Monthly Archives: September 2011

New Crozier Glass versus optimal, established Setups

So, I got a set of Crozier Glass drone reeds in from Gord over at Island Bagpipe on his recommendation. He’s had a set of Gellaitry’s identical to mine in stock for a long time. That he has had them so long is something that has really bothered me. I really, really, really like the sound of Gellaitry bagpipes. Get yourself one! Continuing on, Gord did some trials I believe and very much liked the sound of the Crozier Glass drone reeds in the Gellaitry pipes, hence why I ordered a set. I’ve got a set of Crozier’s Carbon and Cane but I find the bass reeds to be a bit weak relative to their very powerful and harmonic tenors, respectively (granted I haven’t fiddled with them all that much). BUT, the recordings below are plug and play, at least until you get to the Henderson recordings where I had to pull the plug out to reach a different pitch.

Below you’ll first find a recording of my favorite drone reeds thus far in the Gellaitry’s: Kinnaird’s! Great reeds. Then for comparison, I plugged in the Crozier Glass, tuned to the same pitch, and recorded again (all sans chanter). These pipes are tied into a grommetless Gannaway zip bag.

Gellaitry with Kinnaird

Gellaitry with Crozier Glass

Note that in all the recordings I stand at 4 different relative orientations to the microphones so the sound will change (and at times sound out of tune as I move). The 2nd and 4th orientations feature the tenors and bass respectively. One thing I’ve rarely heard with any other pipe is an overtone coming right off the bass. Tenors are one thing and fairly common, but off the bass and so strong, it’s incredible. You can hear it really well toward the end of the Crozier glass recording. While playing them, it sounds like it’s being emitted right out of the bass drone’s lower tuning chamber, cool eh? You can hear these pipes under the same recording conditions with (Naill) Rocket, Crozier Carbon, and Crozier Cane in this post.

Then, to get an idea of what is Crozier Glass sound and what is drone sound I repeated the process with my 1950’s Henderson’s, first with the (Naill) Rocket tenors and Canning bass, then recorded with all Crozier Glass. These pipes have a pure synthetic Monarch zip bag with grommets.

1950’s Henderson with (Naill) Rocket tenors and Canning bass

1950’s Henderson with Crozier Glass

So, this is a tough decision. I very much like the sound of the Crozier Glass in both pipes, but I’m not sure I like it more than what I already had. Definitely strong contenders if not and easily take 2nd place. What do you think?

If I don’t switch them in to either of these pipes, I bet they’ll feel right at home in the set of MacPherson’s I ordered. Peace and Enjoy your Piping!

Chanter Reeds

I have spent a lot of time and money buying chanter reeds, and a lot of them just weren’t that great. Many of the older recordings on this site were done with older reeds resurrected from my past piping life simply because I couldn’t get a decent set of new chanter reeds. There is much talk of what chanter reeds best suit what chanters. Rubbish! Find a good reed with no flaws, and it’ll work in any chanter. Similarly, there are lots of praises for ridge cut reeds. Well, no thanks, if I drank tea it wouldn’t be my cup.

In the last year or so I’ve had the pleasure of playing Gilmour reeds. They are FANTASTIC! There are only 2 problems with Gilmour reeds. 1. Gilmour must be left handed because the hemp supplied with the reed is wrapped backwards. Maybe it’s just because he is from Australia and I’m on the wrong side of the equator. 2. The hemp isn’t waxed and is very springy. Okay, so there’s nothing wrong with the reeds, you just hafta take the hemp off, wax it, and then put it back on the right (clockwise) way.

Recently, after much bugging Shawn Husk on bookFace, I’ve had the chance to play a few Husk reeds. They are similarly fantastic when settled, and a new batch on the way should be more my strength and should settle a bit better for me in the pipe. Even better, the hemp is wrapped the right way and it’s waxed. Ta da! Shawn Husk is about to start selling (October 1st launch date, Edit: okay Shawn has pushed it back to November 1st because he thinks he can make them even better, I’m not convinced but I certainly don’t mind him trying!) what is probably the finest, and most consistent, chanter reed on the market today. Of the 4 I ordered, they are all identical. No really. I also hear a ridge cut is in the works from Shawn, which while it does lessen my opinion of him just a smidge, I’m kidding of course, if anybody can make one that isn’t blown out in a couple hours, it’d be Shawn.

