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A Chanter Reed
When removing cane from a reed always remove very
small amounts at a time and test the reed in the bagpipe between adjustments, its very easy to take cane off but it can not
be put back on.
Hard Should your reed still be uncomfortable to blow then it can be eased off in the following
If it is tight in response then using a sharp blade
very gently shave the upper region of the blades remembering to remove the cane evenly across the width of both blades. Be
aware that this will also flatten off the top hand notes a little, so you may require to nudge it down in the reed seat to
compensate. Avoid shaving the lips of the reed.
If the response is good (a slight tightness is desirable
for stability) then you can ease it slightly by removing small amounts of the shoulders just above the staple. This should
be removed evenly on both sides of each blade. Be aware that this will slightly sharpen some of the bottom hand notes, particularly
C and D. It will also increase the response but not quite as much as removing cane from the upper region of the blades.
Another method often employed is the application
of a small elastic dental band, this is very effective and can often help stabilise a reed in its initial blowing in period.
Two or three wraps of the band around the sound box will ease a reed considerably; it will also lift the pitch.
This band can remain on the reed for the duration
of its life. It can be used effectively to raise and lower the pitch in small increments to assist with tuning within a pipe
To raise the pitch simply slide the band a little further towards the lips of the reed. To lower
the pitch slide it towards the staple.
Be aware that if the band is placed
too high it will muffle the reed too much, to avoid this keep within the sound box area.
C and/or Double Toning F On occasions this can occur with any reed/ chanter combination and is easily remedied.
Using the dental band, as already mentioned, is very effective.
The reed being sunk to far into the chanter, try lifting the reed a fraction.
Alternatively using a very sharp blade, cut a slither off the top of the blades, a hairs width. This will also raise the pitch and strengthen the reed slightly. Be carful as too much taken off here can
dramatically raise the pitch of F, HG and HA, if this occurs then they can be brought back down by thinning the upper region
of the blades as explained but remember this will then weaken the reed also.
A Too Croaky
This can be caused by
a number of things.
pressure on the reed, just blow a little harder and it will clear. Every reed is different and requires slightly different
pressures to obtain optimum sound, learn to get the best from a reed by learning to blow the pressure that suits it. Maintain
this pressure at all times otherwise an unsteady bagpipe will result.
The bottom of
the staple touching the wall of the reed seat wall, ensure that this has a wrap of hemp around it. The
reed sunk too far in the reed seat, lift the reed a little.
Lastly if a croak is persistent then rubbing the very tips of the reed blades at right angles across
the back of your thumb nail or on a sheet of glass will clear this. Be carful though as too much will cause a very thin sound
to the top hand notes.
Fine tuning of any chanter is achieved with the use of tape applied across the top
of the open hole of the note that is sharp. Notes that are persistently flat with a variety of reeds can be undercut but this
should be left in the hands of an experienced player or manufacturer. Fine tuning with tape is
very straight forward and to begin with is a trail and error process. More tape covering the hole = flatter
note. Bear in mind that when the sound hole is taped to flatten low G it will also flatten slightly the
low A and E. Similarly if the Low G hole is taped to flatten Low A then this will also have a very small effect on the E
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