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Old 09-03-2017, 10:46 AM   #11
el gaitero
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Default Re: Introductions

Quote:
Originally Posted by apease View Post
Many thanks for all the advice. My instructor seems like a pro - I've listened to his CD's. He adjusted my instrument and reeds and sounded good playing them. I'm probably just jumping the gun looking for advice since I won't have a second lesson until a week from now. I'll try stoppering the drones for now, and ask my instructor about reed choices. I have a McCallum AB3 with a synthetic bag and EZdrone reeds.
Is the syn bag the type that feels like an under inflated baloney skin under your arm....or is it a hybrid?...the type with a leather like finish on the outside to give you a feeling of heft under your arm? The former is good but takes getting used to and must be kept rock hard while playing. The latter is as good...and usually a bit easier to get used to...also,as any bag ..needs to be maintained very hard ...without over blowing the chanter reed ( screeching high A or gurgling low G) .

Fwiw, imo, EZ drone reeds are super...one might almost say a gold standard among experienced pipers. But they can also be very persnickety to set up well and play seamlessly...with no split millibar under pressure double-tone gurgles or over pressure cut outs. Other reeds...e.g. MG Carbon, Selbie,Xtreme, at the beginner stage are more forgiving and plug'n play in my experience.

Sounds like your instructor is indeed ' up there'....great..there are some good band and solo history in your region.
Ask what level he plays at in competition. Likely high. Yes ,with only one lesson under your belt so far it sounds like you are several months away from playing a tune or three on pipes. Good luck.
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Old 09-03-2017, 08:37 PM   #12
Doug Walton
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Default Re: Introductions

Quote:
Originally Posted by apease View Post
Hi! I'm a beginner ... I thought after playing bass clarinet it couldn't be too bad, but more power and breath is required than I ever expected ...
Based on this, your challenges have not yet even begun to emerge. Clarinet and software dev stuff aside, put your pipes away and head to the practice chanter woodshed with your instructor for a while. Do the work.

Last edited by Andrew Lenz; 09-06-2017 at 01:48 PM. Reason: Trimmed block quote
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Old 09-04-2017, 09:22 AM   #13
Pip01
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Default Re: Introductions

Quote:
from el gaitero:
... Set up properly...playing pipes can be almost effortless.

Greetings, Piperchase, and to All,

Some years ago I was in Europe and playing in
a multi-band... multi-piper ... and many-venues
situation... and a younger piper (damned near
everyone there :) ...was having a bit of a rough
go with her pipes... even though she had been
playing for some five or six years. (Between the
hot day... and playing up and down some hills...
there were some taxing moments... for us all. :)

In one of our stand-about-chat-and-drink breaks...
she asked what kind of reeds I had in the drones
of my very Old Lawries... so I told her... and then
I suggested that she give my pipes a go...

My old set was very much larger and heavier than
her newer (2005-ish) one... and I was an easier foot
taller... and two stone (quick, somebody go look that
up! :) heavier than she... but she hoisted them up on
her shoulder... and began to play away... and smiling
all the while... :)

After about the third tune... she handed them back...
and said... in a very surprised voice... to our group
standing about...

"Damn!! These things damned near play themselves!!"

The point of all of this "Who-shot-John?"... is that once
you have that "magical" setup... that is right... and best...
for you... then much of the sometimes physical chore...
of playing well... in varying and in different conditions...
will then simply... fall away... and then leave you more
at liberty... to play the music... :)

Experiment!! Try new bits!! Keep mucking about with
your pipes... until the two of you... fall in together... and
settle in... hand in glove... :)

Just keep after it!! ... It will come!! ...Promise !! :)

All the Best!!

Pip01
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With what a brave carouse...

Last edited by Andrew Lenz; 09-06-2017 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 09-09-2017, 08:47 AM   #14
Jeffrey B.
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Default Re: Introductions

It's all about set up, you have to learn to set your drones, and your chanter, to your abilities. Your teachers set up will not be your set up, there are good articles on the internet on pipe set up. A lot of pipers just grab a reed in what strength they want and go, I found I couldn't be that casual about my set up. I had to set my drone reeds to start at around 20 on a manometer and my chanter reed 22-23. I have a bad left arm and need a very easy set up, or else I wouldn't be able to play.
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Old 09-12-2017, 07:58 AM   #15
Pppiper
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Default Re: Introductions

Quote:
Originally Posted by apease View Post
Many thanks for all the advice. My instructor seems like a pro - I've listened to his CD's. He adjusted my instrument and reeds and sounded good playing them. I'm probably just jumping the gun looking for advice since I won't have a second lesson until a week from now. I'll try stoppering the drones for now, and ask my instructor about reed choices. I have a McCallum AB3 with a synthetic bag and EZdrone reeds.
Yes, your instructor will guide you. Glad you have one, lots of people think they can skip lessons and watch youtube. If only ...

The big difference with piping is the requirement of learning to do several different things at once. And on top of that, it's also about building up your stamina. This comes from learning slowly over many stages (and years). All of this takes time, and guidance. Oh, and practice.

I agree with comments made, that setup makes a big difference. But that's a lot of stuff to know and do, and no one can know that starting out. That's why your instructor is there.

And the fact that your instructor set them up and they sounded good while he was playing them .. well, that's good, but ... good pipers are, if nothing else, adaptable. They're able to monitor and adjust their control of the instrument based on the situation at hand. You're seeing and hearing the direct evidence and benefits of the many stages of learning your instructor went through.

The breathing "power" needed to which you're referring is built up over time. It involves breathing from your diaphragm in order to use all of your lung power, and it will also involve building up your lip muscles. In the beginning, most people can't play the practice chanter for more than an hour without their lip muscles starting to fail from overuse. In time, you'll be able to play for a couple hours or more on the full pipes if you desire before the lips start to go.

