The battle of the High g reed

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The battle of the High g reed

Postby Tpfairfax » Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:24 pm

After much picking of bigger brains than mine... (for which thanks - you all know who you are!!) I am finally becoming relatively consistent in my drone reed building (all cane reeds) for The DGd drones.... but my g drone reed building still appears to be a matter of luck (I can produce one decent one in about 8). Whilst I can now "feel" a good GDd reed whilst making it - I can't seem to climb inside the mind of the little one..... and what little success I have seems to be entirely luck based....

Whilst I acknowledge that this probably relates to competence it struck me that there might be a trick that I have missed.....

Does anyone have any pointers as to the "sensitivities" of the high g drone reed?

I would be Hugely Grateful.

KR

T
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Re: The battle of the High g reed

Postby KimBull » Sat Sep 05, 2015 4:20 pm

Hi Tom. Not sure whether I'll be able to help, but for starters can you share with us what the problem is? By that I mean of the 7 out of 8, is there a common symptom, or at what point in the making process do you know they won't work?
Kim
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Re: The battle of the High g reed

Postby Tpfairfax » Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:39 pm

Thanks Kim....

Re the 7 out of 8 - Most of them will sound, but getting a good repeatable stable reed - that sounds good and tunes consistently - without warbling, cutting out or being generally flakey that seems to be eluding me. I have tried playing with slight differences in reed diameter - (actually this has proved instructive re volume and tone - especially in the larger reeds) - but there is something else that I can't put my finger on. But I can remember a discussion (but can't quite remember who mentioned it) about challenges tuning High g Reeds - so was hoping there may be some form in this direction.

Specs (measurements etc) - seem right, technique seems to be pretty reliable and repeatable with the other reeds....

My thought is that perhaps I am doing something that only manifests in the high g - and that is masked by the larger reeds - like cutting too deep, scraping too much, cutting too tight to the end etc etc (I am trying to isolate the issue through trial and error and will probably get there eventually - but it struck me that others might have seen it before)....

To be frank, it isn't a show stopper - as by throwing volume at the problem - I am eventually producing enough good ones for my limited needs ... I remain Naively optimistic that My average will improve with practice - so perhaps my increased volume will kill two birds with one stone(!)

KR

T
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Re: The battle of the High g reed

Postby KimBull » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:55 pm

I'm not aware of that discussion, but would be interested to hear more. I've had an interesting day today, trying to reed up a small d drone on a new set. The other three were relatively straightforward, but I'm having problems with this last one. I've made 5 reeds for it today, and all come close but failed at the last hurdle, often sounding great until I put the sliding part on the drone, then either going silent or too far off target pitch to attempt to adjust. I finally made a brass/ cane composite to see if I could get anything to work in it, and this was actually working in the drone when I left it earlier. I'll try again tomorrow, but wonder if it's the drone itself at fault (the bore might be too big??)

This isn't very helpful to you Tom, except perhaps to know others have problems too! I suppose when it comes to the smaller reeds every adjustment is magnified (eg moving the bridle by .5 mm is a relatively small distance on the large reeds, but a relatively large distance on the small ones). Perhaps if you have time we could get together to learn what we know from each other?

Keep us posted!
Kim
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Re: The battle of the High g reed

Postby Tpfairfax » Mon Sep 07, 2015 11:59 am

Interesting - (I hope my drone pixie hasn't migrated to your workshop!!) I think your point re relative adjustments is probably relevant. Tolerances are bound to reduce with the scale...

One thing that Francis suggested was that one can effectively reduce the bore of the standing part with a bit of wire on a temporary basis - this does seem to add value in some cases....affecting both power, volume and pitch.

I will keep ferreting on the Small G reed challenge and let you know.

I agree - lets get together with our reeds and see if we can chase it down.... I have a hectic few weeks ahead of me (on the road a lot) but when things settle - perhaps we could RV at your end or mine...

T
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Re: The battle of the High g reed

Postby Francis Wood » Sat Sep 12, 2015 3:56 pm

Little G reeds do seem to be the ones that are most problematic. I don't think that's particularly because they carry some ancient curse - they are after all merely the smallest version of a shape that in larger sizes is rather easier to make and adjust.

So what is it that encourages stability in terms of pitch and volume over a reasonable range of pressure and drone extension?
One thing that seems to help is a very defined beginning to the scrape so that the reed knows exactly where the pivot/hinge/root (choose whichever term is least unsatisfactory) of the tongue is located. The actual nature of the vibration is, of course, vastly more complex but let that pass for the moment!

Early elder reeds seem to have a wedge-shaped tongue. With elder it is possible to cut at an angle to the grain - impossible with cane which cuts or splits parallel to it. So a cane reed requires a scrape to acquire this shape. It can also be achieved virtually by adding mass to the tip of the tongue - the dab of sealing wax that often helps to stabilise the reed as well as tune it.

No doubt the physics of what I'm suggesting is nonsense but perhaps it's worth a practical 'go'.

As a final observation, if any drone is habitually uncooperative it's always worth inspecting the vent, since the debris that accumulates there is usually black and invisible.

Francis
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Re: The battle of the High g reed

Postby Tpfairfax » Sun Sep 13, 2015 2:27 pm

Francis

Interesting re the scrape / shape issue. I have been looking at the scraping purely in terms of the thickness of the hinge - your point about the wedge shape of the tongue - in the context of Elder - had completely escaped me but does make sense - especially in connection with balance. Looking at some of my less successful reeds with a new eye, this may be significant - I am going to do some playing with this and see if I can produce a repeatable situation.

Thanks

T
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Re: The battle of the High g reed

Postby Tpfairfax » Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:39 pm

Short update - I took my challenge to Dave B and asked him to inspect a) my efforts and b) my technique!!!

At his suggestion - we changed a number of things and my mojo seems to have returned!

1. We started making the whole reed a bit longer (same or slightly longer blade but a more generous top and bottom). I think I was getting a bit mean.
2. Rather than using the node on the reed and sealing it like the larger reeds, cutting a clean tube and sealing with sealing wax - giving less variation in the tube.
3. letting them rest a bit more between stages (I had been doing one at a time rather than 2-4).... of course hot wax does affect the smaller reeds a bit more than the bigger ones...

Typically - once pointed out - all of the above make sense - but my nose had been a little too close to the problem to spot it.

David did point out that there were mornings when things seemed more tricky - so advised that when it was "one of those days" to go and do something else!! - I can identify with that!!

Thanks to all in helping me run down this....
Tpfairfax
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:06 pm
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