Parts of a Drone Reed
There are generally only five problems that commonly arise. 1. ‘Clapping’, i.e. the reed closes shut with the result that there is no sound 2. Poor tone, funny noises or double toning. 3. Squealing as pressure is brought to bear on the reed. 4. No sound but a lot of air. 5. Tuning problems i.e. reed too sharp or flat.
1.) Clapping: If the gap between the reed tongue and body is too little, then as you bring pressure to bear upon the reeds the air pressure will hold the tongue closed against the reed body with the result that there is no sound. In order to function the tongue needs to spring back open against the air pressure, i.e. it needs to vibrate. To remedy ‘clapping’ you must adjust this pressure gap until the reed is responding to your playing pressure with the production of a nice clear note. If the playing pressure required to work the reed is too great for your comfort then reducing this pressure gap will produce a lighter reed that will respond to a lower pressure – but one that might also clap shut. The art is to make all reeds play at the same pressure, and one that you are comfortable with. This is what we mean when we say that the drone and Chanter reeds should be ‘well balanced’. As well as being balanced in terms of the playing pressure well balanced reeds should also complement each other in terms of tone and volume.