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

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Old 09-18-2018, 07:48 AM   #11
3D Piper
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Default Re: Dumb Question: Drones vs. Chanter Reed Strength

A manometer to check pressure for chanter reeds also works well to check pressure for drones. Like this:
https://appsreeds.com/collections/re...pressure-gauge
I can check the players chanter reed strength and range, and pop it right over the drone reed and adjust to match. I know many keep saying don't use manometers, but this is such an easy way to check all of your reeds strengths without guessing I find it very helpful.


Also- we all played Ezees to start. I had one player would kept having problems with his bass. Turns out the tongue had snapped under the bridle! Never saw that before. If the reed won't settle in, give it a tug and make sure the tongue isn't broke.

-Matthew
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Old 09-25-2018, 06:44 AM   #12
gatormac
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Default Re: Dumb Question: Drones vs. Chanter Reed Strength

Well it looks like your question has been answered. I just want to add - hopefully you have learned that it wasn't a dumb question. It is something that every piper has gone through during the learning process, and we all go through again when setting up new reads. It's good that you are getting in there and messing around with things and learning to make your pipes play better.
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Old 09-25-2018, 04:14 PM   #13
MichiganGaidar
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Default Re: Dumb Question: Drones vs. Chanter Reed Strength

This question is not dumb... We all have to figure this one out. I'll offer a few observations:

1. The chanter reed is generally more pressure-sensitive than drone reeds.

2. As drone reeds approach shutoff, they will reach a point where they become massively unstable, typically right before cutoff when they are exerting maximum backpressure

3. If your drone reeds are set too close to the chanter's sweet spot, you'll be wanting to hold back in blowing, possibly leading to unsteadiness and cutouts.

4. If your drone reeds are set too far above the chanter's sweet spot, they'll be gushing so much air relative to the chanter that you won't possibly be able to keep steady.

So, it makes the most sense to not set the drone reeds too close to the sweet spot of the chanter reed. The drones should be stable, and brought into tune with the more sensitive chanter reed. You also can't just open the drone reeds up too far, because that's even worse.

Recommendation: Set your outer tenor by blowing a clear High A, and making a small, but noticeable, surge in your blowing. The target here is for the outer tenor to just barely shut off right at the very peak of the surge. With the outer tenor as your reference point, set the bass, and then the middle tenor, such that they will all shut off in unison when you slowly increase pressure. Emphasis because:

1. Sometime's they'll be close, but one drone is still "leading" the shutoff.

2. If you just make a huge spike in pressure, the drones will all shut off even if they're grossly mis-calibrated. The more slowly you inch up to shutoff, the more accurately you are testing the calibration.

The above should result in a stable, free-blowing, and efficient bagpipe, provided all components are of good quality, and in good repair, and that the drone reeds are properly matched.

Last edited by MichiganGaidar; 09-25-2018 at 04:17 PM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 09-27-2018, 01:36 PM   #14
Shawn Husk
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Default Re: Dumb Question: Drones vs. Chanter Reed Strength

I personally set up my drone reeds to give me the volume and sound I'm looking for regardless of their cut off point. I do understand the idea behind wanting drone reeds to be as efficient as possible but sometimes if you bring them down too far the volume and tone can suffer imo. I always shoot for a good balance between all the drone reeds (IE. set to the same basic pressure).

When it comes to chanter vs. drones I like the chanter to be about equal in volume to all the drones going. I'm not a fan of a light bagpipe sound personally.
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Old 09-29-2018, 10:12 AM   #15
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Default Re: Dumb Question: Drones vs. Chanter Reed Strength

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichiganGaidar View Post

1. Sometime's they'll be close, but one drone is still "leading" the shutoff.

.
I like that way....and have set mine so. The out tenor goes off first,..then mid,..then the bass.

A bit of corny show effect ...tune and tune drones to the point of boring the audience.....’getting it just right’...then when done for a few seconds ,..increase pressure to slowly shut off drones one after the other in sequence.....and roll into a slow air ‘ a capella’ ...chanter only...finishing with a seamless pop on of the drones and into a hornpipe or such... ala gordon duncan or gordon walker ...albeit sans the same fingering.
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Old 09-29-2018, 08:28 PM   #16
MichiganGaidar
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Default Re: Dumb Question: Drones vs. Chanter Reed Strength

That is definitely an interesting way to go about it, but I'm certainly too much a stickler to try to swing it. That, and I can tell a slight difference in sound and stability when I have all three drones dialed in for a perfect unison cutoff (which, presuming good QC on the reeds, also means equal response to air pressure).

I spend a lot of time on my drones, perhaps more than most. I probably blow drones on the order of 10-15 minutes before I even look at my chanter. There's often a wee tweak here and there to be done to get the sound and behavior I'm looking for. By the time the chanter gets plugged in, my drones are warmed up, and verified to be stable - tuning is a breeze, and I can focus on my "work" tunes, and enjoy the rest.
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Old 10-06-2018, 12:39 AM   #17
Chris C.
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Default Re: Dumb Question: Drones vs. Chanter Reed Strength

For what it's worth, after some experimentation I have been able to get the middle drone to calm down. It doesn't double tone, and when I play the pipes the bag feels 'tighter', i.e. the reeds resisting more.

I think this is because the middle drone now needs more air pressure to sound. I followed the advice here and ended up moving the bridle a very tiny smidgeon to shorten the length of the tongue. Seems to work -- so far.

The only negative is that it's a bit harder to play overall, more air pressure is needed to keep the chanter going. It can cut off on certain notes more easily if I am not careful. Not a big deal, that will be remedied with more practice, obviously.

But the set are acting more like bagpipes... Like, when I was in a band in the 80's, when I could fire them and cut them off at will. It is now easier to fire the chanter up without it starting ahead of time, and I can get the pipes to cut off better, which was more difficult before. As a sole player for pleasure only, that isn't a priority, but still nice to be able to do, as it sounds like the way the instrument is supposed to be played.

Thanks once again to all of you for your helpful and kind input.
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Old 10-06-2018, 07:37 AM   #18
el gaitero
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Default Re: Dumb Question: Drones vs. Chanter Reed Strength

Much nicer when the pipe is easier to play..than harder.

Try mouth blowing each tenor reed..set in the seat. When you give a good steady long puff...you want them to shut off after about 1-2 seconds of blow.

When you get both tenors the same...play your pipes to see if they shut off too easily ( if so,Lengthen the tongue a hair or two) . You’ll want to seek to have the reeds depth equal and the pitch screws pretty much the same setting...to achieve having both tenors tune visually at the the same height. But it’s not unusual a need to adjust one pitch screw slightly more or less to get both tuning heights the same.

Aim for getting them equal and optimized so you can play ) a without screeching the HA and / or shutting off a drone and b) so you can play and give a controlled delicate ‘ hump’ on the bag at your elbow and they both shut off at the same moment.
Then you’ll know you’ve got them balanced and well optimized to play easiest.

Good training also for controlled blowing ..no screeching...
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