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Beer Tent The general discussion forum, and the place to start a new "beer-tent-like" Piping Related discussion...

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Old 08-14-2019, 05:15 PM   #51
Harley G
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Australia
Posts: 57
Default Re: Who makes this reed?

Mr Fogleman

I watched the youtube link you referenced and I really enjoyed the presentation and the information it contained, it explained a lot.

While I now understand the politics of the pitch variation from the time of creation, it is not applicable to the current piping pitch race to the top.

The communication and interaction was very limited in the early times and this accounts for the location specific standards and variations. We currently enjoy very good, fast communication between countries and cities yet pipers are still wanting to play at non standard pitches, because apart from the Tattoos, there is no standard.

It is so prolific now days that we have judges being critical of the pitch that pipers are playing seeming mutually exclusive to skill, technique and musicality, why?

Is the quality of judging so poor that they can no longer distinguish between piping ability and pitch? If one piper plays at 484 poorly, does he get a better rating than a piper that played mediocre at a lower pitch? it certainly seems to be the case, so why? Has a rule been written somewhere or a pseudo standard created secretly? I do not see a rule in judging standards and guidelines that would account for this.

I understand about being heard over others. The lady with the nails down the blackboard voice gets heard over the lady with the mellow voice but which one do you want to be tangled up with?

Judges with tuners on the table should be tarred and feathered in some piper's eyes as it demonstrated that the judge has not placed importance on the piping ability. Any yumyak can get a high pitched reed to play with but at the end of the day, it is not the wand, it is how you wave it.

For a by the by, the most common pitch we are asked for with the composite reeds is 474 - 478. We are also being asked for as many Bb reeds as the higher pitched reeds. The lower pitched reeds are what we call "players reeds".

Thanks again Mr Fogleman for the link.
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Old 08-30-2019, 05:46 PM   #52
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Default Re: Who makes this reed?

I too have been reading this thread with interest, I've had a couple of McLaren synthetic reeds over the last few years and really like them.Malcolm is a really helpful guy and in the small dealings I've had with him he has been nothing but helpful. The first reed I bought from him had a really sweet sound but unfortunately one of the blades cracked ( after speaking to Malcolm I think it was due to the type of plastic he was using at the time?)anyway, suffice to say he sent me another to replace it at no expense to me and I've been playing it off and on for the last couple of years.It definitely isn't as good as the first one that cracked, but I keep going back to it as it is just so easy to play.I've spent a lot of time and money trying to find cane reeds that I can play/like without having to "muck" around with them and I just keep going back to the synth reed.I don't think the synth reeds have as "nice" a sound a cane but are very close.
Young Harley sounds like a really "switched on" young man and the work he has done with his dad sounds really interesting so, if ever the reeds become available I'd love to buy one as I'm always looking to move forward with new ideas.
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Old 09-04-2019, 04:52 AM   #53
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Default Re: Who makes this reed?

I'd like to try one as well. (Harley - knock, knock) <grin>

I tried the McLaren and even after reading a popular piper blog, found that I was not totally unsatisfied with the tone of the reed.
My only issue with the McLaren reed is that it "chokes" when playing HiA or HiG leumluaths.
So mostly relegated to when I need it the most - funerals and memorials. :-)
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Old 09-04-2019, 05:33 AM   #54
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Who makes this reed?

Originally Posted by DNorwood View Post
I tried the McLaren and even after reading a popular piper blog, found that I was not totally unsatisfied with the tone of the reed.
I can’t tell what you mean here. Based on your experience, you found the tone satisfactory enough despite what the popular piper blog said? If so, I would like to read what this person had to say about being totally unsatisfied with the tone. Got a link?

Or perhaps you’re saying that both your experience and what you read on the popular piper blog reinforced each other with the idea the tone is passable. In that case, you could be referring to my blog where I provided recordings of the reed in tune and sounding well in the chanter I could get it to work in, along with audio samples of chanters it didn’t work in so one could judge for themselves. Anyways, if this is the case, I don’t need the link because I can find those blog posts no problem.
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Old Yesterday, 01:39 PM   #55
William McKenzie
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Default Re: Who makes this reed?

I guess my question, with no ill intent and beyond the fact that chanter reeds are double bladed, is why hasn't a synthetic chanter reed finally reached maturity?

