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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Great Highland Bagpipe > Technique & Instrument
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Technique & Instrument Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

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Old 01-13-2019, 04:22 AM   #1
Piping Potential
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Default Bag Sizing Confusion

Hi, here with yet another question, this time about pipe bag sizes. I don't play in a band so there's no one whose pipes I can test.. And I've only had one bag on the pipes in my 20+ years of sporadic playing, a 10" L&M hide (yup, still airtight)

I'm 6' tall and about 155 pounds. Conventional wisdom says I should get a medium bag, say 10.5". But I also get a lot of pain in my left forearm and wrist when I play. Does that mean I should get something smaller than 10" or get a cut with the front sloped in more and the stocks moved forward a bit?

Definitely want some sort of animal skin, that much I do know.

Any help is most appreciated. It's a co$tly investment one wants to get right..
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Old 01-13-2019, 05:01 AM   #2
John McCain
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Default Re: Bag Sizing Confusion

There can be many reasons for your arm pain and the size of the bag is only one factor. Your posture, blowstick length and muscle tension are more likely causes. Years ago I went to a physical therapist for similar reasons and, although he was unfamiliar with playing the bagpipes, he was able to spot causes and give me exercises and strategies. These worked.

My bag recommendation is a Gannaway. Plain, with no grommets or zipper. Super easy to maintain, very comfortable, highly air efficient and no stupid plumbing and kitty litter. Medium would likely work for you, but that's your decision of course.

HTH, John
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Last edited by Andrew Lenz; 01-14-2019 at 11:16 AM. Reason: Removed unnecessary block quote of entire first post.
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Old 01-13-2019, 07:31 AM   #3
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Bag Sizing Confusion

I wouldn’t move things forward on the bag unless they were tied further back than normal to begin with.

I’ve acquired various used L&M bags over the years because I love them. A couple were cut normally. One was cut further back and that causes the bag to impinge on my arm. One was cut forward and that basically causes more moisture to hit the chanter reed. Really, “normal” is perfect. Perhaps Gord over at Island Bagpipe can chime in, I use his specifications.

Gannaway bags are excellent. I play a medium at 5’11” 175 lbs. The grommets make tie in easy but I would pass because they’re bulky. Zipper or no, up to you.

I haven’t found a suitable replacement/alternative to L&M, though I haven’t looked real hard.

Last edited by Patrick McLaurin; 01-13-2019 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 01-13-2019, 08:07 AM   #4
el gaitero
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Default Re: Bag Sizing Confusion

You've mentioned the current l&m is still good...So it sounds as if the pain issue is with the Indian...not the arrow. Get your Dr.to check it out for a remediation and/or use Aleve ...don't spend $200 on a new same or synthetic arrow IMHO.
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Old 01-13-2019, 02:28 PM   #5
Piping Potential
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Default Re: Bag Sizing Confusion

Reevaluating the pain, it's not in the forearm but behind the elbow, next to the bicep, right in that soft, sensitive spot. Nothing sharp, just a dull ache that gets worse the longer I play. It seems to cut off the circulation to my hand when I play as it gets a bit numb.

Maybe the bag isn't big enough. Maybe I'm squeezing too hard. I'm really hoping it's the arrow that's the problem, but it may be worth a trip to a physical therapist or maybe a chiropractor? There isn't a problem except when I play the pipes.

Patrick, you collect the bags? Just to have or do you tie them in to your pipes? I'd give you this one but I think it belongs in a museum.
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Old 01-13-2019, 06:17 PM   #6
3D Piper
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Default Re: Bag Sizing Confusion

Make sure you are in 'ballerina 1' position, with relaxed straight wrists (not bent and crooked under the bag etc.). A flexed wrist can affect those tendons all the way to the elbow! Adjust the bag/blowpipe to fit your relaxed posture. The gannaway's pre-bent neck puts the chanter square in front of you, which to me feels the most comfortable.

-Matthew
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Old 01-13-2019, 06:50 PM   #7
el gaitero
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Default Re: Bag Sizing Confusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piping Potential View Post

it may be worth a trip to a physical therapist or maybe a chiropractor? There isn't a problem except when I play the pipes.
Try to visit a winning - quality pipe band in your locale or top notch winning piper/instructor for a personal bench check...maybe uncover the twists and tuns of your woes.
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Old 01-14-2019, 02:00 AM   #8
CalumII
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Default Re: Bag Sizing Confusion

A video of you playing would be more helpful than anything else.
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:22 AM   #9
el gaitero
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Default Re: Bag Sizing Confusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalumII View Post

A video of you playing would be more helpful than anything else.

And for immediate gratification ,if you havent already,.play in front of a full mirror to observe.
Do you look relaxed, drones cords hanging stable...not thrashing around, left shoulder not hunched up,.head erect looking straight ahead ..not down the blowstick to the left..or running away from the pipe to the right,...; try to emulate the composed style of many of the world’s top Pipers seen in performance videos on YouTube.
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Old 01-17-2019, 08:24 PM   #10
Piping Potential
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Default Re: Bag Sizing Confusion

I checked with a good instructor and apparently all is well except I don't have the bag up far enough under my arm. So I'm gonna try and work on fixing that. If I can find the time maybe I'll upload a video of me playing.

I went with a 10.5" Lee & Son's bag. May be a huge mistake, but I was making myself crazy over analyzing this choice. Will let you know how it works out. Thanks for all the advice.
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