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  1. #1
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    Difference Between Different Chanter Reeds

    When I buy my full set of pipes (On chanter now and looking for Instructor) There is something I'd like to know.
    At the link below they list different chanter reeds and drone reeds and at different prices.
    http://www.kilts-n-stuff.com/bodhran...and-pipes.html
    Some are much more expensive than others.

    For chanter reeds There's
    Ross - Soft, Medium, and Hard
    Shepherd - Soft, Medium, and Hard
    Clanrye - Soft, Medium, and Hard

    For drone reeds there's
    Shepherd - (standard)
    Shepherd - SM90
    Ezeedrone
    Henderson
    Selby

    Can someone tell me the difference between each of the options?

  2. #2
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    Your instructor would be a far better source of information and much of this -- chanter reeds, drone reeds, bagpipes -- is personal preference, apart from the hardness of your reed which will very likely be easier than the "Soft" or more usual "Easy" reeds listed there.

    I've never heard a Clanrye reed in person but it is synthetic and have not heard many comparatively good things about it with respect to desirable tone.

    Considerations on your actual bagpipe would far surpass all other things you've listed, IMHO. Not that this forum does not have members with lot's of expertise but you may have better luck posting at the Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forum. That said, I would use the Search function to look for you answer(s) first before putting questions out there.

    Good luck with it.

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  4. #3
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    There are an amazing variety of reeds on the market, each with its adherents.

    Some , indeed, work more satisfactorily in one set of pipes than another. For example, Rocket drone reeds have a stellar reputation, but I found them to be unplayable in my pipes.

    Your instructor I'll be able to shed some light, but the pipe maker will be the best source of information on what will likely work best in your pipes.
    'A damned ill-conditioned sort of an ape. It had a can of ale at every pot-house on the road, and is reeling drunk. "

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  6. #4
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    If you haven't already, you need to ingratiate yourself with this forum board:

    http://forums.bobdunsire.com/forums/index.php

    You are really jumping the gun worrying about the rather complex selection of pipes and reeds at this early stage. However reed selection is dependent not only on personal preferences, but also what drone and chanter reeds sound best with your make/model/drone bore dimensions/setup. Thus the vast variety.
    My Clans: Guthrie, Sinclair, Sutherland, MacRae, McCain-Maclachlan, MacGregor-Petrie, Johnstone, Hamilton, Boyd, MacDonald-Alexander, Patterson, Thompson. Welsh:Edwards, Williams, Jones. Paternal line: Brandenburg/Prussia.
    Proud member: SCV/Mech Cav, MOSB. Camp Commander Ft. Heiman #1834 SCV Camp.

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  8. #5
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    I am not a pipe player (perhaps someday though) and knowing almost nothing about the tidbits of a set of pipes, is there a piper here with access to different reeds who wouldn't mind do a video of the same set of pipes and drones rigged up with different reeds to show the differences they make?
    "Everything is within walking distance if you've got the time"

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  10. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrainReaper View Post
    I am not a pipe player (perhaps someday though) and knowing almost nothing about the tidbits of a set of pipes, is there a piper here with access to different reeds who wouldn't mind do a video of the same set of pipes and drones rigged up with different reeds to show the differences they make?
    That's a Great idea, I second that.
    I understand that I'm jumping the gun a bit but while I'm looking for an instructor I would like to learn as much as I can. In the mean time I'm learning from the green book and trying to learn about pipes in general and learning the difference between reeds would help me plan for when I eventually move on to the Great Highland Pipes.
    Last edited by Kamilavalamp; 26th December 15 at 03:14 PM.

  11. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike S View Post
    If you haven't already, you need to ingratiate yourself with this forum board:

    http://forums.bobdunsire.com/forums/index.php

    You are really jumping the gun worrying about the rather complex selection of pipes and reeds at this early stage. However reed selection is dependent not only on personal preferences, but also what drone and chanter reeds sound best with your make/model/drone bore dimensions/setup. Thus the vast variety.
    Kamilavalamp ,

    I would have to agree with Mike S comments .

    There are several makers ( and types ) of reeds and several makers of pipes .

    Choosing reeds can vary depending on one's pipes and one's preference .

    In my humble opinion , there is not a " clear - cut " answer on which reeds " are the best " .

    Cheers , Mike
    Mike Montgomery
    Clan Montgomery Society , International

  12. #8
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    I'm going to second the recommendation that you also post your question over on Bob Dunsire's bagpipe forum.
    Over there they are as dedicated to pipes as X Marks is to kilts.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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  14. #9
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    Louisville, Kentucky, USA (38 13' 11"N x 85 37' 32"W gets you close)
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    I applaud your enthusiasm. I was there once myself. Before making a decision to purchase anything more, I would strongly suggest a couple of things:

    1) start working with an instructor who should be able to offer suggestions based on personal experience with environmental conditions in your area (seasonal temperatures, humidity, etc. that affect wood instruments, moisture control requirements and how often you have to fuss with resetting reeds. Some reeds are pretty much 'set-it-and-forget-it' and others require almost daily adjustments if not hourly.);
    2) listen to several different setups (maybe from individuals in a band) and figure out which sounds best to your ears.

