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Old 19-06-12, 10:46 PM   #1
HighlandPiper
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Default Reed breaking period

I just replaced my old reed with a new Ross reed (soft) in a MK II pipe chanter.

The pitch is suprisingly low, around B flat. But I think it will rise as it absorbs moisture.

How long will it take? Around a few weeks?
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Old 20-06-12, 12:37 AM   #2
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copuld be days, could be months... How often do you play? how much do you play? do you have a cannister system? hide or synthetic bag? etc etc etc... details details details
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Old 20-06-12, 08:59 AM   #3
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I've always gone by the ballpark figure of 6 hours.

So it takes 6 hours of playing that reed until it's been broken in (or played in, depending how you look at it).

FYI, I don't subscribe to any notions that you can speed up this process using potato peelings or lettuce or anything like that. With anything in piping, hard work is all that it takes - if it were easy, everyone would play the pipes!

So depending on how heavy it is for you will depend on how long you can play for. And that will affect how many days it'll take to blow it in. Aim for 30 mins a day and it'll take about 12 days to get it nicely freed up.

Might be a daft question, but if the pitch is surprisingly low, can you not sink it into the reed seat any more? Or is it quite balanced at 440?
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Old 20-06-12, 09:13 AM   #4
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Easiest way to break reeds in quickly (never fails, I'll bet a car on it), is to dip the reed for about a second in a dodo's egg.

Failing that, Mark's advice is pretty sound. (pun intended)
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Old 20-06-12, 12:00 PM   #5
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If the reed is too hard and difficult during these 12 days, pinching the sound box helps to loosen it up a bit.

So with that in mind, does pinching the reed effect the reed in a bad way in the long run?
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Old 20-06-12, 02:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark J. View Post

Might be a daft question, but if the pitch is surprisingly low, can you not sink it into the reed seat any more? Or is it quite balanced at 440?
Mark he may be tunining it at 440hz on a Korg or something similiar... I was recently graced with a tuning theory lesson by Mark Saul, and according to that math, hes actually playing around 466Hz in TRUE pitch for the pipes...

i am sure i could forward you the email from MArk if it would make more sense.

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If the reed is too hard and difficult during these 12 days, pinching the sound box helps to loosen it up a bit.

So with that in mind, does pinching the reed effect the reed in a bad way in the long run?
Careful with pinching the sound box, to hard of a opinch on too soft of a reed and the thing goes wonky on ya. if you continually have to pinch it, it can, and most likely will (if not done properly) cause tone effects and/or deteriorate the reed quicker.


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Easiest way to break reeds in quickly (never fails, I'll bet a car on it), is to dip the reed for about a second in a dodo's egg.

Failing that, Mark's advice is pretty sound. (pun intended)
seriously!? well thatll save me tons of time... ive got more dodo eggs than i know what to do with! Easy Peasy! im opening my reed breaking (in) shop! lol ;)
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Old 20-06-12, 03:44 PM   #7
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i have heard of people dropping the reeds in a glass of water for a while and letting them soak/swell up.

i just do it the old fashioned way and bust my guts - play it out!
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Old 20-06-12, 04:13 PM   #8
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I heard of one person who tried using their vacuum cleaner to break in a reed: they built an attachment for the hose and plugged the reed in. I don't think it turned out too well.
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Old 20-06-12, 04:17 PM   #9
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466 Hz is still pretty low by most standards today. You'll hear some bands up around 484 - 486 Hz on a warm sunny day. And you'll likely not hear many below 478 Hz these days (though I'm just plucking 478 out of the air).

Ross reeds are a nice reed and should come up in pitch nicely, especially when used with a MkII chanter. Maybe the reeds a duffer?

Tell us how it goes if you can manage to sink it more?

Oh yea - instead of pinching a reed...
if you're blowing a reed in and it starts to open up & get difficult (as expected)...take your chanter out and just hold the blades of the reed between your thumb and finger so it gets a bit of heat.

JHaslip - aye, go for it, I'd be interested in reading that email - mj_1984@hotmail.com
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Old 20-06-12, 05:27 PM   #10
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Folks are too obsessed with numbers, imo.

If it's for your solo chanter, so long as it sounds nice to you, the that's all that matters (and notes are in tune with each other of course!).

If you're in a band, your PM should be able to tune by comparing notes together with a chanter which is already in tune.
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