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Best Reed 'secrets' for Piobaireachd High G

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  • Best Reed 'secrets' for Piobaireachd High G

    OK so I'm out rompheling with a new reed and it gives a funky thin Piobaireacd High G. So I futz with it to no avail and It got me thinking about what are the tips of the pros for getting that note right. I heard our always well informed Jim Mc. that ridge back reeds don't give a good high G, and I am thinking that he is right. But I want to know why this is so? What reeds and what tips do the better ceol mor players have for us bottom feeders on how to set up the chanter for ceol mor. My old teacher Donald Shaw Ramsey told me when I was a kid, but being a kid I didn't listen and I didn't write down what he said.

    Cheers

    Ron Teague
    Ron Teague

    The Cheesy Piobaireachd Player

  • #2
    Re: Best Reed 'secrets' for Piobaireachd High G

    For some reason moulded reeds work better than ridge-cuts. I think it has to do with the even taper of the cane from the staple to the lips, as opposed to the thick mass of cane in the middle of ridge-cut reeds. I have improved ridge-cuts by shaving down the 'hunchback' on each side, but there's no substitute for a moulded reed here - John Elliott's reeds are excellent.

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    • #3
      Re: Best Reed 'secrets' for Piobaireachd High G

      I found in my Naill chanter that Donald MacPhee's reeds worked the best for producing a Piobaireachd High G. Troy reeds also were quite nice. I recently began playing a Somers ABW chanter, and found that I have to tape the High G hole to get the desired sound for the Piob High G.

      I should mention, I often intentionally submit tunes with no Piobaireachd High G, to avoid this problem on contest day - adjusting tape between Piobaireachd and Light Music events, is rather annoying, however, when playing for my own enjoyment, I will do so just to get a tune going.

      2 years ago, I had a Megarity Ross Reed that had been my band reed for the first part of the year (Sept - February). I played it in Solos from February 2001 - May of 2002. It had been shaved and poked and DID produce a nice Piobaireachd High G.....but sadly that reed entered the "Reed Graveyard."

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      • #4
        Re: Best Reed 'secrets' for Piobaireachd High G

        Originally posted by Gregor Burton:
        I had a Megarity Ross Reed ... It had been shaved and poked and DID produce a nice Piobaireachd High G.....
        At a seminar I attended, this issue came up. Steve Magarity took the reed and sanded the reed at the edges below the shoulder---i.e. a cross-section of the reed would go from an approximate rectangle shape to an approximate oval shape, this is an exaggeration, but gives you the idea. This did improve the sound of piobaireachd high-G for the provided ridge-back reed. (Why exactly? I haven't the foggiest.) Might be something to try.

        Andrew
        Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. BDF Moderator
        BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Best Reed 'secrets' for Piobaireachd High G

          Regarding the piobaireachd high g, it is my opinion that there are several factors at work with this note. First, the pitch of the modern day chanters is getting higher and higher. Higher sometimes means less stable.
          Second, the reeds that are not ridge cut do work better because more of the blades are vibrating, therefore this means the vibratory rate is slower which translates into a more stable note.
          Third, the hole is in the wrong spot - this is usually done to accomodate the light music player or the pipe band. This can be fixed by undercutting the top of the hole in the chanter. I do not recommend that this be done by just anyone - the carving up of chanters has become a bit of a nightmare. The hole will still be round but a little bit off the top may become necessary. Also, in my opinion, chanters are "incomplete" in many ways. Being a woodwind instrument as it is, there ought never be sharp edges anywhere. If you look inside the chanter, there are lots of them, especially where the holes are drilled into the wood. The thickness of the hole increases as you go up the chanter toward High A. Some of the old chanters have been undercut and the tone that is produced is rich and true. The air needs to flow smoothly and not have to make any sudden turns. This leads to notes that are not true.
          Tunes with high g are being lost due to the sound of the high g in many cases. The old Hardie chanters are the best for the piobaireachd high G's - probably due to the location of the hole. You will note it is higher up than the modern chanters.
          Having said this, I play a Naill and the high G is as close to perfection as can be - I "tickled" it a bit and undercut the hole as I mentioned above. Of course, I manipulated the reed to make it work properly so this creates the high g sound you are after.
          I hope this helps.

