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

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Old 10-11-2019, 03:55 PM   #1
Mctaorluath
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Default Early Henderson bore sizes

Hi all. Looking to find an expert on early Henderson bore sizes. I have a late 1800s set that needs bass mods as at modern pitch bass is unsteady with tons of reeds used. Have tried narrower bottom section to get up to pitch which has worked but bass roughens and harmonics subdued, which brings me back to modern equivalent sets bass sound. Looking to play these at solo comp standard in Scotland so crucial input needed.

Last edited by Mctaorluath; 10-11-2019 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 10-11-2019, 04:52 PM   #2
William McKenzie
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Default Re: Early Henderson bore sizes

I think you'll find a lot of opinions on this. I do believe from reading over the years that some Henderson years had bottom sections slightly too large which resulted in unsteadiness or difficulty reeding, especially for modern pitch.

Since you are in the UK I would reach out to Alastair Dunn at R.G. Hardie and ask about the Henderson bores as he'll have the experience and all the Henderson records. I would guess they could reproduce a suitable bass section with a slightly (~1/32 bore) narrower bore which may be what you need to 'get there'. If you're looking outside of the UK then I would absolutely recommend Ringo Bowen (Bagpipe Museum) and Jim McGillivray who have extensive knowledge in measurements, reproductions/repairs, and history.

Let us know what you figure out.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:40 PM   #3
magsevenband
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Default Re: Early Henderson bore sizes

Sounds like you need a rebore...it's a common problem and will solve the issue.
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Old 10-12-2019, 08:40 AM   #4
Bob Harper
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Default Re: Early Henderson bore sizes

I think the suggestion to contact Alastair Dunn is an excellent one. That's where I would start. But on Henderson bores: It depends a lot on who does the measuring and when - wood moves over time. Something to keep in mind when measuring is that the makers then were dealing in inches, and were probably buying their drill rod in stock sizes, if not actually machining their own. The measurements I have are in digital format, then converted to inches. For Pre-1920 Hendersons are 23/64" for the bass bottom bore, but some have measured at 11/32". I'd be happy to share the measurements I have for four sets of Hendersons - actual digital measurement and fractional conversion. (These are not my measurements, but ones I collected about 15-20 years ago into one document for my own use and performed the fractional conversions.)
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:04 AM   #5
Roddy Livingstone
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Default Re: Early Henderson bore sizes

This might sound obvious, but before going for anything as radical as a ‘rebore’ or replacing the bottom joint, have you checked there are no leaks around the bush or ring cap? I only mention this as I have experienced unsteadiness on old Henderson’s and this was the cause.
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:35 AM   #6
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Early Henderson bore sizes

Imma beat Shawn to the punch and suggest the really easy and reversible inserting a brass or aluminum tube.

And my question is, if using synthetics, have you tried an X-TREME regular bass? I have not found better.
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Old 10-13-2019, 05:57 PM   #7
magsevenband
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Default Re: Early Henderson bore sizes

That wood has most likely moved all over the place and/or were not bored accurately from the get go..choking off the drone reeds from playing smoothly and causing all manner of drone reeds to malfunction....just because they are old doesn't mean they are a quality job.
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Last edited by magsevenband; 10-13-2019 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:39 AM   #8
magsevenband
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Default Re: Early Henderson bore sizes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roddy Livingstone View Post
This might sound obvious, but before going for anything as radical as a ‘rebore’ or replacing the bottom joint, have you checked there are no leaks around the bush or ring cap? I only mention this as I have experienced unsteadiness on old Henderson’s and this was the cause.
That is sound advice as well.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:30 AM   #9
Lancelot
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Default Re: Early Henderson bore sizes

I have had a bass drone that was acting up in the past when tuned on the sharper end of the spectrum. It seemed to happen when I got below a certain point on the lower tuning pin. There were a couple of fixes.

1) Check the hemping on the bottom joint. If it gets lose as you go down the pin it can cause all sorts of weird sounds as the pitch sharpens. This may indicate a issue with the middle sections boring not being consistent.

2) Seating of the reed. How firm is it seated? In some cases you may need to ream or tap the bottom of the base to get enough purchase on the reed.

3) Tune up higher in the pin. I had one bass where I couldn’t get croziers (carbon fiber), henderson harmonic (the carbon fiber ones), ezee (regular), or a hand full of other reeds to work when I went below a certain point on the lower pin until I addressed the issues with hemping and seating. However, I found the Kinnaird Evolution and Regular bass reeds allowed me to tune higher on the lower bass pin and avoid (but not fix) the issue.

Your mileage may very.
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Old 10-15-2019, 09:39 AM   #10
Dan Bell
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Default Re: Early Henderson bore sizes

Assuming you've done the easy stuff (maintenance, trying different reeds, etc), I'd strongly suggest finding a pipe maker willing to make a project of working with you on this set. There are lots of factors (straightness of the bore, size of the bore, movement of the wood, etc) that could be contributing to the problems, and it's going to take an experienced eye to sort out exactly what's going on. A pipe maker can also make replacement parts to experiment with before/instead of altering the original wood (which, obviously, isn't reversible).
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