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Technique & Instrument Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

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Old 01-10-2019, 04:49 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Baltimore, MD
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Default Bagpipe Humidification

Hey Pipers!

I live in the mid-Atlantic area and winter is here. I take special care to humidify my acoustic guitars, and I want to care for my pipes as well.

I previously used a small, clay filled guitar humidifier that was sold as a pipe humidifier, and I'm not sure that it does the job. I'm wondering what you folks are using for humidification.

I'm currently using a long surgical tube with a sponge in the middle...I think it was built for string instruments as well.

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Old 01-10-2019, 05:03 PM   #2
John McCain
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Location: Gorham, Maine
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Default Re: Bagpipe Humidification

I like the clay humidifier. I keep a hygrometer in the case to verify. Used them for years.
"What we play is life." - Louis Armstrong
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:20 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Utah, USA
Posts: 228
Default Re: Bagpipe Humidification

I am no expert- but I've been playing the same set of blackwood pipes for about 15yrs - I'm in a mountain desert, humidity is zero. I've never needed to humidify, though. I thoroughly soak them in oil about every 8-16 months, and that's worked for me so far... That's just me, so take it for whatever it may be worth to you, even if it's value is nill...

Have a good one!
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:13 PM   #4
el gaitero
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Default Re: Bagpipe Humidification

If you keep your house Rh at about 45%- <50% your pipes will be fine.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:29 AM   #5
Matt Weasner
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Default Re: Bagpipe Humidification

Originally Posted by John McCain View Post
I like the clay humidifier. I keep a hygrometer in the case to verify. Used them for years.
I'm with John; same here.

I'm in Western NY and it is pretty dry here in the winter. I keep a single clay humidifier in each of my cases and that's enough to keep them at ~50% humidity, even if the set isn't currently in rotation. I do use Pelican cases, and they are "sealed" pretty well, so that might be a factor too.


"Don't think; it can only hurt the ball club." Crash Davis
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Old 01-31-2019, 02:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: Bagpipe Humidification

Having a humidifier in your case not only protects your instrument, but helps to keep the reeds stable as well. Joints shrink less too which is a great advantage. I have two in my case. Also keeping the case closed is important, I was always taught never to leave pipes out over night, it was always a disaster with cane reeds. The key to maintaining wood in good condition is to keep the moisture level constant. Regular playing, drying any moisture out of the bores, a light clean with some oil occasionally and don't leave them near air-conditioning, heating or in a car.
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