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Old 02-13-2019, 10:00 PM   #11
Green Piper
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Colorado, USA
Posts: 1,548
Default Re: Too much tape

Sounds like a combination of too easy a reed and the altitude and dryness of the climate. These often contribute to too high a top hand.

An example is when I try to use MacLellan reeds in my Shepherd chanter - the top hand gets too sharp and the high G in particular begins to chirp when excess tape is added. However, when I use a Troy reed, everything gets balanced again.

I am sure that if I tried the MacLellan and Shepherd at sea level, it would balance well.

I believe some Denver area bands are using G1 chanters with Adrian Melvin reeds.

Good Luck,
"Melancholy as the Drone of a Lancashire Bagpipe" (Behn, Aphra 1678. Sir Patient Fancy)
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:53 AM   #12
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Location: Massachusetts, USA
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Default Re: Too much tape

I agree that other steps should be taken before resorting to carving the bottom of the hole to "move it down." Yes, technically that's a solution, but it should be a last resort.

If the top hand is sharp, and thin on volume, I agree, the reed is probably too weak. My guess would be that the blades are not open enough.

You can try some of the following (so long as pipe major approves, that is):
  • Squeezing the reed firmly (but carefully) on the sides between your thumb and index finger (picture below for reference) ... press on the edges, around the area of the sound box, careful of the tips/blades at the top!
  • Use a reed mandrel to open the blades a bit
  • The suggestion previously to go off of Shawn Husk's video on clipping the top of the reed ever-so-slightly


Last edited by Pppiper; 02-14-2019 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:42 AM   #13
el gaitero
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Posts: 6,219
Default Re: Too much tape

Perhaps arguably ,immeasurably ..moving the bottom of the hole down has no effect. Just like taping it. Moving it ‘down’ ( enlarging it) may increase the volume so slightly.

Raising the top of a hole by carving brings it nearer to the end of the reed staple...shorter = higher pitch. The reed air ‘finds’ ’ the first ( whicever) open hole for the air to escape and produces that note sound.

Oval holes are oval to provide more opportunity to fine tune with tape over the top..and avoids an otherwise gargantuan round and louder note hole at the same centerline distance from the staple as the oval hole
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Old 02-16-2019, 09:06 AM   #14
Holy smoking keyboard!
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: North America
Posts: 3,278
Default Re: Too much tape


As I would not undertake to build... and then
to fly... my own helicopter :) ... neither do I
attempt... to make my own reeds... or to carve
a chanter...

Rather... were I in your spot... I would first rely
upon my band mates... and reed manipulation.
(Or another bucket o' tape... come to that. :)

That way... much less the chance... of irrevocable
difficulties... coming to bear...

Wishing you the Best of Good Fortune with it,


My friends all know,
With what a brave carouse...

Last edited by Pip01; 02-16-2019 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 02-16-2019, 09:26 AM   #15
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Location: New Jersey, USA
Posts: 91
Default Re: Too much tape

Hi Prairiepiper -

My band plays a similar, if not the same exact setup - G1 chanter, G1 platinum (I think? silver wrapping) reeds. All matched. My first reed gave me the same issue. It had lots of tape, (except, oddly on High A which was always miserably and unfixably flat) making some of the notes rather sound thin, and requiring extra attention moving tape and so on EVERY time we tuned up for a contest. It was probably an easy/medium reed, but it had to be shaved down for me to be able to play it. After a season and a half it was finally blown out, and I was built up a bit for a better reed - they issued me a new reed which I was able to play out of the box - probably the same easy/medium-ish range (I think I clocked it at 28"H20) but not shaved or even licked. This one was set easily and with minimal tape on the holes (though again, HA has no tape and is a hair flat).
So I'd say ask them for a new reed. Even if it's the same strength. I was aware of struggles others had with the reeds, and some were just duds and had to be replaced (I imagine this happens with any make of reed, I'm not slagging G1, and it may have been a first batch of a design that has since been improved). When they're set right, they have a big clear tone. So maybe you just have a dud. Or they're trying to get you to play at a strength you're not ready for, and you're not fully "blowing through" it. I found that the G1 reeds will start sounding at a low pressure, so you can play up the scale while underblowing. You should be able to blow a clear scale comfortably, and be able to overblow a little and get it to squeak on low G.

Last edited by DapperDan; 02-16-2019 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:02 PM   #16
Dan Bell
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Default Re: Too Much Tape

Originally Posted by Pppiper View Post
be sure you talk to your PM and/or sound guy before doing anything pertaining to your sound with the band.
This. I certainly do carve chanters when necessary, but it's wise not to modify a $150+ chanter when what's really needed is a new $15 reed.
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Old 02-22-2019, 02:34 PM   #17
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Location: Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey
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Default Re: Too much tape

I agree to ask for another reed or two to try. I also think it would be worth it for your PM (or other piper) to try your chanter/reed set up in their pipes. Adding or removing hemp is easy to do to accommodate the setup in different bagpipes. Also perhaps you could try their chanter/reed set up as a test in your pipes..... just a thought.
Did you practice yet today?
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