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Beer Tent The general discussion forum, and the place to start a new "beer-tent-like" Piping Related discussion...

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Old 04-01-2020, 02:54 PM   #21
EquusRacer
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Default Re: Best sounding bagpipes you’ve heard?

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Originally Posted by Texas Gael View Post
Nowadays a lot of folks have good sounding bagpipes due to the widespread use of synthetic drone reeds. Back in the day when there were only cane drone reeds, there were a host of horrid sounding bagpipes. Yes, professional pipers obtain a tone that is outstanding, but good tone is not beyond the reach of the average piper nowadays. I've heard quite a few good performances posted during the Covid-19 shelter in place.
Wes
I agree with you that, as you say, "good tone is not beyond the reach of the average piper...". However, many of us had excellent sound with cane drone reeds (and some of us still play them...or in part). I believe that, perhaps 40 years ago (varies with region), there was a move, and greater emphasis, on tuning, tone, etc. that many had not paid as much attention doing. In the Pacific NW, perhaps that was due to influence from the Grade 1 bands; perhaps others.

The point is, cane didn't=crappy sounding bagpipes. That said, I do believe that the advent of synthetic drone reeds made it easier for man pipers to make adjustments and maintain manageable sound.
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Old 04-01-2020, 03:48 PM   #22
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Default Re: Best sounding bagpipes you’ve heard?

While the VHS conversion has somewhat muddled sound quality, I love the tone coming off the chanter being played here, especially the upper register. I can only imagine how wonderful his pipes sounded in person.
When I hear people talking about ringing chanters this video comes to mind

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVT1mnZjA68


I wish I knew what the make was, whether it could be Hardie, Sinclair, Naill, etc... Hmmm, I don't know.
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Last edited by WBpiper; 04-01-2020 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 04-01-2020, 03:59 PM   #23
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Default Re: Best sounding bagpipes you’ve heard?

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the most amazing sounding practice chanter I've EVER heard (a blackwood Gibson, with Gibson reed), it had the most brilliant, melancholy tone, quite unlike any PC I've ever heard elsewhere.
I was also struck by the distinctive sound of Gibson PCs when I first heard them. After getting a couple, and playing them with the original reeds, I came to the opinion that it wasn't a traditional PC per se but in effect a mouthblown NSP chanter.

True that PCs and NSP chanters both have narrow straight bores, however the reeds are quite different. Traditional Highland PCs have a long narrow reeds while NSP chanters have short wide squarish reeds.

I think that's why Gibson PCs with their original short wide reeds sound so much more musical than the kazoo-like tone of traditional PCs.
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Old 04-01-2020, 04:10 PM   #24
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Default Re: Best sounding bagpipes you’ve heard?

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What would be, in your personal opinion, the best sounding bagpipe set up you have heard in real life and/or recording?
For the reasons you mention I discount all recordings, for none capture the amazing way the tone of a great pipe fills a room.

Attending indoor piobaireachd competitions is IMHO the best way to experience bagpipe tone.

Personally I don't think one bagpipe's tone is "better" than another's, just different.

In many competitions I've attended there are so many vintage Henderson pipes and modern pipes copied from them that they create a tonal background wash. Yes they all sound great individually but the sum effect is to make that sound the baseline against which other types of drones can stand out.

So after hearing several Henderson(esque) pipes one after another a piper struck up a set of Gibsons and I thought "hold on, here's something different".

Ditto a half-dozen Hendersons later when a piper struck up Atherton MacDougalls.

That doesn't mean that Athertons or MacDougalls or Gibsons are "better" than Henderons, only that they're different.

In other words at a competition so much is about the context. Which pipes preceded, which followed? Who was the piper? What was the tune?

And about my own pipes I'm far more concerned with how they function than what their tone is like. Doesn't matter how good a set of drones sound if you can't strike them in, or they aren't stable, or if they suck too much air.
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Old 04-02-2020, 04:03 AM   #25
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Default Re: Best sounding bagpipes you’ve heard?

[QUOTE=WBpiper;


I wish I knew what the make was, whether it could be Hardie, Sinclair, Naill, etc... Hmmm, I don't know.[/QUOTE]

Those were most likely Jimmy MacIntosh's pipes P/M MacGregor was playing and a Naill chanter with one of Jimmy MacIntosh's reeds singing in it.

Yes, lovely sound indeed--especially in person.

Chris
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Old 04-02-2020, 05:24 AM   #26
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Default Re: Best sounding bagpipes you’ve heard?

Gordon Walker, in Halifax, years ago, playing Green Hills. He had dined so well that he wouldn't or couldn't play anything else, but oh my what tone and execution!
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Old 04-02-2020, 05:35 AM   #27
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Default Re: Best sounding bagpipes you’ve heard?

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Gordon Walker, in Halifax, years ago, playing Green Hills. He had dined so well that he wouldn't or couldn't play anything else, but oh my what tone and execution!
Oh geez, I remember that haha! At least his workshop went well...
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Old 04-02-2020, 08:06 AM   #28
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Default Re: Best sounding bagpipes you’ve heard?

I'm going my magic moment criteria.
I've heard a lot of good ones. While I've never been to any of the major solo contests, thanks to Winter Storm and a few other opportunities...I've heard some brilliant players. I can't say of any specifics that stand out because of sound.

But, going by overall experience of time, place, era, setting, environment....

Angus MacColl's sound/playing just flattened me at a Winter Storm concert one year.

And many...many years ago...at the Balmoral school in Edinboro, PA...
Mike Cusack played at the instructor's recital. And I was floored. It was like thundercracks coming off his chanter. We were in a big institutional building. I could still hear/feel the HVAC. But soon enough...all that went away. And it was nothing but pipes. It was dizzying.

Honestly, I had this same disorienting sort of world spin that happened the first time I kissed my future wife.

And I am completely 100% serious. This is not hyperbole.
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Old 04-02-2020, 01:02 PM   #29
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Default Re: Best sounding bagpipes you’ve heard?

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Gordon Walker, in Halifax, years ago, playing Green Hills. He had dined so well that he wouldn't or couldn't play anything else, but oh my what tone and execution!
That reminds me of when Alasdair Gillies performed at Oregon Pipers Club and played 'Caber Feidh' in every way possible (e.g, march, strathspey, reel, etc.). Afterward, a member of our band went up to him and said, "I wouldn't have bothered coming if I'd known that you were going to play only one tune."
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Old 04-02-2020, 01:02 PM   #30
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Default Re: Best sounding bagpipes you’ve heard?

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Those were most likely Jimmy MacIntosh's pipes P/M MacGregor was playing and a Naill chanter with one of Jimmy MacIntosh's reeds singing in it.

Yes, lovely sound indeed--especially in person.

Chris
Nice! The higher pitch made me suspect it might be a more recent make, especially considering that it was a super popular chanter at that time too.

Also because you mentioned it, I've decided to listen to Jimmy MacIntoh, even though it's not really accurate to compare or distinguish different timbres, his pipes definitely have that wonderful, bright ringing tone I was talking about.
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