View Full Version : playing with folk instruments
04-16-2007, 08:08 PM
How does one play GHB with folk instruments?
04-17-2007, 06:18 AM
well ya got a couple of choices:
1.) play unmiked; while the rest of the group goes through the main speakers; or,
1.a) Mike EVERYTHING into a staduim caliber PA
2.) play far away (not real good for co-ordination however)
3.)play something like: Border pipes, Scottish Small pipes, GHB Goose, Fireside pipes, Shuttle pipes, Reel Pipes, (I like to call them LHB's (Lesser Highland Bagpipes :wink: (no offense intended, comrades)
4.) record in the studio, play GHB in the vocal isolation booth, then you can mix them to ANY level you so choose.
5.) you could play with other REALLY LOUD folk instruments: Bombarde, Japanese Kodo(?) drums, Shofar;
thats all I can come up with.
W. F. Morrison
04-18-2007, 09:00 AM
Most pipers Ive seen playing with other folk instruments play with the drones shut off.
Warren Morrison DM
Jamestown Pipes and Drums
04-18-2007, 09:13 AM
The other problem is tuning. As we all know the tuning of the GHB is far from the standard 440 Hz A which most musicians are used to. It used to be possible to tune the pipe A to Bb though I am not sure that modern chanters would even do that. The alternative would be to get everyone else to tune to the pipes. Again A=Bb is probably easiest they will end up playing in non standard folk keys - A/D/G are standard they would end up playing in Bb/Eb/Ab - I guess guitarists would use a capo.
Alternative bagpipes (smallpipes etc) are designed to be played with other instruments so you would not have these tuning problems. Though the restricted scale of the pipes may mean that you need to play tunes in a different key to the standard to make it fit.
04-18-2007, 12:20 PM
how about using an A or B flat chanter (available thru one of the sponsors) and some drone reed extendors
04-20-2007, 11:29 AM
Originally posted by jim lynch:
How does one play GHB with folk instruments? Tune the pipes to Low A = 466 Hz (Bb or A#).
Fretted instruments (bouzouki, guitar, mandolin, banjo) use a capo on first or third fret.
Fiddlers either learn the tunes in Bb and Eb or tune the fiddle a semitone sharp and continue to play in A and D (finger wise)
04-23-2007, 01:12 AM
I have played many times at Bb/446Hz with Celtic musicians. I have also heard many "pipers" play with other musicians even though their chanter reed is jammed in so far they're way over Bb.
When piping with my wife on guitar she straps on a capo as Stig says.
You've got to talk about all this with any musicians you plan to play with. You need to know that you're playing Bb in fact.
PLAYING WITHOUT DRONES: I never turn mine off, but I won't be dogmatic about this. I have a very FULL set of drones, and I play a firm, full-volume reed which keeps those drones loud and steady. I have gotten positive feedback from fellow pipers about the sound of the drones. Now, if you get feedback through the sound system, that's another story.
Playing with other musicians is great fun, but does require a steady blower who can tune well by ear, in my opinion. It is worth the effort to "get there."
04-23-2007, 06:07 AM
I played with Celtic/Rock band Wolfstone and used a 440 chanter. For the most part my drones were off because the arrangements required a great deal of starting and stopping quickly and changing to whistle and back again. So basically the air was in the bag constantly.
The drones were only on in the few solo sections. Playing with a rock band with a monstrously loud electric Guitar amp behind you kind of makes the drones obsolete. The drones are also incredibly hard to mic to get the volume needed to cut through the VOLUME and I would have to be static to do this and that's a pain in the rear.
The chanter had two contact mics attached, one on the sole of the chanter and one at the back to get the top hand.
The pipes did not exactly sound like a trad bagpipe but that wasn't the most critical thing.
I also played with Dougie MacLean's band which was a lot more "acoustic" and so required the bagpipe to sound like a bagpipe, this was Bb with drones.
Stacy Bernard Slay
04-23-2007, 09:04 AM
Originally posted by kiltrocker:
how about using an A or B flat chanter (available thru one of the sponsors) and some drone reed extendors Yet another saga in the burdened life of the piper.
They won't tune up to you - you gotta tune down to them.
04-23-2007, 02:42 PM
To clarify what I used for Bb playing - 60s Hardie chanter. It's great, just takes a bit of getting used to. I can get it 466Hz :) easily.
04-24-2007, 04:46 PM
Setting aside stage performance, does anyone play GHB in a folk music setting? It seems like the volume of the pipes would make it really difficult.
In a studio recording setting, the instruments would all either be recorded seperately, or at least mic'd seperately, so they could be mixed at whatever levels were desired.
I heard a fiddler once explain that he tuned down to play with pipes; I don't know what his system was though.
04-24-2007, 10:53 PM
Originally posted by bob864:
I heard a fiddler once explain that he tuned <span style="font-weight: bold">down to play with pipes; I don't know what his system was though. </span>Itīs probably connected with the uillean pipe system where D is regarded as concert pitch. The uillean pipes are then in tune with a normally tuned fiddle. Other (older) uillean pipes tune lower C#, C, B, Bb. When the fiddle is tuned down to Bb all the strings are lowered 4 (?) semitones. Tuning up means raising all strings 1 semitone (Eb). Tuning down makes the strings very slack, but according to a friend of mine, ones use to it itīs quite good fun.
Lady Piob Mhor
04-25-2007, 08:31 AM
Many people are 'tuneing down' to Bb in Irish circles. A CD called Kitty Lie Over has been circulating for a couple of years where the fiddler and piper play tuned in Bb and many sessioners I know are copying that sound. Playing a set of GHB indoors is always too painful to work in sessions though. Many musos in my area leave the room when the 'big guns' come out.