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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Great Highland Bagpipe > Technique & Instrument
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Technique & Instrument Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

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Old 06-22-2015, 04:52 AM   #1
bob864
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Default Oil on chanter reeds

I think this is a question I've never seen.

I was cleaning the tape residue off my chanter with olive oil, and accidentially got some on my reed. Have I messed it up? Basically I had a little oil residue on my fingers and put the reed in, so I got a smidge on the sound box. I could instantly see that the wood took on the oil. It seems to sound OK for now.
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Old 06-22-2015, 05:12 AM   #2
Josh Whitson
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Default Re: Oil on chanter reeds

I've been taught to get some oil off my face (like you would to help your birls) and rub that on the reed before I put it away for the day. I don't know if it has actually helped anything but it certainly hasn't hurt anything either.
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Old 06-22-2015, 05:16 AM   #3
el gaitero
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Default Re: Oil on chanter reeds

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob864 View Post
I think this is a question I've never seen.

I was cleaning the tape residue off my chanter with olive oil, and accidentially got some on my reed. Have I messed it up? Basically I had a little oil residue on my fingers and put the reed in, so I got a smidge on the sound box. I could instantly see that the wood took on the oil. It seems to sound OK for now.
I think there might be a bigger presence from the chanter if a bit of parmesean is ingested b4 playing the gig.
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Old 06-22-2015, 08:32 AM   #4
Rooklidge
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Default Re: Oil on chanter reeds

While tinkering, I often tweak reeds without a good finger-wash and the resulting residue hasn't seemed to destroy the reed. I would assume oil would fill the grain as water does, but not dry out. it would also not allow even saturation of the reed, which may be problematic. I would be curious to know if the tips were oiled whether the reed permanently lost tone. I should be more careful (and cleaner).
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:29 PM   #5
Rojellio
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Default Re: Oil on chanter reeds

Oil and oily dirt grime from fingers is its own thing, and I scrub that off with a wee brush and H2o2.

A light coat of oil on purpose.. hmmm I might try that as a way of keeping reeds moist in the High Wasteland Desert. I dunno, it could work... providing oily moisture acts like moisture??
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Old 06-23-2015, 02:50 PM   #6
Tucker Fleming
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Default Re: Oil on chanter reeds

I can see it now, special 'Highland' reed oil, only $35 an ounce.
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Old 06-23-2015, 03:43 PM   #7
Doug Murray
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Default Re: Oil on chanter reeds

Highland reed oil comes in a variety of flavors; orange, lemon, lime; 37 flavors for the discriminating piper, like ice cream; mint, grape, strawberry, chocolate................. Step right up.................Argh!
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Old 06-23-2015, 05:34 PM   #8
CLOWERPOWER!!!
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Default Re: Oil on chanter reeds

I saw this topic in a thread about storing chanter reeds, and whether or not to wet/ lick them before playing. One person mentioned the idea of putting a small amount of bore oil on the tip of a reed to extend it's lifespan. As I remember he got chewed up rather badly by the rest of the thread for saying that......

Oil on a reed would only hold in more moisture, causing the reed to rot more quickly, right?

The chanter reed is the smallest and most absorbent component on your bagpipe. It can easily take on enough moisture to sound good in 20 minutes of playing, the same amount of time it takes to get your fingers warmed up to. I really wouldn't think it's necessary to put so much effort into constant moisture maintenance of a material that fluctuates so, so easily. With drones it's a different story. But for that reason why would oiling a reed or using a piper's pal be necessary?

Last edited by CLOWERPOWER!!!; 06-23-2015 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:57 PM   #9
David
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Default Re: Oil on chanter reeds

Years back, when I was living the Negev desert, I did use a tiny drop of almond oil on my chanter reed. It did mellow the harsh and very loud reed.
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Old 06-24-2015, 12:55 AM   #10
Adam Sanderson
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Default Re: Oil on chanter reeds

Some people have been deliberately putting oil on chanter reeds and more specifically cane drone reeds for decades.
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