Or at least it has enough overtones to seem like a religious experience.
Some weeks ago, Royce Lerwick wrote that when his two lower synthetic
drone reeds "locked-up" and came into tune, he had a "religious experience."
Well, Royce, you got me started. The original soprano drone reed for my
set quit a while ago, and I've been content to cork it off and drive on. The
original "little peeper" was made from elder-cane and quite quiet as well as
sensitive to adjustment. I've had little success making a regular cane
replacement. . .they always want to double-tone if they are in the right
range. Probably why Kevin Thompson selected elder for the top drone in the
first place. . .
In any case, your posting spurred me into attempting a synthetic reed. Not
knowing any better, I took a scrap of hardwood and turned a small dowel to
match the rather small dimensions of the elder-can. Then I slipped various
drill bits into it until i got a nice snug fit. That would do for the I.D.
One advantage of this method is that you get to make a really nice taper
for the reed seat. The inner drilling doesn't quite go all the length of the
body. Tonight I stropped the body down on a flat surface and some sand paper,
trying to keep the lay as flat as possible and with no twist. Then a cut a
small slip of .20" styrene, cut a tapered tail on it and began binding it to
the body with waxed linen thread. When
it started to peep, I knew I was on the right track. Then it matched the D
on my penny whistle and I popped it in the stocks. . .WOW.
It is Loud! It has MANY overtones. . .the drone chord is almost like a
bell. Having a drone chord weighted to the Soprano side is REALLY different.
Since the drone is at its greatest extension to bring it down to tune I may
have to re-ty everything, but what I am now soliciting is input about the
effects of scraping (there is no scrape now) will this soften the tone? Will
This flatten it? A blob of wax only brings back the instability and double
toning I get from natural cane reeds. Perhaps a run of soft yarn in the I.D.?
I may leave it as it is for a while. It's a bit like having a warpipes
drone setup on a U.P. right now. Almost every other soprano drone I have seen
that is working is very quiet. . . .almost inaudible. This drone, as it
stands now, nearly is as loud as the chanter. . .