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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 07-19-2016, 10:10 PM   #51
Bish
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

So many posts about make of pipes and drone reeds, so few posts about a proper set-up and good blowing to the sweet spot of the chanter reed, and only then discussion about materials. Time after time I have seen a badly performing set transform into a wonder after closing down the drone reeds a little, tuning the drone tops to the hemp line, getting a decent reed into the chanter, balancing it, and tuning the chanter note by note.

IMO there are very few bad sets out there - although they do indeed exist - but many pipers who just need to be shown how to set up.

Of course there are makes that are better than others, but it is rare to find a genuinely poor set.
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Old 07-20-2016, 05:46 AM   #52
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

The so called black arts peddled by self appointed experts are irrelevant if you've been taught the white arts of critical thinking and experimentation.
When a self appointed authority figure makes a statement like "Champion pipers play this set up, so you have to play this set up to sound good", remember these things
1 - Argument from authority is a logical fallacy, and should be automatically distrusted
2 - "You have to play this set up to sound good" isn't a statement of fact, it's an opinion, and also a testable hypothesis. Try what you're told. If it makes your pipes/piping better use it. If not, try the next thing. That way you'll learn how things work, and hopefully eventually get to a point where you're piping / pipes are good


Also, Bish is right.
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:36 PM   #53
EquusRacer
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

In such discussions, I'm reminded of...well...many things. But the one that comes to mind right now was when I had started with viola lessons. I asked my instructor if I should invest in a better bow. Her answer was, "First learn to play properly. Then worry about your bow!" Okey dokey!
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Old 07-20-2016, 03:12 PM   #54
Bish
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

As it happened, I had a new piper come to practice just after I posted yesterday about set-up. He had a squealing, double toning set of unknown make, from the 60s or 70s judging by the mustard coloured fittings, that had not been played in twenty years.

With a little adjustment of the old plastic drone reeds and drone tops, a new chanter reed and proper seating, and tuning of all the notes, they went home sounding lie a different set. It took us perhaps half an hour.
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Old 07-20-2016, 04:25 PM   #55
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

Quote:
Originally Posted by gisahag View Post
The so called black arts peddled by self appointed experts are irrelevant if you've been taught the white arts of critical thinking and experimentation.
When a self appointed authority figure makes a statement like "Champion pipers play this set up, so you have to play this set up to sound good", remember these things
1 - Argument from authority is a logical fallacy, and should be automatically distrusted
2 - "You have to play this set up to sound good" isn't a statement of fact, it's an opinion, and also a testable hypothesis. Try what you're told. If it makes your pipes/piping better use it. If not, try the next thing. That way you'll learn how things work, and hopefully eventually get to a point where you're piping / pipes are good


Also, Bish is right.
We need a new set of emoticons like bookface so I can use the heart. Love this post, and the one before it. Cheers!
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Old 07-20-2016, 05:03 PM   #56
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

I've always told students, and both pipers and drummers in the bands I've been in: The musician plays the instrument, not the other way around. Unless you have a complete train wreck make of pipes, and by that I mean MIM or some other foreign make of dodgy repute, or you just can't get the hang of it all, then skill, practice and technique will overcome difficulties. Care and maintenance of the Great Highland Bagpipe is always a must too. So many problems are solved by just paying attention to the condition of your baghorns and making the proper repairs or replacements.

With regards to any perceived 'black arts', my old pipe major always contended that if you don't teach and pass the knowledge on, it just makes it harder for everyone to learn. Any teacher that keeps the knowledge to his or her self, only doling out dribs n' drabs at a time isn't teaching, they're just showing and that in my opinion is a poor method of instruction. This sort of reminds me of all the 'old school' recipes for bag seasoning I'd been told about. Three parts honey, one part whisky, a drop of dish soap, circle twice around the garden stirring in a clockwise motion, heated to the temperature of mother's milk.... blah blah blah.

