Congratulations on your purchase of the Tone Protector™ — the world’s first digital chanter cap with two-way humidity control.
I hope that you will join the thousands of pipers around the world who have experienced an fuller, richer, and steadier sound with the Tone Protector.
Here are a few quick steps to get started (click here to watch the video on YouTube):
- Remove the digital hygrometer/thermometer cap.
- Remove the humidity packets from the ziploc bag and insert them both into the Tone Protector, in the space between the inner tube and the flexible outer shell. Insert them as far as they will go and then push the packets down with your finger they are even or below the top of the inner tube (it’s perfectly okay if the packets get crumpled).
- Put the digital hygrometer/thermometer cap back on to seal the top of the Tone Protector.
- Place the Tone Protector over your chanter and reed and tighten with the thumb screw for a secure fit.
Your Tone Protector is now activated and ready to use.
Here’s what’s included in your box:
- Tone Protector™
- Two two-way humidity control packets
- Extra battery
- Instructions (Click here to download the instruction manual.)
What happens next: The humidity level inside the Tone Protector will immediately begin to stabilize to the optimal humidity level of 84%. Depending on the moisture content in your reed and the humidity level where you live, it may take 1-2 days to fully stabilize the moisture content in your reed.
Before playing: Simply remove the Tone Protector from your pipe chanter, and play. For best results, don’t lick, pinch, add water or otherwise touch or manipulate your reed. You may blow warm air through the reed just prior to playing. For best results, the only moisture getting to the reed should be from your breath while playing or from the Tone Protector while it is being stored.
After playing: Remove your pipe chanter from the stock, leave the reed in place, and immediately reattach the Tone Protector to the top of the pipe chanter. Do not leave the reed exposed to air for more than a few minutes.
To switch the thermometer display between C and F: Remove the digital hygrometer/thermometer cap. On the back you will see “C/F” with a rubber button. Press the button to switch between C and F. Older versions of the Tone Protector have a small hole instead of the button. Insert a metal paperclip in to the hole labeled “C/F” and gently touch to switch between C and F.
When to replace your packets: You can see that your Tone Protector is working properly by observing the humidity level on the digital hygrometer display. Some fluctuations in the humidity level are normal. If the reading is lower than 79% for 2-3 days, you will need to replace the humidity packets. How long the packets last depends on the humidity where you live and how are often you play. When you play more, the packets will last longer. In drier climates, the packets will be used up faster. The packets are 100% non-toxic and food safe. Replacement packets can be purchased from the BagpipeLessons.com Shop. If you’ve replaced the packets and you are still not getting the correct reading from the hygrometer, try resetting it by removing the battery and then putting it back in.
Breaking in a new reed: For best results, when you get a new reed, place the reed into your pipe chanter, and attach the Tone Protector to the pipe chanter. Leave it overnight to stabilize the moisture content.
Do not seal the bore of the chanter. Do not use a cork or stopper or any other device to seal the bore. The Tone Protector is designed to keep mold from growing on your reed by allowing a small amount of airflow to the reed while it’s being stored. The Tone Protector allows air to flow in an out while still keeping your reed at a constant humidity level. This airflow helps prevent mold from growing on the reed. The packets are designed to keep the reed at a constant humidity level, while allowing some airflow to the reed. Do not store your Tone Protector/reed/chanter in any kind of sealed tube of container. If you prefer to store your chanter in a plastic storage tube, make sure one end of the tube is uncapped, or that the container has openings to allow airflow.
If you experience problems with the display: Remove the battery from digital hygrometer/thermometer cap. The metal prongs that hold and make contact with the battery can get loose. Bend them in very slightly so when the battery goes back in they make better contact. Put the battery back and see it the display works. If not, try the replacement battery.
Other frequently asked questions:
How do I use the Tone Protector?
- When you are not playing your reed, leave it in the pipe chanter, and attach your Tone Protector to the chanter over the reed. That’s it.
- No more pinching, no squeezing, no licking, no scraping, no drying, no guesswork. Just take it out to play and put it away when you are done. The Tone Protector has a digital hygrometer and thermometer so you can have the ultimate confidence that your reed is always at the perfect humidity level and ready to play.
- By stabilizing the moisture content in your reed, it dramatically shortens the time it takes for your reed to get warmed up and ready to play.
- The break-in period for new reeds is shorter. Just place your new reed in your pipe chanter, and attach the Tone Protector and wait a day for the moisture level in the reed to get stabilized.
