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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Great Highland Bagpipe > Technique & Instrument
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Technique & Instrument Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

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Old 08-20-2010, 10:55 AM   #1
Z_Piper
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Default Cane bass problems.

Hi all, I have a couple of questions about my cane bass drone reed. I've had it for about a year. Up until a couple of months ago my bass drone was tuning at about the middle of the tuning pin and was very steady. Then, all of a sudden, it started tuning up at about the hemp line. I hadn't made any adjustments to the reed or it's position in the reed seat, my chanter is still at the same pitch, it just suddenly decided it wanted to tuner higher on the pin. I tried raising the reed in the seat some, and adjusting the bridle to flatten the reed. It helped a little, but not much. Now the reed is tuning all over the place and it's unsteady. This is my first experience with a cane drone reed, so, I'm not sure what to do here. Why would it suddenly change where it was tuning by that much? Any suggestions on what to do now?
Thanks a lot.

Zack
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Old 08-20-2010, 11:43 AM   #2
Shawn Husk
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Default Re: Cane bass problems.

Zack,

Hmmm...this is interesting. The only thing I can think of is that the reed has worn out and it's time for a new one.

But! Since it's not quite a year old you could try a couple things. First of all, is there any black mold on the reed? If so this may have compromised the reed fibers and the reed needs replaced.

If not, try changing the bridle. It may have loosened up or slipped in position. Although when you moved it you probably would have noticed if this was the case.

Retie a new bridle on, or better yet get a small rubber and and double or even triple wrap it and use it as your bridle. This might stabilize the reed.

If it's still wonky the reed it is probably shot from playing. Check under the tongue and inside the reed too for any odd debris that may have found it's way in there.

All the best,

Shawn
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:23 AM   #3
jsragman77
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Default Re: Cane bass problems.

All the things Shawn wrote plus check for air leaks.

Connect only the bass bottom and middle and pull a vacuum on the middle tuning pin with your finger covering the reed seat.

Next, connect only the bass middle to the top and pull a vacuum on the bass middle with your finger covering the bush.

Leaks are a problem.

Mark
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:16 AM   #4
sonofsomerled
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Default Re: Cane bass problems.

Hmmm... its summer - did you leave them in the car or in another hot place for an extended period of time? Regardless - they are cheap - just order up a new one. If the problem persists - check the rest of your gear as suggested above.
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:15 PM   #5
Z_Piper
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Default Re: Cane bass problems.

Thanks for the suggestions, guys.
I didn't leave them anywhere that was too hot, I'm pretty anal about not doing that.

I tried the vacuum check. No leaks.

No mold or debris. I re-tied the bridle. Since I haven't been messing with it for a few days it has stabilized some, but still tuning high on the pin.

Oh well, I guess maybe it's just worn out already. I thought they were supposed to last a long time. Maybe that's the exception and not the rule?
I'm going to order some new reeds. I just wasn't sure if that was a common occurrence for cane, or not, so I thought I'd ask.
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Old 09-03-2010, 04:14 AM   #6
longwind
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Default Re: Cane bass problems.

Since, at this stage, it appears that you have nothing to loose. Try soaking it in hydrogen peroxide for a couple of minutes. Then let it dry thoroughly, out of direct sunlight. This can sometimes breath new life into an expired reed. My signature is "reedmaster" for a reason!
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Last edited by longwind; 09-03-2010 at 04:21 AM.
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Old 09-05-2010, 01:38 PM   #7
SteveW
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Default Re: Cane bass problems.

Actually I would use 90%+ isopropyl alcohol aka rubbing alcohol. hydrogen peroxide will break down the fibers (the bleaching capabilites of HP), where IPA will just displace the moisture in the reed and then dry itself out.
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