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Old 01-30-2011, 08:34 AM   #1
SwissMatthias
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Default chanter reeds made for a specific pitch range?

Hello pipers of the world,

I was wondering if reeds from a certain reedmaker are made for a specific pitch range, e.g. MG Chanter reeds are best on 478 Hz?

Cheers

Matthias
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Old 01-30-2011, 09:56 AM   #2
Rojellio
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Default Re: chanter reeds made for a specific pitch range?

I can play the same Gilmour or McCann reed in my Nail {472} and MacHarg A440 chanter... so I am going to say NO.

Reeds are reeds {for the most part} Each brand and model chanter will prefer certain types & brands of reeds over others. Some chanters will react badly to some reeds.

The only "pitch specific" reed I am aware of, is the custom made long staple reeds that Iaian Sherwood supply's for vintage Chanters. Thats not exactly a pitch specific thing, just a better match for the chanter.

IF Grade I Bands are playing a custom reed for the upper edge pitch... than that is a carefully guarded secret between the PM and the reedmaker.

If you tell us which chanter you are reeding, people with the same chanter can recommend good matches {and bad} based on their experience. Sometimes the Maker even chimes in with their recommendations.

Last edited by Rojellio; 01-30-2011 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 01-30-2011, 10:44 AM   #3
SwissMatthias
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Default Re: chanter reeds made for a specific pitch range?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rojellio View Post
If you tell us which chanter you are reeding, people with the same chanter can recommend good matches {and bad} based on their experience. Sometimes the Maker even chimes in with their recommendations.
McCallum Pipe Chanter, made in 2005.

Regards

Matthias
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:16 AM   #4
Bish
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Default Re: chanter reeds made for a specific pitch range?

The reeds I use are suitable for anything from 452 to 488 hz. I have a vintage Robertson chanter that tunes to 556-ish and a new Colin Kyo that tunes in the 480's. Same reeds. I have tried Shepherds, Ross Reeds, and Andrew Fraters. No problem.

The Robertson needs a very heavily taped high G because it is too sharp for modern ears. In the pre-1952 era the high G was much sharper than today, relatively. Low G needs to be flattened, but not as much. Normal taping on other holes.

Other chanters include McCallum ABW and Hardies, both wooden and poly, and a War-Mac.
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:46 AM   #5
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Default Re: chanter reeds made for a specific pitch range?

Immediatley after saying that I have no issues with reeds playing from 452 to 485 hz, my pre-1952 Robertson chanter reeded with a Ross started double toning on high G grace notes to low A ...
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Old 01-31-2011, 06:49 AM   #6
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Default Re: chanter reeds made for a specific pitch range?

I forgot to add that it is tuning at 558 hz in the Robertson, and that the same reed (Ross) is faultless at 478 in a Shepherd.
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:23 AM   #7
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: chanter reeds made for a specific pitch range?

The most difficult obstacle I've had with older chanters besides funky tuning is squealing with G grace notes on low A. Generally ridge cut reeds suffer more from this than straight cut, so maybe give Gilmour a try, or your favorite straight cut. Though, ridge cut reeds tend to have flatter high G's so I'm guessing your high G is going to go through the roof if you do switch to a straight cut, but maybe not.

In general, the harder the reed is, the flatter it will be. By heavily scraping a reed, you can easily go from 472 to 480 Hz, at least Gilmour's anyway.
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Old 02-01-2011, 11:11 AM   #8
Bish
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Default Re: chanter reeds made for a specific pitch range?

Thanks Patrick. That is helpful. That reed was playing very well at the lower frequency until yesterday. I am guessing that the easier reed is more prone to double toning down there.

I have ordered a half-dozen reeds from my favourite reed-maker, and he assures me that there will no problems at those frequencies. I am looking forward to the test.

Any idea why a straight-cut reed works better?

I had an old reed from the fifties that came with the chanter, and it was ridge cut, identical to the eye to the modern ones. Staple length I cannot comment on. Didn't check it out.
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Old 02-01-2011, 11:15 AM   #9
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Default Re: chanter reeds made for a specific pitch range?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bish View Post
I forgot to add that it is tuning at 558 hz in the Robertson, and that the same reed (Ross) is faultless at 478 in a Shepherd.
558 hz???? Do you need oxygen to play at that altitude? How on earth (or off it, evidently) do you get your drones to tune up there?
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Old 02-01-2011, 11:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: chanter reeds made for a specific pitch range?

I believe he means that 558 "Hertz" the ears .
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