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The X-TREME Standard Drone Reeds are designed profiling a carbon fibre tongue which will give you a tailored, stable and rich tone. They have been engineered and tested extensively in a wide variety of bagpipes. Varying bore sizes between different makes of bagpipes and individual chanter reed strengths. This means you may need to make slight adjustments to achieve the best results.
For best results from your X-TREME drone reeds please make sure that your instrument is correctly hemped and that all drone bores are straight and free of dirt or obstructions. These drone reeds have been designed to essentially be ‘plug-and-play’. Each set are tested and set up to suit a medium strength bagpipe.
Ensure that each drone reed is fitted securely into the reed seat of your drone. To achieve a secure fit in the reed seat you may need to either add or remove hemp from the seat end of the drone reed. When inserting the drone reed into the seat take care to avoid bending the body or moving/damaging the tongue. To correctly insert the drone reed into the seat, take the body at the tongue retainer between your thumb and first two fingers and push gently but firmly into the reed seat of the drone. Do not use excessive force with the palm of your hand to force the drone reed into the reed seat. After correct fitting of the drone reeds, the strength and pitch can be altered to suit your own preference and particular make of bagpipe.
ADJUSTING THE STRENGTH
Test the strength by blowing through the drone reed in the drone either by mouth or in the bagpipe. I would recommend testing in the bagpipe unless you are confident that you know what strength is required for the drone reed to work with your chanter reed or if you have the drone reeds you are replacing to make a comparison with. Do not blow your X-TREME drone reeds in your mouth unless fitted in a drone as they are likely to stop with only a little pressure.
If you feel that the drone reed is taking too little air causing it to stop, then place your thumb on the tongue to hold it down and carefully move the bridle towards the seat end of the drone reed. This will allow the tongue to adopt a more open position and increase the amount of air passing under it. This action will also increase the length of the tongue which will result in a lowering of the pitch too. This can be rectified with the tuning screw which is covered later in these instructions.
If you feel that the drone reed is taking too much air, then place your thumb on the tongue to hold it down and carefully move the bridle towards the tuning screw end of the drone reed. This will allow the tongue to adopt a more closed position and decrease the amount of air passing under it. This action will also decrease the length of the tongue which will result in a sharpening of pitch too. This can be rectified with the tuning screw which is covered later in these instructions.
ADJUSTING THE PITCH
Once you are satisfied with the strength and balance of the drone reed with regard to your other drones and chanter, the pitch can be altered. I recommend that the correct height for your tenor drones to tune is between 3 and 5 millimetres above the hemp line on the tuning slide. Your bass drone should tune with the top section showing between 3 and 5 millimetres above the hemp line on the top tuning slide and the mid section tuning on the bottom half of the tuning pin on the bottom section.
To sharpen the pitch of the drone reed (cause the drone top to tune higher on the tuning pin), turn the tuning screw in a clockwise direction which will shorten the air column and
To flatten the pitch of the drone reed (cause the drone top to tune lower on the tuning pin), turn the tuning screw in an anticlockwise direction which will lengthen the air column and flatten the pitch of the drone reed.
MOISTURE OF THE REEDS
To dry your X-TREME drone reeds, all you have to do is take the drones out of the stocks and leave the reeds to dry naturally in the ambient air. The moisture will evaporate from the surface of the reed within a couple of minutes and if a quicker turnaround time is required then apply a gentle heat source (i.e. a hair or hand dryer on low heat) to speed up the drying time to seconds.
Once you have followed the above instructions for all 3 X-TREME drone reeds your bagpipe should now be ready to play. I believe that the design characteristics and material composition of X-TREME drone reeds gives them full harmonic and rich sound similar to natural cane reeds without the added maintenance.
Made by Chris Armstrong Bagpipe Products Ltd. Designed By Chris Armstrong.
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