One of the loudest instruments created is a bagpipe. It’s an expensive instrument that belches traditional Scottish tunes. If you happen to have one, chances are you got it as a hand me down. As sturdy as it is, there are some parts that might need replacing. The most common ones are the reeds of the pipe. These are responsible for creating the melody of the bagpipe. You can replace them by following these easy steps.
- First, you will need to figure out which of the reeds you need to replace. You have the chanter reed that creates the high pitch of the bagpipe. It resembles like an oboe reed, while the drone reed is responsible for the low melody. These reeds work together, so you have to figure which one needs replacing.
- You will need to look for the reed that will best suite your bagpipe. These reeds vary very little meaning you are almost immediately able to find one. You may try different reeds made by different companies. Once you figure this out, you may look online or even your music store to make a purchase. Not all stores carry these, so you might need to find a specialty store.
- You need to know where the reed you are replacing is located. The chanter reed is located just on top of the chanter while the drone reeds sit atop the drones.
- Remove the reeds that need to be replaced. If it is the chanter, you can remove the existing chanter reeds and snugly fit the new ones. If it is the drone reeds, remove them by using your fingers and gently pulling them and replace with the new ones. When putting the new ones, just give it a slight twirl to set them in place.
- Once done, you may assemble back the parts and give them a test by doing a scale. This will enable you to determine if they are able to play the notes. If you find that they are not playing, check if they are set properly. You can try playing again. If it still does not provide a sound check for any protective plastic that might still be blocking the air path of the reed. If the sound is screeching, if might not be attached properly as well, so check and fix accordingly. If it still provides a screeching sound, you may want to check for any damage on the reeds. They may have already been damaged before you procured them so ask for a refund if that is the case. If not, you may have damaged them during installation. In that case you would need to make another purchase.
Once you have fixed the problem, you may continue practicing playing your bagpipe. Bear in mind that the pipes may come from or outside of Scotland, and this does not affect the quality of the build. The age of the pipe also does not guarantee you of quality. New pipes may sound better than old ones and vice versa. What matters is how you play it.