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BJC97 03-13-2006 02:05 PM

How do kids do it????
I'm at the point where I just started practicing on the pipes with the bass and inside tenor drone corked off. I have an Apps "Easy" chanter reed, and Wygent drone reeds in a Dunbar P1 set. it took alot of time for me to adjust the drone reeds, but I think I now have them adjusted to be pretty "easy' in that the bridle is moved to maximize the amount of tongue free to vibrate, while I used the tuning screw to get them to be in tune with the drone adjusted so the hemp line is just peeking out, while maintaining stability. Out of curiosity, I've tried playing with all drones uncorked, and at this point in my piping progress, I don't see how anyone, let alone a 10 year old child, can have enough wind to "drive" this instrument. Not having a teacher yet, I was wondering if any of you experienced folks could give me some pointers in getting this instrument set up properly, ie. easy and efficient to blow. I may be doing something wrong here, no doubt.
Oh, I tune using Pitchpipe tuner software, and everything sounds reasonably well at this point.

another question- are some brands of pipes inherently easier to play than others, or can any quality set be adjusted to require about the same amount of "wind"?

reprosser 03-13-2006 02:23 PM

Re: How do kids do it????
I think you want to set the bridle to have as little vibrating length as possible. Slide the bridle till the reeds won't play, then back off until they just start to play - that should be the easiest setting.

Shaka 03-13-2006 02:28 PM

Re: How do kids do it????
Barry, the first thing you're probably going to hear is 'your best bet is to find an instructor'!!!!!!!! :shrug:

Lacking the ability to do just that, you might consider purchasing Jim McGillivray's DVDs, Pipes Up and Pipes Ready. Absolutely invaluable information on both of those volumes, especially for someone who has no pipers around to aid you. I'm not an experienced piper, Barry (are you the one using John Cairns books, by chance?), if anything a lowest of the low ranked beginner, but I've got both DVDs and have used them to set up my first set of pipes. I can at least get them completely tuned and sounding halfway decent without turning purple. I'm sure you'll get some excellent advice from the experienced folk here, its just these DVDs were a boon to me, so thought I'd put in my ha'pence worth.

Happy piping!


Hump 03-13-2006 02:31 PM

Re: How do kids do it????
it's more efficiency than raw air power. good practice will get you there. You NEED to have a professional piper set up your pipes, then practice alot! I wish you well!


BJC97 03-13-2006 02:34 PM

Re: How do kids do it????
Shaka, I was remiss in not giving the McGillvray DVD's their due- I have them, and it's *almost* like having an instructor, although I do value the tips I get here as well. Also, Oliver Seeler's site has a great essay on tuning that I've used as a reference as well.
reprosser, thanks, I'll check that. I have the bridles set to their original position as supplied by Wygent.
hump, thanks- I'm trying to do just that.

the Jamesinator 03-13-2006 05:50 PM

Re: How do kids do it????
90% technique 10% muscle

its all in the technique

Richard Mao 03-13-2006 06:11 PM

Re: How do kids do it????
Experiment: Check for airtightness of the bag... so no extraneous air is leaking....making your blowing task harder.

Take out all the drones and chanter.

Insert corks (#3 should do) in all the stocks...

blow up the bag with the blowstick (listen carefully at the mouthpiece to make sure the blowstick valve is not leaking)...

does the bag stay filled for about 5 minutes? if so you've removed one variable in the hard to blow list of causes.

if the bag starts wilting immediately... take appropriate action to seal/season and otherwise make the bag and fittings airtight...

best wishes

Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself.
-Alfred Sheinwold
Richard Mao, The Peking Piper ( )

victor43 03-16-2006 08:36 AM

Re: How do kids do it????

I was told that when adjusting the bridle, if you can see the adjustment you just made, you've moved it too much. When I adjusted my drone reeds I move the bridle to where I get sound with the least amount of air for more efficiency. Too heavy on the tongue and it stops up, to loose and it gets growly and it's like trying to blow up a sieve, then comes red face, purple face, then the floor.


BJC97 03-16-2006 01:33 PM

Re: How do kids do it????
victor- that's a great tip...I found that a little wee adjustment goes a long way. I adjusted my bridles so that when I blow normal, I get a proper sound, but when I blow harder, the reed shuts off. Made a huge difference. Before, with only one tenor uncorked, it was everything I could do to keep the pipes going, now it's easy to play with one tenor and the bass open.
Now if I could only get my chanter tuned...

fifefighter 03-19-2006 09:28 PM

Re: How do kids do it????
Jim Mcgillivrays "Pipes Up" DVD takes you to tuning mysteries. Now I have more confidence is tuning the pipes. He is a true instructor, he makes everything easy.

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