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Could a Bagpipe Have Metal Reeds??
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Author:  moonlitnarwhal [ Sat Oct 03, 2020 12:16 am ]
Post subject:  Could a Bagpipe Have Metal Reeds??


I understand if this question seems laughable, but I've been wondering if a type of bagpipe could be designed to play with metal reeds, similar to accordion style reeds?

We don't necessarily need to debate the potential design challenges, but I'm curious if the basic concept could even work - could a highly-modified chanter and drone be designed to use metal-tongued reeds?? I play a bit of diatonic accordion and love the tone of metal reeds, and I've always fantasized about learning the pipes... additionally I've been really enjoying playing an Indian Shruti box (which is a metal reeded instrument designed to produced a sustained drone), so I think the inspiration arose in the midst of all this... Any thoughts out there? If it was possible, metal reeds could even be more stable in range of conditions (altitude, moisture, temperature, etc.) compared with natural cane reeds, although I know that the sound produced would be vastly different from most bagpipes, it could produce a phenomenally unique tone....

All ideas or comments welcome!

Author:  fatmac [ Sat Oct 03, 2020 2:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Could a Bagpipe Have Metal Reeds??

I think you've basically answered your own question, other instruments use metal reeds, so there is no reason as to why they wouldn't work, with a bit of adjustment, but as you say, will give a different sound. At the moment, I believe, there are some musicians who use plastic reeds instead of cane, so anything is possible. :)

Author:  oleorezinator [ Sat Oct 03, 2020 7:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Could a Bagpipe Have Metal Reeds??

There are plenty of single reed bagpipes.
Some uilleann pipe regulator reed are metal.
Boston piper and pipe maker Patsy Brown
worked at the Gillette razor factory and used
the same razor blanks for some chanter reeds.

Author:  MichaelLoos [ Sat Oct 03, 2020 10:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Could a Bagpipe Have Metal Reeds??

You can make single as well as double reeds from metal, BUT you can not operate a bagpipe instrument with free reeds like harmonica, accordion etc - these need a bit more air but far less pressure to sound than the other types of reeds.

Author:  pancelticpiper [ Mon Oct 12, 2020 7:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Could a Bagpipe Have Metal Reeds??

I had Colin Ross NSP and it had reeds with sheet metal tongues in the drones.

I can't remember now what the bodies of the reeds were, if they were metal or wood.

There's a whole thing about making uilleann regulator reeds out of beverage cans, if you get the right can it already has the correct curve built in. There's probably threads in the uilleann section about it. If I recall, an issue was that the correct steel beverage cans were only available in Germany.

I had a number of Bulgarian chanters that had chanter reeds (single reeds, like drone reeds) with a wooden body and thin clear sheet plastic tongues. The nice thing about that is the maker can create exactly the right reed design to get good tuning and voicing from the chanter, rather than the player having to try to re-create the original design every time he needs a reed. All the player has to do is craft a tiny sliver of plastic. Whether sheet metal could be substituted for the plastic, I don't know.

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