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Old 08-13-2019, 05:40 AM   #31
Dave
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

For the California cane, there's a piper in Bakersfield who harvests it for sale over the internet.
http://www.sampsoncane.com/
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:40 AM   #32
colinmaclellan
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

Could I just say that I would never, ever let someone come into my workshop and cherry pick 100 reeds. That means that the best reeds all go to one person and be damned the rest.



I make each order in turn and specifically pick the reeds to suit each individual customer or band.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:16 AM   #33
DNorwood
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?




No doubt, they are all the best!



Quote:
Originally Posted by colinmaclellan View Post

Could I just say that I would never, ever let someone come into my workshop and cherry pick 100 reeds.

That means that the best reeds all go to one person and be damned the rest.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:06 PM   #34
Harley G
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

Mr Maclellan, are you not cherry picking reeds when you match them to a client and chanter? Albeit in a benevolent manner and intent.



I have 2 of your cane reeds and they both work very well in an old war-mac and have done so for some time so I would not question your skill or quality of product.


Commercial reality also has a place in this industry and if Field Marshal asked a reed maker to allow them to choose their reeds from the stock box, the reed maker may be seen as a bit of a mug if he/she refused. To be able to state the FM were using your reeds would probably be worth selling your soul for. $$$$$.



The other thing worth noting is that a reed that suits one piper/chanter combo may not work for a different combo. Reeds are not PnP and even at the worlds, the pipe tuner moves from piper to piper adjusting and changing for each individual. I have never seen them swapping reeds between pipers that were tuned and ready to go in the circle.


With our Uilleann reeds we always let the client cherry pick, and as often as they like. If they want help my Uncle will offer up his opinion but will always hope the client walks out with the reed(s) they picked and were happy with. It saves on the whining latter on if they are not sounding as great as they think they perhaps should and stops the recriminations. A happy client is a returning client and after all, we do make them for a fee, not charity.
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:52 AM   #35
colinmaclellan
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harley G View Post
Mr Maclellan, are you not cherry picking reeds when you match them to a client and chanter? Albeit in a benevolent manner and intent.

Absolutely not. I make reeds in small lots; no more than 50 at a time. I fill my orders, one by one, and when I am finished the 50, I make another 50, and repeat.



It is the same with trade (shop) orders. If an enterprise orders 50 reeds from me, I make fifty, and they get the lot. I've never had a shop send a single reed back to me.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Harley G View Post
Commercial reality also has a place in this industry and if Field Marshal asked a reed maker to allow them to choose their reeds from the stock box, the reed maker may be seen as a bit of a mug if he/she refused. To be able to state the FM were using your reeds would probably be worth selling your soul for. $$$$$.

I don't sell my soul, nor do $$$$$ matter to me a whit. When a top soloist visits me, they watch as I take each reed and adjust it for strength and tuning right in front of them. They don't do it, I do it. My reeds have won all of the top solo piping prizes, many times in recent years.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Harley G View Post
With our Uilleann reeds we always let the client cherry pick, and as often as they like. If they want help my Uncle will offer up his opinion but will always hope the client walks out with the reed(s) they picked and were happy with. It saves on the whining latter on if they are not sounding as great as they think they perhaps should and stops the recriminations. A happy client is a returning client and after all, we do make them for a fee, not charity.
In my business, no one gets left with reeds which are diluted in quality after you've let a cherry picker go through your stock.



Many thanks!
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Last edited by colinmaclellan; 08-14-2019 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:12 AM   #36
MacTallanambeann
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

I like your style Mr MacLellan!

I see it's a cut reed that you offer. Given the previous talk in the thread about cut versus molded why is it you favour the cut?
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:47 AM   #37
piper_hm
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTallanambeann View Post
I like your style Mr MacLellan!

I see it's a cut reed that you offer. Given the previous talk in the thread about cut versus molded why is it you favour the cut?
He offers straight cut reeds. Straight cut = molded
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:20 AM   #38
MacTallanambeann
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

I see, I thought that straight cut meant the reeds where there is a 'slice' out of the blades from the soundbox to lips like those pictured on his website and that molded referred to those that don't feature this cut.
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Old 08-14-2019, 03:10 PM   #39
Harley G
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

Mr Maclellan, I was not suggesting you also make sub-standard reeds. My apologies if that is how you, (and anyone else) read my comments.


You have made my point in your response but to be clear, we allow cherry picking because every different make of chanter could require a different reed variation to achieve the exact tone, pressure and pitch required by the piper.



Sound is so subjective that it would be quite arrogant of us to tell a client what they should like. They go through the reeds and choose the tone, pitch and pressure they are happy with and because they get to personally select from the stock of reeds, they feel they have been provided a good service. You just go one step further.



My PM cherry picks for a Shepherd chanter and he is looking for a mouth blown crow of E + 10-20 cents. He is also looking for reeds under 40" H2o dry blown. If he was using a G1 he would be looking for a E + 30 odd. If he was using a Naill he would be looking for F -20.



Of the reeds he did not like there are probably some very good, maybe even great reeds for the right piper, chanter combination. I was not suggesting they were all "diluted in quality".



A piper/band that likes that icey finger nails down a blackboard pitch that so many of the bands are going to will likely find what they are looking for in a ridge cut design and dry pitching F# to G on a dry blow. Those looking for a more tonal sound without the edgy overtones will be looking for a moulded reed down around E, depending on the exact chanter, pressure and pitch.


I was not aware of you offering a one on one reed fitting service to your pipers. This clearly demonstrates that you do not give a "whit" about how much your time is worth, only that you provide a complete service to your clients. There should be more in the market like you.


Sort of like buying shoes, isn't it. When I was younger, my Mom would take me to the shoe shop and the shop provided a fitting service. Even if the attendant spent 20 minutes finding the right fit, the service was free as the shoes cost the same amount. You are sort of providing that same old fashioned type of free customer service, unheard of in our current environment.



The fact that your reeds have done so well is probably because of your fitting service. If a piper can go to the reedmaker and have a custom reed made and selected to suit the exact requirements of the piper, you are going to do well as a piper.


I think the readers of this post should take notice of the fact that you offer this service. I note that you have never had a reed sent back to you, that is 100% success rate in reed production. I am guessing that you also offer this 100% satisfaction fitting service to pipers that buy reeds from you on-line or through agents. This is an offer that cannot be over looked and more pipers need to look you up. Do you ever get time to sleep?



I am so happy I entered into this thread, I truly learned something today, I wish you well in your business.
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Old 08-15-2019, 07:08 AM   #40
NickTaitz
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

We don't get a lot of choice of reeds out here in South Africa, as we have to import them at very high cost. What makes a good reed? To me, the can should look nice and fresh, the reed should respond well on first blowing, and have a good resonance. I like straight cut (moulded, trad style) reeds, and don't know much if anything about ridge cut reeds. I really have no idea what makes one reed last longer than another, or keep its F and not become a double toning F, etc. I had a Gilmour which lasted me 7 years, but I don't know what was special about it. Others have lasted me 4 months. Generally I think it's advisable not to allow mould to grow on the reed, and to play it regularly to keep it moist but not mouldy. Personally I do not know why some are better and last longer than others.
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