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Gibson & Abbot Practice Reeds

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Gibson & Abbott practice chanter reeds often change in strength during transit from the manufacturer. With the reeds being new, the binding tends to open slightly and make them stronger. However, once the reeds are adjusted and "broken in," they can last years.

When adjusting reeds, remember that you should only give a practice chanter reed as much air as it needs and no more. Your practice chanter should be easy to blow. Beginners often blow too hard. We test every reed before we send it to you, but it may change due to temperature or humidity. A good knowledge of reed adjustment, pipe or practice, is essential for every piper.

How to set-up your practice reed

  1. Place reed in chanter.
  2. Check the Low A & High A. Do these notes produce a good octave? If your High A is flat, move to step 3. If your High A is sharp, move to step 4. If the reed strength and intonation is good, but overall pitch is too low for you, move to step 5.
  3. Sink the reed a little in the reed seat. You may have to remove hemp in order to do this. Repeat until High A is true. If sinking the reed does not remedy the problem, you need to sharpen the reed by clipping it. Move to step 5
  4. Raise the reed in the reed seat. You may have to add hemp to achieve a secure seating. Repeat until High A is true. If raising the reed does not remedy the problem, the reed is probably taking too much air. It may also sound gruff. In this case it needs sanded or scraped. This will ease it up and flatten the top notes. Move to step 6.
  5. You will need a sharp utility knife or clippers.
  6. You will need 320 wet/dry sandpaper.
    If you find the reed is now too flat, move to step 3. If you find the reed is too weak, move directly to step 5.


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