Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Kron Medalist

Well, my solo reed is about done. Any squirreliness you’ve noticed in the last couple posts where I mention its use can be solely attributed to its lackluster performance. I’ll have to try that mandrel trick again and see if that helps. But, I used it one last time for this post on the Kron Medalist chanter. In my past attempts at recording this chanter (well, it was a different one that I ended up recording with a McLaren synthetic reed) I could never get past flat C and F. This is probably because the reeds I was trying weren’t completely broken in, but they did go fine in other chanters. So I figured, can’t get any more broken in than this reed so plop it in there and away we go. The first track was meant to exhibit the very awesome high A, except it went sharp about 20 seconds in so you’ll have to catch a glimpse from the latter two recordings, Song for Winter being a good one, F too, and B, good chanter. Me likes. As it stands, the first recording is just an example of how inconsistent my grips are, one day I’ll get that tune down. Pipes are the Gellaitry’s again.

PM George Allan (Donald MacLeod) and Braes of Melinish

Song for Winter and Maggie’s Pancakes (Stuart Morrison – fiddler with Tannahill Weavers)

Herringwife and Donella Beaton (George Johnstone)

Gellaitry’s with AyrFire and Colin Kyo chanters

Sorry for all the posts as of late. You can tell how this goes. Patrick gets new piping product in. Patrick goes crazy with recordings. Patrick gets in trouble for shirking his duties around the house. Time spent piping dwindles. Repeat.

But, I really wanted to clear up something in my last post (which has been edited), and that is my manipulations of the MacLellan reed were the source of the unsteadiness of the reed and not the oval low A hole as I suggested. In addition to trying the MacLellan reed that I disfigured in a Colin Kyo chanter, I also dislodged my favorite solo reed from my favorite solo chanter (gasp, I know) and tried it in the AyrFire chanter. Sure enough, the disfigured MacLellan was unsteady in the Colin Kyo and the AyrFire played fine with my solo Gilmour reed. Yay! Recordings below in my solo pipe (favorite, duh!), Gellaitry’s with Kinnaird drone reeds.

Although the MacLellan reed is now kinda bleh, I did notice when reeding the Kyo that I had to pull the reed out quite a bit and the pitch ultimately settled around 472 Hz. Which is pretty cool because my solo Gilmour is usually around 485 Hz, but it’s a really easy reed about to give up the ghost. The Gilmour in the AyrFire came in around 480 Hz. So, note to self: try some more MacLellan’s in the Kyo for a flatter pitch, and not a gut buster reed. The high G was a bit sharp and required a bit of tape, but that could be my fault with the reed manipulation stuff. I mean, the blades aren’t even aligned anymore. Another note to self: do not use pliers to hold reeds while you hammer a nail into the bottom of the reed (which doesn’t do anything by the way); just stick with the mandrel inserted far enough that it actually does something. Enough talk, more playing.

1. Colin Kyo – MacLellan reed – Delvinside – laminate chanter

2. AyrFire – Gilmour reed – Delvinside, Thief of Lochaber (arr. Donald MacLeod), I Laid a Herring in Salt, Troy’s Wedding, Kenneth MacDonald’s Jig (Norman MacDonald)

3. AyrFire – Gilmour reed – 74th’s Farewell to Edinburgh, Shepherd’s Crook, Miss Proud

4. AyrFire – Gilmour reed – Clumsy Lover (Neil Dickie, hornpipe), 1st Hype Cowboy Division (Murray Blair) – last time I played these was like 10 years ago

I did notice my fingers getting a bit tired so I switched back to the Colin Kyo with the Gilmour reed to see if it was just fatigue from playing so much or fatigue from the slightly different finger spread/spacing on the AyrFire. It would seem to not be fatigue from amount of playing but from adjusting to the AyrFire, so you get one more recording. I think the Colin Kyo still has the smallest finger spread of all chanters and that helps me play it well, and other chanters not so much, haha, hehe, doh.

5. Colin Kyo – Gilmour reed – Up ‘an Adam (Murray Blair) – sight read, blackwood solo chanter