Chiff and Fipple Forums

Top Hand Flat on Smallpipes
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Author:  MadmanWithaWhistle [ Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Top Hand Flat on Smallpipes

On a whim yesterday I decided to try my connecting my old Walsh smallpipe set to my bellows. Having always used the Walsh (which has a synthetic reed) mouthblown, and having recently learned I was playing my other pipes at almost twice the recommended pressure, I wondered whether they'd be easier to play more gently. What I discovered was that for years, I think I had been correcting a flat top hand with changes in bag pressure. Having been practicing daily for almost six months now on an excellent bellows-powered set, my new, much steadier pressure exposed this discrepancy.

Here's what I've tried so far:
    -Made sure there was no dust or anything occluding the reed or chanter
    -Closed down the reed slightly
    -Opened the reed slightly
    -Pushed the reed further into the chanter
    -Pulled the reed further out of the chanter
    -Lightly sanded the tips of the reed blades

None of this has made any substantive impact on the problem. Sanding perhaps raised the pitch a few cents. Now, replacement Walsh reeds are only $24, but I'm learning to make smallpipe reeds (and hopefully others) and this strikes me as a good chance for education. What should I try next?

Author:  piperjoe [ Mon May 06, 2019 8:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Top Hand Flat on Smallpipes

Nobody is jumping in here, so I'll see if perhaps I can help.

With conical bore pipes, Highland and Border for example, moving the reed up and down has a greater effect on the upper hand notes than the bottom hand notes. This doesn't happen, at least to the same degree, on the cylindrical chanter of small pipes. So, it take a great degree of movement to sharpen the top hand and the whole chanter tends to go sharp at the same time.

You could try sharpening the top hand until it's in tune by pushing in the reed, and then taping the bottom holes as needed to bring them down a bit. Don't know that this will fix the problem, but you seem to have tried everything else.

The best answer may well be a new chanter reed...good luck with it! :thumbsup:

Piper Joe

Author:  fiddlerwill [ Mon May 06, 2019 9:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Top Hand Flat on Smallpipes

Trim half mill off end blades and sand till it’s gets smoothe. Repeat till in tune. Gets duller in sound the more you trim. So push in till bottom A is right then trim. Good luck.

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