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

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Old 08-06-2019, 12:48 AM   #21
Graineag
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

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Originally Posted by Jim Fogelman View Post
Arundo Donax is a non-native, invasive species in North America and, at least here in San Diego, is seen as a pest to be removed.
Ah, yes. You're quite right. I guess I was thinking ironic in the sense that the two culprits taking out groves of arundo donax are development and protection from development.

But yes, it is an invasive species in CA. Might be a good idea to stock up on the good stuff while we still can.

Here's a link to Ted Anderson's webpage for reed cane and other reedmaking supplies. He specifically mentions that the cane he harvests for UP chanter reeds is soft, unlike the harder cane more typically found in CA.

http://www.piperssupply.com/index.htm
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Old 08-10-2019, 09:26 PM   #22
TwitchyFingers
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

I wish the phragmites australis that grows in Michigan was useful for reeds. That invasive junk is taking over.
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Old 08-11-2019, 08:01 PM   #23
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

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I wish the phragmites australis that grows in Michigan was useful for reeds. That invasive junk is taking over.
All over New England as well.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:53 AM   #24
William McKenzie
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

I would guess that we aren't all that far off from a quality synthetic replica material of Arundo Donax for the GHB. Obviously there are decent synthetic chanter reeds with off the shelf plastics, but I'm specifically referring to a material that mimics cane's cellular structure and material properties. Légère for example might already be close to doing this as it was promised in the past provided there were a GHB market for it.
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Old 08-12-2019, 11:10 AM   #25
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

A synthetic reed certainly would be good if it sounds right and can get over the 'traditionalist' barrier to it's adoption. I certainly would be up for some.
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Old 08-12-2019, 12:20 PM   #26
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

ALL of the cane that grows in California is of the same DNA, as here it cannot flower and produce seed. Here cane reproduces from pieces of the genetic material that break off and find friendly places for growth, much like crabgrass. I suspect that this is true of many of the growing regions around the Mediterranean as well. The biggest variable in cane (Arundo Donax) is the height from the stalk which the particular piece is cut, as the varying heights of the stalk have different amounts of Lignin. Lignin can be thought of as the resin that holds the cells and the fibers together. Lignin is the resin in the fiberglass-like piece that is the cane slip. There may be local variation in expression of some of the genetics due to climate, micro-climate, or degree days or amount of sunlight, but in California, the cane is largely the same, with only local conditions providing variance.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:32 PM   #27
Harley G
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

One of my PM's does a reed run whenever he goes to Scotland.


Without being brand specific, he has a personal relationship with one of the largest producers of GHB reeds so he gets to cherry pick.


In a morning he tests about 300 reeds. Of this 300 he selects about 100 that have the crow pitch and pressure he is looking for. Of that (aprox) 100 he gets about 10 he would keep as his own personal solo reeds, the rest go to the band.


Of that, (say 10) reeds, he gets 2 or 3 after blowing in for a couple of weeks, that he feels are great reeds.


Thereafter, every time he competes with one of these reeds his bum is shut so tight he could not sit on a greasy match, in fear of the possibility this great reed may choose this day to blow out. He claims to have had one competition reed that lasted almost 2 years whereas most would not last a few months, sometimes weeks.


He is A grade and very picky with a great ear. Do the math on the original 300 reeds he had to pick from.


Who gets the reeds that he rejected? They do not get thrown out.


He got to cherry pick after the reed maker had already cherry picked for the top bands he supplies to.


Seems luck is what makes a great reed because the maker, despite his/her skills, is still using cane, a living breathing organism.


2 stroke mower principles seem relevant.


Starts for no apparent reason,


Runs for no apparent reasons,


Stops for the same no apparent reason.
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Old 08-12-2019, 11:22 PM   #28
Jim Fogelman
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

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Thereafter, every time he competes with one of these reeds his bum is shut so tight he could not sit on a greasy match, in fear of the possibility this great reed may choose this day to blow out. He claims to have had one competition reed that lasted almost 2 years whereas most would not last a few months, sometimes weeks.
I’m sorry. What did you say?

This this some sort of Aussie slang?
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:33 AM   #29
DNorwood
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

Spent $1200 to get $36.00 in 'quality' reeds. whew. Sure, there's some variability on the quality of an organic product.... but wow.
And yet, we have entire bands who produce an amazing sound too. Hats off to them!

We all know this happens. We've seen the plethora of reeds sitting in the bin at the "bagpipe store".


This is why I would buy reeds from someone like Shawn Husk. It's a matter of trust and confidence.


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Of that, (say 10) reeds, he gets 2 or 3 after blowing in for a couple of weeks, that he feels are great reeds.
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:54 AM   #30
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Default Re: Chanter reeds, what makes good, what makes bad?

I second that for Colin MacLellan, great reeds too.

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This is why I would buy reeds from someone like Shawn Husk. It's a matter of trust and confidence.
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