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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 07-19-2020, 07:41 AM   #11
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Which is your priority with drone reed? Chanter interaction or standalone drone s

Great point William about efficiency. What good is a great-sounding set of drones if they're air-hogs, and you're huffing and puffing trying to keep them going?

In general I'm more aware of efficiency with Low Whistles. You can have two whistles that sound pretty much the same, the same volume, but one might require you to push twice the volume of air through it.

Since you have to interrupt the tune to take breaths, how efficient a whistle is determines how long a note you can play. This is a big issue when playing slow airs.
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Old 07-21-2020, 06:07 AM   #12
Chris C.
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Default Re: Which is your priority with drone reed? Chanter interaction or standalone drone s

Stability and playability are paramount to me, basically -- do they stay on without squealing or warbling, do they strike in well, do they play well without sucking too much air, etc.

The tone is secondary to me. So long as they sound like drones, and the bass and tenors mix well, I'm fine with that.
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Old 07-21-2020, 09:44 AM   #13
piper_hm
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Default Re: Which is your priority with drone reed? Chanter interaction or standalone drone s

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris C. View Post
Stability and playability are paramount to me, basically -- do they stay on without squealing or warbling, do they strike in well, do they play well without sucking too much air, etc.

The tone is secondary to me. So long as they sound like drones, and the bass and tenors mix well, I'm fine with that.
Yep, the tone will come if your pipes are stable, air efficient and balanced. Why people willingly fight their pipes for that extra bit of tone baffles me...
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Old 07-26-2020, 05:47 PM   #14
William McKenzie
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Default Re: Which is your priority with drone reed? Chanter interaction or standalone drone s

Good points. Many of us in this thread have played for a number of years however so I wouldn't think anyone would be okay with reeds that aren't stable or air efficient.

Just more about finding a sound that makes me want to keep picking up my instrument and we have diverse viewpoints about what that sound is. The argument could also be made about wood types and aging I feel, so much back and forth and this baffles me also. It's the drone reeds more than anything else that determine tonal qualities by a huge margin.
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Old 07-27-2020, 01:21 PM   #15
Donald Ross
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Default Re: Which is your priority with drone reed? Chanter interaction or standalone drone s

I have not always known what combination of things resulted in the transcendent sound of all four pipes and reeds working in concert to produce a unified sound full of harmonics. I just know that when it happens, when I get that sound and feeling like when you run your wet finger around the top of a crystal glass or Tibetan singing bowl, that is it for me. There is no greater thing to hear in piping for me.

I know the drones and drone reeds themselves are a contributor. I know the chanter and reed and set up and where the tops are on the pins are a contributor. I know the room I am in and the height of the ceiling and materials the walls are made of are a contributor. I know that my exact blowing pressure is the final ingredient. Like when I hear that, I can blow my way out of it and then back into it because there is a specific blowing pressure that it needed in that moment to get the ultimate tone.

I suspect the material of the bag contributes, too, at least to the piper's ear and the ear of anyone located within a couple feet of the piper.

All I can tell you guys is every time I strike in, tune, warm them up, re-tune and get them going good, that sound is was I am pursuing. So, for me, any drone tone independent of the tone it produces with the chanter is kind of irrelevant. After all, I don't plan on spending a lot fo time just blowing the drones, without the chanter and in the band I was in, the pipe major never asked anyone with a sweet sounding pipe to change their drone reeds to make the band sound better.
Maybe if a person had a quiet pipe the P/M would ask that they try and have a pipe set up for more volume, but even then, you're not looking for a different sound, just more volume.

BTW, full disclosure - I am the same kind of obsessive about guitar, pickup, and amplifier combinations and what gets me the ultimate but elusive magic in the tone of an electric guitar, so take my comment with a grain of salt. I am a freak for these transcendent moments in music and I am aware of that fact.
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