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Old 08-13-2019, 10:09 AM   #1
Triskele
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Default Balance Tone VS. BT High Resonance Drone Reeds

A couple questions please about Balance Tone drone reeds. I would like to try some as I am experimenting with different drone reeds, but need help deciding between the regular ones and the high resonance version. There apparently is also a USA version of the high resonance ones which are red?

Two things I am mainly wondering about these.

1. I have read that the regular ones have an excellent ability to widely adjust pitch from down at 466 for B-flat chanters and up to 480+. I would love this not only for switching between regular and B-flat chanters but also for optimizing my tuning pin positions. Does the high resonance version have the same wide range of adjustability? Also, is one kind generally higher or lower pitched than the other or they both are the same in that regard?

2. What are the differences in sound quality and characteristics? Do the high resonance ones really sound better? Is it that they have more of a ringing harmonic sound? I have read that the originals are buzzier than say Selbies (not necessarily a bad thing). Do the high resonance ones have a similar buzz?

Any other feedback is appreciated as to differences or pros/cons of either.
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:00 PM   #2
Matt Weasner
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Default Re: Balance Tone VS. BT High Resonance Drone Reeds

Hi Triskele -

Have been thinking about trying a set - so mostly just commenting so I remember to follow this thread.

Who carries the 'USA' version? Most retailers seem to have a yellow bodied set, I think...

Best,
Matt
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:21 PM   #3
Triskele
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Default Re: Balance Tone VS. BT High Resonance Drone Reeds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Weasner View Post
Hi Triskele -

Have been thinking about trying a set - so mostly just commenting so I remember to follow this thread.

Who carries the 'USA' version? Most retailers seem to have a yellow bodied set, I think...

Best,
Matt
Saw them on the Pipeline Bagpipes website. Assuming they are the same product specs, just made in the USA and the different color to distinguish them?

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Old 08-13-2019, 04:43 PM   #4
DapperDan
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Default Re: Balance Tone VS. BT High Resonance Drone Reeds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triskele View Post

1. I have read that the regular ones have an excellent ability to widely adjust pitch from down at 466 for B-flat chanters and up to 480+. I would love this not only for switching between regular and B-flat chanters but also for optimizing my tuning pin positions.
Hello,
I am also an incurable drone reed tinkerer. I am not familiar with the High Resonance model, but I have a set of the original (I may sell them on ebay shortly, because I'm not using them), and a set of the Bb reeds. I would say that you might not get the regular ones to tune down to 466. At least I couldn't, in my pipes, and with the bridles set at an easy/medium strength. Set very hard, maybe you could get them that flat. The Bb reeds on the other hand, will in fact get you to Bb, and even flatter. They also sound somewhat different, in ways other than pitch, which I can't quite describe. I like them, because I have a low pitch solo chanter, and don't like using extenders or other gadgets. They chord very well with each other, and with the chanter.
Can't really get a bad strike-in with them either. I don't really use them much because I couldn't quite get the steadiness and efficiency where I wanted (I don't use drone valves, maybe they're meant to be used with the ones he makes).
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:38 AM   #5
el gaitero
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Default Re: Balance Tone VS. BT High Resonance Drone Reeds

The USA set is about $5 more than the UK standard yellow set. But $10 more than the (U.K.) Bb set.

Odd.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:20 AM   #6
Jim Fogelman
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Default Re: Balance Tone VS. BT High Resonance Drone Reeds

I’m guessing the USA set is the same as the regular reeds, just in red, white, and blue.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:41 AM   #7
el gaitero
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Default Re: Balance Tone VS. BT High Resonance Drone Reeds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Fogelman View Post
I’m guessing the USA set is the same as the regular reeds, just in red, white, and blue.
Oooff....Correction....I meant the USA made set is $5 LESS than the UK yellow ( makes sense I guess) . But why $10 more than the UK Bb set.

No matter.
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:10 AM   #8
Triskele
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Default Re: Balance Tone VS. BT High Resonance Drone Reeds

Quote:
Originally Posted by DapperDan View Post
Hello,
I am also an incurable drone reed tinkerer. I am not familiar with the High Resonance model, but I have a set of the original (I may sell them on ebay shortly, because I'm not using them), and a set of the Bb reeds. I would say that you might not get the regular ones to tune down to 466. At least I couldn't, in my pipes, and with the bridles set at an easy/medium strength. Set very hard, maybe you could get them that flat. The Bb reeds on the other hand, will in fact get you to Bb, and even flatter. They also sound somewhat different, in ways other than pitch, which I can't quite describe. I like them, because I have a low pitch solo chanter, and don't like using extenders or other gadgets. They chord very well with each other, and with the chanter.
Can't really get a bad strike-in with them either. I don't really use them much because I couldn't quite get the steadiness and efficiency where I wanted (I don't use drone valves, maybe they're meant to be used with the ones he makes).
Thanks for your comments. I think our band only uses the Bb chanters once or twice a year, so not a big deal for me to purchase some Bb drone reeds and switch them out on those limited occasions. Normally we play at 476. Hoping I can get some good tuning pin adjustment range with these reeds. I think I just need to give them a try and see.
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:24 AM   #9
Triskele
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Default Re: Balance Tone VS. BT High Resonance Drone Reeds

Found a few YouTube videos by Bruce Hitchings talking about these in case anyone is interested. They helped answer some of my questions too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gH2j7551Sc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlf1_rKfqm0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cihv7WCi7HM

There are a few more if you just search "balance tone drone reeds" on YouTube.

I also received the following feedback from Henderson's regarding regular versus high resonance...

"The pitch and functionality of the reed styles are the same. The reed body material is different, and I believe the High Resonance has a nylon component. The reed body is harder and the dimensions are slightly smaller. In a “happy accident” kind of discovery, it turns out that the different material produces a brighter sound and achieves more harmonics with the notes on the chanter. The developer has done a lot of research on harmonics produced at different notes across reed bands."
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Old 08-19-2019, 06:37 AM   #10
will103
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Default Re: Balance Tone VS. BT High Resonance Drone Reeds

Hi folks, I use the high resonance drone reeds in my pipes and I really like them. Very steady and air efficient when set up for your particular chanter reed strength. They keep their tuning very well too. I have a set of the Bb also but have yet to find the time to try them out.

Beautiful tone in my opinion.

Very happy with the reeds.

Cheers, G
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