Snap the tongue a few times and roll between the hands. A rib of hair brought up under the tongue a far as the bound end may help. Tongue may be a little too light, not split deep enough: make a new guill.
Drone Reed Issues
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Reed is stopping under pressure or refuses to sound when fitted into drone.
Guill is too sharp
Move tuning binding to lengthen tongue. Blob of wax near tip of tongue will also flatten the note and improve the tone of the guill. This is known as "ballasting". Instead of wax, a blob of blue-tack or similar can be used. The drone may be a little harder to blow. The split in the tongue may be lengthened. The base (binding end) of the tongue could be thinned a little, making the guill lighter and easier to blow. Make a longer guill of similar diameter.
Guill is too flat.
Move tuning binding up to shorten the tongue. Shorten quill by cutting off a piece at the open end and rebinding end, if split is not extending down too far. Paring off a little of the tongue tip may also sharpen the reed by effectively lightening the tongue and making it easier to blow. Remove any ballast, blobs of wax, etc. Make a shorter guill using slightly larger diameter cane.
Reed is hard to blow.
Scrape some cane off back of tongue (this serves to rise up the tongue). Rubbing the back of a knife blade on the tongue may also help. Guills can take some time to "blow in". Guill tongue may have been cut a little too deep and scraping cane off back may correct it.
Guill gives different notes when pressure is varied.
Moving binding up and down and vary size of wax blob. Check to see if guill has an airtight binding or has air escaping around the sides of the socket where the guill is set in place.
Drone reed size
Inside diameter of the guill should be equal to or greater than the inside diameter of the drone.
Springing the tongue
Springing the tongue: this makes the reed stronger to blow, louder and keeps it from clapping shut. It is done by lifting the tongue up carefully, arching it back and letting go so that it claps back into place. The immediate effects will reduce in the first few minutes. It is easy to snap it right off and it tends to make it unsteady or too strong if done too much.
Placing a hair under the tongue.
This makes the reed stronger to blow, louder and keeps it from clapping shut.
Moving the bridle
This affects pitch and pressure. The closer the bridle is to the base of the reed, the longer the vibrating length of the tongue, thus the flatter the pitch and the stronger it is to blow, and vice versa. Sometimes moving the bridle up the other way helps to gain the double tone.
The reed jumps to a high frequency squeal and refuses to play in proper pitch
Tongue is too short because of either the bridle or the overall length of the reed.
Reed is unsteady
Check for loose bridle.
Thinning the tongue: this is done by shaving the reed with a knife
The general effect is to weaken the reed so it responds at a lower pressure. Where it is shaved will affect other aspects as well. If it is shaved at the free end it will make it sharper in pitch and increase the tendency for having a double tone if it doesn't already. It will move in the direction of getting flatter with increased pressure so that if it was getting sharper with increased pressure it will help to correct it. If it is shaved at the base of the tongue, it will make it flatter and move it in the direction of getting sharper with increased pressure. After a point it will also take away the double tone. It may also help stop it from clapping shut, up to a point, beyond which it will have the opposite effect.
Weighting the end with wax
This makes it flatter, stronger, and keeps it from clapping shut. It has a similar effect to that of shaving the base of the tongue without making it weaker. Usually this will make it unsteady but is sometimes just the thing.
Reed Is Too Sharp
Move tuning binding towards the base of the reed, so as to lengthen tongue. Blob of wax near tip of tongue will also flatten note.
Reed Is Too Flat
Move tuning binding towards the tip of the reed, so as to shorten tongue. Shorten guill by cutting off a piece at the open end and rebinding end. Paring off a little of the back of the tongue tip may also sharpen the reed by effectively lightening the tongue.
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