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Does a new chanter reed need to "break in"?

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  • Does a new chanter reed need to "break in"?

    Does a new chanter reed need to "break in"? Does it get a little easier to blow after it's been played a while?
    Blessings!
    Celt
    "Nothing will be impossible for you" -Jesus-

  • #2
    Re: Does a new chanter reed need to "break in"?

    to answer your question in a word yes!

    search the forum on things to do to break it in. but some things you might wanna try before you get into carving the reed to much and stuff like that is

    take the drones out of the stocks put in your rubber stoppers and just play the chanter reed for a while. Do this a few minutes a day on the new reed till it starts breaking in. I usually have 2 reeds going at a time a new one and one that is broke in just so i have a spare.

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    • #3
      Re: Does a new chanter reed need to "break in"?

      Here are a few more unorthodox ways of breaking in new reeds:
      http://bagpipejourney.com/articles/m...-breakin.shtml

      Most blow in a reed by simply playing it in the pipes for short periods until it reaches a good state—usually on the order of weeks, depending on how often and long it's played. Many pipers first scrape/sand the reed until it's slightly harder than is desired knowing that it will ease with time.

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

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      • #4
        Re: Does a new chanter reed need to "break in"?

        A reed does need break in time so search it out, and Andrew has loades of great advise and guidance you can't go wrong.

        Bruce
        The Original West V Piper.

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        • #5
          Re: Does a new chanter reed need to "break in"?

          From my experience it takes about 6-10 hours of combined playing time on a reed to break in. Awhile back I replaced a dead reed with a Shepard medium and as time progressed I did minor adjustments, sanding, shaving, squeeze this, pinch that, etc. I would play between 15 minutes to half an hour almost on a daily basis. Right now the reed is just about there. The fine adjustments and tuning are very minimal now. I am very close in reaching my "comfort zone" concerning pressure and sound.

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          • #6
            Re: Does a new chanter reed need to "break in"?

            Absolutely. Different reeds have different playing in times. A ridge cut reed for example will blow in very quickly. There are short cuts, but just playing gives best results and longest reed life.
            www.schoolofpiping.com

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            • #7
              Re: Does a new chanter reed need to "break in"?

              Originally posted by PMT View Post
              Absolutely. Different reeds have different playing in times. A ridge cut reed for example will blow in very quickly. There are short cuts, but just playing gives best results and longest reed life.

              Couldn't have said it better.

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              • #8
                Re: Does a new chanter reed need to "break in"?

                Yes
                A reed needs to break in and you do that by playing it
                All it has to do is settle in the very unique environment in your chanter, your chanter stock, your bag, your moisture level etc.

                After playing for a week at about 15-30 min a day then it should have broken in and if it is still uncomfortable then I would sand it
                That is how I have done it and that is how i was taught to do it

                Also yes a reed gets easier as you play it for longer
                This happens when the pores of the reed are filled with moisture and dont allow air into themselves

                Jack
                Last edited by jackhawkpiper97; 03-06-2010, 03:43 PM. Reason: needed to add more info
                Serving Jello with a ladle since... forever

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                • #9
                  Re: Does a new chanter reed need to "break in"?

                  I know it's an old thread...

                  After a break in then the chanter should be heard with the drones?

                  Right now my drones are all I hear and nothing from the chanter .
                  guitar players go for a nickel a gross. Bagpipers can name their price.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Does a new chanter reed need to "break in"?

                    If you break in a reed, i think it only gets a little easier. So i bet it is best to get a reed fairly close to your comfort level of strength.
                    After it breaks in, hopefully it is more consistent and you will know what it does after 10 minutes of playing.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Does a new chanter reed need to "break in"?

                      Depends on the reed. I've always found Donald Macphee's medium reeds to be "plug and play". I was hired to pipe for the first day of school at a private school this morning and last night I wasn't happy with my solo chanter reed as it seems to have gotten too easy. I put in a new reed and it was great right off the bat. Thought I was going to have to use my band chanter and reed, but that was not the case. Piped at the school early this morning, reed sounded great, lots of compliments. Macphee medium reed with McC2 ABW chanter.

                      Cheers -

                      Wes

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                      • #12
                        Re: Does a new chanter reed need to "break in"?

                        I'm no authority on technical issues, but I believe what piperchase is saying (upon his resurrecting the thread) is that his chanter reed is not sounding at all, and he is asking if breaking it in will change this and how long that would take.

                        Breaking in a reed should just bring it down to a comfortable/sustainable playing pressure, not turn it from an unblowable reed into a playable one.

                        My supposition is that his chanter reed is simply too hard for him, or possibly another setup issue. (?)

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                        • #13
                          Re: Does a new chanter reed need to "break in"?

                          Originally posted by Piperchase View Post
                          I know it's an old thread...

                          After a break in then the chanter should be heard with the drones?

                          Right now my drones are all I hear and nothing from the chanter .
                          No sound from the chanter can only mean insufficiient air pressure to vibrate the reed blades to produce constant sound. Reed is too hard for you..or you're not giving what it takes....air pressure and ...what I call ..'the hulk' of your left arm down on the rock hard bag

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                          • #14
                            Re: Does a new chanter reed need to "break in"?

                            Some reeds blow in more than others. It depends on the cane used and the vagaries of the individual reed. Personally, I'd rather shave a down and have it be a little on the easy side than struggle with it for very long.

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