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Subject: Re: Reed issues or technique?????

Brian MacColl
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Date Posted: 14:33:58 04/16/02 Tue
In reply to: Eric R. Gagne 's message, "Reed issues or technique?????" on 12:55:49 04/16/02 Tue

Some clarifications/questions first.

1. When you say "Slowly dies away" do you mean the tone deteriorates or the volume drops off?

2. When you say, "doesn't last very long at all" do you mean the reed life is short, or the length of each practice/performance with this reed?

3. What type of chanter are you plugging the reeds into?

4. Is too much moisture getting to your chanter reed?

5. Were your reeds "pre-scraped" by this dealer?

Some dealers are shipping reeds that they claim are set for your particular chanter and have been tested and adjusted by them. Absolute nonsense! Why would you want someone adjusting your reed, then mailing it to you in a box. You could put a couple of weeks into breaking in a reed just to find out it doesn't blossom the way you've hoped it would. It's a lot of skill and some luck to have a reed really come in superbly, scraping it down and licking the hell out of it just so it sounds good for today and then throwing it in a mailbox is not the way to do it. Your reeds may have fallen victim to this type of short-term manipulation.

I only ask number 3 because based on your chanter there are far better reeds on the market than a Soutar, and I stress, depending on your chanter. Right off the bat without knowing any answers, I'd say you need to get a reed that has more meat around the staple. Not a harder reed, but a reed where more material is present. It seems your reed is giving up after 30 or 40 hours of life, that's when most reeds begin to settle down and break in, letting the true tone out.

Soutars are known for being rather "thin" when it comes the material used, which makes them great reeds for students and beginners until they move on to something of more substance as they gain experience. You probably have graduated along to a higher level of reeds.


>When I'm playing my GHBs, my chanter reed's sound
>somewhat "dissolves" or dies slowly only after about
>thirty minutes worth of playing. It starts off decent
>and then slowly "fades" away. I have about 30 to 40
>hours of playing time on this reed. I also have
>another reed of the same brand(Soutar/med)and same age
>and it does similar things when I play. When I bought
>these reeds the dealer in which I bought them from
>said that I would not have to scrape them much if at
>all, so I left them alone and at first they sounded
>awesome and would last for about 2-3 hours of playing
>and now they still sound okay but they don't last very
>long at all. Can someone please shed some light on
>this for me???????

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[> [> Subject: Re: Reed issues or technique?????

Eric R. Gagne
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Date Posted: 21:55:24 04/16/02 Tue

This is a reply to the reply that I received from my question from earlier today.

First of all, thank you Brian for taking the time to answer my questions. As far as the reed's tone it does indeed deteriorate and has somewhat of a "airy" tone to it and then it dies. In regards to my saying that the reed "doesn't last very long" I mean practice time, it will only sound good for about 20 minutes to a half an hour and then it dies, not to mention it is very frustrating. Before this all started happening I could play for about 2-3 hours at a time and have no problems with this. As far as moisture is concerned I don't think I'm having too much problems with too much moisture. I don't know if they were pre-scraped at the store where I ordered them. I will be honest, I am reasonably new to the piping world, but took to it seemingly quick, I know quite a few songs and I'm currently in lessons with an experienced teacher. Unfortunately I have a set of Pakis and have been told a number of times by every piper(including my teacher)that I should have bought a much better to start off with, I realize this now. I bought some of the Wygent Drone reeds that have worked out very nicely to start out with and I have used the Soutar and Warnock reeds in the chanter.
Again thank you for the information and could you please give me any more tips on my reed situation???

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