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View Full Version : Any reed makers out there? Got a question


wjjagfan
05-06-09, 06:02 PM
My son was trying out for the school drum line and while I was waiting in the band room, I spotted an ad posted to the bulletin board. It was a lady who offered instruction in reed making for the oboe. I had heard that oboe reeds and chanter reeds have similar characteristics, so I was interested and took her information.

Can anyone tell me if I would be wasting my time learning the basics of reed making from this person and then adapting what I learn to make chanter reeds for the GHB?

rpeitzsch
05-06-09, 08:00 PM
Yeah, there're 2 of them on this form: Steve (pipes) and Oboist (oboe).

Oboist
05-06-09, 11:02 PM
My son was trying out for the school drum line and while I was waiting in the band room, I spotted an ad posted to the bulletin board. It was a lady who offered instruction in reed making for the oboe. I had heard that oboe reeds and chanter reeds have similar characteristics, so I was interested and took her information.

Can anyone tell me if I would be wasting my time learning the basics of reed making from this person and then adapting what I learn to make chanter reeds for the GHB?

Hello..

No you wouldnt be wasting your time but its quite a lengthy process and you need a lot of patience..Nothing we learn is pointless its how we apply it..

Go along for a chat with this lady and take some chanter reeds with you so she can see whats what...we have allsorts of gadgets to measure cane density, thickness of gouge etc..there are so many influences on the reed itself, the quality of the cane even where its grown for example..French cane tends to be more brittle and harder than the KSG that I currently use..you will be fascinated to see what we do and how you might apply it to chanter reeds..

making reeds of any form is a trial and error learning curve so be prepared to face hurdles and frustration..

Good luck

Andrew

Steve
05-06-09, 11:28 PM
What i have found is.. If you dont have the right cane.. then you will never make any decent reeds.. I am always looking for a new supplier.. they are not easy found.. and when you do find one.. their cane is probably not what your looking for..

Also.. Tools.. Tools that may suit you.. may not suit me.. and vise-versa..All my tools are hand made.. and take years to set if you dont know what your doing..

Most people think its just a matter of sitting down and tying reeds.. you WILL want to forget about the whole thing 100 times before you master it.. If you have a good pair of hands.. then maybe.. just maybe you will master it..

Hope this helps a little..

dharron
06-06-09, 02:14 AM
Steve, I was told one time that all cane used for any kind of cane reeds comes from the area of Mendoza, Argentina (or sort of Chile-ish). Is that true?

joegoat
06-06-09, 05:14 AM
I've been playing with making a new practice chanter reed for almost a year now. My goal is to make a plastic reed with a very mellow tone without the harsh sound of plastic. I've probably made and cut apart 200 different reeds in that time and I've used at least half a dozen different plastics to make them. I have finally found one that sounds good. Now that I've worked out the kinks I have to work out the fine details. Steve was a big help to me. He gave me some pointers and then let me go off on my own way. I'm no where close to the expertise of Steve. He is truly a genius and he makes the world's best pipe chanter reeds.
The way I've learned most of my stuff is trial and error. I've found tools that work and methods that make the reeds more standard and speed up the production time. There are few Youtube videos about pipe chanter reed making.
-Joe

Oboist
06-06-09, 08:52 AM
OK reality check..

reed making though not impossible is not for the faint hearted..its takes years to master..just handling the knives in our case is an art..selecting the cane, gouging, shaping, the scrape, the tip, the screw ups of which I have too many to count...I do think its valuable to be able to adjust your reeds but not neccaserrily make them from scratch..I do make my own from scratch but I have been well taught and have spent a lot of time doing it not to mention about 3000 on machinary..

Best course of action for an Oboist is to be able to make adjustments and/or rescue a reed from disaster.. in the pipers case it is probably best to leave the full making of a reed to the pros...If you really want to do it then ok but Chanter reeds are not expensive and last you guys a long time so buy your reed maker a beer and spend your precious time playing..

If you need a hobby reed making is probably not my first thought for rest and relaxation...

And always remember " Like the Holy Grail, the perfect reed doesn't exist...Somone trod on it"

Andrew

joegoat
07-06-09, 05:59 AM
Oboist is right it takes practice, time, and research. I completely forgot to mention the help that he gave me. He answered several questions that I had and I owe a big thanks to him.
If you want to learn to make reeds start with practice chanter reeds. I figured mine to cost about 25 cents each to make. 14 cents of that is the staple and you can reuse those for other reeds. I would estimate I have $100 in tools and supplies right now. I don't use any fancy jigs or computers. I use hand tools and I make sure that my parts are exactly the same as the ones before. Reed making is an art and it takes time to master it. I'm just beginning even after a year of working at it.
-Joe

wjjagfan
08-06-09, 08:02 AM
I make my own PC reeds and while they're not the quality I can purchase (they sound good they just don't last very long), they have served me well and cost me almost nothing but time to make.

I've always been a do-it-yourselfer so when I saw this ad I thought I'd at least call and find out what's up.

I got a lot of "don't even try it comments" when I decided I wanted to make a kilt (of course they cost a lot more than reeds). I signed up for a class with Elsie Stuehmeyer (she wrote the book on kilt making - literally - "The Art of Kiltmaking") and now I've made three, all good quality.

I'm not bashful about diving in to new things and I don't mind a challenge (hey, I started on the pipes when I was 45 years old and haven't done too badly over the past six years) however, I'm not prepared to spend $5K on equipment to make a $10 reed.

Still, I think I'll give the lady a call and see if she has any suggestions. Perhaps she'll just tell me to not even attempt it.

dharron
08-06-09, 02:49 PM
Like a lot of other hobbies, it's not about saving money, it's not about the time involved to learn or to make whatever it is, it's all about the challenge... learning, trying to improve, one tiny step at a time, mastering something that few others can do.

Oboist
08-06-09, 07:44 PM
I would commend anyone who was or is prepared to try to make reeds for the PC its a fascinating subject..

The savings will not be huge once you have equipped yourself to make reeds and only the commercial reed makers really make money from it so dont expect to make a sub income from it...

I gather that you all get about a couple of years from a reed which is INCREDIBLE..I get about 15 hours from mine and as an Oboist thats not uncommon..I had one give up the ghost in less than 6 hours last week but it did take a pounding at the weekend, it actually cracked in the middle of a work and it took all my embouchure to get it to the end of the movement and then hurriedly change to another reed..

Its certainly worth learning how to adjust a reed at the very least..Making from scratch is a lengthy learning curve and did I mention just a TAD frustrating, I have had bin fulls of screw ups..

I really must get a life.

Andrew

dharron
08-06-09, 08:16 PM
...only the commercial reed makers really make money from it...
Is that why Steve is so wealthy?:rotf:

Steve
08-06-09, 09:07 PM
Is that why Steve is so wealthy?:rotf:

Steve in broke.. lol

joegoat
09-06-09, 01:27 AM
Steve in broke.. lol

You have the respect of so many pipers though. Just don't go completely broke and quit making those fantastic reeds. My PM is trying a Celtic reed. I'm hoping he likes it cause I sure do.
-Joe