I have had several inquiries about what drone reeds to use in Naill pipes as of late. The answer, I don’t know. There’s a guy in my band who plays Naills and has good tone with Crozier Carbon tenor reeds (original, not V2) and a polycarbonate non-inverted Canning bass reed. The Croziers are quite buzzy in the tenors as to be expected but it works well and generates a full sound. The buzziness is most apparent to me because I’m the drone tuner! From a few feet away it’s actually quite pleasant. I have 3 of these polycarbonate Canning bass reeds and they’re all just a tad different. I’ve noticed small differences in Canning tenor reeds before, so consistency seems to be an issue although Cannings are a good reed I regularly recommend.
I’ve been real fond of Redwood tenor reeds as of late so I told him to try them with a Kinnaird original bass. I believe Kinnairds to have a higher level of consistency and general appeal over the polycarbonate Canning bass and so I was hoping it would work well as it does in so many Henderson based pipes. The Redwood tenors were a go, but the Kinnaird bass, not so much. I found it difficult to hear the beating of the bass and the tuning point seemed to be very narrow, with little room for error. The tuning changed between when I was moving the drone on the pin versus on my shoulder which is a situation that doesn’t work. So we put the polycarbonate Canning bass reed back in and while better, I still wasn’t satisfied with the ease of tuning the bass. My first criteria for which bass reed to use is “can I tune it?” Second, “does it blend well with the tenors?” If in a band setting, “does it strike in reliably?” That’s about it really. So, I grabbed a favorite Rocket bass of mine, an Atherton spec one. Ahhhhh, the tone is glorious, as can be heard below (still with Redwood tenors). Unfortunately, while the Redwood tenors are commercially available, not sure how to get my hands on more of these Rockets reliably. We need to test another couple bass reeds. I’m thinking Crozier Glass will be a good fit, but we shall see!
Fair Maid and Troy’s Wedding – Listen to that F (and B)!
Old Chanter and Rakes of Kildare – I’m still working on holding the Es in the 3rd part of Old Chanter.