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Do It Yourself (DIY) Making and repairing of instruments, accessories, and more.

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Old 07-08-2019, 05:50 PM   #1
Joseph Diodato
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Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Bloomington, IN
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Default Practice chanter reed gone bad?

A curious issue here -- perhaps one of the more DIY-saavy folks can help me figure out what's going on with one of my practice chanter reeds.

One of my first practice chanter reeds (a Frazer Warnock that's only a few months old at this point and well-taken care of) suddenly stopped sounding so nice all of a sudden. The tuning sounds way off (even for a practice chanter reed!) and it has taken on a much more "reedy" tone.

This had never been an issue before, and the reed sounded just as off on my instructor's practice chanter.

Here's a brief YouTube video of me playing a simple scale and a few measures of The Rowan Tree (wonky reed first) on my Dunbar regular length PC. The only differences between the two reeds are that the blades of the wonky reed are just a hair more open. The same reed (removed from the chanter and blown) pitches a semitone higher than the new reed if that's of any interest. Of course, that could very well just be natural variation amongst reeds.

Cheers,
Joe
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Old 07-09-2019, 12:25 PM   #2
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: Practice chanter reed gone bad?

For starters, the second reed is slightly lower in pitch, which may make it fit the chanter better. I wonder if the first is inserted too deeply intro the chanter which would make it sharper and most likely also make it more out of tune on the top end.
One possible cause ould be that the hemp may have compacted in use.
Just a guess, but an easy fix if that's the problem.
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Old 07-10-2019, 01:03 PM   #3
Andrew L. Hagen
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Default Re: Practice chanter reed gone bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Diodato View Post
A curious issue here -- perhaps one of the more DIY-saavy folks can help me figure out what's going on with one of my practice chanter reeds.

One of my first practice chanter reeds (a Frazer Warnock that's only a few months old at this point and well-taken care of) suddenly stopped sounding so nice all of a sudden. The tuning sounds way off (even for a practice chanter reed!) and it has taken on a much more "reedy" tone.

This had never been an issue before, and the reed sounded just as off on my instructor's practice chanter.

Here's a brief YouTube video of me playing a simple scale and a few measures of The Rowan Tree (wonky reed first) on my Dunbar regular length PC. The only differences between the two reeds are that the blades of the wonky reed are just a hair more open. The same reed (removed from the chanter and blown) pitches a semitone higher than the new reed if that's of any interest. Of course, that could very well just be natural variation amongst reeds.

Cheers,
Joe

The metal staple inside is too open. You might consider one of four options. 1. apply a dental rubber band. Move it up the blades thus closing them. (Probably the best option.) Or... 2. sand the blades with 350 grit until the plastic gives and the aperture closes a little. Might quiet the reed, make it less raspy and sharpen it a bit. OR... #3. using pliers, pinch the staple shut a little. And if all that fails, try my favorite technique: #4. smash it repeatedly with a hammer while cussing at it in true Scottish form, and if THAT doesn't work, buy another reed. If the reed actually does work after trying option 4, let me know what kind of hammer you're using.
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Old 07-10-2019, 04:02 PM   #4
Joseph Diodato
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Default Re: Practice chanter reed gone bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klondike Waldo View Post
For starters, the second reed is slightly lower in pitch, which may make it fit the chanter better. I wonder if the first is inserted too deeply intro the chanter which would make it sharper and most likely also make it more out of tune on the top end.
One possible cause ould be that the hemp may have compacted in use.
Just a guess, but an easy fix if that's the problem.
I'll be sure to play around with reed placement! The perplexing thing is that the reed has been well taken care of and previously played in perfect condition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew L. Hagen
1. apply a dental rubber band. Move it up the blades thus closing them. (Probably the best option.) Or... 2. sand the blades with 350 grit until the plastic gives and the aperture closes a little. Might quiet the reed, make it less raspy and sharpen it a bit. OR... #3. using pliers, pinch the staple shut a little. And if all that fails, try my favorite technique: #4. smash it repeatedly with a hammer while cussing at it in true Scottish form, and if THAT doesn't work, buy another reed. If the reed actually does work after trying option 4, let me know what kind of hammer you're using.
I think I can manage options 1 and 4. I will, however, defer to my instructor on #2 and 3. I'll be sure to report back after some experimentation.

Best,
Joe
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