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

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Old 04-05-2020, 09:30 AM   #1
Sea Legs
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Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Up north
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Default Chanter reed strength

In terms of chanter reed strength - if someone, like in this thread here , say they blow at 35" of water, or that a reed plays at 32", does that mean that the reed sounds at that pressure, like, at all - but it just sounds weak? Like, to have the maximum amount of harmonics, the reed need to be played at 35"?

Or is it that this is the optimal level of pressure they strive for; i.e. the reed sounds best at 35"?
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Old 04-05-2020, 10:36 AM   #2
Green Piper
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Default Re: Chanter reed strength

For me, blowing pressure for a reed is where it gives a nice, clear high A.
"Melancholy as the Drone of a Lancashire Bagpipe" (Behn, Aphra 1678. Sir Patient Fancy)
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Old 04-05-2020, 11:28 AM   #3
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Chanter reed strength

I use the term to indicate where the reed plays. No point in blowing harder than you have to in order to make the reed vibrate. You can blow too hard and the low G will gurgle as a first sign.

I’ve never heard the hypothesis that if you blow harder than necessary you get better tone out of the reed. Not sure I’d put any stock in it either.

I will say that people blow at different pressures naturally. I could hand my pipes to my friend and the whole top hand will be sharp because he blows harder than I do. I guess he’s a blow hard. When I set his chanter in the band, I always back the reed out a tad from where I would need it so that he can blow it out, as he does.
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