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Subject: Cane is Cane


Author:
Brian MacColl
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Date Posted: 10:14:19 12/07/01 Fri

In regards to the post on chanter/reed combinations, this all popped into my head. Cane is Cane. Everyone is obsessed with what brand who is playing and how that brand did in who's chanter. What you have to realize is simple, Cane is Cane. Whether you are Caldwell, or Shepherd, or Megarity Ross, the cane is cut from the same field of stock that's just thrashed and thrown onto a truck and then shipped. A bad batch of cane will yield bad reeds, no matter what name is stamped on the finished product, if that cane is bad, the reed will either be undesirable or have the life-span of a gust of wind.

With that said, certain manufacturers are very consistent with the quality of cane they turn out. That's how we grow attached to their product, we know that more often than not, we'll get good quality tone because certain manufacturers choose the best quality cane they can lay their hands on. They are meticulous with their wrapping and carving and we begin to know their design like the backs of our hands. You develop a routine of knowing where to carve and how, how much to sand, where to pinch, etc. just from using their product for so long. That's where I think the loyalty in branding comes from, we get accustomed to good quality workmanship with good quality raw materials.

When I go in to buy reeds, I go for a certain brand because I know, as long as the cane is from good stock, I can get that reed to play beautifully since I have carved and pinched and sanded them so many times. Will I try new reeds, oh sure! I'll buy a handful and cut them all to hell and see how much they'll take, or how little they need sculpting to play nicely. It's all a learning process, but Cane is Cane. We side with certain manufacturers because we trust that their level of workmanship and their meticulous and strict choice of raw materials is better than any other. Then, there's also the case that a good piper can make a bad reed sound good and beginners who slash their new reeds with box cutters and soak them in water, and then complain that they sound terrible!!! But that's definitely a whole other discussion.

Brian

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Replies:
[> Subject: Re: Cane is Cane


Author:
Jeff Crain
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Date Posted: 10:33:18 12/07/01 Fri

No argument about your comments about cane. However, I do have a slightly different view on why some reeds are preferred. Your comments offer only one variable - the consistent quality of the cane.
I would also like to offer that the staple diameter, the staple material, and the actual cut of the reed are also contributors.

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[> Subject: Re: Cane is Cane


Author:
Ted
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Date Posted: 14:23:05 12/07/01 Fri

I agree, for the most part they're all the same, except for some differences in design that you become well-accustomed too. I think beginners have a certain fear when dealing with reeds. There's only one way to get through it. Spend some money on a handful of reeds from different manufacturers, sit down with an experienced player and shave and sand and pinch away and see what the result is. You won't learn anything unless you ruin a few good reeds. LOL




>In regards to the post on chanter/reed combinations,
>this all popped into my head. Cane is Cane. Everyone
>is obsessed with what brand who is playing and how
>that brand did in who's chanter. What you have to
>realize is simple, Cane is Cane. Whether you are
>Caldwell, or Shepherd, or Megarity Ross, the cane is
>cut from the same field of stock that's just thrashed
>and thrown onto a truck and then shipped. A bad batch
>of cane will yield bad reeds, no matter what name is
>stamped on the finished product, if that cane is bad,
>the reed will either be undesirable or have the
>life-span of a gust of wind.
>
>With that said, certain manufacturers are very
>consistent with the quality of cane they turn out.
>That's how we grow attached to their product, we know
>that more often than not, we'll get good quality tone
>because certain manufacturers choose the best quality
>cane they can lay their hands on. They are meticulous
>with their wrapping and carving and we begin to know
>their design like the backs of our hands. You develop
>a routine of knowing where to carve and how, how much
>to sand, where to pinch, etc. just from using their
>product for so long. That's where I think the loyalty
>in branding comes from, we get accustomed to good
>quality workmanship with good quality raw materials.
>
>When I go in to buy reeds, I go for a certain brand
>because I know, as long as the cane is from good
>stock, I can get that reed to play beautifully since I
>have carved and pinched and sanded them so many times.
> Will I try new reeds, oh sure! I'll buy a handful
>and cut them all to hell and see how much they'll
>take, or how little they need sculpting to play
>nicely. It's all a learning process, but Cane is
>Cane. We side with certain manufacturers because we
>trust that their level of workmanship and their
>meticulous and strict choice of raw materials is
>better than any other. Then, there's also the case
>that a good piper can make a bad reed sound good and
>beginners who slash their new reeds with box cutters
>and soak them in water, and then complain that they
>sound terrible!!! But that's definitely a whole other
>discussion.
>
>Brian

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[> Subject: Re: Cane is Cane


Author:
JM
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Date Posted: 02:17:05 12/08/01 Sat

>In regards to the post on chanter/reed combinations,
>this all popped into my head. Cane is Cane. Everyone
>is obsessed with what brand who is playing and how
>that brand did in who's chanter.

