Tom Clough'Fred Picknell low f sharp trouble

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Tom Clough'Fred Picknell low f sharp trouble

Postby andymay » Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:13 am

I've got an annoying pipes problem - ever come accross anything like this?

I've now made reeds/worked on something like 7 chanters by Tom Clough/Fred Picknell and i keep coming accross the same issue. I think the reeds i'm making for them must be pretty close to correct for those chanters because overall the tuning is coming out very good - surprisingly so. Reeds are based on the dimensions of Forster Charlton's reed for Tommy Breckons' chanter.

But time and time again the low F sharp is way too flat - like about 50 cents!!! This makes no sense to me because the rest of the chanter is within 5 cents of being perfect!! Even the D sharp is in tune!! And there's clear evidence on the chanter i'm working with at the moment of moving holes/lengthening keys to correct tuning.

I've made a lot of reeds over the year but i can't think of a reed trick which would really affect the F sharp note terribly much. I've a fella going to send me an origional Clough bag on the offchance there's anything to notice about the neck which could make a difference?

Of course i could just move the hole and that would fix the problem but it doesn't feel right as Clough was obviously capable of tuning the chanter mostly very well - and that there are so many with the same problem. I feel like i must be missing a trick and it's driving me nuts!!!

Any suggestions?

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Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:47 pm
Full Name: andy may

Re: Tom Clough'Fred Picknell low f sharp trouble

Postby pipemakermike » Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:44 pm

Hi Andy

I can't think of anything that could cause this sort of problem assuming that the hole is in the right place.
Could you measure the holes position relative to the "intune" holes near to it ( the G and E) I would expect it to be very close to midway between these 2 notes - possible just a hint nearer to the G

I haven't done any retuning/rereeding of any old chanters except one Elliot and one Armstrong (and a sack full of Burleigh's). The Elliot needed most of its finger holes filling and redrilling but that was because they had been opened up much too much in the past to try to get the chanter in tune but I didn't have to move the keyed holes on that one and was able to redrill the finger holes in the correct place without removing any wood.

I did wonder if it was possible that the bore of the Clough chanter had some sort of chambering in the area of the note.

Also I had a look in the Cocks and Bryant (second edition) that has a Clough chanter drawing and it does appear that the F# is set lower than I would expect although some of the spacing on that drawing is quite suspect especially the top f natural which looks too sharp and the top e which looks a bit flat.
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Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 5:05 pm
Location: Cambridge England
Full Name: Mike Nelson

Re: Tom Clough'Fred Picknell low f sharp trouble

Postby Dave S » Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:36 pm

Hi Andy,

I tend to agree with Mike about the chambering, I think David Burleigh used the same idea on some of his bottom notes, ie a hole drilled inside the bore but into the other wall of the bore thus making a tuning cavity.
Otherwise it may have something to do with the staple conicity, a longer finer taper would tend to lower the top notes ( i think that is correct -- but check I tend to mix them up, and down) thereby letting you put the reed further in. A short taper would tend to lift the top notes more for the same given blade width and length. If you can put a reed together with no taper and nearly no eye to check the effect -- it is quite marked.


Dave S
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Full Name: Dave Singleton

Re: Tom Clough'Fred Picknell low f sharp trouble

Postby adrian » Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:23 am

All DB's holes have a after-drill in the the bore; it's to do with the cheapness of his goods.
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