Don't bin that reed just yet

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ausdag
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Don't bin that reed just yet

Post by ausdag » Thu Apr 21, 2005 7:04 am

Over the years I've attempted chanter reeds and many a time I've discarded ones that I'd thought I'd scraped just that little bit too much and ended up with a weak back D or worse, a back D that cracks under the slightest pressure. A little playing around with the bridle didn't seem to help and in the bin it went.

The latest reed I've been working on over the past 3 or 4 months.

When I first made it, it played well, but a tad loud and had an in-tune but cracking back D. If I tried to soften it by squeezing the bridle, the Back D would become weak and flat

Instead of discarding it I played around with the bridle position much longer than previously.

after much repositioning and squeezing, I finally found the ideal position - almost a whole centimetre from the binding.!!

It fixed the cracking, flat Back D but was still a bit too loud but not too strong.

Today I decided to readjust it. It's been about 4 months since the first adjustment.

I wanted to soften it a bit and make it easier to play.

Again, after a bit of scraping of the cane, I ended up with a weak back D, in fact the whole thing was sounding like a complete futz-up. Again I played around with the bridle. This time it took even longer - a good half an hour of sliding up, squeezing in, pushing down, loosening, taking off, turning round, sliding up, sliding down, squeezing, testing in chanter.

This time I thought I had really stuffed it up an was all set to bin it.

No way! I wasn't giving up this easily.

Finally, after about 45 minutes, I re-set the bridle to a position that I had already tried, only this time I had also squeezed it slightly differently or something, tried it in the chanter and voila!!! It played beautifully.

In tune, no need for the rush, good Back D, 2nd octave in tune and the sweetest, mellowest tone I've had for a long time. And still about 1 cm from the binding.

So it just goes to show - don't give up on a reed too easily and don't expect to have the bridle down near the binding and when the books say "now put the bridle on" what they don't say is "and be prepard to sit for 45 minutes adjusting it to positions you tried two or three time already".
David (ausdag) Goldsworthy
http://ozuilleann.weebly.com/

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dropkick
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Post by dropkick » Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:05 am

Good advice.

But, sometimes, all a loud reed needs to mellow out some is a lot of playing... this is the first thing I recommend to anyone with such a reed, prior to tempting insanity by fussing with the bridle or anything else.

Also, I usually put the bridle on after I have allowed the reed blank to sit for at least 24 hrs after binding. This serves two purposes for me

1. It allows the blades to adust evenly to the scraping process, and gives additional support to them.

2. Prevents an untimely split due to the rigors fixing a bridle to a reed that has been scraped and sanded.

One thing is certain, reeds can be very finicky. Be prepared to spend a lot of time getting them 'just so'.
There are two ends to every pudding... -Cptn. Jack Aubrey.

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ausdag
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Post by ausdag » Thu Apr 21, 2005 5:50 pm

Dropkick wrote:Good advice.

But, sometimes, all a loud reed needs to mellow out some is a lot of playing... this is the first thing I recommend to anyone with such a reed, prior to tempting insanity by fussing with the bridle or anything else.

Also, I usually put the bridle on after I have allowed the reed blank to sit for at least 24 hrs after binding. This serves two purposes for me

1. It allows the blades to adust evenly to the scraping process, and gives additional support to them.

.
True, although this particular reed was initially built over a two week period prior to initial refinement. Also, 3-4 months of playing nearly everyday in this case didn't mellow it out, but slow, patient and gradual refinement over that period did, including yesterday's final bout with the bridle.

One thing I never do is attempt to slap a reed together in an afternoon.

My point being - everything pointed to this being a dud reed, when in actual fact...a long session futzing with the bridle (including slightyl damaging the surface of the baldes in the process) finally paid off.


Moral of the story - when all seems lost, what have you got to lose by getting stuck into it once and for all with your needle nose pliers as a final asault?
:D
David (ausdag) Goldsworthy
http://ozuilleann.weebly.com/

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dropkick
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Post by dropkick » Thu Apr 21, 2005 7:20 pm

ausdag wrote: Moral of the story - when all seems lost, what have you got to lose by getting stuck into it once and for all with your needle nose pliers as a final asault?
:D
One's sanity.... although, playing this instrument already illustrates that point pretty clearly. 8)

Personally, I would have given up months ago and recycled the staple and the bridle to make another reed. Recycling has been a way of life for me for over a year now, thankfully, I have been doing it increasingly less and less over the past five months.
There are two ends to every pudding... -Cptn. Jack Aubrey.

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ausdag
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Post by ausdag » Thu Apr 21, 2005 11:29 pm

Dropkick wrote: Personally, I would have given up months ago and recycled the staple and the bridle to make another reed. Recycling has been a way of life for me for over a year now, thankfully, I have been doing it increasingly less and less over the past five months.
Naaah...too much effort, too little time, not enough cane. Easier just to play around with the bridle until the cane is well and truly shredded. :)
David (ausdag) Goldsworthy
http://ozuilleann.weebly.com/

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