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leaking pads false notes

PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:57 pm
by ethnopiper
Hello, i have renewed all the pads on my 7 keyed northumbrian smallpipe chanter myself. i did have problems with leaking pads and i removed them, put Vaseline on the pads and pushed them in to the key seats. this has solved the problem of squeaking notes, loss of pressure and false notes...

but my main problem now is the D note on the bottom of the chanter, when i press the key the note is not in tune as before. it is nearly a quarter tone flatter than before i changed the pads. i have taken the key off and cleaned the hole, i have oiled the inside of the chanter, i have checked for leaks.... but the low D note is still flat where as all the other notes are in tune with the drone (i am comparing all notes against the drone), this was not the case before i changed the pads. can the pads have a drastic change to 1 note? is there any thing i can do to solve the problem? has this happened to anyone before? i have also put cotton wool into the bottom of the chanter. in my 30 years of playing i have not come across this, i do not want to undercut the D hole to make it sharper as i am sure it is another problem.

any adivce
many thanks,

Re: leaking pads false notes

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:19 am
by andymay
Hi Kevin,

That sounds like a right pain!!

Is it possible that the chanter has always leaked until now? The low D would probably play quite a bit sharper in the case of a leak somewhere above that hole?

However my suspicion is the reed. It's possible to over-scrape a reed so much that the low D sinks. I could imagine that the reed may have ended up in this condition as a solution to a tendency to squeak - generally more scraping = less squeaking, albeit with a loss of brightness in the tone.

Now that you've re-padded the chanter the tendency to squeak is fixed once and for all. Maybe it's a good idea to try some other reeds and see if that fixes the problem?


Re: leaking pads false notes

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:48 pm
by ethnopiper
Thanks Andy,
the pads have been on the chanter since got the pipes in 1987 !! they were congealed with years of oiling... they were sticking to the pads seats, so i do not think they were leaking, i changed them as they were not lifting easily off the reed seat. the condition of the reed is a one for consideration, i have to try many reeds to see if this is the case. something happen to the reed/chanter after i changed the pads... all the other notes stayed the same but the bottom D changed. i am still hoping it is the pads... so i can change them easily. i will remove all the keys again and bluetack all the holes except the D to see if there is a leak above the D hole. at least i will eliminate that possibility.
then i can look at the reed... many thanks for your help.

Re: leaking pads false notes

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:48 pm
by edric
Is the cotton wool in the bottom of the chanter in exactly the same place as before? I know that when I've been experimenting with making reeds, the tuning of the bottom D could be affected quite a bit by cotton wool positioning. (Although it's entirely possible that that's a "feature" of my reeds).

Re: leaking pads false notes

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:20 pm
by ethnopiper
Hi Edric.
thanks for that, i did try different lengths of cotton wool, but to no effect... it was still flat. it is still a mystery.