Composite drone reeds

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outofthebox
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Composite drone reeds

Post by outofthebox » Thu May 20, 2010 4:46 am

I thought it would be useful to have a thread devoted specifically to composite drone reeds. I'm interested in experimenting with these so it would be useful to get as much info as possible from others who have made their own composites or who have purchased composites of the ezeedrone type. All thoughts and ideas would be very welcome.

I think this page from Davy Stephenson's site is a good place to start for those interested in reeds of this type.

http://www.bagpipeworks.co.uk/composite%20reeds.htm

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the plod
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Re: Composite drone reeds

Post by the plod » Thu May 20, 2010 4:01 pm

I have a set of Davy's reeds and they work nicely

outofthebox
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Re: Composite drone reeds

Post by outofthebox » Fri May 21, 2010 5:03 am

Thanks - How does the sound of the plastic tongues compare with cane drone reeds? Also do you find that these composites are more stable and need less attention than the cane reeds?

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Re: Composite drone reeds

Post by the plod » Fri May 21, 2010 1:52 pm

They sound fine and I never have to touch them. very stable.

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Re: Composite drone reeds

Post by JohnnyKerr » Fri May 21, 2010 3:48 pm

I've made them from brass tubing, rubber O-rings and veneer/styrene tongues based on a design that Key_of_D taught me. My drones are currently powered by three of his reeds of this style and they make for pretty stable and solid performance with little-to-no maintenance.

I've only made two so far and they sounded fine but they were too open and wouldn't turn off with a flick of the drone; they'd probably be perfectly workable with a few tweaks but I just haven't put the time into it yet since I my drones are already working/sounding fine. We also compared one of Key_of_D's drone reeds to Kirk Lynch's and the design is very similar. It seems to be a very reliable design for our dry climate and you can get a pretty good growl out of them. I do notice something special tone-wise the few times I've heard can reeds powering drones but I don't feel like it's too much of a sacrifice or like I'm settling for the composite ones as they do sound quite nice. Don't take up much air to play either.

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Re: Composite drone reeds

Post by fiddlerwill » Fri May 21, 2010 3:56 pm

I have tried a lot of composite reeds with GHB, they are pretty well advanced in this area. The EEZe drone UP reeds are built on the same idea as The GHB reeds and are the same as the EEZe drone small pipe reeds, just varying in length.
So I think its fair enough to say that the principles behind these reeds can be developed for UP. 'Canning reeds' have perhaps the best , richest , cane like tone out of the synthetics. I use 'Omega' in my tenors and cane bass. These omegas are the most advanced technically with a body that moves in relation to the tongue while the other synthetic reeds move the tongue, they are worth taking a good look at. IMO if you could make a 'canning 'type reeds, with the set up ability of the omegas , for UP Id use them without a doubt and I wouldn't be the only one!
At the moment I switch between cane and EZ in my UP. Cane has the richest sound, warmest and brightest overtones. The EZ are 'plainer' smoother and more consistent once they are set up. A trait Synthetic reeds have generally IMO. For me I prefer the sound of cane , in general, but well set up, adjustable synthetic reeds are very reliable. I dont really like EZE drone reeds because of the design of the tongue adjusting system. I prefer the small pipe reeds designed by 'bagpipes galore' a black plastic body on a brass staple with a white plastic tongue, basically a scaled down version of the early 'Sheppard' GHB reed. Quite a raw sound compared to EZ very reliable when set up well.



Very interesting to see http://www.bagpipeworks.co.uk/composite%20reeds.htm

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Re: Composite drone reeds

Post by the plod » Fri May 21, 2010 10:44 pm

I have Stevenson style reeds in my Stevenson drones and Lynch style in my Lynch drones - both styles are rock solid.

outofthebox
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Re: Composite drone reeds

Post by outofthebox » Sat May 22, 2010 5:24 am

Thanks for the useful replies - all good information based on experience. I've been thinking about composites fitted with 'reverse' tongues - the kind that dip down into the body rather than sit above it - a simple down blown reed. I'm sure that these have been made before, but I haven't been able to find any details. Has anyone any experience of these - perhaps in GHB drones? My thinking on this is that the inverted design might provide the best stability under the variable bag pressures when moving from one octave to the other on the chanter. But there may be other problems with these which haven't occurred to me - and might explain why 'reverse' composites are not generally being made for sale - although I do know that ezeedrone does use an inverted design for the bass drone.

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Re: Composite drone reeds

Post by erniethepiper » Sat May 22, 2010 9:43 am

See David Daye's site for adjustment of the styrene tongues as well.

http://www.daye1.com/pennychanter.html

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Re: Composite drone reeds

Post by hpinson » Sun May 23, 2010 12:02 pm

It's probably been asked and answered already, but has anyone tried brass tube with cane tongues. It's something I've been wanting to try for a while, but have not gotten around to. If anyone has tried this, what were the results?

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Re: Composite drone reeds

Post by dirk the piper » Mon May 24, 2010 9:59 am

The D M Quinn book The Piper's Despair has a nice recipe and explanation for making the brass-tube body with cane tongues. They can be made to work quite well.

-Dirk
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Re: Composite drone reeds

Post by daveboling » Mon May 24, 2010 3:10 pm

hpinson wrote:It's probably been asked and answered already, but has anyone tried brass tube with cane tongues. It's something I've been wanting to try for a while, but have not gotten around to. If anyone has tried this, what were the results?
I've taken the plastic tongue from my Kirk Lynch baritone drone and replaced it with an elder (Sambucus nigra) tongue. It took a good bit of the harshness I was experiencing out, and the volume matches that of the cane bass drone and the brass/plastic tenor drone. I tried a cane tongue, but was unable to tune it to the point where it was happy to hold a pitch. I plan to try a similar combination on my bass and tenor drones. If that works out, I will try to get a set going on the Williams B drones when my mainstock is finished.

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Re: Composite drone reeds

Post by awilde569 » Mon May 24, 2010 6:41 pm

You might give the wood-cane composite reed design by Tim Britton a try as well, my old man helped helped me over the Christmas holiday to get a set made for my first set of pipes and they were really nice sounding (granted we used Maple instead of Blackwood, but still). The link's a bit obscure and hard to find, so will post it here: http://www.skep.com/britton/articles.htm#Drone%20Reeds

I can't comment too much on how fussy they are to keep in tune since I'm still -quite- new to playing the pipes and have mainly been working with just the chanter (and getting a reed made for it :| eheh). The pipes have been my first instrument to learn to play so been going from no knowledge of music at all to trying to get a steady tune going (and learning to read the music at the same time :shock: ). I hope the link helps, and good luck with the reed efforts.
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Re: Composite drone reeds

Post by djm » Tue May 25, 2010 5:37 am

I use brass tube bodies and tongues of sugar pine from old piano keys à la Benedict Koehler - tricky to get the thickness right, but solid thereafter.

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Re: Composite drone reeds

Post by the plod » Tue May 25, 2010 11:58 am

Where'd you get the piano key tongues from Deej?

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