Drone Reed Issues

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Reed is Stopping Under Pressure (Drone)

  • 1) Snap the tongue a few times and roll between the hands. A rib of hair brought up under the tongue as far as bound end may help.
    2) Add a blob of BluTac or wax to the tongue. The further away from the tip of the tongue, the less note will flatten. This makes the drone sound louder. (Climo)

Reed is Hard to Blow (Drone)

  • Scrape some cane off back of tongue (this serves to rise up the tongue). Rubbing the back of knife blade on tongue may also help. (Climo)

Note "Cracks" When Playing Low Notes on the Chanter (Drone)

  • Reed is too hard to blow (see note for "too hard to blow"). Fault happens because these lower notes need a lower air pressure than the higher notes. (Climo)

Reed Gives Different Notes When Pressure is Varied (Drone)

  • Reed may be unsuccessful. However if predominant tone is approximately in tune move tuning binding up and down to find the best position, and vary size of wax blobs. (Climo)

Reed is too Hard to Blow (Drone)

  • A reed that is too hard to blow may be softened by scraping away a little of the bark at the base of the tongue, the scrape extending more or less up the tongue toward its free end. (Quinn)

Reed is Sharp (Drone)

  • A reed that is too hard to blow may be softened by scraping away a little of the bark at the base of the tongue, the scrape extending more or less up the tongue toward its free end. This technique is also used to flatten a sharp reed. A reed may also be flattened by placing a bit of wax on the end of the tongue for additional weight. When applying weight, make absolutely sure that no wax finds its way into the interface between tongue and body. The tuning bridle may also be moved up to sharpen a note or down to flatten it. (Quinn)

Reed is Flat (Drone)

  • The tongue may be nicked or scraped at the tip to lighten it and make is sharper. The tuning bridle may also be moved up to sharpen a note or down to flatten it. (Quinn)

  • To sharpen a reed, add turns of thread to shorten the effective length of the blade. This will also affect elevation, and the tongue will usually have to be sprung out a little more. Springing out the blade causes a certain amount of flattening by increasing the tongue's period of vibration, as well as making the reed heavier to blow. (Quinn)

Reed is too Soft or Claps Shut too Easily (Drone)

  • In this case, the first remedy is to spring the tongue out a little more. Warmth applied at the base of the tongue may help. Rub it with your thumb, or hold it close to a small flame while springing the tongue out. In extreme cases, a fine hair may be inserted under the tongue and down against the bridle. This is not usually a good technique, since it then becomes impossible for the tongue to close completely, and the reed loses some of its efficiency. (Quinn)

Pitch Rises with Pressure (Drone)

  • If the drone tends to "ride up," that is, to produce a slightly sharper note as pressure increases, you should move the bridle toward the free end of the reed, or add one or more turns of wrapping, effectively shortening the blade. A similar effect may be had by removing weight either by removing wax or cutting away some of the cane of the tongue itself at the tip. If the proper pitch cannot be reached by then pulling out the tuning slide, it may be necessary to experiment with other sizes of reeds, varying the length and inside diameter. (Quinn)

Pitch Lowers With Pressure (Drone)

  • If the reed sinks with increased pressure, lengthen the blade by moving the bridle toward the base of the tongue or by removing a turn or more of the thread wrapping. More weight may also be added to the tip of the tongue. Again, if proper pitch cannot be acheived by pushing in the tuning slide, further experiments with size may be indicated. (Quinn)

Reed is Sharp (Metal body, cane tongue) (Drone)

  • Flattening is best done by either removing some of the wrapping, or by fixing a bit of wax to the tip of the blade. Be careful not to let the wax work over the edge, since if it touches the body of the reed, it may cause the reed to clap shut. If you remove thread to lengthen the tongue, the elevation will increase somewhat. This usually has to be corrected by untying and straightening the tongue slightly. However, too great an elevation may sometimes be corrected, and the tone of the reed generally improved, by a technique known to organ makers as voicing. Using a short length of drill rod, or a straight burnisher, rub the top of the blade firmly a few times, forcing it down against the lay. This will give the blade a more regular surface, which seems to improve its response noticeably. (Quinn)