Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tip of the Day

<--- The great John Wilson's MacDougalls

There is nothing more discouraging than a bagpipe that is hard to play. Here is the great secret... your pipe can be easy to blow and still produce a wonderful sound! The first place to start is the bag. Make sure you have a set of stock corks and check the bag for air-tightness regularly. Next, make sure that your stocks are properly hemped. If the entire drone is turning when you are tuning, your stocks are not properly hemped and you may be losing a significant amount of air!

Next, make sure you have a good air valve and a blowpipe that is not to restrictive. I recommend an Airstream for the maximum air flow. Many pipes come standard with a blowpipe that is not suitable, I learned this the hard way.

Next, make sure that your drone reeds are not too open. You should be able to shut off the reeds simply by increasing the pressure on the bag. If you cannot, your reeds may be taking too much air, making your pipes very difficult to blow steadily.

Lastly, there is no reason to play a chanter reed that is too hard. Purchase your reeds through a reputable dealer and pay the extra price to ensure that you are purchasing a reed that will play and not expensive firewood.

Don't be afraid to have an experienced player look your pipes over and help you get them set up properly, most players are very willing to help. Good luck and happy piping!


Anonymous said...

Ahhh John,
Where were you seven years ago! I took me five years to stumble across this lesson. What a differance it has made. Of course the availability of an instructor would sped the process up.

Dave said...

Oddly, you and I blogged about the very same topic this week… How strange! I enjoyed the story about your adventure with Ian in your last post.

John Miner said...


That is ironic! Glad to hear someone is reading my blog. I'll put a link to your page off of mine.