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Old 05-31-2019, 07:22 AM   #21
el gaitero
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Default Re: Reeding a 440 Maclellen chanter

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Originally Posted by Pppiper View Post
Yeah ... A-440 is kind of asking a lot. Interested to see how some of these new reeds go when they arrive. I'm also tempted to experiment with adding a cooper bridle, which is what border pipers do. And/or using a rush in the chanter for the sharp notes ... I find it fascinating that uilleann and border pipers use those things all the time with their conical chanters/reeds, yet highland pipers do not .. shrug.

And bravo on your everlasting Shepherd reed ... really nice to find that one reed that's happy to keep on going and going. I know a couple players who have had the same reed in for 2-3 years at least. I seem to get a good year or so from mine before I start thinking about changing them out.

Cheers all,
~Nate
Have you seen Rory Grossarts’ vid ..him playing a ‘standard ( Ceol?) chanter’ set at 455...the Korg tuner is displayed in the vid......then putting in a set of his drone top extenders and a Ceol Bb chanter....starts right off at 440...per a second Korg tuner next to the first one. Interesting.

Last edited by el gaitero; 05-31-2019 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 05-31-2019, 07:34 AM   #22
Pppiper
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Default Re: Reeding a 440 Maclellen chanter

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Originally Posted by el gaitero View Post
Have you seen Rory Grossarts’ vid ..him playing a ‘standard ( Ceol?) chanter’ set at 455...the Korg tuner is displayed in the vid......then putting in a set of his drone top extenders and a Ceol Bb chanter....starts right off at 440...per a second Korg tuner next to the first one. Interesting.
I haven't ... Googling now. =)
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Old 05-31-2019, 07:36 AM   #23
Pppiper
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Default Re: Reeding a 440 Maclellen chanter

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Originally Posted by el gaitero View Post
Have you seen Rory Grossarts’ vid ..him playing a ‘standard ( Ceol?) chanter’ set at 455...the Korg tuner is displayed in the vid......then putting in a set of his drone top extenders and a Ceol Bb chanter....starts right off at 440...per a second Korg tuner next to the first one. Interesting.
Found it ... interesting, thanks!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oLjPrRLQ7A
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Old 05-31-2019, 04:58 PM   #24
DapperDan
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Default Re: Reeding a 440 Maclellen chanter

Out of curiosity, what drone reeds are you playing that tune that low? Or do you need extenders?


FWIW, I have a Dunbar Elite I chanter, which is their lower pitch model, made to play at 472-475 or so. For the heck of it, I tried a Shepherd Bb reed in it, and it pitches almost down at 466 (prob more like 468-70 in warmer temps). No problems with individual notes. I have to put in Bb flat drone reeds to play it though - are there drone reeds made for A440 that don't require reed extenders, or extending the drone tops? I don't care to use either of those methods.

Also, Burgess Bagpipes makes pipes meant to pitch at concert 440. I think they take regular reeds, so maybe the drone dimensions are different? Anybody heard/played them?
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Old 06-01-2019, 07:39 AM   #25
Pppiper
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Default Re: Reeding a 440 Maclellen chanter

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Out of curiosity, what drone reeds are you playing that tune that low? Or do you need extenders?
... I have to put in Bb flat drone reeds to play it though - are there drone reeds made for A440 that don't require reed extenders, or extending the drone tops? I don't care to use either of those methods.
Yeah, I'm using drone reed extenders, and in them, I'm currently using an old set of Wygent reeds. Pick your reed, and most of them will work fine, though I remember having trouble with Kinnairds when I'd first done this setup many years ago.

I had these extenders way-back-when, and was very happy with them ... then I lost them whilst moving—found them again last week. Before finding them (finally!) I was preparing instead to use some copper tubing to extend the reeds.

To each their own .. I think this works quite well, and I know the copper tubing would have performed well also. I consider myself to be pretty handy, so I was actually thinking about trying to make my own reeds at some point, based on the measurements of the reeds with extenders ... a project for another time.

Again, for the time being, I'm perfectly happy with the drone result ... now I just need to get a better chanter reed set.

