The Royal Scots Cap Badge

Whay causes a reed to stop playing

by Dan Knox
(Phoenix AZ USA 85086)

Good day,

I am experiencing my Chanter reed failing by making a low muffled sound or little sound while being played. I have had this happen on two separate reeds. I have a clear air path way, the air is dry so it wouldn't be caused by a moisture problem. I have plenty of bag pressure, and the failure comes at different times while playing with no warning.

Could a Chanter be at fault here? I have gone through my entire pipe system and reeds with no luck finding the cause.

Thank You,
Dan Knox

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May 11, 2015
Whay causes a reed to stop playing NEW
by: Bill Robertson

Hello Dan,
Lou has good points to note, especially the chatre reed being far too dry. A very slight moistening of the chater reed without slobbering too much with your lips saliva - more of a moist breath through the tip of the reed and very slight lip moisteness.
Good steady "on top of the reed" pressure should be in mind all the time - no under-blowing. If all fails, consider the reed to be very poor quality, and seek a nother good suplier or directly from a reputable reed maker - most likely in Scotland. If/when ordering quote your chanter make, model, and year. Also mention your deemed to be strenghth of blowing, such as beginner needing a reed not too strong to blow, a reed to suita medoerate air pressure, or a stronger reed. The supplier/maker could be asked to let you know some methods of weakening the reed etc. Perhaps you might find on the internet some good hints from a reputable reed maker such as Apps who I believe has some good tips etc.
I see you have an email address. I will consider forwarding some pages from one of my interactive DVD manual relevant pages to help.


May 11, 2015
Intermittent Chokes
by: Lou Henningsen

It is possible that the reed is actually too dry. I use a moisture control system but never bake the beads dry. I leave some moisture in the bottle to keep the air going through the reeds in a steady state regardless of the moisture in the air. If it is humid, water collects in the bottle, if dry, the air passing over damp beads adds moisture.

I have also found that top hand finger holes being slightly uncovered will allow enough leakage that the reed will act like it is choking, but more pressure does not seem to help. The result is squawks and chokes, especially on Crunluath or other low hand - high hand - low hand transitions.

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