James kenna drone reeds?

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bobble991
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James kenna drone reeds?

Post by bobble991 » Sun May 08, 2011 4:02 pm

I've just revisited the early kenna set from srs. I spent the past week making new reamers and today finished a chanter. It really is a lovely sounding chanter which will also have the benefit of restoring marital harmony. I have never had an easier chanter to reed. I was looking at the drones again, which I made a couple of years ago. I can get the bass and baritone drone going well with cane, but it looks like I will have to wait for my elder bush to grow a bit before I can reed the rest.
Has anyone else made these drones and how did you reed them?

Bob

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PJ
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Re: James kenna drone reeds?

Post by PJ » Sun May 08, 2011 4:07 pm

Ronan Browne has a video clip in which he makes a drone reed for his Kenna set:

http://www.myspace.com/video/vid/19878608
PJ

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bobble991
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Re: James kenna drone reeds?

Post by bobble991 » Sun May 08, 2011 4:37 pm

Does anyone have any elder for sale? Mine is too small as yet for reeds and I would have to wait until winter even if it was big enough.

Thanks
Bob

Pipewort
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Re: James kenna drone reeds?

Post by Pipewort » Mon May 09, 2011 12:38 am

I would have thought that being in Perth, Scotland, you would be oversupplied with the stuff. Every peice of waste ground, the quiet lanes and byeways, will have numerous trees growing for you to harvest some suitable material.

Do post some sound samples of the set you have made, in due course.

Pwrt

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bobble991
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Re: James kenna drone reeds?

Post by bobble991 » Mon May 09, 2011 3:39 pm

So I could harvest now? How long should I dry it?

Thanks
Bob

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Re: James kenna drone reeds?

Post by Pipewort » Tue May 10, 2011 12:41 am

The perceived wisdom is to harvest in the winter. But there should be ample quantities of standing dead around the living new growth.

If it were me, I would harvest both types, and on the new growth strip off the bark and remove the pith, and let it dry for a few weeks. It is going to be thin walled, material, so shouldn't take too long, though perhaps, warping might be an issue. However, I don't remember warping being an issue with the pea shooters I used to make as a boy.

The old dead stuff would at lest give you material to practice on, and I would think would be equally as suitable as living wood harvested in the winter.

Pwrt

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Re: James kenna drone reeds?

Post by Hans- Joerg » Tue May 10, 2011 4:35 am

I only "harvested" any dronereed-stuff in summer - unlike chanterstuff. The dried sapjuice in it seems to give a better elasticity in the end. Elder (pith still in it, bark removed) dries comparitively quickly. Give it 10 months and then you can make reeds. Don´t use the "cutthroat-razor" though. Watching the clip is pure horror for me.

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PJ
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Re: James kenna drone reeds?

Post by PJ » Tue May 10, 2011 5:59 am

Pipewort wrote:The perceived wisdom is to harvest in the winter. But there should be ample quantities of standing dead around the living new growth.
I presume this is because there would be less sap in the shoots and branches during the winter and it would dry more quickly.
PJ

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bobble991
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Re: James kenna drone reeds?

Post by bobble991 » Tue May 10, 2011 2:06 pm

Hehe, Yeah that razor is terrifying to watch, I just KNOW what would happen if I tried it. My cut throat is safe in a cupboard and its staying there. How long is the tongue of that reed? The video is a little blurry. It looks short to me.

Bob

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Re: James kenna drone reeds?

Post by Hans- Joerg » Tue May 10, 2011 4:05 pm

It IS shorter. Generally, elder dronereeds have comparatively shorter tongues. :P

Pipewort
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Re: James kenna drone reeds?

Post by Pipewort » Wed May 11, 2011 2:14 am

PJ wrote:Pipewort wrote:
The perceived wisdom is to harvest in the winter. But there should be ample quantities of standing dead around the living new growth.

I presume this is because there would be less sap in the shoots and branches during the winter and it would dry more quickly.
That's right. It's a deciduous shrub, so little sap flows during the winter.

Pwrt

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bobble991
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Re: James kenna drone reeds?

Post by bobble991 » Sat May 14, 2011 9:11 am

well, what a rewarding experience. I went out last night armed with secateurs and took the dog out into the country. I found some elder around which there was indeed stands of dead wood. I cut quite a bit of the dead and a little of the green as the dead stuff is quite brittle. When I got home I stripped the bark and left them on a radiator. I just had my first attempt and while it wont be a keeper or anything (it wanted to split while I was cutting the tongue) it does crow and even produces a sound in the drone. I now just need to figure out the sizes I need and a bit of practice. Are there any websites about making this kind of reed?

Thanks
Bob

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Re: James kenna drone reeds?

Post by outofthebox » Mon May 16, 2011 4:31 am

With drone reeds the first thing is the diameter - cut a piece that will fit securely into the reed seat of your drone, allowing a little space for some hemp binding. Then it's a case of finding the best tongue length + length of body combination which will give you the drone note. If the reed is too long or flat, it will not be possible to bring the drone up to the required pitch with the tuning slide. Similarly if the reed is too short or sharp, it will not be possible to tune the drone down far enough to the required pitch. It is best to cut a lot of cane and experiment with different lengths until you zone in on the measurements that work best for you.

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Re: James kenna drone reeds?

Post by Ted » Mon May 16, 2011 11:32 am

What is the problem with cane for the smaller drones? It works in the bass and baritone, why not the rest? I just finished some NSP reeds in cane, incl. the tiny 1+mm reed. It took a few reeds to get the smallest ones going well, but I am very satisfied with the result. I have lots of the tiny sized cane tubes, and find when they work well to sound very fine indeed. PM or email me if you just can't get the small cane tubes.

outofthebox
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Re: James kenna drone reeds?

Post by outofthebox » Tue May 17, 2011 4:21 am

I know there is a tradition for elder reeds, but they do take quite a bit of work in preparation - removal of bark, extraction of pith etc. If you want to locally source your drone reeds, I'd recommend trying the common reed which should also be widely available growing on riverbanks and lakesides in Scotland. It's the very tall stuff with the big seed heads at the top. Look for last years dead stems and select the diameter you need from the lower segments.

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