How do you reed it!

Pipemaking, reedmaking & maintanence. Expert pipemakers are eager to answer your questions

Re: How do you reed it!

Postby Dave S » Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:08 am

Hi all,
When "neck resonance" can be excluded as the cause of the top notes being flat - A & B, the following may open up a few new paths to a better tuned pipe.
If the top 2 or 3 notes are sharp and the rest are OK, you could also consider the staple size at the tip. The tip dimension controls the top notes and the butt end of the staple controls the bottom of the range. A change of 0.3mm making the very tip (over a 5mm taper) smaller (flatter) in will drop those notes about maybe 15-20 cents. But watch out as very small changes make a big difference to the high notes. Make up a mandrel or two with a different tip size (plus or minus 0.5mm) and test the results on a couple of reeds.
The taper on the staple (parallel bores generally need parallel staples) is how one can change the position of finger holes to suit ones hand size, so using Colin Ross hole placings will mean that his staple dimensions, coupled with the reed blade shape, width and length that he has refined over the years will get one very close to the end result you are looking for. Any change in any of the dimensions will mean lots of experimentation for the lucky punter!

It is possible to reed an unknown pipe without recourse to moving holes or taping them up (as in Half-Longs/Border pipes/Scottish smallpipes) by modifying the staple reed pairing to suit the hole position. Unless the pipe has been "corrected" in the bore, but even then it is possible - time consuming but possible.

I believe one can say "It is all in the taper of the staple and the way the cane bends" but remember check your measurements thrice before cutting once.

Regards

Dave
Dave S
 
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Re: How do you reed it!

Postby Richard Evans » Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:06 am

I don't think there are any specific secrets to reed making, other than attention to detail regarding dimensions and a willingness to be ruthless if things go wrong. It is something that gets easier with practice and is very rewarding.

This might be useful:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlIB3zqdDuc

(Shows adjustment of reed lips).

There is a depressingly long list of things that can make or mar a reed. Cane quality for a start, we usually use bassoon tube cane from Windcraft.

A good reed is physically strong, I assess the flexiblity of the blades when thinning. If the reed bends easily, it's probably on the weak side. Don't thin the lower half of the blades too much, aim for an even reduction in thickness up to the tip.

Chanters: a good reed will improve a poor chanter (sometimes surprisingly well) but there are many chanters out there which cannot be brought into acceptable tune simply by reed adjustment and there are some which have radical problems, sometimes for no obvious reason.
Just to confuse things still further, bag neck length and chanter stock shape/volume have an effect, mostly on the top notes, so swapping the chanter into another set for testing can produce odd results.

There is a real need for players to be confident in reed adjustment, it's a big weakness of the whole NSP scene which needs addressing.

Cheers
Richard
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Re: How do you reed it!

Postby Dave S » Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:24 am

Hi,
Richard left a thought at the end of his mail
**
There is a real need for players to be confident in reed adjustment, it's a big weakness of the whole NSP scene which needs addressing.
**
Not only NSP -----!!!!!!!!! people are far too afraid of their reeds, double or single or drone!


good scraping

Dave
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Full Name: Dave Singleton

Re: How do you reed it!

Postby workers and drones » Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:40 pm

Brilliant! Thanks for all this input and I have a multitude of channels to follow up. I am fairly new to piping - just over three years now - and I have nearly given up on a number of occaisions. I see it through a slightly different set of eyes. I am very keen to find out about the inner workings of pipes i.e. reeds; drones and chanter, and see this as a necessary part of learning to play, however my eyes say its very difficult to pick up the dark art of reed making. Yes, there are the usual you tube bits out there but the fantastic tips offered even in this short discussion from the more experienced than I, are priceless to a beginner such as myself and will give me routes to practice and hopefully perfect!.
I have made some in roads into the tuning of the top most notes (not perfect yet!) but have now developed the annoying squeaks/squeals occasionally from some of the bottom notes - FRUSTRATING!!! is this a by product of sorting out the other end?. My plan is to spend a number of summer months making reeds and with luck I might emmerge with that 1 good one!. Many thanks to all again for the contributions. W&D
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Re: How do you reed it!

Postby Dave S » Mon Apr 28, 2014 1:37 pm

Hi -- squeeks squeels etc are either leaking fingers, pads or a leaking reed -- oil the pads (if you have a few) hand creme your fingers and check the sides of your reed. See if you can get an experienced player to check out your set -- it may save you a reed or a pad !!

cheers

Dave S
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Full Name: Dave Singleton

Re: How do you reed it!

Postby workers and drones » Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:03 am

W&D
Many thanks for that - I'm fairly sure thats its a tiny leak from a pad somewhere down the bottom end but can't find it yet!! Have done suck test on the reed and on the chanter but this doesn't throw any prroblems up. It seems to be always low down in the range but doesn't always appear to be the same note. Have double/triple checked the reed and fingers coverage is good so I suspect a pad is leacking somewhere low down but not all of the time. The plan is to replace 1 at a time from low B and work up the chanter. Will leave this until next week as off for the summer to France to play and make reeds.

regards
W&D
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