- Your pipes are more consistent from day to day, even if you take several days off of playing. Top players know that their pipes sound the best and are the steadiest when they play every day. With the Tone Protector, you can achieve that level of tone and stability even if you take several days off. It’s amazing.
- Your reeds last 3x to 4x longer. The reeds never get the shock of being over dried out and they never get licked or dunked in water, so they won’t warp and they won’t crack. The two-way humidity control technology always keeps the reed at a specifically-chosen, stabilized humidity level. If the reed is too dry, the Tone Protector will add moisture. If the reed is too wet, it will absorb moisture.
How does the Tone Protector work?
The Tone Protector works by stabilizing the moisture content in your reed. Every aspect of your reed’s performance is affected by the moisture in the reed — pitch, volume, stability, quality of sound, blowing strength, etc. By storing the reed at a constant and precise humidity level, all aspects of your reed’s performance, and therefore your overall sound, will be dramatically improved!
How quickly will I notice improvements in my bagpipe sound?
You’ll see improvements right away. When you store your reed in the chanter, covered by the Tone Protector, it starts stabilizing the moisture content immediately. Depending on the humidity level where you live, it can take 1-2 hours to a full day for your reed to reach stabilized moisture content.
How does the Tone Protector help break in new reeds?
The Tone Protector helps stabilize the moisture content in your new reed before you play it. This dramatically shortens the time it takes to break in a new reed.
How does the two-way humidity control technology work?
- We use two-way humidity-control packets from a company that is the global leader in two-way humidity control technology. Each packet is pre-calibrated to specifically-chosen humidity levels, each with a precision of +/-1% and will add or remove moisture as needed to maintain the perfect humidity level.
- Each packet contains a specially prepared saturated solution of pure water and natural salts. This saturated solution is contained within a water-vapor permeable “reverse osmosis” membrane.
- The packets are available in several relative humidity levels, please visit our online store for all of the different options.
- The packets are 100% non-toxic and food safe.
What is the optimum humidity level for my reed?
We’ve found the best and most popular is 84%. We know that pipers love options! Whether it’s bagpipes, chanter reeds, bags, or anything else pipers love to try different things and find what works best. We offer pre-calibrated two-way humidity control packs in several different relative humidity levels, please visit our online shop to see all of the options.
Is the Tone Protector good for beginners? Advanced players? All levels?
Yes! The Tone Protector will help beginners make their pipes easier to play, more stable, more consistent from day to day, and easier to tune. Experienced pipers looking to get a world-class sound will find it easier to achieve a full, rich, and resonant tone, and will find greatly improved stability and consistency which leads to superior precision of all of your tuning adjustments. Pipers of all ages and ability levels around the world have used the Tone Protector and enjoyed the amazing results that come from a stabilized, controlled moisture level in their reeds.
How does the Tone Protector work in different weather, climates, and geographic locations?
The Tone Protector completely eliminates any effect of changing humidity on your reeds caused by weather, climate, or geographical location. When you store your reed in the chanter with the Tone Protector it will always be at a constant, precisely-controlled humidity level. Whether you are home , in the Highlands of Scotland, in the Sahara desert, or the Amazon rainforest, your reed will always be at the same, consistent humidity level and always ready to play.
The Tone Protector been tested by pipers around the world, in all seasons, in almost every climate: wet and rainy (Scotland), warm and tropical (Hawaii), high and dry (Colorado), and everything in between (Seattle, Kansas City, Australia, Vancouver, etc.). The results have been impressive. The Tone Protector protects your sound all day, every day, anywhere you go in the world.
How does the Tone Protector reduce my tuning time?
Pipes can be really hard to get in tune. When you play, the reed absorbs moisture from your warm, moist breath and the sound quality and pitch change over time. When the reed is stored at a constant humidity level closer to that of your natural breath, the reed will stabilize much faster.
You’ll find that you’ll be able to warm up faster and tune once and your tuning will hold.
How does the Tone Protector make reeds last longer?
A reed that is stored in the chanter with the Tone Protector and played will last much longer than a reed that is allowed to dry out completely for two reasons.
- Without the Tone Protector, your reed gets damaged from the repeated cycles of swelling and shrinking as your reed gets wet from playing and then dries out completely. This cycle will warp the reed, can crack the reed, and severely shorten it’s lifespan.
- Licking and pinching your reed will shorten it’s lifespan. Many pipers who store their reeds dry will moisten the reed prior to playing. This sudden addition of moisture shocks the reed and makes the reed less stable. In addition, saliva and dirt and oils from your fingers deteriorate the cane and shorten it’s lifespan.
