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Old 02-19-2019, 09:26 AM   #1
Pppiper
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Massachusetts, USA
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Default 2019 setup, changes?

Hi all,

Last year, a fellow had the forethought to kick off a thread where folks could chime in on whether they're planning to make any changes to their setup. I thought this was really cool and it was fun to read what others are doing.

As for myself, my primary drones are an older set of Hendersons, cocuswood, c. 1915.

Last year I started off using:
  • Gandy model McCallum blackwood chanter
  • Shepherd chanter reed, molded
  • Kinnaird original bass, Ezee-drone tenors ... though sometimes cane bass
  • Lee & Sons Premium Sheepskin, with grommets
  • Trap-dri canister system, with silica in the canister

This mostly worked quite well over the season, though changes were made bit by bit. I have an unknown-age Naill chanter, which served as my backup in case my primary chanter/reed ever had an issue. Was needed a couple times, but that's about it. Thought about and tested other chanters occasionally, but I would always end up back with the Gandy at one point or another. Loud, lots of projection.

Eventually moved to using G1 platinum reeds ... ridge cut, but heavily shaved/sanded, to the point where it more closely resembles a molded reed. Best reed ever, been going for 7 months, and shows zero signs of going out.

Shepherd reeds were giving me trouble with needing too much tape on high-G, and chirping was the result. Maybe I'd have had better luck with a harder Shepherd, and shaving it? Who knows.

Lots of good comments throughout the season on tone/sound with contests. But occasionally (and always indoors, it seems) received comments on how loud/powerful the bass was. Last event, judge suggested I seek to find a nicer "blend" with the drones, and politely urged me to experiment further with reed selection. This fellow was indoors.

Had an issue with the grommets leaking on the Lee bag after getting rained on in August. So in a pinch, swapped in a Bannatyne hybrid. Served me well for the rest of the season, but never quite got comfortable with it.

So ended up making a fair bit of changes going into this year:
  • (Same) Gandy model McCallum blackwood chanter
  • G1 platinum chanter reed, started with a stiff reed, shaved down til it was easy ... best reed I've ever had, 7 months now, and still going strong
  • Sheepskin Begg, standard size
  • Cane bass reed with paper clip in, and Henderson Harmonic tenor reeds. Also have Henderson Bass handy (or my Kinnaird) if I have trouble with the cane (so far, so good)
  • Tube trap and splitstock. Tube has a Trap-dri valve in it.

So all-in-all, lots of adjustments from last year, interested to see how it goes, but I'm pretty happy with the results at the moment. Sheepskin bag is the biggest thing for me to figure out, since I've never used a bag that requires seasoning until now. But man, it's orders-of-magnitude more comfortable, and I do find it easier to maintain tone, somehow (placebo? who knows, ignorance is fine). Truth-be-told though, tone was never really much of an issue, but comfort counts.

Hope folks chime in on what they're looking to use!

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:32 AM   #2
ralph
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Default Re: 2019 setup, changes?

It is interesting how much of in depth comments about drone sound you seem to get. Mostly they barely write anything when I compete, maybe “nice pipe” or well balanced pipe
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:39 AM   #3
Pppiper
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Default Re: 2019 setup, changes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph View Post
It is interesting how much of in depth comments about drone sound you seem to get. Mostly they barely write anything when I compete, maybe “nice pipe” or well balanced pipe

Right. Most of the time, these indepth notes were verbal followup comments immediately after I was done. Probably because they were aiming for clarity. Occurred Id say about 4 times out of many contests (contest as in 2/4, piob and SR count as 3 contests) ... prob about 45 contests or so in total. The majority otherwise were simply quick notes on the sheet; “good pipe,” etc.

Helpful, none-the-less.

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:39 AM   #4
DNorwood
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Default Re: 2019 setup, changes?

From what I read the other day, perhaps you should attend a workshop.
Seems ya might get great feedback on your chanter at least.







Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph View Post
Mostly they barely write anything when I compete, maybe “nice pipe” or well balanced pipe
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:40 AM   #5
Pppiper
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Default Re: 2019 setup, changes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DNorwood View Post
From what I read the other day, perhaps you should attend a workshop.
Seems ya might get great feedback on your chanter at least.


Ha ... we’ll see. =P
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:10 PM   #6
MichiganGaidar
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Default Re: 2019 setup, changes?

2018 was a tough year instrument-wise, the result being that I basically did all the experimentation that one might do over several years within one year.

My setup is currently:

- Wallace drones
- Kinnaird Evolution easy drone reeds
- Poly McC2 chanter
- MacPhee chanter reed, ~33in/H2O, shaved for High G and High A
- Canmore Hybrid bag
- Gibson Universal Watertrap
- Airstream Tilt blowpipe.

Here's to hoping it stays this way. For a very long time.
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:23 PM   #7
el gaitero
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Default Re: 2019 setup, changes?

I’ve added MG White Mamba reeds.......very very pleased.
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Old 02-19-2019, 01:02 PM   #8
OHCalman
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Default Re: 2019 setup, changes?

Changed from a Canmore Hybrid and Xtreme reeds to Sheepskin and Cane.
Still deciding on a solo chanter, currently using a laminate Kyo which I find lacking.
Experimented with a 1950’s Hardie chanter that pitches dead on 466 - couldn’t find a reed that didn’t have an absurdly sharp highG or chirped like crazy! Putting that in the ‘too hard’ basket haha
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Old 02-19-2019, 01:11 PM   #9
Dan Bell
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Default Re: 2019 setup, changes?

My primary setup isn't changing:

Henderson (early 1900s, blackwood) drones
Ezeedrone tenors
Henderson Harmonic Deluxe bass
Gannaway bag
split-stock tube trap

Last year, my #2 bagpipe was set up identically (MacLellan blackwood drones, everything else the same). This year, I may experiment with Canning tenor reeds in this set. The Ezees are tonally great, but need a tiny bit more attention to strike in in these drones than I'd like.

I'm purely a band player, so I don't have a soloist's priorities. The most important thing to me that my drones lock-in easily and stay that way through a full competition warm-up, and hold up well in bad weather. My pipe is on the loud-ish side (not obnoxiously so) and somewhat bass-dominant (again, within reason).

A lot of solo judges prefer a somewhat quieter, more refined sound. The chanter reeds I play in the band would definitely be considered uncouth on the solo boards .
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Old 02-19-2019, 05:21 PM   #10
Chris C.
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Default Re: 2019 setup, changes?

Experimented a couple weeks ago with home-cut plastic tongues for a spare set of SM90's, just as a lark.

Sounded great.

Sucked tons of air.

Next.
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