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

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Old 06-28-2019, 07:53 PM   #11
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Does different price mean different quality?

Sounds like a great question for a pipe maker who turns everything by hand, as they would be the only ones who would get a good, actual feel of the wood at all stages of manufacture.
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Old 06-28-2019, 08:06 PM   #12
bob864
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Default Re: Does different price mean different quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTallanambeann View Post
That took me a while to work out! Too hot here in Argyll tonight and it's slowing my brain down.

The wood question does throw up a further puzzle though....

How do you know a particular piece of wood is going to be tonally brilliant or is it more selection for durability, resistance to warping/splitting and aesthetic qualities?
You can't tell by looking how a piece of wood will sound. But you can tap it.

For the most part how a piece of wood sounds doesn't make any difference in a wind instrument.

But a better piece of wood (which you can tell by looking) will be less likely to split or crack. And it will look better.

One of the things I've noticed about Duncan Soutar pipes over the years (I own a set) is that the wood is always matched. Having a good looking set of pipes doesn't make them sound better, but it looks better. To me that's something worth paying for. When I bought my pipes from Andrew Soutar he shook my hand and said if there was ever (for my life) a problem with the wood they'd fix it. That's a pretty good guarantee.

Since then I've bought two other sets of pipes and they're good too.
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Old 07-04-2019, 08:55 AM   #13
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Default Re: Does different price mean different quality?

Now that I've been playing over 30 years I've gone the anti-bling route.

I've owned silver & ivory pipes and pipes with fancy engraving but now plain nickel ferrules and plain wood projecting mounts do just fine.

Were I to get a new Hardie/Henderson/St Kilt Group bagpipe it would be like that, plain wood projecting mounts, plain metal ferrules, and imitation ivory rings at the tops.
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Old 07-04-2019, 09:00 AM   #14
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Default Re: Does different price mean different quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTallanambeann View Post
I would rather have two separate sets so that I could set one up as a B flat and older lower pitched chanter set and the other as a modern set for any time when I might play with other pipers at modern pitches …
Yes that's what I've been doing for a few years now and I really like it that way.

I have a 1940s Starck set at B-flat/466 and a 1940s Lawrie set at 484. Both sets are going great, and at gigs I might use either one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTallanambeann View Post
I have now acquired a set of David Naills (plain ones) used at a very reasonable price.
Congratulations on that purchase! Hard to beat a nice set of Naills.
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Old 07-04-2019, 10:45 AM   #15
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Default Re: Does different price mean different quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTallanambeann


The wood question does throw up a further puzzle though....



How do you know a particular piece of wood is going to be tonally brilliant









Ah... Were I... or anyone... able to ferret out that one... I
would be able to correctly choose the winning ticket of The
Irish Sweep Stakes... year after year... and would now be
back basking in that lovely Caribbean sun!!... and without
my... or any... computer!! :) (No need for such there then. :)

And so... how to determine... to pick... to choose...

I surmise... to see... and look closely... to heft... and then
to play... and then to encounter... whether you... and that
set... resonate... one with another...

It ain't magic... but it is... completely and entirely... personal...
and down at the deepest... and inmost... parts... of both...

Wishing you... and All... the Best of Good Fortune with such...





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Old 07-04-2019, 05:50 PM   #16
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Default Re: Does different price mean different quality?

Well I received the Naills yesterday. They are the plainest of the plain - David Naill DN0 model in pretty much pristine condition.

The lady I bought them from (via Fleabay) told me she bought them from Naill's around fifteen years ago and they have received little playing since then. I wasn't sure of the Naill's carbon fibre tongued drone reeds that were fitted so bunged in a set of old Bannatyne synthetic reeds that I had lying around and know to be decent and, with just a tweak or two of the drones, the pipes were singing their heart out. Never played Naill's before and I rather like the poly chanter, it has a nice slightly rough finish under the fingers that likes fast playing. I am also impressed by the quality of the wood. It is solid dark, dark brown with the merest hint of grain to let you know that it really is wood. Overall I can't fault these pipes at all.

