The Royal Scots Cap Badge

Keeping pipe reed in playing condition

Bill can you tell me what is the best way to keep your pipe reed in good condition so it is ready to play again.I have found that it can begin to get mold on it.I have taken it out of the chanter and put it in a pill bottle or chanter cap but it dries out somewhat. What did you do in the army after playing to keep your chanter reed ready to play when you picked up your pipes again. Thanks vey much and keep well. Best regards Andrew.

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Jan 03, 2013
Keeping pipe reed in playing condition
by: Bill Robertson

Hello Andrew,
In aswer to your question - We simply always dried out our chanter stock after each playing of reasonable length. If unsure the pipers were required to test for ant sign of dampness in the chanter stock by placing their little finger well upp and around the stck to find out if moist. Drying out was with a dry aborbent cloth folded in a way that would go right to the top of the stock, placed on the end of a suitable sized wooden dowel or suchlike. The cloth on the stick was inserted and twiset around right through the stock, then again with a fresh part of the cloth untilreally dry and clean. If left for a number of hour and/or ove night in a damp condition with the chanter and reed still in the stock the reed would not sound good and be out of balance and dull. If prolonged without due attention the reed could become mouldy. Many pipers today have a dummy stcck/dry-stock with a tiny hole to allow a some air into the dry-stock to prserve the reed. Although I do not play my pipes often for long periods these days, I would check the chanter stock, make sure OK, then replace the chanter with the reed (dried if slightly wet, or wet around the chaer top). Some very dry climates we were in at times in the Army kept the reeds after long playing pretty well dry, although pests were always made to make sure.
I trust that helps - Happy New year,
Bill

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