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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Great Highland Bagpipe > Technique & Instrument
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Technique & Instrument Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

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Old 09-21-2018, 03:14 PM   #1
Piping Potential
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Default Roddy MacLeod High-A

I just recently purchased one of the RJM Solo chanters and I'm wondering what I need to do to get it to sound like Roddy's (other than somehow obtain a boatload of talent and decades more experience). Has anyone been able to duplicate this? Any particular reeds work best? Anything special you have to do to the reed? I've got a Troy reed in it now but the top hand sounds very thin, although it may just be a bad reed.
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Old 09-21-2018, 03:39 PM   #2
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Roddy MacLeod High-A

I think Roddy uses/d the Troy McAllister, is that the one you have or the JT2?
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Old 09-21-2018, 04:31 PM   #3
piper_hm
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Default Re: Roddy MacLeod High-A

Sheepskin bag. Makes all the difference in getting a full top hand and ringing high A.
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Old 09-21-2018, 05:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: Roddy MacLeod High-A

Quote:
Originally Posted by piper_hm View Post
Sheepskin bag. Makes all the difference in getting a full top hand and ringing high A.
Years ago, if someone told me the bag would make a difference in the sound, I'd have thought it superstition rather than science.
However, when I went from a Goretex bag to a Gannaway hide bag, i was thrilled at how much more alive the pipes sounded. Much more resonant!
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Old 09-21-2018, 05:38 PM   #5
MichiganGaidar
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Default Re: Roddy MacLeod High-A

The bigger difference to my ears is made when going from a 100% dry setup, like full Ross, to one with just a smidge of moisture (but not too much). I never noticed a difference between skin or hybrid. To be fair, I've never used plain Goretex - too flimsy under the arm.
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Old 09-22-2018, 08:08 AM   #6
Shawn Husk
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Default Re: Roddy MacLeod High-A

In 2009 I went to Winter Storm and Roddy was there teaching a class, specifically on how he get's his signature high A sound.

To summarize what he said.....

1. Sheepskin bag
2. Nothing attached to your drones
3. Set the reed slightly flat on high A
4. He shaved a new reed for us. He blew it (brand new Warnock reed btw straight out of the box) by mouth in a chanter, no ring, he said the reed needed freed up, so using a razor blade he shaved it a wee bit about 2mm down from the tips in the center, blew it again, more free but not enough, shaved a little more then it was right.
5. You have to have excellent bag control. Blowing and squeezing. You have to play the reed just over the crow. So if you under blow it crows, if you over blow high A sounds clear, if you blow just past the crow you get a the Roddy Ring.

So in short, big open resonant bag made of skin, no restrictions on your drone sound (ie. no valves or cups attached), nice vibrant chanter reed, and proper blowing.
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Old 09-22-2018, 05:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: Roddy MacLeod High-A

Thanks all, esp Shawn for the info right from the source!



Patrick I have an original Troy reed, but the top hand is very thin and doesn't sound good. Thinking of ordering directly from them but not sure it's worth the expense.



Sounds like a just need the right reed. The last batch I ordered didn't have any crow on them. I play a hide bag - I'm afraid here in dry Southern California sheepskin would turn to cardboard, although I keep my pipe case at about 60% humidity.


Does reed strength matter? My comfort level is around 29-32 inches of water.
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Old 09-23-2018, 05:32 AM   #8
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Default Re: Roddy MacLeod High-A

Maybe the clue is in Shawn’s paragraph 4 - “more free but not free enough”. If you are prepared to risk the reed, try doing what Shawn describes (minute quantities of cane at a time) and see if you can get more/freer vibration on the top hand.
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Old 09-23-2018, 07:29 AM   #9
Jim Fogelman
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Default Re: Roddy MacLeod High-A

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piping Potential View Post

Sounds like a just need the right reed. The last batch I ordered didn't have any crow on them. I play a hide bag - I'm afraid here in dry Southern California sheepskin would turn to cardboard, although I keep my pipe case at about 60% humidity.
You'll be fine playing sheep. My whole band, as well as several others in SoCal, are on sheep. I keep my bag in a trash bag in the case to keep it from drying out further than needed.

I sometimes can't play the pipes for a few weeks and never had a problem with the bag being too dry.
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Old 09-23-2018, 10:24 AM   #10
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Default Re: Roddy MacLeod High-A

There's an article I wrote some years ago dealing with this very subject. You'll find it here;


https://appsreeds.com/pages/reed-adj...-by-chris-apps
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