That would be the result of testing many different reeds
in many different chanters!

All reeds are not the same and some are pure crap!
Different designs produce different results, just
listen to a contest sometime!

JM

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[> [> Subject: Re: Cane is Cane - inquiry for JM


Author:
Jeff Crain
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Date Posted: 20:00:24 12/08/01 Sat

>All reeds are not the same and some are pure crap!
>Different designs produce different results, just
>listen to a contest sometime!


JM,
Please, please tell me which ones are, as you put it so eloquently, **pure crap** so that I may avoid them.

Thanks!
Shawn

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[> [> [> Subject: Re: Cane is Cane - inquiry for JM


Author:
Jeff Crain
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Date Posted: 10:27:21 12/18/01 Tue

>JM,
> Please, please tell me which ones are, as you put it
>so eloquently, **pure crap** so that I may avoid them.
>
>Thanks!
> Shawn

JM,
Mr. Moehle (shawn) asked that I check back on his question. I see there has not been a reply. Were you just "pulling our leg" or is the statement based upon fact?

Thanks,
Jeff

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[> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Cane is Cane - inquiry for JM


Author:
Peter Kosmoski
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Date Posted: 16:48:36 12/19/01 Wed

JM does not seem too eager to put down any specific reedmakers, and I can't say I blame him!

Everyone seems to have good things to say about Shepherd reeds. And Megarity-Ross also has a good reputation on this board. All of this is pretty consistent with my experience, these are the two best brands I've used.

O.K., I'll start this ball rolling. I was pretty disappointed with the Wygent reeds I purchased, especially the "select" $18 reed. They were all pretty weak in strength, and not suprisingly, didn't put out much volume. And the bottom hand embellishments didn't rip the way you would want. I admit, I ordered the low strength reeds, so maybe their high strength reeds would have worked better for me. Wygent only offers two grades of strength, as opposed to the three grades of strength that most other reed makers offer. I guess I am at about a medium grade of strength.

Does anyone have an opinion about the Higgins reed? Some guys in my band swear by them, but I haven't got a chance to play one yet. The guys that swear by them always have played super hard reeds, so I haven't been too anxious to try one! But their chanters sound superb.

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[> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Cane is Cane - inquiry for JM


Author:
Randall Paine
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Date Posted: 12:20:39 01/21/02 Mon

>JM does not seem too eager to put down any specific
>reedmakers, and I can't say I blame him!


i agree with jeff..and i do blame jm.
one would think that if one cares to make bold statements, then the facts should be forthcoming.
it seems jm has an interesting way of stating his bias as facts. that sir, has been my observation here, rmmb, and on the dunsire forum.
experience and credibility are definitely seperate attributes.

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[> Subject: Re: Cane is Cane


Author:
dain
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Date Posted: 01:51:25 12/20/01 Thu

Since we're discussing peoples' experience with different reeds, I'd like to throw in a chip for the MacAllister reeds. 'Just picked some up while visiting Portland Oregon, and I've found that they work very well with moisture, at least so far. I'm playing one in a Shepherd mark II poly. Simply kickin tone. They are a bit hard, but with some work, the crow on high A dropped out, and the balance is very good within the chanter.

My opinion on the cane thing is that surely one must select good cane, and choose to let the "bad" cane go, but how one puts a reed together must have quite a bit to do with the response of the vibration of the reed. If one binds it too tight or too loose, what's going to happen? So, the craft must be considered as well. I believe quite strongly that particuar makes of reeds will not function as well in some chanters and will funtion brilliantly in others, within my experience there is actual proof. But I'd rather mention what does work than what doesn't just to keep the air clear of any nae saying on the overall reed quality of the said reed. With more experience and discussion with others maybe some hypotheses may develop as to exactly why certain reeds don't function well in certain chanters. Until then, I'm using the reeds that work in my chanters with the least amount of manipulation.

Cheers,

Dain

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