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

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Old 07-14-2017, 10:37 AM   #1
dave11
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Default Electronic Pipes

I'm considering a set of electronic pipes to get more practice time in. I've seen the Fagerstrom unit and it looks really great. Anybody have any experience with these-

https://www.a-pipes.com/en

I like the idea of optical v tactile contacts and that it's got a wood body. To me, the holes on the optical pickups offer a more tactile feeling than the Fagerstom. Any comments or ideas?

Dave
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Old 07-14-2017, 11:04 AM   #2
BaggyMcPipes
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Default Re: Electronic Pipes

I haven't used them personally, but from what I've heard the optical option is preferable in a few ways, one of which is that the tactile method functions best when your hands are moist, so you might have to use lotion before practice.
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Old 07-14-2017, 11:08 AM   #3
John Bolt
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Default Re: Electronic Pipes

Hi all,

Zero issue's in 5 years and hundreds if not thousands of hours with the Fagerstrom and I haven't picked up a regular PC in a couple years. I'd be lost without it and it's been all over the world!
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Last edited by John Bolt; 07-14-2017 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 07-14-2017, 12:51 PM   #4
SweetDrones
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Default Re: Electronic Pipes

Personally I like my Fagerstrom. Bought second-hand (I had a garage sale to be able to fund the purchase), full electronic bagpipe version. I take it everywhere because it fits in anything. For me the compact size is the winning feature.
It is also popular at the office, where my colleagues prefer it to full bagpipe volume, and I even take it to our office christmas party (usually at a restaurant in the city).
I use my PC at band practice.
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Old 07-14-2017, 12:54 PM   #5
SweetDrones
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Default Re: Electronic Pipes

I forgot to mention that I even used to walk to work playing it, rain or shine. If it rained heavily, yeah, some problems with contacts, but if I remember rightly it is possible to adjust sensitivity. If fingers are suddenly too dry, run them under the tap or lick them
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Old 07-14-2017, 07:49 PM   #6
dave11
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Default Re: Electronic Pipes

Guys, I'm pretty much sold on the quality of the Fagerstrom Technopipe, but what is catching my interest in the A pipe is not only the wood and the optical pickup, but that the wood body has drilled holes just like a regular chanter. Point is on this, it looks to have the same feel of an actual pipe chanter when playing. So wet fingers or no, you can feel the hole in the wood where you fingers are supposed to land in a somewhat rhythmical fashion.

My thought here is that if your finger isn't covering the hole just like a real chanter, it's going to sound like it because the pickup is based on light, not touch.

Thoughts?
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Old 07-14-2017, 09:35 PM   #7
Green Piper
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Default Re: Electronic Pipes

An optical chanter that is the same size as regular chanter and plugs into a pipe bag seems like a great idea to me.

During the autumn and winter months regular practice on the pipes is trickier and my solo comp tunes end up getting onto the pipes later than I'd prefer. An electronic goose seems like a good solution.
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Old 07-15-2017, 05:41 AM   #8
Tom MacKenzie
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Default Re: Electronic Pipes

I use Deger Pipes II and actually sold my Fagerstrom to buy them.

I use moisturizing cream on my hands before playing to get the best results.

The Deger has a mouthpiece that you can put in your mouth, for stability, but I put a sponge ball from the dollar store on it and rest it on my chin.

I have mostly been using the Deger with my Android tablet and the app called Audipo with Jack Lee's recordings of the tunes I am learning.

I use earbuds, an audio splitter, and two audio cables, one from the Deger and one from the tablet. I can adjust the pitch of either the recording or the Deger to match each other, and then alter the speed of playback as necessary (particularly on Marches). Audipo let you put markers in the tune at key points and then loop between these markers.

I find this setup to be a very useful learning tool.

I am working on using the MIDI output and Audacity to see where my grace notes lie according to the beat. This is an idea I got from the Pipers Dojo. No success yet.

tomm
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Old 07-15-2017, 06:44 AM   #9
DapperDan
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Default Re: Electronic Pipes

I have a Fagerstrom technopipe.
The biggest advantage I've found is that in can greatly increase your practice time, if playing pipes or even PC isn't always convenient (living in an apt, foul weather outside, sleeping baby, not physically comfortable playing with a cold, need to be discrete cramming in a few minutes on breaktime at work, etc.).
Also, it's always in tune. Good for developing your ear I would say. You can adjust the pitch to where your pipe chanter pitches at.
Finally, I find it to be very sensitive to crossing noises. I noticed an improvement in my fingering on the pipe chanter, from trying to eliminate crossing noises on the technopipe. It's actually easier to "cover the holes" on the real thing (for me anyway). The technopipe doesn't always register false fingerings though for some reason, and obviously you aren't getting practice blowing tone.
I'm only two years in to piping, so while the technopipe adds a few hours per week of practice that I wouldn't otherwise have, I try to get on my wooden PC and of course actual Highland bagpipes whenever I can. For me personally the technopipe is good for practicing tunes I already know, and hearing how my timing and phrasing are coming along - but not for scales and drills, and learning a new embellishment or phrasing. Hard to explain why.

That said, I'd be really interested if anyone can report on this wooden APipe. Unlike the technopipe, it's tapered and shaped like a pipe chanter, and you'd be covering actual holes. (Would be more accurate letting you know if you can really play a good birl I'd imagine.) Also... you can play the Galician pipes on it!
From the sound sample, apparently you can play a chromatic scale.
I'd have to have a garage sale like Sweetdrones - including selling my technopipe - to justify the purchase though.
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Old 07-15-2017, 11:27 AM   #10
John Bolt
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Default Re: Electronic Pipes

Hi all,

The wood unit costs 385 pounds cough cough. I'll stick with the techno-pipes!
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