AyrFire chanter again and the band pipe

The medium reed I got from Colin in the AyrFire chanter was just a tad on the easy side as I stated in my previous post. Except for one day a long time ago I’ve never had any luck using a reed mandrel to open up a reed to make it harder. Until today. Turns out I’ve been a pansy and just not sticking the mandrel up far enough the reed’s rear end. I previously always tried to make sure the mandrel never extended beyond the binding hemp (the black stuff, well, usually black), but with that I could never actually get the mandrel to open up the reed using the suggested twisting motion. So, today I tried using a nail. Literally just stuck the nail in, held the reed, and took a hammer to the end of the nail and guess what? Nothing happened. Go figure. So I was like, “crap.” How am I going to make this reed just a tad bit harder? Step 1: Stick that mandrel in there! Not like all the way or anything, but the tip of the mandrel will likely need to be beyond the binding thread just a tad to get to the end of the staple. This worked so well, I took it too far. So then I had to break out the pliers and kinda squish the reed back together. I squeezed in the same area, about half on the black binding, half on the reed (though I’m unsure if the pliers were even touching the reed). Colin would be proud, or disgusted, I’m not sure which. The reed now plays at a grand 33-34 inches of water, just where I like it. It now has a bit of resistance I can lean against. This inspired me to play a set of tunes I haven’t played in forever, and so the recordings kinda suck, but the first hornpipe is one I first heard on Colin’s World’s Greatest Pipers album, the Fairie’s Hornpipe. It’s spelled Fairy in Duncan Johnstone’s Jigs and Hornpipes book but what’re you gonna do. Now, I’ve left out a good 20 minutes of destroying this reed prior to my mandrel discovery so I can’t say for sure yet if the critique I’m about to lay down is against the reed (and my non-existent ability to not mess it up) or the AyrFire chanter. I had a heck of a time getting a semi-decent recording because the drones always sounded out of tune. Why? Because I can’t blow steady and something about the low A on the AyrFire or this reed allows a bit of fluctuation on low A. I mean, I was swapping out drone reeds left and right and casting voodoo spells all over Murray Henderson, Xavier Boderiou, and curse the thought, even Mark Lee for making unsteady drone reeds. Okay, that last one gave me a reality check. So I got real and figured out I can’t blow worth a squirrel poop. Anywho, I’ll need to swap in another reed and see if this characteristic stays with the chanter or follows the reed. I can’t help but wonder if these elongated, oval holes might be the source. You’ll notice at the end the pitch is a bit variable before I cut out, something that isn’t present in the second recording with a different chanter and reed. EDIT: I can say for sure it’s the reed, my manipulations are undoubtedly the reason for the lackluster steadiness of the reed; see next newest post for recording of AyrFire chanter with a Gilmour reed that I haven’t disfigured (too much). So it’s the AyrFire chanter again in the MacPherson’s only this time I’ve gone back to the HHD tenor and Crozier glass bass combo. I’ve been swapping so much recently I decided to finally get my band pipes settled again so I tried to record the tune set again on my band pipes (Henderson’s with Rocket tenors and Canning polycarb bass) with the standard Colin Kyo chanter/Gilmour reed combo. My birls sucked more but I didn’t have the big flub half-way through Fleshmarket Close. Ah, I suck. I would say enjoy but I think try not to die would be more accurate.

Fairy’s Hornpipe, Jolly Beggarman, Pigeon on the Gate, Fleshmarket Close, Kelsey’s Wee Reel – Da MacPherson’s

Fairie’s Hornpipe, Jolly Beggarman, Pigeon on the Gate, Fleshmarket Close, Kelsey’s Wee Reel – Ze Henderson’s

2 thoughts on “AyrFire chanter again and the band pipe

  1. The player is always the biggest cridick, you didn’t do as bad as you specified. If you dramaticly opened up your gracenotes and doublings, and put the reed in with no or ample amounts of hemp, and totally untuned your drones, Now that’d be bad!!!!!!!!!!

  2. It seems that you found out a simple but much needed lesson that we all seem to forget. When tinkering with my Kron’s I tend to look at it like being on my first date…..you keep going until you get slapped! Then when you are abpou to give up …you try again…until you get slapped once again and so on and so on!

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