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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 07-09-2016, 02:25 AM   #1
Pakeha
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Default Too many black arts for the new starters

I recently came across a set of Dunbar Blackwood pipes and a set of Kilberry Blackwood pipes and was surprised at the flaming they got from some current pipers in the group.

Both the young blokes were taken aback by the comments as it seems because of the brand of their pipes they would never be good pipers.

Is it any wonder kids are getting harder to recruit.

Are these brands so bad? I have no knowledge of them and do not see them for sale in Australia, but really?

Doug Murray of Kilberry is well credentialed and sells many brands as well as his own. Are his so bad that you would torch them to a newbie?

Dunbars are well known in Canada and have very good local support for their pipes.

Is there some secret we in Australia should know about these pipe brands?

I recently saw a 2007 set of David Naill pipes being off loaded with blowpipe cracking already.

Sure, Dunbar and Kilberry are not Lawries or Hardies but surely a competent tuner could get them to play in acceptable tune.

Sometimes it is all too much for the new kids, comments like :

"If you aren't blowing cane then you are not really piping"

"only sheep skin bags produce the real GHB sound"

"you never get a good sound out of plastic"

and so it goes on, the dreaded "Black Arts of the GHB".

No wonder it is getting so hard to recruit the young into this craft.

My 2 bobs worth.
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Old 07-09-2016, 02:31 AM   #2
caveal
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

None of these issues are particular to bagpipes. The reason the kids aren't playing lies elsewhere.
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Old 07-09-2016, 04:18 AM   #3
CalumII
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

Good piping is a lot of small details; that's just how it is. Part of this game is building up that level of experience. At a quarter of a century into this game I still learn something new all the time.

As for the quality of pipes, all I can say is I think it's best to approach a new instrument in its own right and not make assumptions based on the name or anything else. Maybe it is a heap of junk but try setting it up properly first of all.
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Old 07-09-2016, 07:42 AM   #4
LloydB
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pakeha View Post
...

and so it goes on, the dreaded "Black Arts of the GHB".

No wonder it is getting so hard to recruit the young into this craft.

My 2 bobs worth.
Well stated.

The occasional bad example can be found of nearly any make,
new or used. That said, Dunbar's have an excellent sound
and reputation -- that sort of generalization is rubbish. I've
no doubt I could get a 'good' sound from Killberry's.

That might take an hour or so, if they've been sitting under
a bed for years (in which case, I hope it's not sheepskin).

The other comments you list are, in my opinion, the same kind
of semi-informed bias. There are 'good' counter-arguements
for each of them.
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Last edited by Andrew Lenz; 07-12-2016 at 06:08 PM. Reason: Trimmed down big block quote.
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Old 07-09-2016, 08:10 PM   #5
Pakeha
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

I would have liked to have CallumII & LioydB present when the new kid's pipes were torched. Problem is, you seem to have to have grey hair and wrinkles before you can own a balanced and moderate attitude.

I will use the views of CallumII as an example to the new kids as this seems to come from a position of actual experience rather than third hand uninformed opinions.

I would still like to know if anyone is using wooden Kilberry or Dunbar pipes to good effect. This would also give me some positive assurance to pass on.

I would also like to know what Caveal is referencing. Any view is a helpful view, I would just like the actual substance of the comment.

Thanks

Pakeha
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Old 07-09-2016, 09:11 PM   #6
Shawn Husk
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

I have no personal experience with Kilberry pipes so I can not comment on those, however Dunbars are excellent in every respect. Wood quality, turning, tone. Nothing but good here. There bores are based off of old Henderson specs and they are big and bold sounding and take a variety of drone reeds well with no issues.

All the best.
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Old 07-09-2016, 11:24 PM   #7
caveal
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pakeha View Post
I would also like to know what Caveal is referencing. Any view is a helpful view, I would just like the actual substance of the comment.
Whatever your chosen hobby - bagpipes, guitar, skateboarding, photography - there will be a large number of people who claim you aren't doing it probably unless you adhere to a particular style or use a particular brand. It isn't unique to bagpipes and therefore I don't believe it scares of learners.
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Old 07-10-2016, 03:31 AM   #8
Pakeha
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

Quote:
Originally Posted by caveal View Post
Whatever your chosen hobby - bagpipes, guitar, skateboarding, photography - there will be a large number of people who claim you aren't doing it probably unless you adhere to a particular style or use a particular brand. It isn't unique to bagpipes and therefore I don't believe it scares of learners.
I cannot disagree with much of what you state but have seen many kids put off and drop out because they couldn't use what some traditionalist insisted must be used.

I have educated kids for much of my life and in the current environment, the slightest excuse is all that is required to send them back to their iPhones and social media obsessions and many of the parents don't help. Perseverance is all but dead in most of the current youth and the black art merchants just don't help.


I got some very encouraging information from Husk about the Dunbar pipes, has anyone any experience with the Kilberrys?
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Old 07-10-2016, 05:05 AM   #9
Greenpipe
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

Ah yes, the black arts.

Well, piping, IMHO, is one quarter each talent, toil, technology and voodoo.

Every pipe maker has no doubt made excellent pipes. Every one has made crap sets; today makers of the latter who actually send them out to buyers and who fail to make good, don't last long.

In every learning endeavour, from Latin to bagpipes, there are rigid purists who believe that there is only one way, theirs, to do things. Now of course there are many areas in which there is only one way, and there are aspects such as length of blowstick and size of bag which fit or don't fit each person, but there are also many people who do thing "wrong" but are still proficient - e.g. those who play violins or guitars flat, or the piano standing up. A keyboardist friend, when asked why he didn't play baroque music the right way, on a harpsichord rather than on a piano, replied, "Just because Mozart had to use an inferior instrument doesn't mean that I do."

Then there's the voodoo - the business of getting reeds to work properly and sound good when they are not plug 'n' play. Yes, there are guidelines, and Shawn Husk and others have given advice on BDF, but it in the end comes down to experience and indefinable characteristics of chanters, drones and the reeds themselves. There are certainly lots of threads here on this subject - e.g. what drone reeds go best in what drones, why do my drones choke, etc. etc.

Finally there are those things which top players use and do which makes their sound just that little bit better or playing a little bit easier. Most of us can do those things and it doesn't make one bit of difference because we're not top players, but there's no reason we shouldn't try: that too is the psychology part of voodoo.
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Old 07-10-2016, 05:36 AM   #10
Craic Piper
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Default Re: Too many black arts for the new starters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pakeha View Post
I cannot disagree with much of what you state but have seen many kids put off and drop out because they couldn't use what some traditionalist insisted must be used.
Agreed. But there is something to be said for the romance of "doing it the hard way" as well (in any pursuit) which might attract as many people as it helps. I play cane and sheepskin...but I'm very happy to be long past the days of rifling through an entire box of reeds to get one that MIGHT work (...thank you Shawn).

I like to think about it this way. When somebody is giving you advice (and really laying it on) is usually comes from a good place...sometimes misguided...but good. (usually)
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