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

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Old 02-16-2020, 10:10 AM   #1
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Default Middle drone issue?

Why does the middle drone(tenor) go out of tune quicker than the Bass and outside tenor? I have a Ross drying system and am religious about miking the kitty litter and blowing out the dust before playing. Have to raise the pitch on the middle drone while the Bass and outside tenor remain in tune longer. Have put the outside tenor reed in the middle drone with same results. Tried in another set of pipes with the same results.
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: Middle drone issue?

Hi, bethedrone. Had you not said that you had the same experience with another set of pipes, I would have suggested that you have a problem with the middle tenor drone (e.g., warped), making it unsteady. Assuming all else is steady (e.g., pressure, etc.), it's a curious situation. Big help, aren't I?
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:52 AM   #3
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Default Re: Middle drone issue?

Hi Horse person , thank you for your reply. the drone is not unsteady, it tunes easily, but does not stay in tune as long as the bass and outside tenor. I will check for warpage.
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:55 AM   #4
Søren E. Larsen
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Default Re: Middle drone issue?

Is there something wrong with the tube to the middle drone?
Airtight? Broken? Twisted?
Maybe you get moist air to the middle tenor?

Last edited by Søren E. Larsen; 02-16-2020 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 02-16-2020, 11:34 AM   #5
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Middle drone issue?

You’ll find that if you take the Ross system out, it is your outside tenor you have to retune first.

Have you tried switching which hose goes from the drone to the cannister?
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Old 02-16-2020, 01:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: Middle drone issue?

There will be a leak somewhere in the system.

Additional comment - it's actually rarely necessary to dry out the kitty litter. Most good soloists, as far as I know, remove it from the bag, put it in a ziplock plastic bag, and leave it there. I do this and have no issues with it. Once in a while I'll take them out and pop them on a radiator for a bit of they've had a real soaking but otherwise I find they don't need more than this.
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Old 02-16-2020, 05:25 PM   #7
Jim Fogelman
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Default Re: Middle drone issue?

Where in CA are you? A full Ross system might be overkill for the climate.

Have you tried swapping the tenor bottoms and see what happens?
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Old 02-16-2020, 09:25 PM   #8
William McKenzie
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Default Re: Middle drone issue?

Not knowing more information, I think I would go along with what others have suggested:

-Try swapping the hoses on the Ross between the two tenors so that the outside hose is now going to the middle and visa-versa.
-If this makes the outside go out of tune quicker, then you know it is a leak or there is less kitty litter (or less effective kitty litter) in the middle tenor compartment of the Ross and you can then open the canister up and make sure everything is even between the compartments.

What kind of bag are you playing? I'm a fairly wet blower and I have found that a Moose valve along with a tube trap and a Canmore bag is enough to let me play for an hour or so before I need to take the blowpipe out and tip the bag.
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Old 02-19-2020, 05:25 AM   #9
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Default Re: Middle drone issue?

I'm also in California and our whole band, and most pipers I know, use sheepskin here with excellent results.

I use sheepskin with a Moose valve and it's excellent.

For one season I played in a band that required the full Ross system. I got used to it, and it had certain advantages.

But we got fuller tone and better stability with Gannaway or sheepskin.

Let's face it: the full Ross system with cannister chambers full of granules and hoses and connectors introduces a number of variables in between the air in the bag and the reeds.

That aside, I also would suspect a leak either from a hairline crack or a hemping issue, or a reed issue.

As mentioned above you can test the variables by switching reeds between the tenors and switching the tenors in the stocks.
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Old 02-25-2020, 01:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: Middle drone issue?

I had a similar problem and I about sent my pipes out to Atherton to be repaired....Atherton emailed me back and suggested I try re-hemping the tuning pin and said he is surprised how many times he has done this (even with professional pipers) and it has taken care of the problem though warping can also be the culprit. Before sending the parts out (upper and lower tenor) I decided to try re-hemping first.

On the outside, the hemp looked wonderful and happy and it was snug to the tuning pin and I was skeptical that re-hemping would take care of the issue. I took the drone out of the stock and let it sit for a couple days before I got around to re-hemping it. (In the meantime I played with only 2 drones...I play every day.... and I put a cork in the stock of the middle tenor).

When I got around to re-hemping, the original hemp (done by Atherton a few years before) still LOOKED good but the hemp was no longer snug to the tuning pin and it twirled around. I re-hemped snug and tight, starting off with the old fashioned black waxed yellow hemp (made my own black wax and ran several inches of my yellow hemp through it) and it made ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD. I'm in tune and I'm happy!

I learned a very important lesson in pipe maintenance and that the "re-hemping" all joints once a year maintenance thing is necessary and a good thing. Even if the joints look and feel good on the outside--rehemp!!! I thought my pipes were in great shape and that I took great care of them....but I learned my lesson! Thank You Dave Atherton (and I love your pipes!).

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