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Old 08-07-2007, 11:19 PM   #1
wai
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Default Why my pipe chanter reed so hard?

Hi all,

Sometimes I feel my chanter reed is damn hard.

Should I choose a SOFT one ? or continue to use this hard reed?
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Old 08-08-2007, 08:19 AM   #2
Skirler
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Default Re: Why my pipe chanter reed so hard?

Wai,
First, welcome to the Forum. This is a good place to learn.
You may want to go to Technique and Instrument and read the thread "Chanter cutting out."
After reading about chanter reeds on Chris Apps' website, I realize I don't have to play a gut-buster reed. Subsequently I've ordered medium-soft reeds (seems there are more options in reed strength than ever before) by Apps and Ross for my Naill ABW solo chanter, and I've ordered Chris Apps' "how-to" reeds booklet with the accompanying mandrel. (How does one use a mandrel?)
Today I'll take a chance sanding several of the hard reeds I have on hand in hopes I can get more practice time in before my new reeds arrive. If I spoil the reeds, hey, I'm still learning, and I'll mark it down as experience.
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Old 08-08-2007, 06:12 PM   #3
Mr. Woolery
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Default Re: Why my pipe chanter reed so hard?

Some folks are big on only breaking the reeds in through playing, others don't mind tinkering. I fall into the second camp.

Andrew Lenz has a great article on his site about scraping reeds and it is worth a look. www.bagpipejourney.com I think.

Personally, if my reed is too hard, I take out a sharp pocketknife and I scrape some of the surface off. I'm not too worried about precision at first, I just want to thin it down a little. I don't carve it off, just scrape gently and bring some fine powder off the reed. Both sides about the same. Try it in the chanter, mouth-blown. Scrape again. Blow again. Wet the reed. Blow. Until it is about the strength I want. By then, the high A is often a little thin-sounding. My pipe teacher then takes the reed and jams a reed mandrel into it (I still need to make one of those!) and opens the staple (the little brass tube that is the heart of the reed) just a tiny bit. That brings the top hand into balance most of the time. JOY! A reed that plays and isn't too hard!

I should note in fairness that the first reed I did this to did not survive the process.

I now play Soutar Easy reeds and have been very happy with them. There's no good reason to use hard reeds if you don't want a hard reed.

-Patrick
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Old 08-09-2007, 10:17 AM   #4
wai
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Default Re: Why my pipe chanter reed so hard?

Blowing a hard reed is not a happy thing.
Is there any website teaching people to sharpen the reeds?
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Old 08-10-2007, 07:49 AM   #5
sonofsomerled
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Default Re: Why my pipe chanter reed so hard?

Because its new and not broken in - its a gut-buster. Go to the apps reeds website. Then go to the "articles" section and reads Apps' articles on reeds and reed-softening. A little sandpaper and you will be good to go.
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Old 08-10-2007, 09:04 AM   #6
David Corbett
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Default Re: Why my pipe chanter reed so hard?

Sharpening the reed, boils down to shortening it. Chris's booklet goes over that, as well as I believe some information from The Captain and others.

But remember, trimming the reed, to shorten it does sharpen it, but also makes it harder.

My limited experience doing this, to fix a chronically flat "F" (rather change the reed, than carve the chanter), had me finding the easiest (insert brand) reed, shaving off the absolutely smallest sliver from the tip of the reed.

This would sharpen it, but took a very easy reed, and made it a good solid Medium+ reed. then I'd have to shave it back down to strength.

Luckily, I've now found some reeds that match the chanters better, so this isn't necessary (at least as often), but it's good to have some experience at it.

Cheers
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Old 08-10-2007, 10:35 AM   #7
AAA
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Default Re: Why my pipe chanter reed so hard?

Just a simple pinch will cure most reed problems!
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Old 08-10-2007, 11:36 AM   #8
Reid_
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Default Re: Why my pipe chanter reed so hard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AAA
Just a simple pinch will cure most reed problems!
Hey, shouldn't you be getting ready for tomorrow???
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Old 08-10-2007, 11:44 AM   #9
AAA
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Default Re: Why my pipe chanter reed so hard?

I've been ready all my life, the hour of doom is upon us! wiilynilly
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Old 08-10-2007, 11:48 AM   #10
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Default Re: Why my pipe chanter reed so hard?

LOL, well good luck to you. I'll be looking to see what happens in the qualifier when I get up. Make sure ur on the list.
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