We heard about Légère Reeds being in the process of a Highland chanter reed maybe 10 years ago but it never saw the light of day. There have been others such as Harley's that sound promising though still no mass production or branding. Is it an investment thing? Seems like some study of cane at the material science level could yield similar construction synthetic materials to be tried and perfected. Could easily be the Ezee of chanter reeds that become the baseline for all of us and sell exceedingly well.
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Old Today, 12:58 AM   #56
Harley G
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Default Re: Who makes this reed?

The reeds are fine, the problem is the pipers and their expectation and lack of knowledge, of many, not all of course.

You would be surprised how many pipers do not understand that all chanters are not created equal. That each chanter has it's own fundamental pitch and reed requirement.

Some cannot believe that a reed that works well at 478 in a Shepherd, may be a bag of roosters at 478 in a McCallum, and then there is the pressure. The same reed at 30" H2O runs at a different pitch on some notes on the same chanter when played at 38" H2O. Try explaining that to the willfully deaf. I dare you.

I have heard my Dad try and explain these issues to people wanting reeds and it is so problematic. This is why he markets the reeds through a third party piper.

There is no standard chanter in the GHB world so there is no generic chanter reed in the GHB world. You need to match the reed to the chanter, to the required pitch and to the pressure the piper chooses to play at.

I just played in the Irish International Tattoo in Belfast and I played all three sessions with one of our composite reeds at Bb. I was told I would need to be playing cane to be consistent with the other pipers but as we were all required to be at Bb 466 it didn't matter and I wanted to be in tune all the time, not just some of the time.

I was checked for chanter tune many times by many pipers, including the musical director of pipes and my chanter was never altered or questioned. No body knew it was composite and as it was in good tune, nobody cared or needed to know it was not cane. It ran like a Swiss watch for all the time I was over there and it still is now at home. The reed was matched to my chanter at my pressure to Bb. So simple when you know how.

Apart from one band in Sydney, all the pipers and bands that use our reeds ask us to tell no one. They believe that they will be victimized by the trad nay sayers if they make it known. We oblige and remain bound by our word.

We have one well established school band that competes with cane but does all their practice work with our composite reeds. The PM of that band was getting barely 50% playing time when practicing with their cane reeds due to the normal cane reed tuning and maintenance idiosyncrasies. He was also blowing out his good cane reeds because he was using them for practicing. Now he uses our well tuned custom configured composite reeds and has no reed downtime with band practice due to the reed issues. He also gets to keep his good cane reeds working for his competitions saving him plenty on not having to buy so many. He also avoids the ten minute reed warmup time at the start of sessions as composites do not need warmup. Do the sums.

I am not mentioning the branding of our reeds as this is against the rules but if I knew how to post a pic on this forum without breaching that bloody character limit, I would post pics.

We have never stated that cane should be replaced by composite as great cane reeds do have a great sound, if only you can find one.
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Old Today, 12:13 PM   #57
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Default Re: Who makes this reed?

Originally Posted by William McKenzie View Post
We heard about Légère Reeds being in the process of a Highland chanter reed maybe 10 years ago but it never saw the light of day.
There have been prototypes made. A few members of my band, myself included, had the opportunity to give them a try about 3-4 years ago, but I haven't heard anything since... I guess you would have to ask Jim McGillivray directly for more answers.
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Old Today, 01:53 PM   #58
Harley G
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Default Re: Who makes this reed?

Legere did have GHB reeds on their web page for a while and then removed the item from their menu.

The commercial issues around making a GHB reed in the Legere style is always going to be problematic.

Unlike their oboe and bassoon reeds, you have no embouchure control of the reed to control it so you must rely on the built in pitch and scrape of the reed to get the result you are after.

Then bring to the table all the different types of chanters, pitches and playing pressures and you have a great big bag of roosters.

If Legere had a standard chanter, pitch and pressure to design to, the issue is not such a problem apart from the cost. The reed would be over $100 by a good sum based on the oboe reeds and they would probably only suit a specific chanter and pitch range.

What would a chanter - reed cost and would the GHB world be happy to throw away their existing chanters and then be tied to a specific pitch range. Conventional wisdom and current band pitch escalations probably explains why Legere took the GHB menu option off their web page, or not?
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