So, stop mucking about trying the find the reed whose flaws don’t manifest themselves in your chanter and go buy some real reeds that will work in any chanter. May Gilmour continue to prosper and Husk dominate the NA market. Good on ya!

Small Reels and SSRR on Naill ABW + Husk chanter reed

Not much to say here except I underestimated by blowing strength. I asked Shawn Husk to send me some reeds in the low 30’s of inches of water and it turns out I need some about mid 30’s, so the reed is a little light, but I enjoyed playing the tunes on it regardless. The chanter is a new (to me) african blackwood Naill that I’ve undercut B, C, D (but taped), and F (but taped). The drones are my 1950’s Henderson’s with Canning bass and (Naill) Rocket tenors (their respective counterparts are in my friend’s 1950’s Robertson’s). Recording is in a walk-in closet with a Zoom H2 so it’s a little chanter heavy, but hopefully not too much. Below are the raw recordings, un-normalized nor trimmed for length. First a selection of 2 parted reels played twice through (often they are too short but with such great melodies they should be played twice!) and then a competition SSRR. Enjoy!

Swallow’s Tail, Rakish Paddy, Gravel Walk, Sleepy Maggie x 2, Dancing Feet

I’ll note that I might have trimmed the high A in the first part of Dancing Feet a wee bit having just now looked at the sheet music and also, according to Scots Guards, I played Sleepy Maggie backwards (sort of), but I learned the two different key versions separately. ???

Susan MacLeod, Shepherd’s Crook, Bessie McIntyre, Miss Proud

Well, it wasn’t perfect, but it never is. Oh well…

Naill’s, drone reeds in the Gellaitry’s, and Husk vs. Ezee = Whew!

I’ve sort of convinced my friend that he doesn’t really need a set of Naill’s he has so it looks like he’ll be selling them to a local police officer as he learns the pipes. Don’t worry, he still has 2 sets of Robertson’s, a set of Marr’s, and a poly Dunbar. I was given charge of the transaction, so I decided to bid them a fond farewell. They were made in the late 1980’s and I’ve fitted them with my Naill Rocket’s for the recording. Original Naill chanter is reeded with an old Gilmour of mine. Passed onto the student, the chanter was fitted with a SuperSoft Apps reed which worked really well.

Amazing Grace

I recently picked up a set of Rocket drone reeds and a set of Crozier Carbon. The Rocket’s (Naill variety) are going in my Henderson’s unless displaced by the Crozier Carbon’s (not likely). The Rocket’s are excellent reeds but can be a bit bass heavy, so they are unsuited for the Gellaitry’s which already a rather strong bass presence (not a Henderson overall bass tone though). However, it quite easily picks up the bass that’s a bit lacking in my 19050’s Henderson’s. Below you’ll find recordings of 4 sets of drone reeds in the Gellaitry pipes: Kinnaird, Rocket, Crozier Carbon, and Crozier Cane. I’m going to stick with the Kinnaird, put the Rockets in the Henderson’s, save the CCarbon’s for the MacPherson’s on order, and lend the CCane’s to my 1950’s Robertson friend, in which I think they’ll be FANTASTIC! Recordings are unnormalized and were taken in a walk in closet, which makes for terrible recording conditions. I face the mic several different ways, hence the wawawa in between bits of pseudo-in-tuneness (I gave blood earlier today, so keeping steady pressure was hard enough).

kinnaird, rocket, croziercarbon, croziercane

Here’s a contribution from a reader (I presume). A quick blow through Ezee and Shawn Husk tenor drone reeds in a Dunbar P1. I’ve often thought that Ezee’s had a very nasal sound to them, and compared to cane, they do! Hence you’ll notice there are no plastic tongued drone reeds that I’m considering up above for my pipes. Ezeedrone is first, then Husk cane.