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Advices for GHB reeds
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Author:  Nic [ Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:58 am ]
Post subject:  Advices for GHB reeds

Hi, A friend loan me a set of Henderson Highland pipes, the reeds ares really really hard, especially the chanter reed. I would like to make the pipes really easier to play, What would be your recommendations for chanter and drones reeds that fits well together and are really easy (in the pressure) to play ?

Author:  CHasR [ Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Advices for GHB reeds

Hi Nic, this is a really complicated topic. The goal being a loud reed that's in tune and is easy to blow, with steady unwavering drone reeds. There are lots of different ways to acheive this, & a ghb piper can spend easily years getting there. If you dont want to go an experieced ghb piper to get them 'set up' for you: then were i you ----begin just getting a steady drone tone with as little air as you can. (are your drone reeds cane or plastic?) then plug up the drones and begin working on the chanter reed, (which I assume is cane?)
this is where the danger starts, because once you start removing cane it can never be returned to the reed. You will (ultimately) want a reed that offers a stiff 'skeleton' with as little material in the vibrating sections as possible, yet keeping an open tip. Once you put that knife (or sandpaper) to the reed there is no going back, I;ve gone through buckets full over the years.
Honestly, I would seek out an experienced ghb piper (very easy to find compared to us cornemuse players ;) ) & ask them for some hands on , in person help. I am certain you will get many diferent opinions on this topic.
and by the way, Im really trying to find a way to get to the vielle fest in june this year.

Author:  highland-piper [ Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Advices for GHB reeds

I would suggest you contact Shawn Husk, at

Shawn makes reeds. He will make them as easy or as hard as you want. You tell him what chanter, and how easy, and he sends it to you.

If you want, you could buy cane drone reeds from Shawn too, and I'm sure you could get him to adjust them for strength to match the chanter reed. I have tried cane drone reeds a couple times, but they are not reliable enough for competition (the climate where I practice is substantially different from where I compete) but if it's just for enjoyment cane drone reeds are both inexpensive and good sounding.

Author:  pancelticpiper [ Wed Dec 25, 2013 8:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Advices for GHB reeds

The thing about the Highland pipes is that there is so much lore, so much knowledge, which goes into the selection and adjustment of reeds, the selection, tying in, and maintenance of bags, selection of valves, the hemping and adjustment of the sections of the bagpipe itself.

An experienced piper can 'set up' a set of pipes in a short period of time. I've got long-unused sets up and playing fine in a half-hour. But it has to be a 'hands-on' thing. The experienced piper has to try the reeds himself, adjust them himself, using his long experience with thousands of reeds. You can't do it over the phone, or through a post on a website.

And the reeds are just part of it! You might have leaks from any one of a dozen different places (nine different hemped joints, plus five different tie-in points, the bag itself, and the valve).

Find a good local teacher and bring your pipes to him. He'll get your pipes sorted out quickly.

Where are you located?


Author:  Nic [ Wed Dec 25, 2013 9:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Advices for GHB reeds

Thanks for your advices. I am in Quebec and have a friend who plays the GHB, he will be able to help me. In fact I am a piper (French pipes and Uilleann pipes) and am a bit in pipe making (sackpipa), but highland pipes are a mystery for me ! Thanks for the help !

Author:  Calum [ Tue Dec 31, 2013 9:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Advices for GHB reeds

What Panceltic says. Sort the reeds last, look at all the other things that can go wrong first. Then you'll *know* it's the reeds.

If you've got minimum help available, you might think about getting a copy of Jim McGillavry's "Pipes Ready" DVD.

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