When it comes to the make of instruments I would suggest that any reputable maker, new or old makes a solid pipe. Public opinion is a fickle thing and If I'm not mistaken, wasn't the popular opinion of McCallum Bagpipes somewhat low when they first started out because they were CNC produced and OCH! that's not the proper way...? Remember all the legendary greats, Glen, Lawrie, Thow, Henderson, had to start somewhere as well and I wonder how their pipes were regarded when they were just starting up compared to some of the older makers?

The one thing I will say, probably said it before in a past post, is that we should learn to use cane reeds, we should learn how to manipulate chanter reeds. We should learn how to properly tie in a hide bag if only to preserve the knowledge and give a larger appreciation for the bagpipes as a whole. I grew up in the old school of piping so all this was part and parcel of of my piping education. It wasn't until many years later that I was introduced to all the new fangled doodads that make piping so much easier. Having said that, even as a young impressionable piping student, I could tell bullshit from fact. Not everybody can but if you aren't getting what you need to learn, find a new teacher.
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Old 07-21-2016, 06:06 AM   #57
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

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Originally Posted by bob864 View Post

The only thing I can figure is maybe the sticks of the plastic set are heavier, but the synthetic bag is lighter. Or maybe the synthetic bag just makes the sticks seem heavier by comparison.
You might be onto something there.

Just picking up in the hands the poly Dunbars seemed considerably heavier, but the difference was even worse on the shoulder.

One set of ABW Dunbars and the poly Dunbars had Gore-Tex bags, Ross (with guts) on the ABW and Canmore (no guts) on the poly. The lighter Canmore bag probably made the poly sticks feel heavier than they were.

Haven't engineer types chimed in here saying that Delrin/Polypenco is more dense/heavier than ABW? Sure feels that way, when handling the separate pieces.

I think we can't draw firm conclusions from comparisons of pipes with different specs. One would have to compare poly and ABW McCallums made to identical specs and mounts.

That's one thing that probably affected the weight difference between my ABW and poly Dunbars: the poly set had chalice tops, probably meaning more mass, and mass at the tops which made the pipes feel so unbalanced on the shoulder. One of the ABW sets, the one on the Ross bag, was fully mounted in aluminum alloy, and had less wood on it. Even the button mounts of the poly set had more mass than the thin turned-down wood areas under the alloy mounts. So one would need two Dunbar sets with identical mass in wood and poly for a valid comparison.

All I know was that in the hand and on the shoulder that poly Dunbar set was a beast. It felt far heavier than either ABW Dunbar set. The only set I have that feels about that heavy are my Cocus Glens.

Any how this thread seems to have at least two separate conversations going

1) newer technologies v traditional technologies

2) bad teaching v good teaching
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Last edited by pancelticpiper; 07-21-2016 at 06:11 AM.
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Old 07-21-2016, 01:37 PM   #58
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

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Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
You might be onto something there.

SNIP
Any how this thread seems to have at least two separate conversations going

1) newer technologies v traditional technologies

2) bad teaching v good teaching
And, on occasion, a deadly combination of bad teaching and traditional technologies?
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Old 07-22-2016, 04:42 AM   #59
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

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Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
The only set I have that feels about that heavy are my Cocus Glens.
Really?...when I got my Cocuc Glens (J&R w/Ivory) they felt practically dainty compared to my full pumpkin Naills. Everything else was set up the same. Maybe it's some kind of ergonomic illusion
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Old 07-22-2016, 07:27 AM   #60
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

It's hard to get a single number to compare weights, but using one source at about 12% moisture for wood and another for poly would allow for the following comparison of specific gravity (g/cc):

Delrin/poly -- 1.42
African blackwood -- 1.27
Cocus wood -- 1.16
Ebony -- 0.96

The difference in density between ebony and blackwood is pretty much the same (or perhaps even greater) than the difference between poly and blackwood.

Very likely major differences in weight among the different configurations of pipes are more related to the actual amount of material in the 14 pipe pieces and the materials used for caps, ferrules, and mounts than the type of material used in the 14 pieces.
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