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          • #6
            Re: Best Reed 'secrets' for Piobaireachd High G

            I agree whole heartedly with Ian here. Very good advice.
            www.appsreeds.com

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            • #7
              Re: Best Reed 'secrets' for Piobaireachd High G

              If you're a piobaireachd player, then the quality of your piob'd high G will be determined at reed selection time. As discussed above, some makes have a better high G than others, and some reeds within the same make have a better high G than others. When I'm picking reeds the piobaireachd high G is one of my priority selection criteria. And not just a good piobaireachd high G, but a high G that goes for both piob'd and light music without my having to move the tape.

              There are so many good reeds out there if you know your chanter well these gems aren't hard to find.

              Jim
              MCGILLIVRAY PIPING & PIPETUNES.CA
              www.piping.on.ca
              www.pipetunes.ca
              [email protected]

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              • #8
                Re: Best Reed 'secrets' for Piobaireachd High G

                I had never thought about sharp edges affecting anything but the comfort of the player.
                So is this why antique chanters have smooth finished holes then?
                I always, up 'till now anyway, put this down to wear, as in old stone steps being worn down through much use.
                Cheers

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Best Reed 'secrets' for Piobaireachd High G

                  I had never thought about sharp edges affecting anything but the comfort of the player.
                  I think he was talking about the INSIDE of the chanter Rog.
                  www.appsreeds.com

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                  • #10
                    Re: Best Reed 'secrets' for Piobaireachd High G

                    Our fingers rest inside the chanter as well n'est pas?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Best Reed 'secrets' for Piobaireachd High G

                      Okay, I've been reading these posts on the piobaireachd high G. For those of us who don't play piobaireachd, what is the difference between the piobaireachd high g and the high g I play when soloing or playing in the band?

                      From what I read, it sounds like a stronger and "fuller" sounding high g. If that is the case, why not have the same sounding high g for the band?

                      I have listened to some piobaireachd recordings and competitions and at some point I would like to take some p. lessons, but something else needs to change to make room for that.

                      Bill Adam
                      Character is what you are when no one is looking.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Best Reed 'secrets' for Piobaireachd High G

                        "Our fingers rest inside the chanter as well n'est pas?"

                        Huh? Maybe mine are too fat. Damn! I was hoping I could put off dieting for a few more years!
                        "Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading".--Unknown

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                        • #13
                          Re: Best Reed 'secrets' for Piobaireachd High G

                          Originally posted by Bill Adam:
                          what is the difference between the piobaireachd high g and the high g I play when soloing or playing in the band?
                          The top hand middle finger is down closing the F hole when sounding the High-G, instead of the E, F, G all being open.

                          Originally posted by A Celtic Traveler:
                          ... the reeds that are not ridge cut do work better because more of the blades are vibrating, therefore this means the vibratory rate is slower which translates into a more stable note.
                          Isn't the vibratory rate the same regardless of the reed since that determines the pitch? Two surfaces, in order produce the same pitch need to vibrate at the same rate, same Hz. i.e. if you can get a 2x4 to vibrate at 474 Hz, it'll be the same pitch as a chanter reed at 474 Hz. (Different harmonics and a different sound wave, but same fundamental.)

                          Don't get me wrong, I agree a beefier vibrating surface will be less prone to variation. In that I totally agree with Ian. (God knows, Ian's experience and playing is on an entirely different level than mine!)

                          Andrew
                          Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. BDF Moderator
                          BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Best Reed 'secrets' for Piobaireachd High G

                            Thanks Andrew.

                            By the way, do you work with the pipers for Santa Cruz HS? I was a music judge at the high schools band review. The pipes sounded pretty good. probably the most intune HS pipe corps I heard this season.

                            I blew a few minds when a band director judging music was making comments about pipes and what adjustments they should make about tuning.

                            Bill Adam
                            Character is what you are when no one is looking.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Best Reed 'secrets' for Piobaireachd High G

                              Originally posted by Bill Adam:
                              By the way, do you work with the pipers for Santa Cruz HS? I was a music judge at the high schools band review. The pipes sounded pretty good. probably the most intune HS pipe corps I heard this season.
                              Well, I wish I could take credit for my PM Jay Salter's work, but I can't! Jay's been teaching the pipers at Santa Cruz High for a number of years. There's some up and coming pipers in that group, not always the steadiest blowers (it'll come with time), but very good fingers.

                              Andrew
                              Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. BDF Moderator
                              BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

                              Comment

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