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Old 11-28-2018, 05:20 PM   #1
Mainebagpipes
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Default Opinion on '90s(?) Hardies?

Anyone care to offer an opinion on Hardies probably made in the late 1980s or 1990s? I've been offered a set at a sub-$300 price point, and have memories of difficult reeding with similar-vintage Hardies in one of the local bands. I'm unlikely to get a ton of playing time out of them, but am thinking they might be a good loaner set.
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Old 11-28-2018, 07:45 PM   #2
Pip01
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Default Re: Opinion on '90s(?) Hardies?





Mainebagpipes,

Intending no... disrespect... I am remembering chat about
the un-playability... of some of the those era Hardie pipes...
as well as the same for a few other brands.

Many of the previously damned fine shops... suffered a bit
of decline... both in materials and workmanship... from the
late 70s on... and some went out of business... altogether.

But... others here may know... or recall... a more precise
time line for such... as well as a more accurate list of the
shops affected.

Best guess on my part? Save your $300.

But let us now see what others here may say.

Best of Good Luck with it!!

Regards,

Pip01





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Last edited by Pip01; 11-28-2018 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 11-28-2018, 11:41 PM   #3
Chris C.
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Default Re: Opinion on '90s(?) Hardies?

I was in a band in the 80's and a few of them played early 80's vintage Hardies and I do not recall anyone having problems with reeding at the time.

Not, as for modern reeds, perhaps that might be an issue. But there are issues with modern reeds on a lot of earlier pipes, many of which are designed for lower pitches than today's pipes.
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Old 11-29-2018, 05:33 AM   #4
Mainebagpipes
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Default Re: Opinion on '90s(?) Hardies?

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Originally Posted by Pip01 View Post


Best guess on my part? Save your $300.
That was my first thought as well. Again, memories of having a hard time getting them going for people. A co-worker found them in a house he inherited. It sounds like they're nickel and yellow catalin, with "stuff from the 80s" in the case. He's bringing them into the office for me to take a look at this afternoon.
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Old 11-29-2018, 05:41 AM   #5
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Opinion on '90s(?) Hardies?

I worked at a Highland Outfitter in the 1980s which carried Hardie pipes, and they were well made out of nice ABW but had quite narrow bores, so even if reeded nicely the drones were quiet and dull compared to "classic" pipes of the early 20th century.

I was puzzled why they were trying to re-invent the wheel, why they didn't make them with the "classic" bores which are known to be easy to reed, rich in harmonics, stable, and full-sounding. Nowadays most makers have done, going back to great classic sets either to carefully copy or for a starting-point for tinkering.

I personally would have no interest in those old Hardies at any price. Well, if low-priced enough it would be worth it to get a set of five nice ABW stocks! And put the drones and chanter in a drawer somewhere.

There are makers who have had success (so I've heard) in taking those old narrow-bore Hardies and reaming them out to better specs.

Two other notes:

1) Hardie at that time had switched from Catalin to a strange imitation ivory that had swirls of two different sorts of plastic. One sort was hard, one rubbery, and the two would often separate leaving cracks.



2) Hardie at that time came out with the "Hardie 0" (zero) which were a huge step downward in quality, with rough bores and burrs inside. A friend was in Sialkot and he visited a pipemaker who was turning out pipes and stamping them "RG Hardie Glasgow". Don't know if the two things are connected.
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Old 11-29-2018, 06:56 AM   #6
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Default Re: Opinion on '90s(?) Hardies?

Yeah, I like the idea on spending a small figure on having a good loaner set ... but I guess that would depend on your definition of "good" in this regard.

From the sounds of it, the set could be a headache ... and thus not the greatest, even for loaning out. Along those lines, I'd daresay the most frequently you might be "loaning out" would be for the benefit of a student who is testing out the waters before acquiring a set of their own?

