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

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Old 05-30-2018, 05:38 PM   #1
WBpiper
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Default So.... Something strange happened.

So... I decided to plug in some spare drone valves in my ABW Dunbar drones (I won't leave them in, I promise! ) and WHOA!!


I noticed there was an improvement in tone, believe it or not, I could hear much more of the harmonics/overtones! I was amazed & blown away!



Could it be the fact that they are met with a more stable airflow, and are staying in tune better? Does anyone know why this is?


I really love how they sound now though!
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Old 05-30-2018, 07:11 PM   #2
jackhawkpiper97
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Default Re: So.... Something strange happened.

My first guess would be blowing, like you said. The other thing is something that gets thrown around on the forum more often than I think it ought to, but your drone reeds might not be set up all the way or correctly for you right now.

Reeds change over time as bridles lose a little elasticity, the materials etc.
You probably are getting more physically adapted to playing over time.

One video that I think deserves way more views is Chris Apps's video on drone reed stability, found here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkCiPXA2FaA

So, if you decide that you like the sound but drone valves aren't for you, check your pipes for airtightness, then strength, and then this video will help you with the last part (stability).

Jack
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Old 05-31-2018, 06:01 AM   #3
WBpiper
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Default Re: So.... Something strange happened.

I actually think you are right, that may be the problem.


I think my tuning joints are fine but just may need a small layer, but my bottom joints REALLY need to be re-hemped. I'll do that now!




I think the drone valves just happened to be a temporary fix, I'll take them off later.
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Old 05-31-2018, 01:02 PM   #4
WBpiper
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Default Re: So.... Something strange happened.

I could also say:



I am using Kinnaird Evolution reeds, and they are easy strength.



This is just speculation, but I wonder if they were being overblown? And maybe the drone valves are regulating the airflow, which happens to be the "sweet spot" pressure wise?


Could this be a plausibility?
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Old 05-31-2018, 01:34 PM   #5
el gaitero
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Default Re: So.... Something strange happened.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WBpiper View Post


I think the drone valves just happened to be a temporary fix, I'll take them off later.
best idea...and ,I'd leave them off in the drawer...you'll be better off and become a better player.
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Old 05-31-2018, 04:11 PM   #6
DapperDan
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Default Re: So.... Something strange happened.

Hi WB,
I play an ABW Dunbar set. I had some issues with Kinnaird Evolution reeds, which are what Dunbar recommends. I tried the easy tongues as well. They have a great tone, and I've heard others getting a great sound out of their pipes with them, so I'm not knocking them.
My issue was, if there was ANY air pressure in the bag whatsoever, they would start whistling. Not the first hum of the double tone or a little bark if you tap the bag, but they would endlessly emit a high pitched sound with any air pressure at all. I couldn't charge the bag without them going WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Bleedin' annoying. This made it extremely difficult to strike in when playing with the band because the only way to avoid early drone noises was to fully inflate the bag from almost empty - within two beats. Most often I couldn't pull it off, and would miss the E and have to come in on another note once I got the drones going. Unacceptable for the competition circle. Also, I had to awkwardly crimp the heck out of the bag to get ALL of the air out of the bag before cutting off to avoid awful trailing noises. This made it hard to blow tone through the last bar. I had the bridles calibrated properly, if I opened them up to make them harder they would take more air than I was comfortable with. And btw, I play a hide bag, which is often the recommended solution for better starts/stops. Just a simple tube to the back, no other plumbing or gimmicks.

Finally I put in, (secretly! SHHHHHHH), Highland Reeds drone valves. Boom, problem solved. Strike ins and cut offs were immensely easier. They're adjustable, so I set them to have very little constriction, just enough so I could eliminate the whistling noises. The tone, calibration, and pitch was affected very slightly. My blowing become somewhat steadier. So I know drone valves are not recommended by purists, but I did alright with these.

That was just my experience with that particular set up, which sounds similar to that of the OP. Not sure what it all means, other than that different reed and pipe combinations work differently from piper to piper, and everyone has to find what works for them. I'm not using the valves, or the Kinnairds at the moment. I switched to ezees recently, to have more adjustability, and noticed I didn't need the valves. I could play with or without them, so figure without them is better.

