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Old 06-14-2015, 09:39 PM   #1
Gassy
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Default Drone reeds "double toning"?

I have some new Murray Henderson carbon fibre drone reeds. I am trying to set them up in what I believe to be old Lawries. They seem to have a tendency to resonate at twice the expect frequency ~466 for tenors and ~233 for bass. Is this called double toning?

FWIW I often cannot hear the expected 116Hz on the bass. I checked the setup by mouth blowing down the moisture control tubes (bypassing the MCS except for last bit of hose and valve). If I tap the end of the drones often they reset to the correct pitch. How hard should I need to blow? About PC level, or more?

Am I right that I should probably move the bridle towards the vibrating end of the reed?
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:10 AM   #2
Rojellio
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Default Re: Drone reeds "double toning"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gassy View Post
Am I right that I should probably move the bridle towards the vibrating end of the reed?
Towards the bag, making the tongue shorter. This will also make the reed easier to blow, or more air efficient. Likely with a double tone present, your Drones are not "calibrated" to the Chanter Reed. If you over-pressure, all 3 drones should shut off. Another sign of well calibrated Drones, is being able to tap them out. If a drone doesn't tap out, its likely too strong.

You might also try a different bridle. More tension, or less tension will make a difference. As to which material to use for a bridle?? Anything that functions as a bridle will do. O-rings from the pieces and parts boxes at the hardware store come in handy.

What I used to do with Ross Omegas, is to put an orthodontic rubber bridle just in front of the regular one.

Another thing I have done, with various reeds is to have a 2nd Bridle, usually an O-ring, behind the regular one. (on the UP, or Pipe side)

With Cane Reeds (well with synths too, but its not often done) a double tone can be caused by the tongue being too heavy... and if shorting it doesn't work, material is filed off (from underneath on cane) to make it lighter. I have had to sand a wee bit off (from the top) of Ezee tongues to get rid of a double tone. An advanced technique perhaps.. but its basic reed craft with cane.. so I consider it normal to sand a wee bit off of synth.

Last edited by Rojellio; 06-15-2015 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: Drone reeds "double toning"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gassy View Post
FWIW I often cannot hear the expected 116Hz on the bass. I checked the setup by mouth blowing down the moisture control tubes (bypassing the MCS except for last bit of hose and valve). If I tap the end of the drones often they reset to the correct pitch. How hard should I need to blow? About PC level, or more?
What meter are you using?? I use a Blair so all drone pitches read 466 if that is what I am shooting for.

You should need to blow a bit more than your PC, but I have a light reed in my PC so this can vary.

A basic approach: Move the bridle up the tongue toward the vibrating end until the reed in the drone just shuts off when blown hard by mouth, then back it down until it stays on when your chanter starts with the pipes all together. There's a fine line between movements to get the most air efficient pipes, so expect this to take a bit of time.

For additional info, see Andrew Lenz's blog and search this site for reed tips.
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Old 03-07-2016, 04:17 PM   #4
DapperDan
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Default Re: Drone reeds "double toning"?

Hi,
Can I kick this thread back up to ask how this all worked out?

I'm a new piper.. with a new set of pipes.. with new reeds. Kinnaird drone reeds. The bass reed has been difficult for me to get going. Without all the tedious details, I'll just say that it's double-toning like Gassy describes, and I've made some slight adjustments but don't want to keep fussing with it until I know what I'm doing, also wonder if I should resist adjustments for a bit - is there a matter of "blowing in" synthetic reeds? I only play a few minutes per day, a few days a week, so they barely have a few hours playing on them total, if that. They also let out very high-pitched noises if there's ANY air in the bag whatsoever, almost the second I start to just inflate the bag, and they tail off with the same noise after I stop playing and stop applying any pressure to the bag. Does this stop after they get some solid playing time on them? Again I moved the bridles slightly towards the vibrating end, but don't want to get to where I can't get them back to a "default" setting if I mess around too much.

In the meantime, for fun and to be into the heritage of the instrument, I got a set of cane drone reeds, and tried just the bass. Boom, right on pitch immediately. I mean, it's a little rough and loud, but it's new. I'm wondering if I should feel encouraged to take on cane, or it's just beginner's luck.
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Old 03-07-2016, 06:25 PM   #5
Randy McIntosh
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Default Re: Drone reeds "double toning"?

If your bass is double toning where on the lower pin is it tuning?

If it is to high on the lower pin then it will double tone. Try hemp line or just above on the upper pin and 1 to 1-1/2 inches above the mount on the lower pin.


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Old 03-08-2016, 12:29 AM   #6
Gassy
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Default Re: Drone reeds "double toning"?

