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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Other (not GH) Bagpipes > Uilleann, Northumbrian, Smallpipes +
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:32 AM   #1
eben.yonnetti
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Default Comparing smallpipes

Hello all,

I spend a lot of time in urban areas where I don't always have access to practice space for the highland pipes and am getting a bit tired of only being able to play my practice chanter in my apartment. I am looking to buy a set of smallpipes, but wanted first to see what folks out there thought about the different options (Fred Morrsion, Walsh, Shepherd, etc.).

Not really looking for product endorsements, but what more experienced players have found to be some of the advantages and disadvantages of different pipes.

Cheers and thanks very much!
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:59 AM   #2
el gaitero
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Default Re: Comparing smallpipes

Quote:
Originally Posted by eben.yonnetti View Post
Hello all,

I spend a lot of time in urban areas where I don't always have access to practice space for the highland pipes and am getting a bit tired of only being able to play my practice chanter in my apartment. I am looking to buy a set of smallpipes, but wanted first to see what folks out there thought about the different options (Fred Morrsion, Walsh, Shepherd, etc.).

Not really looking for product endorsements, but what more experienced players have found to be some of the advantages and disadvantages of different pipes.

Cheers and thanks very much!
Of the makes you mentioned IMHO I think it comes down to the amount of $ you want to spend. SSP’ are SSP’s Poly or abw will make a small difference in price and sound ....consider how much you’ll really be playing...and ‘on stage’.

I had a set of abw Shepherd’s about 10 years ago...sold off after several years due to little/less playing. Good quality...reasonable cost.
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Old 12-07-2018, 07:34 AM   #3
Lochie
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Default Re: Comparing smallpipes

I have 4 sets of bellows blown pipes from very high end makers, and I love them all.
But I find I often grab my Walsh mouthblown smallpipes for quick practice sessions and the odd pub session. Just convenient, and dead reliable with the plastic reeds, which sound just fine.
I'm in Canada where our dry winters are brutal on cane smallpipe reeds...
I chose key of A so I can play easily with other musicians too...
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Old 12-07-2018, 07:43 AM   #4
el gaitero
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Default Re: Comparing smallpipes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lochie View Post
I have 4 sets of bellows blown pipes from very high end makers, and I love them all.
But I find I often grab my Walsh mouthblown smallpipes for quick practice sessions and the odd pub session. Just convenient, and dead reliable with the plastic reeds, which sound just fine.
I'm in Canada where our dry winters are brutal on cane smallpipe reeds...
I chose key of A so I can play easily with other musicians too...

Good to know.....I’ve been considering to buy a replacement set for the Shepherd’s I sold off way back. Walsh was my top contender for purchase.
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Old 12-07-2018, 09:35 AM   #5
eben.yonnetti
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Default Re: Comparing smallpipes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lochie View Post
Just convenient, and dead reliable with the plastic reeds, which sound just fine.
I'm in Canada where our dry winters are brutal on cane smallpipe reeds...
Thanks for the heads up - I was actually a bit concerned about the sounds quality of the plastic reeds, but it good to hear that you don't seem to notice any difference.

Have you had any issues with the built-in drone reeds at all? I'm used to being able to try different sets on my highland pipes and wasn't sure how the built-in system might limit options later on.

Thanks agian!
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:01 AM   #6
Dan Bell
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Default Re: Comparing smallpipes

Are you looking for a practice instrument to complement your highland pipe playing, or are you looking for a performance instrument for a smallpiper? They really are fundamentally different things.
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:12 PM   #7
Lochie
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Default Re: Comparing smallpipes

I've had no issues with any of the reeds wearing out, and the set is many years old, with lots of mileage. Walsh does sell spare tongues, I may buy some and toss them in my maintenance kit just in case....
Another advantage currently is the low Canadian dollar....its killing me when I buy stuff from the States.....
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Old 12-08-2018, 03:27 PM   #8
daj
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Default Re: Comparing smallpipes

bellows blown the reeds will last even longer
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Old Yesterday, 05:10 PM   #9
bwbees0
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Default Re: Comparing smallpipes

Hi Eben,

I chose a set of bellows blown pipes in 'A' that can be easily converted from small pipes to borderpipes. They are a lot of fun to play, and I really enjoy playing those indoors. Personally I find myself playing the small pipes more than the border pipes, that is just what it is as a personal preference. The border pipes play just fine and I do hit those once in a while for fun as well.

You might consider small pipes that can play in A or D (or other keys as well). There are many makers that make smallpipes that come with extra drones and chanters. Just play the drones you want to with the chanter in the key you want and have fun.

All the best,

Ben
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Old Today, 11:12 AM   #10
pbutts
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Default Re: Comparing smallpipes

Similar situation here. Cold, dry winters are definitely an issue. With the Walsh A2000s, can you add the bellows later or is the blowpipe stock different?
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