Bottom D Problem

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germanpiper
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:35 pm
Real Name: Lutz Berger

Bottom D Problem

Post by germanpiper » Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:04 pm

Greetings pipers,

I have a problem with my Bottom D.
It should be possible to produce a hard and a soft bottom d, but all I get is something in between.
If I increase the pressure it starts to "auto-cran" and if I lower the presure the reed stops playing. :cry:

On the other hand everything else works perfectly. The chanter is in tune (except for the second octave E, which is a bit sharp) and sounds good. :?

Any suggestions?

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Mr.Gumby
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Re: Bottom D Problem

Post by Mr.Gumby » Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:11 pm

Try to narrow the bore between the E and F holes by inserting a roll of card or a blob of Bluetac. Usually works.
My brain hurts

outofthebox
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Re: Bottom D Problem

Post by outofthebox » Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:12 am

There is another trick which can help with hard D. Cut a small piece of stiff card or plastic and insert it into the bore of your chanter at the reed seat end. Now push it down until it is about halfway between the reed seat and the back D hole. The trick with this method is to place the obstruction right in the middle of the bore so that it is splitting the airflow - use a thin stick of wood or plastic to position it. This particular constriction seems to produce a good easy hard D response in the reed. Something to experiment with. 8)

billh
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Re: Bottom D Problem

Post by billh » Sat Jun 30, 2012 3:01 pm

You didn't say anything about your reed when describing the problem. If this is a new problem, it may suggest that the reed is too closed, underscraped, or slightly too narrow. If in doubt you may wish to try opening the reed slightly.

- Bill

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the plod
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Re: Bottom D Problem

Post by the plod » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:53 am

I have a chanter where the throat is just to wide, the only way to fix the gurgle is rush the throat/reed.

Philipp
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Re: Bottom D Problem

Post by Philipp » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:42 am

Hello germanpiper,
you didn't say anything about your reed (as Bill pointed out) and your chanter as well. Would be easier to suggest a solution if we'd know a little more.
Anyway, another possible cure for the problem, although I'd first try reversibly manipulating the reed (squeeze/move bridle...), might be this: Cut out a strip of thin (.5 to 1 mm) cardboard (like used for postcards), styrene, yoghurt cup or something similar, about 40 mm long and 5 mm wide (you should experiment with these dimensions). Bend it to a U-shape and push it into the chanter throat with the bottom of the "U" first, so that it firmly holds a position making it just disappear inside the chanter, or even a few mm up the bore. This creates distorsions in the air flow that have been shown to allow for an easier hard bottom d in many (not all) cases. The more material you use, i.e. a thicker, longer, or wider cardboard strip, the flatter your soft d will be, but the easier will you get the hard d. Find an optimum through experimentation, where both are in tune and you can control the use of the hard d as you like.
Another possibilty is, when all reversible(!!) reed manipulations have thoroughly been tried, e.g. moving the bridle towards the staple to make the reed easier, you can scrape the lower part of the reed head. That normally cures the gurgling in new reeds that have been left too thick in this place. Be careful, because this also flattens the pitch of back D and the upper octave! That in turn can be cured by shortening the reed head again, which raises the pitch and makes the reed less responsive. The last point again may be cured by scraping the top part of the reed head. So you may end up with a shorter, thinner reed that can be just more in balance with the chanter and properly play the hard D.
BUT IMO you should assume that you have a good chanter and reed supplied by your pipemaker and for that try the first possibility first.
However, there are pipemakers in Germany (I suppose you're from Germany because of your user name), that have started business in recent years and increasingly supply apprentice pipers in the region with chanters and reed of questionable quality, having problems that cannot be solved unless you give then to a very experienced pipemaker to have them overhauled. Therefore, some information on your gear would be useful.

Cheers,
Philipp

EDIT: Sorry, I wrote you may make the reed easier to get the hard D. That is only the case when there is no gurgle and you just don't get the hard D. When there is already a gurgle, this indicates a reed that is to weak and needs to be made harder, as Bill already wrote. It can be achieved by moving the bridle toward the lips or by queezing the edges of the bridle.

germanpiper
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:35 pm
Real Name: Lutz Berger

Re: Bottom D Problem

Post by germanpiper » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:08 am

Thank you very much for all the advice.
I'm sorry not to mention what kind of chanter an reed I have - both are made by Andreas Rogge and the reed is new (I'm playing it for about 2 months).

Thanks to your advice I was able to achive a good bottom-d (both hard and soft) by a combination of inserting a U-shaped piece of plastic into the chanter and opening the lips of the reed (slightly pressing the edges of the bridle).

Again thank you very much for your help.
:D

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