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!