X-TREME drone reeds in the Robertsons

The previous post had me playing these X-TREME drone reeds in Colin Kyo pipes, but today they’re in some 1950’s Robertsons. Adjustments to the reeds to get the tenor tops back at the hemp line were to bury the reed all the way into the seat and screw the tuning plug all the way in.

The recordings below were artificially amplified as I forgot to reset the gain on my Zoom H2 after setting it to a quieter setting yesterday. I don’t think this amplification has distorted the audio as the program I manipulate mp3s in is made to splice mp3s without re-encoding them. Amplitude modulation should be trivial. You might hear a cell phone ring at some point. My bad.

I played them for an hour today. Still no moisture on these premium versions of the reeds. I think I believe Chris now when he says they actively repel moisture. I need to try some other drone reeds again just to make sure they get wet; maybe Lubbock’s just so dry nothing gets wet. This bag is fairly new to me and it’s recently seasoned so I’m not accustomed to how wet it lets reeds get yet. I’ll play some Rockets in them tomorrow at band practice and see what happens and update this post with what I find out (Rockets weren’t wet either, I’ll to find an unseasoned bag to do this test in).

Tonally, I think they’re solid reeds. Still a little tenor quiet, but I believe this lends just a little more ease when tuning the drones along with some added stability. The louder the harmonic overtones are (yes I know, kind of a redundant series of words) the easier it is to hear when you’re drones are out of tune. Presumably this would make your drones easier to tune, however, you need a finer and finer tuning motion to really lock in those higher overtones, so I say you can reach a point where those overtones are too loud and tuning is harder, because you can definitely hear they’re still out of tune and you’ve been at it for 5 minutes already. There’s a limit to how steady one can blow. When the higher overtones are attenuated, it may be harder to hear that the drones aren’t exactly in tune, but hey, that’s not a bad thing! I believe this is the main effect people speak of when they say a drone has a wide tuning range: the overtones are reduced such that you don’t hear the clash of the overtone frequencies between tenor drones, you just get to focus on the fundamental (lowest) frequency tuning. Thus if you wanted a more stable pipe, the easiest thing to do is pick a set of reeds with less overtone amplitude in the tenors, all else being equal. I might call this the MacDougall effect: reduced overtone amplitude leading to easier tuning and a perceivably more stable bagpipe. Alright, if I keep typing someone is going to cry heresy.

Sleep Dearie Sleep, Donella Beaton, Snuff Wife, and Thief of Lochaber

Cowal Gathering, Susan MacLeod, and Captain Lachlan MacPhail of Tiree – for all you brave soloists live streamed yesterday during the Winter Storm competitions. Great stuff and thanks for putting yourself out there!

Kalabakan, something about a bridge, Johnny and Ali’s March (Brian McAlpine), and Dancing Feet

Hector the Hero (James Scott Skinner), Iron Man (James Scott Skinner), and Orange and Blue – my fingers are done, but good snapshot of the drones in the slow air.

One thought on “X-TREME drone reeds in the Robertsons

  1. Much stronger harmonics heard to me (to me at least) with the Robertsons. Still think they sound like a cross between Omega reeds and Kinnairds.

    Fingers not too bad either!

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