Why are regulators so complicated?

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brazenkane
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Why are regulators so complicated?

Post by brazenkane » Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:20 pm

Yes...why are regulators so deceivingly complex?

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PJ
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Re: Why are regulators so complicated?

Post by PJ » Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:02 pm

To make? To reed? To play? What do you mean?
PJ

brazenkane
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Re: Why are regulators so complicated?

Post by brazenkane » Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:38 pm

To make, to reed, to have play well.....!

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Re: Why are regulators so complicated?

Post by Hans- Joerg » Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:33 am

Are you perhaps thinking of an alternative?

outofthebox
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Re: Why are regulators so complicated?

Post by outofthebox » Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:41 am

This is where we need more feedback from those pipers who have mastered setting up regulators and keeping them in good playing order. There is masses of useful information on chanter reeds - making and adjustment - but precious little by comparison on regulator reeds. I'm sure there are a lot of pipers like myself who aspire to play the full set who would appreciate a little more specialist information around the best practice for reeding and tuning regulators.

brazenkane
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Re: Why are regulators so complicated?

Post by brazenkane » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:17 am

An alternative to what?I'm not sure I understand?

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djm
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Re: Why are regulators so complicated?

Post by djm » Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:26 am

Ronan Browne advised somewhere to set regs up sharp and then tune them down with the pin. That way you can control them going north or south. I can't remember now where he said that, but I'm sure some clever person here will find it.

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Key_of_D
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Re: Why are regulators so complicated?

Post by Key_of_D » Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:31 am

I too, am finding out the challenges of regulators in general. Playing and tuning them anyway. But as for them being complicated, I think it would go against the grain of the pipes in general if something about them was easy!

Here's Ronan Browne's James Kenna myspace page which mentions regulator tuning tips.

http://www.myspace.com/jameskennapipes
Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

brazenkane
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Re: Why are regulators so complicated?

Post by brazenkane » Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:52 am

I'd like to hear from makers too... ! Anyone?

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fancypiper
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Re: Why are regulators so complicated?

Post by fancypiper » Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:56 pm

I have Seth Gallagher C tenor and baritone regs for over two years and I haven't ever gotten them in tune. He made phosphor bronze heads, one of which would rise in pitch with a rise in bag pressure, the other would sink in pitch with an increase in bag pressure.

I have had a rough spell with my health and am lacking in endurance with my bag arm.

I have just recently got my C chanter and drones tuned and stabilized. I don't know whether to spend my up time practicing tunes or making reeds. I am terribly out of practice, so until I can find more advice on regulators, I will work on getting my licks back.

outofthebox
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Re: Why are regulators so complicated?

Post by outofthebox » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:54 am

On the issue of problems caused to reeds by variable pressure, I am currently experimenting with some simple methods aimed at counteracting this problem. What pipers actually need is a bag which will deliver a steady pressure through the stock outlet to drones and regulators, while at the same time giving variable pressure to the chanter reed to facilitate second octave over-blowing. My idea is to to reduce the air volume of the outlet from bag to stock and also the air holes in the stock serving the regulator reeds. I have done this by simply by rolling up a strip of flat rubber material and inserting it into the holes. For the bass regulator I am trying a cricular washer type arrangement loosely fitted to the bottom of the staple of the reed above the air inlet. My theory is that these constrictions will serve as simple 'baffles' against the rising 'blast' of air from the bag to drone and regulator reeds whenever I go up into the second octave on the chanter. The improvement in performance terms may be limited, but with this instrument every little counts. 8)

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Re: Why are regulators so complicated?

Post by billh » Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:05 pm

To paraphrase Einstein, things should be made as simple as possible - but no simpler.

Considering what they are intended to do, I don't consider regulators particularly complex. Subtle perhaps, but not complicated.

Of the "improvements" that to my knowledge have been proposed over the years, most seem to represent a further complication.

brazenkane
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Re: Why are regulators so complicated?

Post by brazenkane » Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:49 pm

Thanks Bill, and out of the box. Excellent input!!

outofthebox
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Re: Why are regulators so complicated?

Post by outofthebox » Mon Aug 30, 2010 4:13 am

Bill - Could you give us some pointers on how you approach the scrape of your regulator reeds? My intuition is telling me that a regulator reed should be like a chanter reed, but that the sides of the reed need to be stronger to resist overblowing. But at the same time regulator reeds need to sound easily and without too much air and that's where things get a bit more complicated regarding the scrape.

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Re: Why are regulators so complicated?

Post by billh » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:52 am

There are various ways to approach the overblowing issue with regulators. I don't think I have the "last word" on regulator reeds by any means; but personally I don't tend to go with the stiff sides approach - in my experience any stiffening of the blades can make overblowing more likely rather than less. Just my opinion, however - I'm sure there are experienced reedmakers who use the stiff sides approach as their primary tactic.

One approach, which one sees very often, is to make the regulator reeds stiffer than the chanter reed, such that the pressure required to jump the octave exceeds that of the chanter. This can work up to a point, but usually fails for some regulator notes when the chanter is well into the second octave. It also produces the problem where the regulators require more air to sound (at all) than the chanter, and thus in order to get the regs to sound when playing first octave notes, an extra push on the bag is required. This particular symptom annoys me terribly when it happens, so I try to reduce its likelihood. This approach also tends to make the regulators louder, which is not what most people want.

Another approach is to overscrape the regulator reeds, which causes them to be too weak to support the second octave. This can work quite well, and if the low notes on the regulators begin to gurgle the reeds can be opened a little bit; it depends on the reg design as to whether tuning can be accommodated with this method (or for that matter, the one above). One potential downside of this (which can also happen with the stiff-sided approach if reeds are closed down to quieten them) can be a sagging/sinking top rank on the regulators. My sense is that different designs of regulators can require different approaches, some being more prone to bottom note gurgles and others more prone to a sagging top rank. These two issues can be strongly influenced by the reed head dimensions as well.

The third strategy that can work is to de-tune the second octave; my experiences suggest that flattening the second octave by reducing the staple size can make it harder to overblow. Perhaps increasing the staple size could do something similar (though opposite, in tuning) in some cases.

Of course if the second octave of the regulators is actually in tune, you may largely ignore the overblowing issue since it may sound OK whether the regs overblow or not. Conversely this is a disadvantage of de-tuning the second octave - it makes the overblown notes sound worse when they happen.

In practice, a combination of the above techniques, and others as well, may be called for. As I said, I don't purport to have a comprehensive solution for this, by a long shot. Lastly, it's worth keeping in mind that some tuning techniques, such as reducing tonehole sizes and adding rushes - particularly blobs just beneath toneholes - make this problem worse, so the fault may not be the reed.

best regards,

Bill

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