Chris Apps’ reed advice: sound differences of ridge-cut and straight-cut chanter reeds

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The choice between a ridge-cut and a straight-cut chanter reed depends on what sound and capabilities you want from the reed.

A ridge-cut reed can be described as having a strong, bright sound which really blasts from the chanter. It lacks some of the subtlety and depth and doesn’t present as strong an overtone, but does give a pipe corps a big presence. The high A is usually bright, clear and true without too much vibrato. The pitch will move less with pressure variations.

The straight-cut reed has a warmer sound and will produce more harmonics. The high A can be adjusted and blown to produce a clear sound or to produce a vibrato. This can be done by blowing though the crow on the high A until that nice vibrato sounds. This does take a lot of breath control which can be achieved through practice. This kind of pressure control would not be possible in a band scenario.