Bass Drone Too Loud

A forum to discuss the arcane art of making uilleann pipes, reeds, and set maintenance.

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Bass Drone Too Loud

Post by CBPiper » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:08 pm


My bass drone is too loud/ draws too much air, though it is well tuned. How can I adjust the composite drone reed ( wood body, plastic tongue ) to be able to reduce the volume and amount of air drawn, yet maintain the same pitch?



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Re: Bass Drone Too Loud

Post by KM » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:29 am

A non-destructive start could be to tie on some sticky waxed hemp/sinew next to the current bridle to shorten and close the tongue and then add weight to the tongue to flatten pich.

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Re: Bass Drone Too Loud

Post by hpinson » Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:47 pm

In addition to the reed adjustment, a trick I saw once was to roll up a piece of copy paper into a cylinder, and insert that in the bell area of the drone. It seemed to have the affect of muting the drone a bit, and balancing against the other drones if one was too loud.

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Re: Bass Drone Too Loud

Post by outofthebox » Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:21 am

A small rolled up tube can also be inserted into the drone reed itself to balance volume down. I got this idea from a posting I read by chance a while back on the internet from a GHB player. 8) I use a small piece of rolled up plastic drinking straw for this. I cut it down one side and then it can be rolled to fit the inside of the exit end of the reed exactly, held in place by its own spring. The plastic tube also seems to add a little extra touch of brightness to the overall drone sound.

But if a drone is taking too much air or pressure to play, the tongue must be lowered - either by tightening the bridle or by moving it up the tongue a touch. With cane drone reeds the tongue can also be lowered by removing a little of the bark, scraping gently with a sharp knife just in front of the bridle. This will serve to make the spring in the tongue a little weaker. But as always, whenever handling reeds, it is best to proceed slowly and with caution. Tiny adjustments can have big effects.

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