Last edited by DapperDan; 05-31-2018 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 05-31-2018, 05:03 PM   #7
WBpiper
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Default Re: So.... Something strange happened.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DapperDan View Post
Hi WB,
I play an ABW Dunbar set. I had some issues with Kinnaird Evolution reeds, which are what Dunbar recommends. I tried the easy tongues as well. They have a great tone, and I've heard others getting a great sound out of their pipes with them, so I'm not knocking them.
My issue was, if there was ANY air pressure in the bag whatsoever, they would start whistling. Not the first hum of the double tone or a little bark if you tap the bag, but they would endlessly emit a high pitched sound with any air pressure at all. I couldn't charge the bag without them going WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Bleedin' annoying. This made it extremely difficult to strike in when playing with the band because the only way to avoid early drone noises was to fully inflate the bag from almost empty - within two beats. Most often I couldn't pull it off, and would miss the E and have to come in on another note once I got the drones going. Unacceptable for the competition circle. Also, I had to awkwardly crimp the heck out of the bag to get ALL of the air out of the bag before cutting off to avoid awful trailing noises. This made it hard to blow tone through the last bar. I had the bridles calibrated properly, if I opened them up to make them harder they would take more air than I was comfortable with. And btw, I play a hide bag, which is often the recommended solution for better starts/stops. Just a simple tube to the back, no other plumbing or gimmicks.

Finally I put in, (secretly! SHHHHHHH), Highland Reeds drone valves. Boom, problem solved. Strike ins and cut offs were immensely easier. They're adjustable, so I set them to have very little constriction, just enough so I could eliminate the whistling noises. The tone, calibration, and pitch was affected very slightly. My blowing become somewhat steadier. So I know drone valves are not recommended by purists, but I did alright with these.

That was just my experience with that particular set up, which sounds similar to that of the OP. Not sure what it all means, other than that different reed and pipe combinations work differently from piper to piper, and everyone has to find what works for them. I'm not using the valves, or the Kinnairds at the moment. I switched to ezees recently, to have more adjustability, and noticed I didn't need the valves. I could play with or without them, so figure without them is better.
Yes, I have that annoying whistling sound too, I find as long as I blow gently it doesn't make any noise.




And I think once my reed eases up in strength, that's when I'll take the valves out.
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Old 05-31-2018, 05:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: So.... Something strange happened.

Yes, Kinnaird Evolution reeds are among my favourite for tone and performance in most of the pipes I've tried them it, but... they are a little 'wheezy' which makes you refine your technique of striking in and cutting off. And it can be done, without the valves - I don't believe that the reeds will ease up to the point of eliminating the wheeziness.

I just tried out a set of the new Kinnaird Edge reeds and so far I've been quite impressed, particularly in their lack of wheeziness for pre-strike-ins and cut-offs -- just fantastic.
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Old 05-31-2018, 08:23 PM   #9
WBpiper
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Default Re: So.... Something strange happened.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandPark View Post
I don't believe that the reeds will ease up to the point of eliminating the wheeziness.

I just tried out a set of the new Kinnaird Edge reeds and so far I've been quite impressed, particularly in their lack of wheeziness for pre-strike-ins and cut-offs -- just fantastic.

lol I meant the chanter reed hehehe, when that reed gets broken in & easier I think I will take out the valves. Probably should have been more specific, whoopsey.



Also I think I will purchase a set of Kinniard Edge reeds, how do you find adjusting with the screw and allen key?
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Old 06-01-2018, 10:08 AM   #10
Dan Bell
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Default Re: So.... Something strange happened.

Do you wear earplugs when you play? I find that one big difference with drone valves is quite simply that the volume of the drones is decreased. That's going to make it easier to hear a lot of what's going on. A good set of musician's earplugs (not the generic ones meant for mowing the lawn) will cut out a lot of noise (such as reflected sound from ceilings, floors, etc) and make it a lot easier to hear the tonic and the important harmonics that you're really trying to lock in. It's easier to evaluate your own steadiness, too, as your brain isn't having to filter out a lot of garbage.

Additionally, make sure that your reeds aren't taking more air than they should. If you're getting a more refined, manageable sound with the valves in place, it suggests the the reeds aren't playing optimally without them. Drone reeds should take enough air that they don't stop under normal pressure (with maybe a little headroom for MINOR overblowing), but not more than that. They'll definitely be rough-sounding, loud, and hard to tune if they're too open. Test them: you should be able to make them stop by overblowing them, and they should all have roughly the same stopping pressure. Be aware that they both change over time, and rarely come out of the box set up exactly right.
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