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 Post subject: Sharp upper A&B
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:17 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 5:04 pm
Posts: 119
Greetings,

I have already consulted the local pipers in my area and tried some means, but thought to seek further advice here, just out of curiosity and to see what kind of tricks there possibly are in existence.
So, after a long and rocky start with the pipes I finally have had a good set for a while now, and a chanter reed that works well enough to allow consistent practice. Been playing a year or so struggling, and about three months now with the current functioning setup (gotta tap myself on the back slightly not to have given up the instrument or lost motivation :) ).
The only slight issue is that the A and B on the upper octave are somewhat sharp. It's not a deal-breaker or anything, especially after such a long struggle to get a reed that plays well otherwise, but it's still notable, disturbing even, especially when playing slower tunes.

I've tried the basic means of covering the holes with some electric tape, but that results in flat first octave in the holes in question.
I've tried inserting a bit thicker piece of wire into the reed staple (there's a thinner one originally). That brought the sharp notes in tune nicely, but resulted in flat back-D and flattened the lower octave, as well.
When I move the reed up, it helps a bit, but once again results in flat lower octave.

The rest of the chanter is nicely in tune when the reed is as deep as it gets. Would anyone have any ideas that I could try out relatively safely, without the need to worry that I ruin the reed?
Or should I just accept the way it is and be glad that now the chanter works as well as it does? :lol:

Thanks in advance, if anyone is interested in responding.
Best,
Hooleh

PS. I'm getting to know about reed making this year as my new year's resolution, but as of the moment my level of understanding about the reed mechanics are limited, hence this inquiry.


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 Post subject: Re: Sharp upper A&B
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:06 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 2:53 am
Posts: 569
Location: Burgdorf near Hanover, germany
This site is most helpful: http://www.upreeds.com/

The advice given for your problem is:
"A" and "B" Notes in Upper Octave Slightly Sharp, all Other Notes Satisfactory (Chanter):
Flattening the staple for a little longer than the 25mm may help to correct this. Or disassemble the reed and reassemble it with the staple going not quite so far into the head. Requires the reed to be disassembled. Lengthening the reed may make the overall pitch slightly flat. (Hegarty)

Flattening the staple with the reed assembled is somewhat dangerous, as it may cause the cane to split. If I were you I'd leave the reed as is, until either another reed is at hand so I can take the risk of ruining the first one, or until I have some skills in reedmaking.
However, still today I never risk ruining a reed before I have another one ready...


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 Post subject: Re: Sharp upper A&B
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:34 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:12 am
Posts: 504
Location: centre France
Until you get down to making reeds you could try:

for the upper B sharpness, flatten the note slightly by replacing the third finger of your upper hand on its hole ( the A hole) , this should lower the B somewhat. Mostly usefull when playing a long note.

For upper A sharpness, try tape on the lower edge of the note hole .


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 Post subject: Re: Sharp upper A&B
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:45 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 5:04 pm
Posts: 119
Thanks for the response.

I have disassembled and then assembled a reed a couple of times before, but yes, I guess you're right in that it's not worth the risk ruining the only functioning reed I have now.
I suppose it's time to delve into the world of reed making and take action when I understand more. :)

I have a spare reed that is a bit flat overall and has problems with the back D, maybe I could use that one to experiment.


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 Post subject: Re: Sharp upper A&B
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:49 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 5:04 pm
Posts: 119
geoff wooff wrote:
Until you get down to making reeds you could try:

for the upper B sharpness, flatten the note slightly by replacing the third finger of your upper hand on its hole ( the A hole) , this should lower the B somewhat. Mostly usefull when playing a long note.

For upper A sharpness, try tape on the lower edge of the note hole .


Thanks. I'll try these right away next time I pick up the pipes. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Sharp upper A&B
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:54 pm 
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Not sure how much this will help, but I try to use the least amount of pressure I can get away with for the a and b. Earlier on in my playing I think I was squeezing too hard out of fear of losing the octave, and that may sharpen those notes quite a bit. As you get more comfortable you will find pressure "sweet spots" for different notes. Never underestimate how pressure control can affect tuning.


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 Post subject: Re: Sharp upper A&B
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:23 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 5:04 pm
Posts: 119
KJM wrote:
Not sure how much this will help, but I try to use the least amount of pressure I can get away with for the a and b. Earlier on in my playing I think I was squeezing too hard out of fear of losing the octave, and that may sharpen those notes quite a bit. As you get more comfortable you will find pressure "sweet spots" for different notes. Never underestimate how pressure control can affect tuning.


Yes, I've begun to pay more attention to not squeezing too hard. Indeed I have noticed that the the upper A and B are closer to proper tuning when I give the minimal amount of pressure needed to get the second octave, like just on the verge of dropping back to the first octave. However, they're notably sharp even with minimal pressure.

I also added a thin wire inside the reed staple, so now there are two - a bit thicker one and the thin one I added besides it. Don't know if people tend to stuff the staple like so, but I decided to try. I also moved the bridle wire downwards just a tad, while moving the reed a bit up. It seemed to help - at least marginally - or then I'm under a placebo effect and it disturbed less when I had tried something about it. :lol:


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