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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:14 am 
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dyersituations wrote:
Ken_C wrote:
Tinkering is the huge challenge, especially the chanter reed, and it is still a mystery to me.

I always 100% recommend to any piper that has the time, interest, and money, to get into reed making. It made a huge difference for me, especially as a piper who gigs regularly. I can typically get my reeds to behave in any venue. And when I get a chanter from another part of the world, I can make a series of reeds until one works well. In fact, I have a chanter from Europe waiting for me to make a reed for it, as the reed arrived playing extremely sharp. If you're able to start making reeds, there are free books and videos, and the tools and materials are all fairly cheap. The most expensive piece for me was the gouge.

I think I will purchase some reed making supplies from NPU.

Fortunately my C# chanter is able to use tube stapling.


BTW how liberal could I be with reed measurements, is trial and error required?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:41 am 
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ennischanter wrote:
BTW how liberal could I be with reed measurements, is trial and error required?

I have found measurements to be largely trial and error. There are typically measurements that a particular chanter likes, but depending on the cane used and how you make the reed, there could be variations throughout. For example, I made some reeds I hoped to used in a bass reg, but they turned out to be too sharp. I didn't really have measurements to aim for with the bass reg reed, since the reed had arrived damaged. For kicks I threw the same reeds in the first chanter I purchased, and the reeds played excellent! And the reeds were much larger than previous reeds I had used in that chanter. When I make reeds for a chanter I'm unfamiliar with, I start with a guess, maybe making a few different sizes of reeds at once, then go from there.

Also regarding materials/tools, I found most of my materials from random local and online stores. There are a couple specialty items that can be harder to find, like the gouge or the channel blocks for gouging. I ended up finding a gouge on Amazon that works well. Some people make some of their own tools as well.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:50 am 
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All great suggestions.

The isolation I faced when I picked up the uilleann pipes in the late 1970s simply isn't possible today, due to the internet.

Nowadays no matter where you live you can chat with pipers, listen to pipers playing, and take lessons from pipers, all online.

When I started there was no interent, no instructional videos, nothing but listening to albums and reading books.

The greatest helps were The Dance Music Of Willie Clancy and Learn To Play the Uilleann Pipes with the Armagh Pipers Club.

The worst thing was reeds. Our weather here can be fine for reeds much of the year but a few times we get hot incredibly dry winds (below 10% humidity) and I've had reeds collapse in the dry heat.

So my first five years or so I only had a working chanter half the time.

I got a working reed in 1982 and I still play that reed today. I have been told that it's probably California cane which I was told is more weather-resistant than Spanish or French cane.

It would have helped me tremendously to have learned to make reeds!

The best thing for me back then was attending tionoil when I could.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:19 am 
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I'm isolated by choice, really . . . meaning I live in an area where there are teachers and probably sessions going on. But frankly I'm too much of a novice to show up at a session. I'd just embarrass myself. As I get more tunes under my belt I might have a go at that . . .

Nevertheless, what keeps me going is listening to delightful pipe tunes, either on CD or found on YouTube, and wanting to play those tunes myself - which is really the same thing that got me started: hearing the music played by masters of the art.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:28 am 
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I agree with the others.

1. Listen to good music as much you can. I can play music in my workspace, so most days I just let it run all the time while I work. I do keep a whistle on my work table so that I can try something on the spur of the moment if I hear or see something I like. Actually, I keep a set of pipes in my workspace also, and sometimes I will play for a while for a break from work.

2. Attend a tionól, workshop, or retreat whenever you can. You can learn more in 2-3 days with a good teacher than you can in a year of stumbling around by yourself. Totally worth the expense and time to go.

3. I agree with Richard Cook on good tutor books; the Armagh Pipers Club one is still my favorite.

4. As has also been said, the NPU DVD's are a good resource and come with tune booklets.

As far as learning to adjust your reeds and maintain your set, yes, you really need to learn how when you're far from your pipemaker, but be slow to adjust the chanter reed until you can play well enough to know that the reed really needs adjusting, and it's not just your own poor playing technique.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:42 am 
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Hi,
I’m based in Winnipeg, so I feel your pain! When I first started I had a friends old Matt Kiernan set that had zero working reeds and leaks everywhere. Had to learn to make reeds before I could even start learning to play! Took a while to get up and rolling.
I think it’s maybe important to point out that (especially if you’re working on your own) what is the best way for one person to learn isn’t going to be the best way for another person. I had almost no luck getting going using any of the tutor books but once I got the NPU series (on VHS!) I started picking it up quite quickly. Try a bunch of stuff and see what works!
Another thing that made a big difference for me was focusing in on one record and learning it front to back instead of picking up random tunes here and there. It just seemed to help keep me focused and learning a variety of tunes. With a good slow down app you can really get in and pick apart ornaments and variations. I started with Ronan Browne and Peter O'Loughlin’s record ‘Touch me if you dare’ and I learned a tonne. On a side note I found that actually writin vthe tunes out as I learned them helped keep them in my head better somehow... plus now I have a reference to quickly go back to if I forget a phrase or something.
Lately I’ve been taking Skype lessons with Joey Abarta which has been really great. Joey is a super nice guy and an excellent teacher so it’s been really fun. He instantly picked up on some bad habits I have developed and started helping me fix them. Would have been great to have that help when I first started! I’ve heard of lots of pipers doing Skype lessons these days so email your favourite player and see what they say!
Good luck and if you’re ever through Winnipeg let me know.
Jordan


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