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Adjusting Reed volume and ease of blowing

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:25 pm
by jayokay
Ive had little luck finding an answer to two reed questions
i) how to make a loud reed quieter?
ii) how to reduce the pressure it takes to make a reluctant reed sound?
e.g. regulator reeds that take enough increase in bag pressure to sound that it risks the chanter reed going into second octave.

Re: Adjusting Reed volume and ease of blowing

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:52 am
by outofthebox8
For adjusting reed volume there are a couple of things to try. First is just to close the aperture of the lips by squeezing the bridle a little. This brings the two blades a little closer, so should make them respond a little easier with less air pressure. If the lips are already close together, it could be that the reed cane on the blades is a little stiff, and a little refining with well worn sandpaper might help, working along the scrape one way toward the lips. Just a tiny amount of material would need to be removed in this case - so it's a case of a little work on each side and then test the response from your bag pressure. Better to leave a reed a little on the stiff side as it should soften a little more with playing over time.

Same kind of thing with resistant regulator reeds - but what you are aiming for is balancing the regulator reed to the chanter. A regulator reed needs to play at a slightly lower pressure than the chanter reed, so that the notes will come in easily when the keys are touched, without any extra bag pressure.

These suggestions are just my own take on working with reeds. If you can find
a piper in your area who can help you with these adjustments, that would probably be the best way to learn about these things. But if not then the golden rule is always to proceed slowly and with caution. Good luck!

Re: Adjusting Reed volume and ease of blowing

Posted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:00 pm
by abhappy
Like outofthebox8 mentioned, the first experiment should be closing the reed slightly, by moving the bride down and/or squeezing the bridle gently with pliers. If there's not a good balance, some sanding of the lips might be necessary, but keep in mind it's just as easy to mess up a reed once you start sanding/clipping/whatever. This should solve both problems you mentioned.

Re: Adjusting Reed volume and ease of blowing

Posted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:31 pm
by jayokay
Thanks for the replies. Just what I was looking for.