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  • Help with drones

    My instructor (on Skype) recently noticed that one of my tenor drones is shorter than the other and said that this can result in a less optimal tone. He recommended to try and get it to where a little bit of hemp is showing, and that it might involve manipulating the reed to make it the same as the other, longer tenor drone. The problem is that both of the drone reeds look identical, in terms of the length of the tongue above the rubber band and in how far into the drone they are set. Is there anything else that might be resulting in the other drone needing to be shorter to stay in tune?

  • #2
    The reeds may look identical, but that doesn't mean that they'll be bang on with each other. I'd first try to sharpen the one reed in question (in further; shortened tongue; etc.) to see if that fixes it. It not, perhaps there is a difference in the drones themselves. Are these new or vintage pipes?

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    • #3
      What type of drone reeds are they?

      This could help:
      https://bagpipejourney.com/articles/...edadjust.shtml

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

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      • #4
        The first thing to look at is the screw or nose-cone adjustment on the reed, if possible. Move it in the same direction you want the slide to move.

        Moving the bridle on the reed is less ideal, because it also affects the air efficiency. Here, you want to move the bridle in the opposite direction to the way you want the slide to move. The adjustment on the bridle will be extremely small, think thousandths of an inch. The best way to see it is to look at the gap between the tip of the tongue and the reed body.
        http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
        -- Formerly known as CalumII

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Calum View Post
          The first thing to look at is the screw or nose-cone adjustment on the reed, if possible. Move it in the same direction you want the slide to move.

          Moving the bridle on the reed is less ideal, because it also affects the air efficiency. Here, you want to move the bridle in the opposite direction to the way you want the slide to move. The adjustment on the bridle will be extremely small, think thousandths of an inch. The best way to see it is to look at the gap between the tip of the tongue and the reed body.
          If the tongue is curved, moving the bridle opens or closes the tongue/body gap and affects efficiency. Now, with a flat tongue and an angle machined into the body at the clamping area, the bridle can be moved up and down that angle. This adjustment does not open or close the tongue gap, just alters the pitch.
          As an example, a set of A 466 Overtone reeds can be adjusted by the bridles only to cover 466 Hz to 476 Hz

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          • #6
            Very true, Tony, but I seem to recall David's instrument came over from Scotland where beds tend to be flat, certainly for the reeds you tend to find in instruments set up by makers or retailers.
            http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
            -- Formerly known as CalumII

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            • #7
              You can find out if what the effect of the drone itself is by switching one reed back and forth and take readings from an electronic tuner to see if you get the same result, or different results.

              You can find out what the effect of the reed is by switching two reeds between the same drone and seeing if you get the same result, or different results.

              Often it's a mix/blend of the two factors, the reeds and the drones.

              Best to find out rather than guess.
              Last edited by pancelticpiper; 01-15-2022, 04:03 AM.
              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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              • #8
                Do your drone reeds have hemp on them, and are they placed in the drones at the same depth? A little more hemp on the reed for the sharp drone may flatten it.
                Also, is the set new? If it had a previous owner or owners, someone in the past may have reamed out a reed seat in one drone to make a different reed fit better.
                Are the reeds balanced for pressure so they shut off at the exact same time? As said above sharpening or flattening with a tuning screw or nose cone, if your reeds have them, is much better than doing it from the bridle.
                One last thing to consider: Are the bag, stocks and hemped joints on the drones all air tight? A tiny bit of air escaping at the stock or tuning pin end can cause all sorts of tuning wonkiness.
                Before you start fixing problems with your reeds, check to see if the bag or stocks are leaking.
                http://www.youtube.com/user/Marcblur?feature=guide

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TwitchyFingers View Post
                  Do your drone reeds have hemp on them, and are they placed in the drones at the same depth? A little more hemp on the reed for the sharp drone may flatten it.
                  Also, is the set new? If it had a previous owner or owners, someone in the past may have reamed out a reed seat in one drone to make a different reed fit better.
                  Are the reeds balanced for pressure so they shut off at the exact same time? As said above sharpening or flattening with a tuning screw or nose cone, if your reeds have them, is much better than doing it from the bridle.
                  One last thing to consider: Are the bag, stocks and hemped joints on the drones all air tight? A tiny bit of air escaping at the stock or tuning pin end can cause all sorts of tuning wonkiness.
                  Good advice on most of that Twitchy. However, for the drone that is sitting lower on the pin (from what I understand from the poster), he would want to push the drone reed in further (or using some other method), sharpening the reed, thus moving the drone out further to match the other and achieve what his instructor wants. Correct?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks everyone for the advice though I confess some of it sounds like a foreign language, since this is still pretty new to me. To answer questions posed--my pipes were bought new about 18 months ago, and I am using EzeeDrone reeds

                    What I wound up doing was completely screwing in the screw at the bottom of the drone reed (no idea what that's called) and taking all the hemp off the reed so that it would sit further in. Those two things significantly sharpened the tone and got it to where the drones can stay longer, though still not quite long enough that hemp is showing. I just got a Colin Kyo chanter that is considerably sharper than my old chanter, so I really needed to sharpen up the drones.

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                    • #11
                      I would be good to know what make of drones you have.

                      It might or not make a difference to people giving advice, for example if you have the McCallum MacRae reproduction pipes, the two tenors are intentionally made to different specs, so I wouldn't expect the two tenors to be reeded the same.

                      Also EzeeDrone reeds vary a bit, despite being synthetic.
                      Last edited by pancelticpiper; 01-16-2022, 03:28 AM.
                      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
                        The drones are Wallace.

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                        • #13


                          [=Davidck;n1376205]

                          What I wound up doing was completely screwing in the screw at the bottom of the drone reed......and taking all the hemp off the reed so that it would sit further in. Those two things significantly sharpened the tone and got it to where the drones can stay longer, though still not quite long enough that hemp is showing. .

                          [/QUOTE]

                          ...this suggests that the reeds are not efficiently set...ie..the tongues are too long....producing a low pitch tone .

                          start over:

                          1) put the hemp back on ...set the reeds to ~1/8” away from the wood; ( btw...with zero hemp they are very likely to be leaking)

                          2) screw the pitch screw out....to a little over half way;

                          3) use a finger tip to scuff the rubber bridle gently forward to shorten the tongue ( raising the reed pitch) ...very light scuffs at the compass points....and in between. Ensure the front and rear edges of the bridle are very parallel...and always concentric around the reed body.
                          I’ve found with EZ drone reeds the FRONT EDGE of the bridle on the tenors usually ends up
                          just about 1/16” behind the little opening in the reed body that lets the air pressure thru to raise the tongue/vibrate.

                          with a set up reed in the drone...mouth blow it with fair blowing pressure to see if shuts off too soon ( like,..immediately) or ..if it still takes way too big a puff to blow it off.
                          You want it to shut off without getting a hernia trying to.

                          You can mouth blow and check against a tuner what pitch it’s at. ( rather than in the pipes) ; put the tenor top so a slim 1/8” of hemp is showings ...if you find the reed is blowing ‘flat’ [ having to shorten the height] ...screw in the pitch screw a half turn ( 180 degree turn) ; your objective is to get the tuned heigh of both tenors to be steady at ~1/8” height. Mouth blow the reeds for 8-10 seconds when checking against a tuner...as they will indeed flatten off a slight bit before becoming steady. .

                          when mouth blowing....get your lips sealed almost agains the reed seat wood.

                          EZ Drone reeds are finicky.....bridle movement needs to be in split fly hair increments ...keep at it

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