MG Reeds

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  Setting Up And Optimising Your Drones 

First rule of thumb... Ensure that your drones are in a good state of maintenance, i.e correctly hemped, no loose or wobbling joints and no joints that are excessively tight. If they are not properly maintained all efforts to produce a steady instrument will be wasted.

Bagpipe Drone Reed Seat
Bagpipe Drone Reed Seat

Insert your drone reed into the reed seat of the drone, at this stage it is recommended that you avoid the temptation to ram the reed in as far as it will go, seat the reed about half way into the reed seat, and set the alloy pitch adjuster about mid way. This will leave room for additional pitch adjustment should it be required. IMPORTANT … make sure the reed has the hemp area adjusted by either adding or removing hemp, to ensure a snug fit for the length of the reed seat.  

A safety measure that can be put in place to avoid the loss of a reed inside a bag is to fold back the last turn of hemp and trap it between the stock and the joint as shown above.

If you are setting up cane drone reeds be carful to ensure that the reed is firmly seated but not so firmly that the tapered reed seat of the drone is causing undue pressure on the walls of the cane, this will cause the tongue to raise during play as the reed takes on moisture and so cause unsteadiness, a very common mistake made.  


Starting with the tenors , mouth blow these while seated in the drone and set the strength of the reed to  suit your own strength of blowing. You should be setting the reed so that an increase in pressure from your normal strength will stop the drone. Be carful here because if you set  a reed to close to this stopping point it can cause unsteadiness. This is particularly so for cane reeds.


Carbon Fibre Drone Reed
Carbon Fibre Drone Reed

You are looking to obtain a strength where the double tone of the reed just kicks out as / before you bring the chanter in.

  Now that you have the desired strength of the reeds approximately set it is time to finesse them. 


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