【Concert Pitch Chanter Reed】 ※Edited Feb 2014
I have been adjusting and improving the bore of my Concert D chanters over the years (and still doing) and they require a slightly different reeds.
If the overall lenght of the chanter is from 364mm to 366mm and the A and F# hole is closer to 8.5mm they were reeded
with a tubing staple.
If the overall length of the chanter is from 362mm to 363mm and the A and F# hole is closer to 7.1mm they were reeded with
a hand rolled tapered staple.
The reedmaking method will keep changing too, so I will update the numbers in such case.
The staple I use now is 52mm in length. The staple is flattened about an inch and the opening of the eye is 1.4to 1.5mm inside. If you use a tubing, use a 4/5mm tubing in brass or copper.
The hand rolled staple has a taper from 4.25mm to 3.75mm over 52mm in length. The blank is 14.9mm at the wide end 13.3mm at the narrow end using 0.5mm copper sheet.
The cane I use is midium hardness Spanish cane from 23 to 25mm in diameter. The slip is about 12.3 to 12.5mm in width and 110mm long(I usually add a mill or two to this so I can chopp off the tip a bit) .I do not care too much about the thickness and width, but it seems to fall into the range of 1.3 to1.5mm in thickness when I reach the right "Feel". I use 66mm to 75mm sanding cylinder depending on the diameter and hardness of the cane, but mostly 70mm.The choice of the sanding cylinder depends on the diameter and the hardness of the cane. When I use the first slip from a tube of cane I will use 70mm and see how the finished aperature will be and change the size of the cylinder if the aperature needs to be adjusted (bigger cylinder for more closed aperature and vise versa). I aim for an aperature that will crow without the bridle, but require a bit of help from the bridle to bring it to playing aperature. The is because the reed tends to close down after a while, and also because here in Japan the reeds tends to close down during the dry winter time and I found that a reed that works nicely without any bridle has a risk to shut close during the winter time.
The head is tapered for 30mm to a point to create the tail. The coner is rounded off to creat a gentle boat shape.Tone chamber is curved from 15mm from the tip using a Ashly Isles No.6 gauge and cleaned up with a 41mm cilinder and a wine cork. Only take a small amount from the chamber. I find that the remaining thickness of the slip where the staple sits will be 1.0 to 1.1mm.
The staple is inserted to the head for 24mm that makes the total length of the reed about 83mm. I wind up using a winder (this seems to be improtant ) only to the end of the staple and fit a wire bridle just above the binding. I usually change the insertion of the staple rather than chopping off the tip of the reed to focus the upper 8ve, and the length of the reed will fall in the range of 80 to 83mm depending on the cane quality and the internal volume of the reed head.
I use a wooden body,cane tung composite reed as my standard but usually make an additional cane quill for the bass drone. The cane reed gives a far superior buzz especially with the hollow stock.