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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 05-24-2019, 10:19 AM   #11
Green Piper
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Default Re: I hate my bagpipes

I have only ever had two sets of pipes. Canít say anything bad about either of them. One was made 2009 in Scotland, the other considerably earlier also in Scotland.

My modern set hasnít been played for a couple of years, when it was relegated to band pipes. After a couple of competitions, it seemed too much hassle to take two sets of pipes to a games.

Charlie
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Old 05-24-2019, 11:12 AM   #12
Matthew Quinn Martin
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Default Re: I hate my bagpipes

I played a set of late 80's Naills (more Starck looking then the ones now) in my youth...and I will tell you that my PM hated them and wish I'd chosen a set with a more subtle sound. It took a long time (and two decades off from piping) before I came around to his way of thinking (not that I "hate" them, but do prefer the mellow vibe these days).
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:35 PM   #13
TwitchyFingers
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Default Re: I hate my bagpipes

I love all my pipes (GHB,Small & Border) and they run well, but there are some days I want to chuck'em into a fire and never look back.
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Old 05-24-2019, 04:32 PM   #14
LloydB
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Default Re: I hate my bagpipes

Quote:
Originally Posted by el gaitero View Post
Reminds me of a set I contemplated buying
in my early yoot...in a pawn shop.
[snipped]
What actually dissuaded me from buying them ...
a set I’d surely hate....was finding that the outside
tenor pin had been repaired...replaced...with a solid
wood dowel painted black.
Ah Yes! And the back story:
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One... Less... Drone to Master,
One... Less... Reed to Seat;
No Regrets... my Tuning's Faster,
No Damn Screamin'... What a Treat!

Cleaner Starts, 'N' cleaner Cut-Offs...
Once that was... My Drone-from-Hell:
Grabbed a Hacksaw... and a Drill Bit...
Pipey's listen'in'... Can he Tell?

One... Less... Drone to Master,
One... Less... Reed to Seat; (etc.)

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Last edited by LloydB; 05-24-2019 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 05-29-2019, 03:59 AM   #15
Mainebagpipes
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Default Re: I hate my bagpipes

Early on, I had a set of 1980s Kintails that I absolutely hated. It was less the sound of the instrument, more that they would not lock in. You could get them in tune for about 20 seconds, then the tenors would drift apart, and you'd need to start the process all over again. It was bad enough that my teacher loaned me his old pipes for two years - a beautiful set of 1940s Grainger and Campbell pipes.
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Old 05-29-2019, 07:52 PM   #16
Chris C.
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Default Re: I hate my bagpipes

I don't hate my pipes, but have had issues with reeds from time to time.

It's just a matter of figuring out how to get them consistent, and obviously some brands of reeds are going to work better with certain pipes.
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Old 05-30-2019, 05:54 AM   #17
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: I hate my bagpipes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mainebagpipes View Post
I had a set of 1980s Kintails that I absolutely hated...they would not lock in.
It's odd about Kintails, isn't it? My Pipe Major plays a lovely silver & ivory set of Kintails also made in the 1980s that are fantastic. Wonderful tone, especially from the bass, and super-steady.
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Old 05-30-2019, 06:56 AM   #18
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: I hate my bagpipes

Quote:
Originally Posted by gisahag View Post
Every time there's thread asking for opinions on pipes, most of the answers are along the lines of "I've got brand X bagpipes and I love them."

You almost never see posts saying "Don't buy Y, I had a set and I hated them because..."
Wow that's a good point, and a tough one to answer!

My perspective is that I've been playing over 40 years and I've owned a large number of sets ranging from the mid-19th century to new sets. Also I'm a fairly analytic type and I've done quite a bit of testing of various reeds in various drones and taking note of aspects like volume, timbre, pitch, and stability.

My major takeaway is that, in general, older sets function better than newer sets. I don't mean sound better; that's subjective. Functionality is measurable.

I've had a couple sets from a well-known current maker that, when tested, the drones were found to be unstable in how well they stayed on pitch when subjected to pressure fluctuation. With vintage drones I've tested you can mouth-blow a drone softer and harder and the drone stays locked on pitch. With newer sets in general and especially with one current maker the same variation in blowing makes the drone's pitch wildly fluctuate.

This wouldn't be noticed if the set were played by a piper with absolutely steady blowing, but with any non-perfect player (most of us) the drones would waver. On the other hand the drones on vintage pipes I've had were remarkably stable and forgiving. This can be handy for some Church gigs, for example, when you want to bring the chanter in and out without having the pitch of the drones change.

Another functionality issue is the strike-in. The last few vintage sets I've owned and played in bands simply could not be made to get a bad strike-in even if you tried purposely. There's something inherently stable about the specs of those old drones; the reeds want to play in them! I marvel at the discussions here about trying various reeds and bags and valves etc to try to get newly-made drones to strike in.

While I can't say "I bought pipes by Maker X and I hated them" I do recognize that many current makers' drones don't function like many vintage drones do.

Yet it's also true that any set by any current legitimate UK or North American maker will sound good and function well if set up properly.

Though "hate" is too strong a word, I did buy a newly made set a few years ago that had a strange quirk that took time to discover and fix.

The bass of this set was a beast to strike in. I tried various reeds, reed adjustments, and tuning slide positions to no avail. When I measured the bass specs I found that the bass midsection tone chamber was a full inch longer than normal, the upper bore an inch shorter than normal. Thinking "what if?" I made a 1" long tube with the same ID as the midsection upper bore and shoved it up in there. This effectively brought the specs into normal range, and the bass drone behaved normally.
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Old 05-31-2019, 04:11 PM   #19
Repip
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Default Re: I hate my bagpipes

Kintail - 1984 donít feel bad naming them my first set almost made me give up.
The bass drone is clearly the wrong internal diameter. I can only think they realised my parents and I knew little about pipes back then so took advantage. Donít think it happens as much these days but I wonder how many gave up being issued with rubbish equipment.

Since then things have improved immensely; 94í DN5 Naills, 2013 Atherton MDís, and a set of 1920 Lawrieís.
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Old 05-31-2019, 08:01 PM   #20
MacTallanambeann
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Default Re: I hate my bagpipes

Isn't that odd? The only set of pipes I have ever had problems with were a set of new Kintails (my first ever personal set) around 1984. The drones just would not tune. My pipe major at the time couldn't get them to tune and my solo teacher couldn't get them to sound right either. Thinking back and with a bit more experience under my belt now I reckon they were in tune but the tone was just so bad that it sounded like they weren't. I got rid of them by persuading a music shop to take them in trade-in for an electric guitar as I don't believe any piper would have bought them if they'd tried them. They were bought from the shop down at the Briggait during it's closing down sale and so I couldn't take them back. I was 'green' and my folks were none the wiser and I think we were sold a pig in a poke just like the previous poster said.

Over the years I have had many sets of 'cheap' pipes including cobbled together sets where no two pieces came from the same set and borrowed spare sets of dubious quality (I have always been a poor boy) but none of them ever gave me the problems of those brand new Kintails.

Last edited by MacTallanambeann; 05-31-2019 at 08:06 PM.
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