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This is driving me nuts - mouth-blown pitch vs. pipe-blown pitch

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  • This is driving me nuts - mouth-blown pitch vs. pipe-blown pitch

    So I have a bunch of reeds, and a bunch of chanters, and I'm in the process of getting a couple of reeds ready for the St. Patrick's Day festivities. I usually pitch at 475 in my pipes, but the gig will be played with a group pitching at 479.

    I can get 479 low / high A when mouth-blowing the chanter, but once it's in the pipes low A drops down to 475. From there trying to get the reed to pitch at 479 while in the pipes is a nightmare. I sink the reed, blow, sink some more, blow, and it goes to pieces. Seems like I can speed an hour chasing the pitch on just one reed, with really poor results.

    I'm playing Warnock & Warnock Chesney reeds in a Colin Kyo Laminate, McCallum McC2 Blackwood, RJM Blackwood, and a few polys as well. I blow between 25 - 30 inches of water.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

  • #2
    Re: This is driving me nuts - mouth-blown pitch vs. pipe-blown pitch

    Just for clarification- how deep-sunk a reed are we talking? Like... No hemp, jammed in as far as possible?

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    • #3
      Re: This is driving me nuts - mouth-blown pitch vs. pipe-blown pitch

      Originally posted by Neal Hinerman View Post

      Does anyone have any suggestions?

      Blow one reed for a week, don't worry about the pitch, then after a week set it to your target pitch.
      http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
      -- Formerly known as CalumII

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      • #4
        Re: This is driving me nuts - mouth-blown pitch vs. pipe-blown pitch

        @ Baggy - They start out midway in, and then get progressively deeper. And the deeper they get, the sharper High G gets.

        @ CalumII - Thank you, I'll give that a shot!

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        • #5
          Re: This is driving me nuts - mouth-blown pitch vs. pipe-blown pitch

          Your mouth is a different chamber size and shape from your chanter stock, for starters. Just for the heck of it, play the chanter with your tongue in different positions within your mouth and with your jaws slightly more open or closed while keeping you lips closed over the chanter tenon. I expect pitch will change slightly as you do that.
          Slainte Leibh/ Slan Leat, Bob Cameron

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          • #6
            Re: This is driving me nuts - mouth-blown pitch vs. pipe-blown pitch

            @ Klondike - Thank you! That's something I never thought of! I'll have to try it with a spare chanter stock I have, and see how that works. That would remove the size-of-the-mouth variable.

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            • #7
              Re: This is driving me nuts - mouth-blown pitch vs. pipe-blown pitch

              Keep in mind there are also pressure differences. When you mouth blow a reed you are able to push harder with your diaphragm which also raises the top hand pitch (since these notes require the most pressure) then you put it in the pipes and you're not blowing as hard so often the top hand can be flat compared to mouth blowing. Just a thought.
              Get in the circle!

              www.huskreeds.com

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              • #8
                Re: This is driving me nuts - mouth-blown pitch vs. pipe-blown pitch

                What Callum ll said.

                Paul.
                Against stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in vain.

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                • #9
                  Re: This is driving me nuts - mouth-blown pitch vs. pipe-blown pitch

                  Trying to set the pitch of a chanter by mouth-blowing is an exercise in futility.

                  If you're setting up a new reed, get it close, and then play it every day for a few days. Its pitch should stabilize. Once it has, then raise it or sink it until it's at your target pitch. Don't be too fussy about it: if you end up playing under different temperature/humidity conditions than where you set it up, the pitch will move a bit anyway.

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                  • #10
                    Re: This is driving me nuts - mouth-blown pitch vs. pipe-blown pitch

                    I thank you all for your comments. I've found 3 reeds that will work!

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                    • #11
                      Re: This is driving me nuts - mouth-blown pitch vs. pipe-blown pitch

                      Seems to me you have two different things going on, two different issues

                      1) mouth-blowing a chanter at the same pressure you blow in the bag

                      2) getting a chanter to play at 479.

                      About #1, I'm like you, I tend to mouth-blow at a slightly higher pressure than I play in the bag. For me it's not only a pitch thing, also reeds that play a nice High A when mouthblown can excessively skirl/crow on High A in the bag.

                      My old Pipe Major had the handy talent of mouth-blowing reeds at exactly the same pressure that he blew them in the bag.

                      I suppose it's simply a matter of practice.

                      About #2, glad that you have that sorted.
                      proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

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                      • #12
                        Re: This is driving me nuts - mouth-blown pitch vs. pipe-blown pitch

                        Originally posted by Neal Hinerman View Post
                        I thank you all for your comments. I've found 3 reeds that will work!
                        Huzzah! Congrats, man!

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