Chanter reeds should last for a long time and be largely trouble free. However, they are affected by knocks, temperature and humidity. They may take a day or two to settle in in any new environment.
The reed is made from a cane species called Arundo Donax. This is a natural material. There are two vibrating blades and the opening between them at the tip is carefully set to about 1mm at its widest. This opening may open up or close down, or the pitch may change slightly depending on the environment you play in. This is normal and one of the challenges all Northumbrian Pipers live with!
If your chanter reed goes out of playing condition for any length of time it may need some minor adjustment.
If the Chanter will only sound at high pressure the aperture has opened and needs to be closed slightly.
Closing the Aperture
Hold the metal wire bridle around the base of the reed and gently squeeze your fingers and thumbs together. This will close the aperture slightly.
If the Chanter reed cuts out before full playing pressure is reached the reed has closed and needs to be opened slightly.
Opening the Aperture
Hold the sides of the metal wire bridle gently (you might need some pliers). Gently squeeze and the aperture will open slightly.
Be careful and only make small adjustments. Test the changes you have made by playing the reed and make further adjustments if necessary. As long as you are careful all of your adjustments are reversable.
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