    All of the components of a set of pipes can affect how easy they are to play and the sound quality, starting with the bag and moisture control system (if there is one) down to the material and size of the bushings at the top of the drones.
    John

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  16. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamilavalamp View Post

    For chanter reeds There's
    Ross - Soft, Medium, and Hard
    Shepherd - Soft, Medium, and Hard
    Clanrye - Soft, Medium, and Hard

    For drone reeds there's
    Shepherd - (standard)
    Shepherd - SM90
    Ezeedrone
    Henderson
    Selby
    What a can of worms you open!

    The thing to keep in mind is that chanters and chanter reeds shouldn't be thought of as independent elements, but rather a duality, an integrated system. Highland pipe chanters and Highland pipe-chanter reeds are more interchangeable than uilleann pipe chanters and reeds, it's true, but still it's not a one-size-fits-all thing.

    As people have said you can go on a dedicated Highland pipe site like BobDunsire and hear many people's experiences trying various reeds in various chanters. In a given chanter some reeds will work great, others not so great, others hardly at all. You have to have somebody experienced with reeds fit a reed to your chanter, for best results.

    It helps to "buy local" because reeds tend to work best in the climate they were made in. We're very lucky here in Southern California because we have a world-class reedmaker, Steve Megarity, living here. His reeds work fantastic in McCallum chanters, and for many years I've played in bands that use that pairing: McCallum chanter with Megarity reed.

    Pipe chanters are interchangeable in set of pipes. Each band issues chanters to its pipers, which they stick into whatever pipes they play. Any piper might have a half-dozen chanters of various makes and pitches in his pipe case all of which he plays in his same set of pipes. So don't consider yourself tied to whatever chanter comes in whatever pipes you buy.

    Pipe chanters are very inexpensive as musical instrument go. Any of the world's top pipe chanters can be had new for around $200. I would recommend that you stick with polypenco chanters for now... I've been playing 40 years and I don't ever play a wood chanter. They sound a bit better but are far more expensive and are far easier to break. I don't want to worry about that.

    About chanter reed strength, be aware that the whole Highland pipe system works easier, better, more reliably, with chanter reeds of decent strength. I've seen experienced pipers who are very skilled at reed manipulation successfully set up his Highland pipes to play at a low pressure, but for the vast majority of pipers they'll find their going much easier if they learn to blow reeds of more or less Medium strength. With Easy chanter reeds not only will the chanter be more difficult to play (it will be more unstable, requiring more skillful blowing, and tend to burble and squeal) but it will be more difficult to get the drones to play right (they'll want to not strike in, and doubletone). Going to a stronger chanter reed pretty much solves everything.

    Ditto drone reeds: different makes of drone reeds will play differently in different makes of drones. Some reeds just won't go in some drones, or won't go well. It's magic when you find just the right reeds for your particular drones! Everything works right: they strike in easily, are stable, are easy to tune, don't take much air, and cut off easily. Why fight your pipes when you can get them going just right?

    If you're getting Dunbar drones know that they're exceptionally easy to reed, with a wide variety of drone reed makes working well. I played Dunbars for many years and I would either use EzeeDrone tenors with a Kinnaird bass, or all-Kinnaird (the older Kinnairds, not the Evolution ones).

    I never played the Dunbar chanter that came with my pipes all that much. I was playing in bands that used McCallum chanters, and the mix of McCallum chanter, medium Megarity chanter reed, Dunbar drones, and Kinnaird drone reeds was terrific.

    You mention the Clanrye reed. I have one somebody loaned me, it's pretty horrid, the High G is a mile sharp and the whole thing sounds tinny. Stick to good cane chanter reeds, you'll get far better results. About Ross reeds, Andy Ross has passed away and you might want to research the current status of the company. I would check out Megarity reeds. Steve Megarity used to be a partner with Andy Ross, their reeds were called "Megarity-Ross" and you might come across that name in your research.

    There's an amazing variety of drone reeds on the market! Check out this page, the ultimate guide to drone reeds, probably.

    http://www.bagpipejourney.com/articl...ereedsid.shtml

    And about pipes, I wouldn't hesitate a moment, and buy a new set of pipes by Dunbar, St Catherines, Ontario, Canada now! The Canadian Dollar is down to 72 cents, and if you buy your pipes directly from Dunbar in Canada now you'll get a huge discount due to the exchange rate. Dunbar pipes are as good as any being made in the world now. I play a fantastic set of pipes, the best pipes I've ever owned, pipes by RG Lawrie, Glasgow, which were made around 1905. My Pipe Major just got a new set of Dunbar pipes and we switched back and forth playing the Dunbars and the Lawries and their sound is very close, nearly exact. Dunbars are made to the old classic specs and they sound and perform remarkably like the best vintage pipes. Due to the bad Canadian Dollar you can get a new wood set of Dunbars for around $800 which is amazingly cheap. (I wouldn't go with polypenco/delrin if I were you. Wood pipes look better and work better, trust me.)
    Last edited by OC Richard; 28th December 15 at 05:15 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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