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

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Old 06-13-2014, 06:56 PM   #1
Austin Diepenhorst
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Default Unstable f

Hi All,

I need some assistance. In trying to tune up my Sinclair chanter, I have noticed with a variety of reeds, that the f can be rather unstable and difficult to tune. I've tried changing my blowing, reseating the reed, and experimenting with tape but to no avail. I have a great read in their now which sounds fantastic, except for this persistant, slightly unstable f. If I do blow it out, it is a bit more clear, but you can hear the instability in the note when it is being sounded. All the other notes are fine, and the chanter is well ballenced. I just can't seem to find the source of the problem, asside from maybe it being the chanter itself, in which case I'd just have to experiment with more reeds or different methods of solving the problem e.g: carving the highA out and reseating the reed higher in order to minimise the amount of tape on the top hand notes. Anyone got any tips I could try?

Best wishes,

Austin
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:36 PM   #2
redmist
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Default Re: Unstable f

Try giving the tip of the reed a squeeze
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:53 PM   #3
Austin Diepenhorst
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Default Unstable f

It's not a double toning f, it's just unstable.


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Old 06-13-2014, 11:10 PM   #4
Roddy Livingstone
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Default Re: Unstable f

The 'variety of reeds' you have tried - do they have of folded staple or a tube staple? In my experience, this issue in some chanters is caused by a tube staple, which when shaped, takes on the geometry of a funnel.
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Old 06-14-2014, 06:05 AM   #5
Chris Apps
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Default Re: Unstable f

As mentioned earlier, try closing the mouth of the reed a little and see if this helps. If it doesn't them I would take a sliver of cane off the length of the reed. This should sort it out.
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:59 AM   #6
Shawn Husk
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Default Re: Unstable f

The fact that it improves when blowing harder indicates that the tip is slightly too open. Increasing the pressure causes the tips to close up very very slightly which then stabilizes the F. Try using a dental elastic wrapped around three times, put that about mid way up the reed and see if it helps. If it does not try moving it up a wee bit higher on the reed. The goal is to very slightly close the mouth opening.

If that doesn't fix it then follow Chris' advice above.
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Old 06-14-2014, 05:51 PM   #7
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Unstable f

Jerry Gibson did a demonstration where he took a weak old reed with a funky F (unstable and doubletoning) and tied a hemp bridle around it. Not only did it stabilize the F, but by moving the bridle up and down he could fine-tune the F wherever he wanted it, with no tape.

I've tried this trick on some old reeds and it seems to work, but I don't know if it works on all reeds, or if it has other, detrimental, effects.
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Old 06-15-2014, 08:41 AM   #8
Wulls
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Default Unstable f

There is a very fine line between an F being unstable and collapsing.
The fix is the same, shorten the reed slightly as Chris suggests.
I've never been a big fan of bridles.
They do do a job but in my opinion it is just something else that could move and affect the reeds performance. I much prefer fixing the problem to mitigating the symptoms.
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Last edited by Wulls; 06-15-2014 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 06-16-2014, 05:34 AM   #9
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Unstable f

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Apps View Post
take a sliver of cane off the length of the reed.
Interesting! I took "a sliver off the length of the reed" to have the meaning as in "I got a scratch the length of my arm" or "paint a stripe the length of the driveway" (extending lengthwise) rather than "reduce the length of the reed by a sliver".

Goes to show how difficult it can be to write unambiguous English.

There's a whole book about these phrases, The Stuff Of Thought.
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Old 06-16-2014, 06:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: Unstable f

Ah the English language, full of double meanings, ambiguities and a favourite haunt of pedants
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