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

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Old 05-06-2018, 11:24 PM   #1
Chunter
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Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 28
Default Reed never stabilizes

Hey all,

I've hit a conundrum which has been frustrating me for the last few months. During my practice sessions, my reed will continue to rise in pitch seemingly indefinitely - to the point where it becomes saturated and the reed seat is covered in water. This is exceedingly frustrating when I try to play piobaireachd, and, after a good 10-15 mins of tune-up, and when I believe the reed has finally stabilised, the pipes start to drift halfway through the piece.

I've recorded my playing and sat with a tuner, and noticed that the reeds never stop rising in pitch. I've tried attaching a chanter hose with ross canister, and while this has certainly slowed the pitch climb, it doesn't halt it, nor help the reed reach optimum/stable pitch.

My pipes are always dry after finishing playing: The interior of the bag, the drones and drone reeds are always dry, so I don't believe there's any issues there. The chanter stock and seat, however, tend to be wet.

I have a tube running to the back of the bag, and there are no leaks.

I play 'easy' Shepherd and MacPhee reeds, and both brands exhibit this problem. I use a canmore hybrid bag. I've trialled both blank stocks and the piper's pal.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Regards,

Charlie
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Old 05-07-2018, 06:00 AM   #2
el gaitero
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Default Re: Reed never stabilises

Something partially blocking the chanter stock...?
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Old 05-07-2018, 06:01 AM   #3
piper_hm
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Default Re: Reed never stabilises

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chunter View Post
Hey all,

I've hit a conundrum which has been frustrating me for the last few months. During my practice sessions, my reed will continue to rise in pitch seemingly indefinitely - to the point where it becomes saturated and the reed seat is covered in water. This is exceedingly frustrating when I try to play piobaireachd, and, after a good 10-15 mins of tune-up, and when I believe the reed has finally stabilised, the pipes start to drift halfway through the piece.

I've recorded my playing and sat with a tuner, and noticed that the reeds never stop rising in pitch. I've tried attaching a chanter hose with ross canister, and while this has certainly slowed the pitch climb, it doesn't halt it, nor help the reed reach optimum/stable pitch.

My pipes are always dry after finishing playing: The interior of the bag, the drones and drone reeds are always dry, so I don't believe there's any issues there. The chanter stock and seat, however, tend to be wet.

I have a tube running to the back of the bag, and there are no leaks.

I play 'easy' Shepherd and MacPhee reeds, and both brands exhibit this problem. I use a canmore hybrid bag. I've trialled both blank stocks and the piper's pal.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Regards,

Charlie
I'm stumped...if you have a tube to the back of the bag and the bag remains dry (I also play the Canmore Hybrid and know how well it breathes), I'm not sure how there could be so much moisture in the chanter stock. Is the connection at the blowpipe stock secure?

Last edited by piper_hm; 05-07-2018 at 06:19 AM.
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Old 05-07-2018, 06:56 AM   #4
Kevin
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Default Re: Reed never stabilises

How do you store you reed between practices? I am wondering f it is getting very dry and then requiring a long time to rehydrate.

Other than that, I have no other ideas. Good luck with it.
Kevin

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Old 05-07-2018, 07:03 AM   #5
Chunter
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Default Re: Reed never stabilises

I've swapped out the chanter stock for another...will give that a shot and see what happens.

The connection at the blowpipe stock is fully secure.

I'm storing the reed in a piper's pal, however I was having the issue when using a blank stock as well.
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:46 AM   #6
DNorwood
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Location: Mint Hill, NC
Posts: 60
Default Re: Reed never stabilises

First - let me say I am not a piper...............


However, I always understood that as a (cane) reed becomes more wet, it "flattens" (become dull) in pitch.

I would say you have a very unique issue.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Chunter View Post
During my practice sessions, my reed will continue to rise in pitch seemingly indefinitely - to the point where it becomes saturated and the reed seat is covered in water.
Regards,

Charlie
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:48 AM   #7
el gaitero
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Default Re: Reed never stabilises

Might the chanter and blowstick stocks be inadvertently reversed?
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Old 05-07-2018, 06:41 PM   #8
Andrew L. Hagen
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Default Re: Reed never stabilises

Just curious. Where does the water build up when you cork the chanter stock and play only drones?
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:16 PM   #9
MichiganGaidar
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Default Re: Reed never stabilises

My understanding is that the effect of heat is to raise the pitch, and the effect of moisture is to lower the pitch. As your reed warms up, it rises in pitch until it is at the same temperature as the breath to which it is being exposed (assuming the same is true of the bag). In most cases, the effect of heat is greater than that of the moisture unless you've really soaked the reed. That's a good indicator that you've practiced long enough.

In your case, I would expect that if the reed and chanter stock were soaked, the reed would have begun flattening off, or at least slowed in its meteoric rise in pitch.

Does the pitch climb ever slow down? I've had cases where the climb will continue at a vastly slower rate after 10-15 minutes, but if it's climbing at full steam ahead indefinitely, I'm very confused as to what the culprit may be.
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Old 05-07-2018, 10:18 PM   #10
Kevin
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Default Re: Reed never stabilises

Just noticed the OP is from the Southern Hemisphere so I'm betting it's a Coriolis effect thing.

I am very curious to find out what the issue is.

Best regards,
Kevin
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