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Reeding a new Naill ABW chanter… Chris Apps reeds

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  • Reeding a new Naill ABW chanter… Chris Apps reeds

    This morning I had my first experience with a new Chris App reed - it was fun working through the order process (cane PC reed and 4x chanter reeds… 26” (super senior )…Chris’ wife runs the interaction… she’s a pleasure to work with!

    Im still green, but was able to get the reed/chanter balanced, but at 483. Taped high A/G, so I may go back and see if I can raise the reed a wee bit.

    Question- as a solo piper am I at a disadvantage at 483 in this chanter? I sanded a MacPhee to 478, but I like the option of ordering a set “weight”… for me 26” is fun to play.

    Looking for opinions on Naill/Apps interaction and the thought that 483 might be too high for solo work.

    Appreciate the discussion.

  • #2
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    • #3
      You will get lots of opinions to that question; but there are also a number of variables. At first blush, I'd say that 483 is very sharp; and you're having to tape down the high hand is an additional guide. But let's get to some of the variables. Is that number from the reed in your pipes? Is the reed too easy (and thus easy to overblow and increase that number, especially when factoring in nerves, etc.)? How about steady blowing? (No insult intended, but so many have issues with steady blowing and/or the so-called "blowing for tone"...another debatable concept). A lot of individual preferences; but, again, I'd likely be more comfortable back in the 476-478 region you cited. Others will have their (much better) opinions and suggestions. Good hunting.

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      • #4
        All good… that 483 reading was in the pipes using a pressure gauge in the middle tenor blown at 26”, pet Chris. Optically, my drones are “below” the hemp (none showing on the pins). Chris mentioned opening the bridle. Before that… I’ll move the reed out a tad… at 477… majority of my notes were “flat”… not interested in carving every hole yet.
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        • #5
          In the spirit of knowing I'm pointing out the obvious, how does it sound? If all of the notes are in the proper pitch in relationship to the low/high A, and the notes sound rich and full, 483 is no disadvantage. I don't think judges/audience necessarily hears slight pitch deviations between successive competitors. They hear tone quality, steadiness, tuning, rhythmic integrity, and execution. All above is, of course, my opinion.

          I certainly wouldn't mind hearing a great instrument at 483 than a thin, out of tune, unsteady one, with fat, un-synchronized embellishments at 476.
          "What we play is life." - Louis Armstrong

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          • #6
            1) Blow hard enough it sounds. What is this “blown at 26” on a manometer”? I doesn’t matter what pressure the chanter reed is supposed to play at, put it in and blow so that it plays, that’s it.

            2) That’s a lot of tape on high A and although some of it needs to come off, remarkable that F is still gonna be flat. This doesn’t look like a very good reed/chanter combo to me. If you pull the reed out to flatten high A and G, you’ll lose F along the way. The only solution is what you’ve found, shove it in to get the F up and tape high A and G. Low A pitch is 483, well, there it is. Fairly standard pitch of many very modern chanters.
            My Piping Blog (recordings, articles, reviews, etc.) - Homepage - Pekaar's Tune Encyclopedia - Convert BMW to ABC

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            • #7
              I've played Apps reeds in Naill chanters, and they tend to go well together. To me, and just based on the picture, that reed is absolutely buried in the seat. Do you have any wiggle room at all to back the reed out of the seat? I'm wondering if the F is double-toning as opposed to just being flat. Is the mouth/eye of the reed really open?

              483 is fine. Many people will say "sharp," but I think it's fine. The notion of it being sharp should really only come from two places- it sounds shrill (and that's a tone quality thing not a hertz/pitch thing) or if you're playing in a group and you are sharp to the group's pitch mean

              Otherwise, 483 is fine. Maybe a tiny bit sharper than the cultural average, but then again I doubt the average of most players is 480 anymore. Pitch-wise, if the notes are in tune, you're in with good company at that pitch!
              Jack
              Serving Jello with a ladle since... forever

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              • #8
                To add to perhaps the obvious, there's a generalized concept of such-and-such maker's reed in such-and-such chanter. That said, and back to variables, it's not always that way. Even with my favorite combination, I occasionally get a reed that doesn't work for multiple reasons. They are natural materials, after all (unless we're talking synthetic). I just switch to another, rather than spending too much time in compromising to make one fit.

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                • #9
                  I played a second reed today, from the original order of 4 and it pitched in at 478, with good alignment on the Braw tuner. High A/G we’re still taped.

                  Chris offers a numerical blow strength for a couple of dollars more a reed… I had been playing 30”, but decided on an easier blow… these are at 26” and to my ear sound just fine… with the exception of the High A… thin and “tricky”.

                  First exposure to the App reeds… the cane blades are considerably shorter than the MacPhee reeds I had been playing (478)… in the original photos… I did have the reed “sunk” into the chanter… attempting to get the best trade off on the lower hand. No carving yet .

                  I still have 2 more reeds to test… but, I’m not sold on the App/Naill ABW combination yet. But I have more work to do and will see how the rest of the batch measures up.

                  So many variables… while isolating for blow strength there is no is guarantee the reed will work in a specific chanter at $23/reed it’s an expensive Easter egg hunt. I probably should have reached back to Martin/David at Naill for opinions. Still… it’s a hobby… happy to share support.

                  Perhaps we could create a “sticky” in the forum… canter maker/vintage/material/reed maker selected/comments/photos?

                  I’m happy to donate the cost of a reed to assist in the upkeep of this forum… appreciate the suggestions/opinions.

                  Leo


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                  • #10
                    Last time I tried Apps reeds in my chanters, the tiny reeds were so sharp on the low A I actually couldn’t push the reeds in far enough to get the high A sharp enough to get an octave so in my view you’re doing alright with them, relatively speaking anyway.
                    My Piping Blog (recordings, articles, reviews, etc.) - Homepage - Pekaar's Tune Encyclopedia - Convert BMW to ABC

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by LeoCDN View Post
                      interaction… she’s a pleasure to work with!

                      Im still green, but was able to get the reed/chanter balanced, but at 483. Taped high A/G, so I may go back and see if I can raise the reed a wee bit.


                      Looking for opinions on Naill/Apps interaction and the thought that 483 might be too high for solo work.

                      Appreciate the discussion.
                      you didn’t mention how new/old the Naill chanter is. It would be good to know from the maker what the bench design pitch range is for it.
                      No sense imo chasing an unachievable pitch that would not be balanced ...if indeed achieved.



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                      • #12
                        Checking the bench design is a great suggestion… my chanter was purchased in June ‘21, I’m making the assumption it’s Naill’s current design. The team in this shop is great to work with… let me check!
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by LeoCDN View Post
                          Checking the bench design is a great suggestion… my chanter was purchased in June ‘21, I’m making the assumption it’s Naill’s current design. The team in this shop is great to work with… let me check!
                          Well ok,...thinking no problems;...if you’d said it was a ~10 yr or older Naill could be a different discussion..

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