How to Assemble a Bagpipes Reed

The bagpipes consist of three drones that can be adjusted in length to produce different pitches. Each drone has its own reed that must be assembled and installed before playing. The bass drone plays the lowest pitches of the instrument, while the other two tenor drums can be tuned to different pitches to create three possible drones. A drone is any note that is sustained throughout a composition. Drones can change throughout the piece, but they generally don't change often.

Step 1

Prepare the reed for installation by placing the blowing end into your mouth and blowing for about 10 seconds.

Step 2

Pull up slightly on the tongue of the reed to separate it from the bottom part of the reed. You should lift it about 1/4 inch. Don't lift so high that it breaks. The tongue is the top part of the reed.

Step 3

Insert the bass drone reed first by placing it inside the drone. The wax threads around the reed will help to keep the drone reed in place and create an airtight seal that prevents air from leaking through the sides.

Step 4

Place the reeds in the remaining two drones by following Steps 1 to 3. Insert the center tenor reed first and then insert the final reed into the tenon of the drone.


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