Cleartone Plastic Drone Reeds

- Frequently Asked Questions -

What is the difference between the 4 types of reeds?

Not a lot !! The original reeds were all made from clear materials. I have now changed to making the tongue from a "yellow coloured" plastic material, all the rest of the reed is the same as before. ..... "Y" means "Yellow Tongue" ..... So look out for the "Yellow Tongue".....

The "1Y" are the original larger bore reeds, now with "yellow tongue", and give a "fine" "clean" sound, good balance Bass and Tenor and clear Chanter sound. These are similar to the original ones I have been making for the last 15 years approx. The only reports I get are good reports about them. They are easy to setup and play, last a long time and are the cheapest on the market. Some people had difficulty fitting the Tenor Reeds into the reed seat of smaller bore bagpipes and had to remove the hemp. If you have to remove all the hemp they can be sealed in the drone reed seat using "Blu-Tack" or similar non setting mastic.

The "2YS" and the "2YP" reeds overcome this problem as the Tenor Reeds are smaller bore. The Bass is the same smaller bore. The smaller bore Tenor Reeds give a slightly brighter sound, slighty louder and a good integrated vibration with the Chanter and Bass. The "2YS" is the standard reed with no moveable plug. The "2YP" has a moveable plug.

The "1YP" and the "2YP" are the "New Reeds" having a moveable plug. ....."P" means moveable plug .....
The moveable plug is a very simple arrangement. It is made from a soft material and is a "gentle push fit" in the reed. The plug can be moved in either direction by a "gentle push" and does not require any fixing or will stay in position.
A short plastic stick "a pusher" is supplied with the reeds to enable easy movement of the plug. It generally only requires to be moved when setting up the reeds initially.
The moveable plug means more tone quality adjustment from a "mellow" tone to a "brighter" tone and at the same time will give a wider degree of pitch control.

Why the New Yellow Tongue?

The Yellow tongue has slightly different properties than the original clear tongue. It allows a wider range of adjustment of the reed and easier "strike in" in some makes of bagpipe. All reeds are now supplied with the Yellow tongue.

What reeds do you recommend I should buy?

It is very difficult, it depends on the bagpipe and the players preference for sound.
The "1YP" or the "2YP"" are probably the best all round generally because of the extra adjustment for pitch and quality of sound.
If you want a standard reed with bridle adjustment only and dimensions similar to a cane reed take the "1Y" or the "2YS".
All reeds are guaranteed to work so there is no problem changing them....Go to Buy Reeds....

Which reed is best for beginners?

It doesn't really matter, it depends on the bagpipe and the players preference for sound.
Most reeds will be easy to medium when taken from the packet. The strength of the reed depends on how it is adjusted - how much the tongue is sprung and the position of the bridle. If it is sprung too much open or the bridles are too far back the reeds will be hard to blow, unstable pitch and probably double-tone. ... See "Adjusting the Reed" ... leaflet or other pages on this web site for more info. All Cleartone Reeds when properly adjusted to suit the player are very "air efficient". The bag must feel solid under your arm if you are to blow steady.

Why put a piece of foam in the bottom of the drone stock?

Putting a small piece of foam inside the drone stock acts as a damper or filter to the air flow and allows the reed to "strike in" and "cut off" more cleanly... See Piping Tip 1 ... A small piece of round foam 25mm diameter x 25mm long is all that is required. Lengths of round foam can be purchased for any upholstery foam supplier or simply cut a piece to shape. It also acts as a trap and stops the reed falling into the pipebag.