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Rejuvenate old cane reeds?

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  • Rejuvenate old cane reeds?

    Anyone have a tested methodology for this?

    ​​​​​​. Lots of us have a drawer full of old reeds....I know I do..... Many probably/maybe still quite ok...sent to the grave yard only due to syn reed dominance.

    I'm looking to set up some nice bass reeds .. hopefully without buying more/new to add to the drawer..

  • #2
    I think this is not a easy process...
    I have mostly done this with chanter reeds...

    I would try out the reeds, blowing by mouth - Just to get a feeling. - You know... does the reed "respond"?
    How does the resistance feel?
    pick out 2 or 3
    Try them in the drone, and feel to the "in--put" and "out-put." Is the resistance hard, but you dont get a lot of volume? Does it feel vibrant?
    Try them in the pipes. For 3-4 practice sessions.
    And then see, if any of them will do.
    If not...
    Try all over, or try some different reeds.

    Well, I think most reed should work, but if you want an older (or new) reed to work is has to be given some time, before you can dertimene if it will really do.


    • #3
      Put the reeds in a Tupperware container that’s big enough to have a moist towel or sponge next to them. They should soak up enough moisture to spare you the nightmare of trying to get a bone dry reed going. From there you should be able to use the regular tricks to get them going.
      I almost did that the other day. I’m happy I chose a synthetic bass. I had it going in minutes. Got the Pipes locked in and I played for 45 minutes. No fuss. I think I’ll carry on with my canning bass and black kelt tenors.


      • #4
        Are they your old reeds or someone else's? If they've been previously played or otherwise discarded they might be no good even if you get them going. I once got an awesome bass drone reed from an old pipe box, so it's possible. But new reeds may be a better bet. Older reeds can get a set in the tongue making it hard to set them to pressure or stay stable. Still, it's fun mucking around with reeds, as long as you have a tolerant family...


        • #5
          What raised my zeal ( again) very recently was to hear a former top student play a few tunes at his home party....he was at the open stair hall balcony at the 2nd level and the drones volume cascade down..enhanced by the balcony ~20' clear ceiling height.

          I was berserk how well big and booming the bass sound came thru...and with puffed chest was proud they were my McCallum acetyl parade pipes ....and how great this 2x world champion titled player was making them sound.

          NOT!!...Turned out they were his own McCallum abw pipes we'd acquired new about 15 years ago as his first set. In his current Grade 2 world champions band he was playing a cane bass with EZ tenors.

          So the quest is now on to see if I can get my acetyl McCallum set sound as well ...BIG... using a cane bass.,..figuring they are both McCallum pipes.

          Granted ...his set has a hide bag... whereas my own set is on a hybrid bag.
          Last edited by el gaitero; 03-19-2023, 04:02 AM.