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Old 06-05-2018, 04:22 PM   #1
mmannis
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Default Bass drone shutting down during playing

I have a had a recurrent problem recently with closure of the base drone in the middle of playing. It is particularly prevalent in warm weather. As a newbie, I am concerned that either I am doing something wrong or that there is a fix that I do not know about. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Mark
Sacramento, CA
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Old 06-05-2018, 05:13 PM   #2
el gaitero
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Default Re: Bass drone shutting down during playing

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmannis View Post
I have a had a recurrent problem recently with closure of the base drone in the middle of playing. It is particularly prevalent in warm weather. As a newbie, I am concerned that either I am doing something wrong or that there is a fix that I do not know about. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Mark
Sacramento, CA
Is it syn or cane?

I’m betting syn....so ,very likely, the bridle position has the tongue just a fly hair too short ,,,so when the reed is warmed up ( and the body just a fly hair or two swelled ..tightening the bridle) the very slightest inadvertent overblow ( the straw that breaks the camels’ back) shuts the reed off.
Correct the issue by making the tongue just a few fly hairs longer.

Of course...other issues like not tightly seated, a speck of gabbagool on the tongue or reed body between, a leaky pitch screw, drone design etc are all valid potential causes also.....but I think most of us will go with the too short tongue.
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:23 AM   #3
bob864
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Default Re: Bass drone shutting down during playing

I agree with the short tongue, idea.

Another possibility though, if it plays well and then becomes problematic, but then plays well again the next day is moisture building up on the reeds. If that's happening then you can take them out and dry them off.

The other thing to consider: if it's playing, and then shuts off, but can be immediately restarted and continues playing, then you are doing something with either your arm or your breath that's shutting it off. Opening the reed will mask this manifestation of unsteady blowing, but it's better to fix the problem itself. Try to notice if it always cuts out at the same point in a tune. You might be tensing up or something.
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Old 06-07-2018, 12:15 PM   #4
mmannis
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Default Re: Bass drone shutting down during playing

thanks to all for your comments. The advice is VERY helpful. Much appreciated.

Mark
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:31 PM   #5
Achilles Piper
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Default Re: Bass drone shutting down during playing

The advice from others about adjusting the bridle on the bass drone reed sounds right. It's worth mentioning that there is a good side to all this! Ideally, your drone reeds should ALL be adjusted so that they cut off if you blow a bit too hard. If they don't cut off, it means that the tongues are a little too long, and the reeds are probably taking more air than they should. So it's a good idea to adjust the bridles on each drone reed until you can deliberately make them cut off by applying a little more pressure than normal. Remember, it's microscopic bridle adjustments at a time. Ideally, all three reeds should cut off at about the same pressure. When you achieve that you know that your drones are about as efficient as they can be. Obviously the cutoff pressure has to be high enough above your normal blowing pressure that you aren't shutting down drones through inadvertent variations in blowing.
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Old 07-05-2018, 12:08 PM   #6
DRCanady
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Default Re: Bass drone shutting down during playing

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmannis View Post
I have a had a recurrent problem recently with closure of the base drone in the middle of playing. It is particularly prevalent in warm weather. As a newbie, I am concerned that either I am doing something wrong or that there is a fix that I do not know about. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Mark Sacramento, CA

Interesting...Both my bass and tenor (only have one tenor drone hooked up) have gone bonkers in this warm weather. I'm in Sacramento too. They shut down early and I have to tap the top of the drone to get it to play in the right octave. No amount of bag striking will open the drones properly. This only started last week.
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Old 07-05-2018, 12:28 PM   #7
el gaitero
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Default Re: Bass drone shutting down during playing

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Originally Posted by DRCanady View Post

Interesting...Both my bass and tenor (only have one tenor drone hooked up) have gone bonkers in this warm weather. I'm in Sacramento too. They shut down early and I have to tap the top of the drone to get it to play in the right octave. No amount of bag striking will open the drones properly. This only started last week.
...you've got a choice...high(er) ...or low(er) humidity than last week. Also ..again likely the tongue is just a fly’s hair too short...especially if OooOOOooooOOoooing.

If by ‘hooked up’ you mean to a MCS ..another exacerbant in the muddle.

Imo you're cheating yourself if playing only one tenor. Go full bore ,full pressure to play two...for sound, pipe stability, mastery,self gratification,join the pack,propericity,..etc.
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Old 07-05-2018, 04:08 PM   #8
DRCanady
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Default Re: Bass drone shutting down during playing

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Originally Posted by el gaitero View Post
Imo you're cheating yourself if playing only one tenor. Go full bore ,full pressure to play two...for sound, pipe stability, mastery,self gratification,join the pack,propericity,..etc.

I go back and forth between using all 3 drones or plugging one of the tenors. At this point I can play my better tone chanter reed and 2 drones or set it up with the lighter reed and 3 drones.



Right now all I can do is plug all 3 drones and use it like a goose. In addition my Bb chanter is playing at 475 when it should be striking in at 466Hz.



Ugh!
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Old Yesterday, 03:47 AM   #9
erteple
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Default Re: Bass drone shutting down during playing

Hello friends, after some time, I turn to this wonderful forum again with a question regarding what I called "drone tuning triangle". I have next to none musical education, so I hope I'll manage to explain it correctly.
1. My drone reeds are shutting off too soon. Partly because of my lack of steady blowing of course, but also humid air (it's monsoon time) and the moist in my blow. I'd like them to be a little bit harder. What do I do? Move the bridle fo the reeds can move, of course...
2. But, moving the bridle also affects the sound, it is making the pitch lower.
3. Therefore I move the tuning pin (to reduce the change) - oh no, it is already all the way down...
4. I tried to push the reeds further into the instrument, but currently I am at a point with absolutely no hemp and a lot of force being used (they're plastic, inserting into poly pipes).

What now? If you ask what pitch is my low A, it's indeed quite high (478 Hz if I remember correctly, but I use just basic HBT3, so it's not something to trust completely). But I used 2 reeds (cane) and both have similar pitch. Can it be cane reeds inserted into plastic bagpipes? I guess I might cut the edges of the drone reeds (or somehow carve the drones) to push them some more, but I'm not a fan of pernament alterations. Is there any option (apart from buying new drone reeds or pernament alteration) you would recommend? Thank You!


PS: I am sorry and I hope it is not "hijacking the thread", it's just too similar to start a new one! If needed, kindly let me know and I'll do so...
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Old Yesterday, 06:42 AM   #10
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Bass drone shutting down during playing

You are moving the bridle of your drone reeds way too much if your tuning pins are completely covered (all the way down). Almost imperceptable movements of the bridle should be sufficient to keep them from shutting off. This statement is made assuming you are using drones and reeds I’m familiar with. Which drones? Which drone reeds?

478 Hz is a perfectly reasonable highland pipe pitch.
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