time.

I actually got a chance to talk to PM Hitchings at the Queen Mary this year and he didn't even blink when I mentioned the Pakistani Pipes. I don't think he'd remember me, but absolutely a very nice approachable person who's entirely enthusiastic about these reeds and about piping.

The only thing about Balance Tones is that if you just plug them in to hear them for a test drive they don't sound very good right off the start and because they carry a lot of volume you can hear every change in pitch... they just need to be played in.

The bass drone is pretty open right out of the box and will sound buzzy because there is so much of the blade moving around, but as you play the reeds in you can slowly walk the bridles toward the end of the blade and they start to mellow. The benefit is that you can run a stronger chanter reed and still keep the drones efficient.

I better stop here or I'll rant on forever.
__________________
The greatest talent is developed through the most diligent work. There is no such thing as raw talent.
Ray Main is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2010, 08:08 PM   #6
Ray Main
Forum Silver Medal
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Paducah Kentucky
Posts: 497
Default Re: Balance Tone Drone Reeds

P.S. I've even been able to use Balance Tone reeds tuned from 450hz all the way up to 482hz in the same drones.
__________________
The greatest talent is developed through the most diligent work. There is no such thing as raw talent.
Ray Main is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2010, 04:23 AM   #7
Jim McGillivray
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Aurora, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,970
Default Re: Balance Tone Drone Reeds

I'm having good luck with these with my high school boys. The grey ones could be problematic for me at times, but the yellow ones seem to be an improved generation. Strike ins are good -- less squealing from the tenors -- and overall I find the basses very steady.

The trick with them, especially with the basses, is the aperture plug. I use the bridle to get the tongue to the point where the reed is steady, then I can close the aperture off to control the quality of sound and take the aggressive edge off it.

JM
__________________
MCGILLIVRAY PIPING & PIPETUNES.CA
www.piping.on.ca
www.pipetunes.ca
jimmcg@piping.on.ca
Jim McGillivray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2010, 04:49 AM   #8
el gaitero
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Estados Unidos
Posts: 6,475
Default Re: Balance Tone Drone Reeds

Quote:
Originally Posted by PiperT View Post
Just wanted to get opinions on these reeds from forumites who use or have used them in the past. How do they do as far as moisture? Are they stable after being played awhile, You know the standard questions. PiperT
there is a very through comparative review of these and about 10 other drone reeds at : http://www.schoolofpiping.com/reviews.htm;

I played a set of these in my '76 Hardie's ; about 4 years ago PM Bruce Hitching's ( the maker) loaned me a standard set of the grey ones while on a USA tour...to see if they would help the old bass tune higher...with slight reed adjustment the bass easily moved up to 2 1/2 finger height...and a nice big result . PM Hitchings will make a 'custom' set for your pipes ( Achaltilbuie) .
In the end, I asked Ryan Canning ..who made up a set of his reeds for me; more like a cane reed...the bodies are a moisture absorbing material.
el gaitero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2010, 07:00 AM   #9
Humpd
Forum Silver Medal
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 391
Default Re: Balance Tone Drone Reeds

I have used Balance Tones in my Gibsons and they worked very well. Very efficient, easy to strike in and very adjustable. You DO have to play them in a bit and some felt that they were a bit loud for my Gibsons (although you can reduce the volume in them which I read somewhere is not a good idea). In any event, they are a very good reed with excellent resistance to moisture problems. And Bruce H is very willing to help you if you have problems.
Humpd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2010, 10:10 AM   #10
Ray Main
Forum Silver Medal
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Paducah Kentucky
Posts: 497
Default Re: Balance Tone Drone Reeds

The grey ones seem to work the best for me, but I have to admit I've that set for about a year and a half.

The black ones a little bit problematic....haven't figured out why.

My instructor let me borrow his yellow ones, but I didn't keep them in long enough to really settle them, and by the time competition season started I just went back to what I know works.

One thing I have done, is on the tuning slides, if they seem a little bit loose or are right at the end of the pin on the drone reed, I take a little bit of tacky bees wax to seal off any potential air leaks... Works great.

I tried Kinnairds and they seem to have more volume with a "rounder" tone to them on the bass, and the tenors are a little bit "ringie".
__________________
The greatest talent is developed through the most diligent work. There is no such thing as raw talent.
Ray Main is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Silver Sponsor

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:40 AM.