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Chanter reed end of life signs

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  • Chanter reed end of life signs

    I donít have any problems with my chanter reed. I am just interested to know really, if the time ever comes.


    What would be some signs or symptoms of a chanter reed that is in its twilight? Would it be harder to tune, and be unstable?
    We musicians are enemies by disposition, thus treat every musician you meet, accordingly.

  • #2
    Re: Chanter reed end of life signs.

    This is a sign youíve been isolated too long! 😉

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    • #3
      Re: Chanter reed end of life signs.

      Originally posted by RJB View Post
      This is a sign you’ve been isolated too long! ��
      hope I don’t run out of reeds!
      We musicians are enemies by disposition, thus treat every musician you meet, accordingly.

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      • #4
        Re: Chanter reed end of life signs.

        When the P/M snaps it in half.

        Seriously, the tone/brightness begins to fade. Many don't necessarily hear the changes; but they may feel the reed to be easier. Sometimes, it will begin sounding 'dull'. It's easier to demonstrate to the piper by putting another reed in that demonstrates that the brightness of the reed as diminished.

        More obvious signs are squealing or chirping when going from high to low hand (e.g., going to low G) and/or starting to kick in too early. Yet, counter-intuitively, sometimes it becomes harder (or, more correctly stated, inefficient), like it feels water-logged.

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        • #5
          Re: Chanter reed end of life signs.

          Depends on its condition, really. I find that the reed gets a bit less stable, especially on the high A and low G. It becomes easier to overblow and the "sweet spot" gets smaller.

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          • #6
            Re: Chanter reed end of life signs

            Thanks for the answers all
            We musicians are enemies by disposition, thus treat every musician you meet, accordingly.

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            • #7
              Re: Chanter reed end of life signs



              Sounds... like it's dying... May soon... be dead...





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

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              • #8
                Re: Chanter reed end of life signs

                For me, a chanter reed sounds brassy and untamed when new.

                Then over time it mellows...then it gets a nice patina to the tone, and is sweet to play.

                Then it starts getting too weak. Sometimes too weak in pressure, so that it's hard to strike in cleanly, or hard to balance drone reeds with it.

                Or sometimes the pressure is adequate but it's wimpy and thin and dull in tone, not enough boldness or character.

                Then the whole cycle must begin anew!
                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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                • #9
                  Re: Chanter reed end of life signs

                  Does it help to put on a small elastic bridle to strengthen the reed? I have a reed that starts to squeal sometimes when going from higher notes to a low G... It's a frightening loud sound! Or do I need a new Reed? (reeds for smallpipes are rather expensive!

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                  • #10
                    Re: Chanter reed end of life signs

                    A bridle would make the reed easier. Unless you can find a way to get it to only apply pressure to the edges of the blades.
                    You don't have fun by winning. You win by having fun.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Chanter reed end of life signs

                      I missed seeing here if using a reed mandrel was mentioned...unaware if it applies to a smallpipe reed like a GHB reed.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Chanter reed end of life signs

                        A weak reed will reveal itself on birls, grips, throws...lack of bite and crispness.
                        "...I think that I will take two small bottles of Dubonnet and gin with me this morning, in case it is needed..."
                        Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother

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                        • #13
                          Re: Chanter reed end of life signs

                          Originally posted by Jim Fogelman View Post
                          A bridle would make the reed easier. Unless you can find a way to get it to only apply pressure to the edges of the blades.
                          A true double-reed bridle, like the ones used on uilleann pipe chanter reeds and oboe and bassoon reeds, can be used to make a reed either stronger or easier, sharper or flatter, etc, because you can adjust exactly where it puts pressure on the reed, and how much. (Unlike a rubber band.)

                          They can be wire, or in the case of my uilleann reed bridle cut out of sheet metal.

                          Highland pipes are outliers, in the double-reed world, for not having metal bridles as standard. We wouldn't have as many reed problems as we do, if all Highland chanter reeds came with metal bridles.
                          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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                          • #14
                            I too think I might be experiencing an end of life for my chanter reed..

                            Last night I played for just over an hour and was slightly adjusting tape chasing sharp and flat notes despite monitoring my blowing and moisture . The chanter would settle for a few moments but then a note would shift, or I'd overblow and everything would become in tune magically. Wasted a playing session being settled for 5 minutes at a time and then having to adjust something. Frustrating.
                            Happy Piping

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by William McKenzie View Post
                              I too think I might be experiencing an end of life for my chanter reed..

                              Wasted a playing session being settled for 5 minutes at a time and then having to adjust something. Frustrating.
                              I had this recently with a ghb reed...finally ameliorated the issues after I razor cut a slim ~1/2 mm off the lips.

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