When getting onto the full pipes, again, you need to learn in stages. First, the basic rudiments and notes on the chanter should be second-nature to you. If you need to really think hard to remember how to finger an E ... then you won't have spare mental clarity to think about your breathing, and tuning, etc.

That's why we have the practice chanter. If any of my students have full pipes in the beginning, I'll have them playing a little on them, but they'll only be playing solitary notes, or slow scales in the beginning. Our main focus at lessons is always the practice chanter, particularly in the first year.

And breathing is next. That should also become second nature (ad must). I don't even need to think about when I should squeeze the bag, or blow ... I just do it.

Again, stages. Your instructor will teach you how to breathe with the bag and maintain the chanter, with your drones plugged. Eventually, if that's going well, a drone will be opened, which will change the pressure amount, so you'll need to relearn to control the breathing. Then the second drone ... relearning. Third drone .. relearning. Then you'll be working toward controlling your breathing and your tone.

Don't be deterred. That's not the aim here. Rather, you should simply know that this isn't checkers. It's a long, everlasting game of chess. It may be a wicked and brutal game, but it's one that'll you'll enjoy playing for a lifetime to come.

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 09-21-2017, 07:38 AM   #16
Steve Law
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Default Re: Introductions - new piper

Sometimes this great forum simply cries out for a 'Like' button!

Great advice above.....ain't no substitute for proper practice and perseverance, but the end game is worth it. Hang in there
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:36 PM   #17
Greek Piper
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Default Re: Introductions - new piper

Hello to all my fellow pipers!
After playin the Greek pipes for several years, i decided its time i struggled with the Highland ones!
So, i purchased a Galore Delrin set after lots of practice with the practice chanter, but i ve been facing 2 major issues so far...

1.
a) Well, seems like im a wet blower, since after every session, the interior looks like there was an inner storm! But since the bag is synthetic, do i really need a Moisture Control System? And if yes, which one would you suggest?
b) Would a blowpipe-valve be just enough or an extra necessity? And if yes, which one?

2.
Every time i start to play, the sound of 2 of the drones or all of them is just shut off after a few seconds! So im left with only one drone(usually the outer tenor) sounding, or none at all! Is that common for rookie players? Can i fix it somehow? Would a drone-valve help with this issue, and if yes, which one would you suggest?

Any responses would be much appreciated and thanx a lot in advance! And appologies for the swarm of questions.. but im really in the dark here

Last edited by Greek Piper; 10-11-2017 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 10-12-2017, 03:12 PM   #18
CelticHiker
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Default Re: Introductions - new piper

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greek Piper View Post
1.
a) Well, seems like im a wet blower, since after every session, the interior looks like there was an inner storm! But since the bag is synthetic, do i really need a Moisture Control System? And if yes, which one would you suggest?
b) Would a blowpipe-valve be just enough or an extra necessity? And if yes, which one?
If you had a leather bag, you might be able to get away from a MCS depending on how much of a wet blower you actually are, but you will likely need one with a synthetic bag. As for which one, that seems to be a very individualized question. What works for one person may not work for another, and something most people hate might be the best things since sliced bread for someone else. I have a drawer full of various systems that I've tried with varying degrees of success over the last 10 years and I just installed a new Bannatyne Dri-Flow system (which does seem to be very effective, but I've only been using it for a few weeks). I would suggest starting with a basic tube trap and then go from there.

And a blowpipe valve (the flapper that sits on the end of the blowpipe) is quite handy and is pretty much considered a necessity by most pipers (I do know some use their tongue). The basic rubber disk is what most people seem to use, but things like the Moose valve also work well, so its more of a case of how much you want to spend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greek Piper View Post
2.
Every time i start to play, the sound of 2 of the drones or all of them is just shut off after a few seconds! So im left with only one drone(usually the outer tenor) sounding, or none at all! Is that common for rookie players? Can i fix it somehow? Would a drone-valve help with this issue, and if yes, which one would you suggest?
This sounds like your drone reeds are not adjusted correctly and are shutting off at pressure you are trying to play the pipes at. Basically, you need to move the bridle further towards the drone (assuming your reed's tongue opening is pointing away from the drone) to open it up. What you want to end up with is all three drone reeds setup to shutoff at the same pressure, but that pressure is just above the level you normally play out. This will ensure that they are efficient as possible, but you aren't going to be shutting them off if you are blowing steady. When you are starting out, you might want to set them a little more open just to give you a bit of wiggle room for unsteady blowing.

As always, the best advice is to seek out a knowledgable instructor who would be able to offer this type of advice, tailored to your pipes/circumstances/etc. and who would be able to sort out any setup issues like the reeds shutting off in short order. Even if you don't know of anyone in your area that teaches, you can always find someone that does on-line lessons that can at least help you along what is often a bumpy, but enjoyable, journey.
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:01 PM   #19
Pip01
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Default Re: Introductions

Quote:
Originally Posted by apease View Post

From my beginner vantage point it looks like working up to the pressure and airflow requirements of the bagpipes will be my biggest challenge.

I thought after playing bass clarinet it couldn't be too bad, but more power and breath is required than I ever expected.
Adam


Greetings, apease,

If... if... it is any consolation (at all :) ... you should know that it isn't
a matter of size... or brawn... that gets any of us through this particular
thicket. (Otherwise, no Gurkha or Maylay (and I've known a few) pipers. :)

Rather... and what ever your (or anyone's) size... or physique... it
is a simple matter... of technique... (Rather like being the smaller
fellow... in a Ju-Jitsu tournament. :)

Just stay in the ring... and KBO... and it will come!!

All the Best!!

Pip01


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With what a brave carouse...

Last edited by Pip01; 10-12-2017 at 09:05 PM.
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