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 Post subject: Drones lose Tuning
PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:39 pm 
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Hello. Novice Uillean piper here. Just got my Lynch half set in the mail and I'm practicing away like a man obsessed. An issue has arisen that I'm wondering how to deal with . . .

The drones tune wonderfully together and with the chanter, but when a touch of pressure is added to the bag to hit the high register the drones lose their tuning and produce the wa-wa-wa sound of out of tune reeds. Yech. The second the pressure is let off the drones go back to being in tune again.

Because I'm a novice it could be because I'm overpressuring the bag, but I've tried hard to apply minimum pressure to get those high notes and the drones still lose their tuning.

Anyone encountered this before? Is there a drone reed adjustment I can make to the reed bridles to make the drones more resistant to pressure changes?

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Drones lose Tuning
PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:51 pm 
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I've always found drone reeds can be very tricky to get properly stable. I've often used this adage from David Daye's (artificial) drone reed webpage (http://www.daye1.com/reeds/drones/artifdrontip.html):

  • If the reed sharpens with pressure, shorten the tongue VERY slightly by moving the binding closer to the free end.
  • If it flattens with pressure, lengthen the tongue VERY slightly by nudging the binding away from the free end.

The way it was described to me, is that if the reed rises with pressure then the reed wants to be sharper, hence shortening the tongue, and vice versa.

Of course sometimes it seems to be the complete opposite, because damned if I understand this crazy instrument!

Either way, try ever-so-slightly sliding/moving the binding near the base of the tongue of the drone reed. Play around and see if you can get the reeds more stable. Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Drones lose Tuning
PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:46 pm 
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Thanks, I'll explore that!


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 Post subject: Re: Drones lose Tuning
PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:13 pm 
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Also, make sure that there are no leaks. If the drones are loose in the stock or if the slide sections move too easily, air could be escaping which will cause the drones to act funny when pressure is applied.

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 Post subject: Re: Drones lose Tuning
PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:24 pm 
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I second both previous suggestions.

David Daye also has a youtube video showing how to pitch stabilize drone reeds

I think this is the one (I did not watch it recently):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDhEXucstn8

In case this is not, then check out his other videos.
He has some great stuff on the subject of reeds.

As you are a newcomer to the instrument I would recommend being careful and cautious when making adjustments,
and using "if it aint broke, then don't fix it" as a guiding principle.


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 Post subject: Re: Drones lose Tuning
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:51 am 
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First step is to check if your chanter isn't taking too much pressure (for the octave in particular), or if you're not pushing too hard for the high notes (which is not unlikely for a learner). Only once you have that verified, look at the drones.

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 Post subject: Re: Drones lose Tuning
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:28 am 
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Thanks, good advice, all. I'm going to have my teacher play the set and see if he gets the same results just to make sure it isn't me. The set is new and seems tight in all fittings, so I think it's airtight.

The links provided are very informative - though the double bend in the drone reed scares me - I'm not going there as I'd probably mess that up and ruin a reed or two. But I can handle bridle adjustments, as those effects are reversible.


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 Post subject: Re: Drones lose Tuning
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:35 am 
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CorneliusG wrote:
I'm going to have my teacher play the set.


There's your answer right there. Any teacher worth their fee should be able to sort it out .

RORY

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 Post subject: Re: Drones lose Tuning
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:49 pm 
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CorneliusG wrote:
The links provided are very informative - though the double bend in the drone reed scares me - I'm not going there as I'd probably mess that up and ruin a reed or two.


Note that the double bend in the drone reed is ONLY for artificial (ie plastic) drone reeds!!! Don't try a double bend in a proper cane reed or you'll just break it.

Focus on very small adjustments to the binding, and as others have said check for air-tightness and pressure required of your chanter reed.


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 Post subject: Re: Drones lose Tuning
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:54 pm 
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I also have a Lynch half set. I find that if I tune the drones with high pressure (but not so high to have the bass cut out of course!), they sound pretty spot on at both low and high pressure.

Not sure if you tried that yet, but thought it was worth a mention.

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 Post subject: Re: Drones lose Tuning
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:15 am 
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I've found that beginners often play the first octave with insufficient pressure. I try and play the whole shebang with a fairly even pressure - just less than breaks back D. First octave tone comes with pressure. Also, your future regulators will thank you.

Sam

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 Post subject: Re: Drones lose Tuning
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:16 pm 
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Aldwyn wrote:
I also have a Lynch half set. I find that if I tune the drones with high pressure (but not so high to have the bass cut out of course!), they sound pretty spot on at both low and high pressure.

Not sure if you tried that yet, but thought it was worth a mention.


Interesting, because that's precisely what Kirk Lynch suggested I do: pressure the bag for the high octave and then re-tune the drones at that pressure.

What I actually ended up doing is moving the bridles forward a hair on the bass and baritone drones (to sharpen them up), then lifted the tongues slightly. That made everything worse, so I immediately lost my nerve and put the bridles back to where they started from. I struck in and - voila! - the problem was gone. The drones held their tuning through both octaves. I don't know what I did to make that happen . . .


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 Post subject: Re: Drones lose Tuning
PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:00 am 
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Sounds like lifting the tongues up slightly was all you needed.


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 Post subject: Re: Drones lose Tuning
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:20 pm 
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CorneliusG wrote:

What I actually ended up doing is moving the bridles forward a hair on the bass and baritone drones (to sharpen them up), then lifted the tongues slightly. That made everything worse, so I immediately lost my nerve and put the bridles back to where they started from. I struck in and - voila! - the problem was gone. The drones held their tuning through both octaves. I don't know what I did to make that happen . . .


FFM!

(Friggin Ferrie Magick!)

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