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Old 02-14-2019, 08:39 AM   #1
EdwardsvillePiper
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Default Trouble making chanter reeds - advice?

I have several unsuccessful attempts at making a smallpipe chanter reed, and could use some advice.


I have tried several different methods (the ones that show up in google-searches, I won't link them here, unless you ask).


There are some things that happen that every direction I read doesn't seem to deal with, so maybe someone out there has some advice.


Some basics on what I am doing:
  • Synthetic blades (yogurt cup plastic, a.k.a. arundo yoplait)
  • Dimensions of blades 12mm wide and 40mm long, shoulder located around 23 mm from edge of blades
  • rubber cement to hold to staple
  • wrapped with dental floss
  • 24 ga. copper wire bridle, 3 wraps
  • plumber tape wrapping over wrapping
  • aluminum and brass staples, approx 25 mm. in length, oval profile at top
  • top of staple 1-2 mm above shoulder of blades
So, there are two problems I am facing...one is that the blades slip out of position despite the rubber cement and binding


secondly, I sand the blades thinner, but I still don't seem to be getting a good buzz from the reed. Do I just keep sanding until it gets the buzz I want?



I know there are a billion variables at work, here, but if anyone has some advice, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks!
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:20 AM   #2
CalumII
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Default Re: Trouble making chanter reeds - advice?

One thing that isn't always made clear is that the size and shape of the eye are critical and must match up with the blade design. Aluminium is definitely easier to work with in this regard.


Actually wrapping the blades is simply a fiddly job, and it just needs working out what fingers do what jobs. Gluing them onto the staple is unnecessary - professional reedmakers tend to do it to save time but doing it without may help you develop the skill required.


Note that the tension with which the blades are bound on also makes a difference.



The first few thousand reeds are the worst, in general, then they start getting better. I'd try to get in the habit of making one regularly, to a consistent design, then once you get consistency you can start to tweak.
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:47 AM   #3
EdwardsvillePiper
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Default Re: Trouble making chanter reeds - advice?

Thanks!

Yes, the reeds I made with aluminum staples are much better than the ones I made with brass.

I'll go back and fiddle with the eye of the staple too.

I appreciate the feedback!
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Old 02-22-2019, 04:33 PM   #4
EdwardsvillePiper
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Default Re: Trouble making chanter reeds - advice?

Follow-up question: should a small-pipe reed have a crow like a GBH reed when blown?
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Old 02-22-2019, 04:49 PM   #5
EdwardsvillePiper
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Default Re: Trouble making chanter reeds - advice?

Follow-up question: should a small-pipe reed have a crow like a GBH reed when blown?
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Old 02-23-2019, 12:24 AM   #6
TwitchyFingers
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Default Re: Trouble making chanter reeds - advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EdwardsvillePiper View Post
Follow-up question: should a small-pipe reed have a crow like a GBH reed when blown?
No. For most smallpipe reeds I've made, especially synthetic, I aim for a clear tone somewhere between the 3rd or 4th above the scale tonic.
For example, if I'm making a reed for a chanter in A, I'm going to look for the reed to blow/crow at a fairly clear note between F# or D and not have the reed make a scratchy sound like a GHB reed.
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Old 02-23-2019, 11:05 AM   #7
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: Trouble making chanter reeds - advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwitchyFingers View Post
No. For most smallpipe reeds I've made, especially synthetic, I aim for a clear tone somewhere between the 3rd or 4th above the scale tonic.
For example, if I'm making a reed for a chanter in A, I'm going to look for the reed to blow/crow at a fairly clear note between F# or D and not have the reed make a scratchy sound like a GHB reed.

did you mean a 4th (D) or a 6th (F#) above A?
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Old 02-24-2019, 10:19 AM   #8
CalumII
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Default Re: Trouble making chanter reeds - advice?

Colin Ross says C#, but that's with cane blades.
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Old 02-24-2019, 12:12 PM   #9
TwitchyFingers
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Default Re: Trouble making chanter reeds - advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klondike Waldo View Post
did you mean a 4th (D) or a 6th (F#) above A?
I'm sorry. I typed that rather late at night and may have had a few.
I meant between C# and D. Once I thought of D, I got musically dyslexic and went to the 3rd after D (F#) instead of the 3rd after A (C#). Good catch. I regret any confusion I may have caused.
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Before you start fixing problems with your reeds, check to see if the bag or stocks are leaking.
http://www.youtube.com/user/Marcblur?feature=guide
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Old 02-26-2019, 04:39 PM   #10
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: Trouble making chanter reeds - advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwitchyFingers View Post
I'm sorry. I typed that rather late at night and may have had a few.
I meant between C# and D. Once I thought of D, I got musically dyslexic and went to the 3rd after D (F#) instead of the 3rd after A (C#). Good catch. I regret any confusion I may have caused.
No worries. I'm a retired Music teacher
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