In this case, if the Hardie set is tough to reed and get to sound nice, that could be at least a slight disservice to the learner. In my opinion, best thing would be a set that needs a bit of work to get to sound right (say, cane reeds for a little while), but has the potential to sound very nice when they "get it right." Thus ... a teaching tool and instrument all-in-one. That's pretty much what I ended up with for my first set. I learned how to manage reeds and strike-ins after painstaking effort, and it set me up well to be adaptable as a player.

So I guess I would concur with people saying they'd rather pass. For a good loaner, I'd go a step further, and suggest investing slightly more for a plastic set of Dunbars or something (if memory serves, you do have a plastic set, yes)? This way, the "loaner" is a great instrument in it's own right, and it's durable to boot.

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 11-29-2018, 09:04 AM   #7
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Default Re: Opinion on '90s(?) Hardies?

Hardie usually had great wood stock, even in the last days before being bought out. Reaming pipes by a competent maker is no bother, and hand reaming drone bottoms is easy. Unless you want a wee project, pass, otherwise, send them my way.
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Old 11-29-2018, 10:16 AM   #8
Mainebagpipes
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Default Re: Opinion on '90s(?) Hardies?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pppiper View Post
Yeah, I like the idea on spending a small figure on having a good loaner set ... but I guess that would depend on your definition of "good" in this regard.

From the sounds of it, the set could be a headache ... and thus not the greatest, even for loaning out. Along those lines, I'd daresay the most frequently you might be "loaning out" would be for the benefit of a student who is testing out the waters before acquiring a set of their own?

In this case, if the Hardie set is tough to reed and get to sound nice, that could be at least a slight disservice to the learner. In my opinion, best thing would be a set that needs a bit of work to get to sound right (say, cane reeds for a little while), but has the potential to sound very nice when they "get it right." Thus ... a teaching tool and instrument all-in-one. That's pretty much what I ended up with for my first set. I learned how to manage reeds and strike-ins after painstaking effort, and it set me up well to be adaptable as a player.

So I guess I would concur with people saying they'd rather pass. For a good loaner, I'd go a step further, and suggest investing slightly more for a plastic set of Dunbars or something (if memory serves, you do have a plastic set, yes)? This way, the "loaner" is a great instrument in it's own right, and it's durable to boot.

Cheers,
~Nate

I think you hit the nail on the head Nate. Also, yes - the set would probably just be on hand for students testing the waters before investing in their own instruments. Over the last couple of months I've picked up beginners in two of the bands up here, and may be starting work with some in a third. I like the idea of having a loaner on hand as they get closer to transitioning to the pipes, but I don't necessarily want anyone to start learning on something as cantankerous as my first (un-tuneable) set.


I'm also not necessarily on the lookout for more pipes right now, but it's not every day I'm offered a set out of the blue. I don't want to discount them without getting some input and seeing if they're playable. If someone came to me offering a set of plastic Dunbars or McCallums in the same price range I'd snap them up in a heartbeat - they're ideal for something like that.
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Old 11-29-2018, 10:36 AM   #9
Pppiper
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Default Re: Opinion on '90s(?) Hardies?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mainebagpipes View Post
I think you hit the nail on the head Nate. Also, yes - the set would probably just be on hand for students testing the waters before investing in their own instruments. Over the last couple of months I've picked up beginners in two of the bands up here, and may be starting work with some in a third. I like the idea of having a loaner on hand as they get closer to transitioning to the pipes, but I don't necessarily want anyone to start learning on something as cantankerous as my first (un-tuneable) set.


I'm also not necessarily on the lookout for more pipes right now, but it's not every day I'm offered a set out of the blue. I don't want to discount them without getting some input and seeing if they're playable. If someone came to me offering a set of plastic Dunbars or McCallums in the same price range I'd snap them up in a heartbeat - they're ideal for something like that.


Well good on you for the effort/thought.

Cheers,
~Nate


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Old 11-29-2018, 11:32 AM   #10
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Opinion on '90s(?) Hardies?

I don't think they were difficult to reed, it's just that even when reeded optimally the tone wasn't what we expect from our drones nowadays.
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