I could actually have picked up a set of Wallace pipes with fancy 'Lion Rampant' engraved nickel (listed as having had six years of playing by a piper at the army school) for not much more from Gumtree but I get the sense that, for all their plainness the Naill's were meant for me and so the better deal.

Anyone got any experience with the Naill's carbon tongued drone reeds? Are they any good? They are bright green fellows with carbon fibre tongues and no adjuster screws which, according to sources on the internet, were made by Murray Henderson. I am guessing my set must be one of the last as, from other sources Murray Henderson split with Naill's at around the same time as these pipes were made.

I am impressed with the Naill's. I reckon they are going to be a very good pipe for me.

Now all I need is for Hardie's to finish making my PH01's and I will be a very happy highland bunny.

Last edited by MacTallanambeann; 07-04-2019 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 07-04-2019, 09:02 PM   #17
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Default Re: Does different price mean different quality?

Re: the question of telling much about the sound of a piece of wood--certainly some luthiers who make string instruments have pretty advanced techniques for figuring out exactly what sort of tone will result from a piece of wood based on its density and weight.

I started dabbling with the Turkish oud a little over a year ago, and several makers (inspired by classical guitar makers, apparently), have gone pretty deep into the study of acoustics. One renowned maker, Faruk Türünz, goes so far as to tune each brace of the oud to a specific frequency. I don't think the luthier who made mine went to quite such lengths, but I will say that when played at the desired tuning with the right string tension, the soundboard of the instrument really comes to life and produces a stunning range of harmonics.

You can see a video about it here. The bit with the bracing measurements is about 9 minutes in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpPk5SncHIw

I think a similar thing happens with a good set of pipes with a good chanter reed and good drone reeds and you blow all of them at just the right "sweet spot" of pressure. What otherwise might sound like a decent if a bit dull set can suddenly just start singing in ways you didn't previously imagine possible.

I've never visited Nigel Richard's workshop, but friends who have told me that he has all sorts of computer models and gear for measuring acoustic frequencies of the chanters and drones that he makes. Not sure if other pipemakers have tried this.
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Old 07-05-2019, 05:38 AM   #18
MacTallanambeann
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Default Re: Does different price mean different quality?

A little off topic but an interesting subject nonetheless.

I find myself in a bit of a quandry when it comes to the scientific nailing down of how an instrument works. I like the idea of finding your own particular voice rather than the exact perfect musical model.

As well as the bagpipes I play quite a number of different instruments with the main one being the electric guitar and I find that, while consistency and quality has really come on leaps and bounds it has also meant that, by that very same fact, the instruments have become quite uniform under the hand and a little boring.

I have found similar in clarinets. I used to own a Buffet Crampon R13 clarinet which is tip top professional orchestral quality and rather expensive which played perfectly in musical terms but I much preferred an old Boosey and Hawkes Edgeware clarinet that could really swing in a jazz style with it's own voice.

If we applied science rigidly to what constitutes the 'correct' sound of music would we have ever had the Blues or Elvis. I like the idea of variability and a degree of 'pot luck' in the way any example of an instrument sounds. Obviously that's not so much use in a Pipe band where uniformity is desirable though.


I would love to know what the early highland bagpipes really sounded like before technology and chanter tape. I am guessing they had much more variety in 'voice' between different sets and probably sang with a local accent.

Last edited by MacTallanambeann; 07-05-2019 at 05:48 AM.
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Old 07-05-2019, 05:45 AM   #19
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Default Re: Does different price mean different quality?

[QUOTE=MacTallanambeann;1338610]



I would love to know what the early highland bagpipes really sounded like

/QUOTE]

Em,...horrid? ...judging only by early technology recordings we do indeed have.
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Old 07-05-2019, 06:02 AM   #20
magsevenband
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Default Re: Does different price mean different quality?

I just don't believe that a set of plain Pipes gets the same wood as the top of the line model...no matter what the maker says publicly...would you expect them to say differently?...smarten up.
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