As for alternatives, I'm willing to bet Pipe Dreams (you, Ezze-drone) would/could work up a custom set of reeds that would do the trick, they're great for that sort of thing. Personally, if I were to bother with anything else, I'd probably call up Michael MacHarg and inquire about a set of drones that are made/designed to play at 440. I'm sure Burgess would be great, but Michael's right up in Vermont, and does amazing work, so I'd be able to support a local fellow, and avoid the CITES mess at the same time.

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 06-01-2019, 07:59 AM   #26
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Reeding a 440 Maclellen chanter

In the MG reed video, please note that while the reference pitch is 440 on the black tuner, the tuner says “Bb” when he plays low A, so the pitch is actually 466. The 455 tuner doesn’t tell you anything.

I have never gotten a rush to just flatten a note, it has always diminished the overall performance of the chanter. Just putting poster tac opposite the hole inside the bore has been more effective. Can be a pita to get out though.

I currently have Kron Standard drones tuned to concert G#, even lower than concert A. I use Crozier Omega reeds on brass tubing extenders. If you have McCallum pipes, a combination of their drone top extenders and extended reeds might get you comfortably to 440 without extreme settings on reeds. I have never had a stable setup using off the shelf “A440” drone reeds.

I’ve played the G1 440 reeds, just not in my 440 chanter yet. Will give it a go when I get home from vacay. Sorry for my cursory read of your initial post.
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:01 AM   #27
Pppiper
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Default Re: Reeding a 440 Maclellen chanter

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Originally Posted by Patrick McLaurin View Post
In the MG reed video, please note that while the reference pitch is 440 on the black tuner, the tuner says “Bb” when he plays low A, so the pitch is actually 466. The 455 tuner doesn’t tell you anything.

I have never gotten a rush to just flatten a note, it has always diminished the overall performance of the chanter. Just putting poster tac opposite the hole inside the bore has been more effective. Can be a pita to get out though.

I currently have Kron Standard drones tuned to concert G#, even lower than concert A. I use Crozier Omega reeds on brass tubing extenders. If you have McCallum pipes, a combination of their drone top extenders and extended reeds might get you comfortably to 440 without extreme settings on reeds. I have never had a stable setup using off the shelf “A440” drone reeds.

I’ve played the G1 440 reeds, just not in my 440 chanter yet. Will give it a go when I get home from vacay. Sorry for my cursory read of your initial post.
Ha, no worries Patrick ... always appreciate your input.

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 06-01-2019, 04:23 PM   #28
Shawn Husk
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Default Re: Reeding a 440 Maclellen chanter

A local piper approached me about helping him set up his pipes for true A 440 pitch. He had purchased a MacLellan 440 chanter and drone reed extenders. I was able to fit one of my standard reeds to it and get it balanced at 440, the reed did seat rather high in the reed seat to accomplish this.

The extenders did help but we also required adding some weight to the tongues of the reeds. I did this by adding some of that rubber putty eraser stuff that used to come with Rocket drone reeds. Adding weight to the tongues of your drone reeds will give you a huge flattening affect and perhaps even make it so you will not need extenders at all.
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Old 06-01-2019, 04:25 PM   #29
Pppiper
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Default Re: Reeding a 440 Maclellen chanter

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Originally Posted by Shawn Husk View Post
A local piper approached me about helping him set up his pipes for true A 440 pitch. He had purchased a MacLellan 440 chanter and drone reed extenders. I was able to fit one of my standard reeds to it and get it balanced at 440, the reed did seat rather high in the reed seat to accomplish this.

The extenders did help but we also required adding some weight to the tongues of the reeds. I did this by adding some of that rubber putty eraser stuff that used to come with Rocket drone reeds. Adding weight to the tongues of your drone reeds will give you a huge flattening affect and perhaps even make it so you will not need extenders at all.
Very helpful ... as always, Thank you Shawn!

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 06-01-2019, 04:59 PM   #30
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Default Re: Reeding a 440 Maclellen chanter

I have a old no-name Indian chanter that plays at A440, totally by accident. I bought it for $25 intending to make it into a desk lamp, but tried it out and found it plays at A=440. I've only used it for one gig where I was playing with a fiddle and clawhammer banjo duo, a Bluegrass band, a harp, piano, and a vocalist.
I used drone reed extenders (at the reed seat) and drone extenders in the bushings, and old-style Sheperd synthetic reeds. I don't remember what chanter reed i had in.
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