BY CHRIS APPS.

If you are struggling to blow a strong reed, how are you to play with any finesse or musicality? You need to be able to relax into playing. You will never play musically if you are struggling with your instrument. After all, this is an instrument not some kind of evil workout machine.

Really strong reeds are often less resonant and produce less volume than an efficient reed of lesser strength. If the blades are too thick, and they can’t vibrate properly.  A recent little experiment I carried out in the YouTube video here, demonstrated that there was not much difference in volume between a very hard chanter reed and a very soft chanter reed. The reed set at 40 inches of water played at 115 dB the one set at 20 inches of water played at 109 dB (inches of water is a unit used to measure pressure).

Hardly any difference at all! So, stop blowing your guts out and enjoy your piping instead.