Here's some of my findings. With the HHD reeds I could not really get the tenor double tone under control. The bass I could by messing with the screw. To add weight to Randy's post, the bass top has to be around hemp line and the lower section midway or lower for the HHD on my pipes.

My PM spent some time with them and could not get them reliable so we swapped to crozier cane. Problem immediately massively improved. The HHD tenors just did not seem to like my pipes.

I recently changed chanter reeds to a stronger reed and needed to adjust the tenor reeds. What I found after messing around to find the right strength is that I can easily over blow on the strike in. This results in 'squealing' as opposed to double toning, though it can sound roughly the same. Perhaps this is your problem?

I thought I was taking the advice of a GR1 piper suggesting I should be giving the bag a wee hit at strike in, but clearly I was giving it too hard a wack as my PM told me I needed to back off, the strike in is purely to get a quick start to the drones and that you should be able to get the drones working with just your breath. Lo and behold with just a wee squeeze of the bag instead of a hit, the drones come in perfectly and the squealing only occurs when I give the reeds too much air on startup.

Now, if the reeds are making noise at low bag pressures then I expect they are set too weak and need to have the bridles moved towards the hemp end. The adjustments are often minuscule, people are not joking when they say a hair's width makes a difference.

So for learning experiences try;
1. different drone tuning heights
2. different strike in pressures
3. different reed lengths
once you find the sweet spot it seems so easy, but it can be quite frustrating in finding it at first.
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Old 03-08-2016, 12:39 AM   #7
caveal
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Default Re: Drone reeds "double toning"?

Some tongue/bridle combinations can be very sensitive. Moving the bridal too far from the tongue can shoot the pitch half an octave to well over an octave and make it seem like it's double toning
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Old 03-09-2016, 06:19 PM   #8
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Default Re: Drone reeds "double toning"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gassy View Post
I can easily over blow on the strike in. This results in 'squealing' as opposed to double toning...

...I should be giving the bag a wee hit at strike in, but clearly I was giving it too hard a whack... with just a wee squeeze of the bag instead of a hit, the drones come in perfectly and the squealing only occurs when I give the reeds too much air...
This is all puzzling, if indeed your pipes are old Lawries. I've owned three or four old Lawries over the years and it was pretty much impossible to get a BAD strike-in, even if I tried my darnedest. I could do no strike-in, just slowly milking air to the drones, or do a big punch, or anything in between, and the drones would just start.

Hmmm... are you using a Gore-Tex bag? I think sometimes when people are having trouble striking in, it's a bag thing rather than a reed thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gassy View Post
The adjustments are often minuscule, people are not joking when they say a hair's width makes a difference.
And sometimes smaller than a hair's breadth! I've made adjustments on EzeeDrone reeds by moving the rubber band on the BACK side, not moving the part in contact with the tongue at all. The tongue is the same length, but is under a tiny bit more pressure.
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Last edited by pancelticpiper; 03-09-2016 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 03-09-2016, 09:24 PM   #9
Gassy
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Default Re: Drone reeds "double toning"?

Yup simple Goretex bag. Apart from my lack of skill, I suspect you're right, the bag is so flimsy when at low pressure so the pressure is hard to control for a novice. I have a Bannatyne hybrid on order with my own pipes so won't be changing it.

Also, I think the Crozier reeds are possibly a tad old, the bridles are in two completely different positions for the same pressure and tuning. I'll try the HHD again one day in my own pipes.

PS. I can provide training on how to do a bad strike in if you need.
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Old 03-10-2016, 06:03 AM   #10
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Drone reeds "double toning"?

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I can provide training on how to do a bad strike in if you need.


I was playing in a band that suddenly decided to go to Gore-Tex bags. I didn't like the feel under my arm, and getting good strike-ins and cut-offs in a band situations was much trickier. I never had difficulty per se, but it required much more skill. You had to hit the bag just right, not too hard, not too soft, a narrow window of what would work. And for cut-offs you had to think ahead and be conscious of how much air was in the bag and time it just right.

Then we went to Gannaway bags OMG how effortless these things became. Strike in any old way, it didn't matter, it was good every time. At the end just lift your arm off the bag, didn't matter much if there was still some air in there, it would stop clean every time. Add to that more ergonomic feel, and bigger tone. (Same pipes, same reeds, the only difference was the bag.)

Then we went to sheepskin and everything was better yet.

And some drones are just trickier to strike in that others. I see beginners struggling with drones that are inherently hard to strike in, tied into a bag that's inherently hard to control, and shake my head. Why do that to yourself?
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