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Two Reed stories

 
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Aaron K. Holt
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Joined: 01 Nov 2006
Posts: 291
Location: Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:16 pm    Post subject: Two Reed stories Reply with quote

Last night I decided to join the club of synthetic-reed experimenters. I made the body out of a tube of cane, sealed at one end with a small cork. I attached a tongue made from a yogurt container, and tied it onto the body with some waxed thread and sealed the length of the reed above the thread (less than 1cm) with wax.

I fiddled around with it for a while, added a bridle and a little beeswax to the tip of the tongue for stability.

It worked! ...for about a minute. Then the notes started to waver spastically in either direction by about 20-30 cents - at which point my wife walked into the room to get something and remarked that it sounded "like ass" which was a pretty accurate statement Rolling Eyes .

I kept adjusting the reed for a little while, but I couldn't get it to stabilize.
I noticed that the plastic that I was using wasn't very stiff. I've read that this stuff can be used with good effect for our type of reed though. Maybe I got it wrong. Has any one got any suggestions?

I also tried something different. I made a reed (of Arundo Donax) that was over 1cm longer than Olle's measurements, with a very long tongue. I used a bridle and a small blob of beeswax for tuning, but nothing else. I didn't scrape the tongue and I didn't heat set it either. It got fired up in no time. It plays in tune and stays in tune considerably longer than any reed that I've played so far. It's still new and hasn't been broken in yet, so it has a few quirks, but these aren't anything that I haven't noticed with a new reed before and I expect that they will become negligible in a week or so. My wife, by the way, says that this is the best sounding reed I've made Smile .

I got the idea from this website:
http://www.pibgyrn.com/index.php

While it's not about Swedish pipes, the reeds are pretty much exactly the same. He also refers to Olle's instructions somewhere in there (though he spells Olle's name wrong).
He says that scraping the reeds makes them more sensitive to moisture, so he avoids it if possible.
He also briefly mentions making reeds from plastic, which he says are quieter but still have a good sound and are much more stable. I'm thinking about sending him an email and asking what materials he uses, but I didn't see an email address.

Chad, didnít you mention making hornpipes at one point? Do you ever use plastic reeds?
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Aaron K. Holt
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Joined: 01 Nov 2006
Posts: 291
Location: Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops! It looks like the website I mentioned above has been updated since I first read it a few months ago. He has the recipe for synthetic reeds in plain view. He says:

"My synthetic reeds are made from a pen, some plumbers O rings and the tounge made out of fibrecell, which is a kevlar synthetic clarinet/sax reed. You will need to cut the reed down to approx 38mm by 5mm by .9mm. But the success depends on the shape of the reed seat on the pen."

You can find a sound clip of the synthetic reeds near the bottom of the page.
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JP WNC



Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 26
Location: Asheville, NC (USA)

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've made a "strawstrument" out of yogurt container material...it's best suited for double reeds because of the curvature. It seems like it's too soft for a single reed application. David Daye's "Never-stop" drone reed recipe calls for 0.030 inch thickness styrene sheets from a hobby shop. For double reeds the #6 recycle code (styrene/polystyrene) beer/party cups apparently work best.
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pibgyrn



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 12
Location: Wales

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thats me , sorry if I spelt the name wrong I will alter it,

Any questions please ask, I would love to see photos of chads pibgorn.


Gerard


www.pibgyrn.com
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Aaron K. Holt
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Joined: 01 Nov 2006
Posts: 291
Location: Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a great site you have there. What kind of pens are you using for your reed bodies? The kind that have a softer/more flexible plastic (the everyday bic pen), or is the plastic harder and more brittle? Or does it even make a difference?
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pibgyrn



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 12
Location: Wales

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks hopefully it will give you a good start to making pibgyrn.

Once you have the tounge and shape of the reed seat worked out you can pretty much use any pen, I use ones that are 7.5mm in outside diameter and that look good.

I have used hundreds of different materials for the tounges but "fibrecell" is the best so far.

I will be uploading large pictures of tounge shapes and sizes soonish.

I cap my cane reeds with red sealing wax just because it looks good.
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