Low pressure chanter reeds

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Low pressure chanter reeds

Postby Barry Say » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:23 am

Adrian has long been known for playing his pipes at extremely low pressure.

The disadvantages in playing at low pressure are often quoted as:
  • The pipes will be very quiet.
  • It is more difficult to maintain a steady pressure.
Adrian's pressure seems steady enough to my ear's and his pipes seem to have an acceptable volume as far as I am concerned, and he could be heard quite clearly at the Manchester day playing in ensemble with Andy May and Pauline Cato.

Adrian, In order to experiment with this lighter pressure, it would be interesting to know how you scrape your reeds to play at such a low pressure.

Barry Say
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Re: Low pressure chanter reeds

Postby adrian » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:46 am

I have uploaded a basic picture of how I make a reed.
My way of scraping and rubbing:
I don't take the skin off by scraping it with a knife! I put the reed onto a board of 280 wet&dry. The wire of the reed is just off the board, all above it is rubbed. my 1st finger is placed on the reed about 1/8" below the tip and the sides of the lower end of the reed are gripped by my thumb and 2nd finger. The reed is rubbed from side to side as to get parallel markings on the rubbed area on both sides of the reed. As you look from the tip-end, the curved reed will develope a flat on both sides, running down the shanks of both blades. This is when I start to turn the reed as I rub it side to side , to rub the sides of the reed. I keep doing this till most of the skin is off. At the same time, I try to get an even rub from tip to wire by tilting my wrist down. I end up with a U shape. I then scrape the rest of the skin from the sides and the U. I then put my finder on the tip of the reed, so my finger tip is half of the wet&dry. I rub up and down till the tip starts to feather. I end up with a reed which, when held up to the light, shows more light through the top 3rd and bottom 3rd of the blades. I then scrape the middle 3rd and bring it into line with the rest. This will have to be videoed as whatever I put into print, I can't descibe what I am doing!
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