With the Tone Protector, simply play your pipes and store your reed in your chanter with Tone Protector. When you find a good reed, it will last.
How can I be sure the Tone Protector is working?
You can simply look at the hygrometer display to see that the Tone Protector is doing it’s job to keep your reed at a constant humidity level. 24 hours per day. All year long.
If the humidity level is too low, you’ll need to replace or recharge your two-way humidity control packet.
Why is achieving a consistently great sound can be hard, even for experienced pipers?
A superb bagpipe sound is only possible with a high-quality chanter reed that has been properly selected, adjusted, maintained, and blown at a steady pressure.
And let’s face it: Finding a good bagpipe reed can be hard, time-consuming, and expensive.
But a great reed will not sound consistently great if the reed is subject to regular changes in humidity in the surrounding air.
Pipers who get a fantastic sound spend huge amounts of their practice time trying to find the perfect reed, breaking it in, adjusting the reed, tuning the notes, and hoping (!) that the reed will last through their next performance.
If you’ve spent any time around a pipe band, you’ll know that pipers typically spend most of their practice time tuning their pipes — not working on their music or playing, but simply trying to get their pipes in tune with each other. (Drummers in pipe bands love to point this out.)
I’ve been piping and teaching for 30+ years, so I’ve experienced first-hand the challenges of trying to achieve a great bagpipe sound. I’ve helped thousands of pipers of all ages and ability levels with their quest to get their pipes sounding good and easy-to-play.
In most places around the world, the humidity can vary more than 50% in one day. Changes in humidity can be even more extreme when moving from indoors to outdoors, with heating or air conditioning, or when traveling. The low humidity dryness in commercial airplanes (~20% relative humidity) can be really tough on your reed.
Every time you play your pipes, the reed warms up and absorbs moisture from your breath (which has a humidity level of 100%). If your reed starts out too dry or too wet, it will take longer for the reed to warm up and reach a stable tone. This means that the performance of your reed including the tuning, tone, strength, and stability are all dramatically affected by the humidity level of the air where the reed was stored.
What this all means is that it is very difficult successfully achieve a top-notch bagpipe sound if your reed is stored at constantly changing humidity level.
Some pipers will try to compensate for a stiff, dry reed by licking and pinching the reed just before they play. This shocks the reed and makes the reed MORE UNSTABLE. It also breaks down of the cane fibers and shortens the lifespan of the reed.
When a reed is allowed to get too dry, the cane shrinks. This repeated cycle of absorbing moisture when you play and shrinking when the reed dries out warps and will sometimes crack the reed. Cane is an amazing natural material but is easily damaged by even one time drying out too much or too fast. (This fact is very well known by players of other reed instruments, like clarinet and saxophone.)
What happens when I don’t maintain my reed at a constant humidity level?
- The moisture content in the reed changes constantly from hour to hour, depending on the environment, weather, heating/cooling, travel, etc.
- Everything about your reed changes from day to day: stability, volume, pitch, strength, sound quality, tuning, etc.
- You face uncertainty every time you play — you never know what your pipes will sound like and feel like.
- It takes longer to warm up your pipes and get them in tune.
- You spend more time tuning and messing with your reed and less time playing.
- You spend more time, effort, and money buying, picking, and breaking in new reeds.
- The lifespan of your reed is shortened.
Questions? Comments? Problems? If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more Tone Protector products, including replacement two-way humidity control packets, please visit our online shop at BagpipeLessons.com/shop
Also, please visit and Like The Tone Protector page on Facebook where I’ll be posting photos, tips, reviews, and more.
Want to get Tone Protectors for your entire band. Yes! We’re happy to offer band pricing of 15% off for orders of 10 or more (the discount will be automatically applied at checkout.)
Be sure to check out the BagpipeLessons.com Online Shop for more great tools to help you get the most out of your piping. We’re the direct source for our exclusive products, including:
The Tone Protector™ — the world’s first digital chanter cap with two-way humidity control.
The Piper’s Advantage™ Bagpipe Phone Mount — the world’s first bagpipe phone mount for smartphones, tuners, and metronomes.
The Bagpipe Gauge — the best tool for learning to blow your pipes strong and steady.
The Piper’s Ultimate Reed Poker — save money and time with a special tool to bring your reeds back to life.
Good luck with your piping and please send a message if you have any questions.
Founder of BagpipeLessons.com
Creator of the Tone Protector™
Piper’s Advantage™ Bagpipe Phone Mount
The Piper’s Ultimate Reed Poker