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Old 03-29-2020, 05:34 PM   #41
magsevenband
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Default Re: Drone instability, poor blowing or moisture?

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Originally Posted by EquusRacer View Post
I remember playing with a band where the P/M would hand out reeds and two aspirin. It was also at a time when it was thought the larger the bag, the steadier the blowing. Both nonsense, at it turns out, of course. But those were the prevailing thoughts.
Not sure if it's nonsense...is there some empirical data on that?.I tried playing one of those Canmore extended small bags a while back that seem to be popular with some...I couldn't get rid of it fast enough..went right back to a Canmore hybrid large...the stability is superb.
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Old 03-30-2020, 06:47 AM   #42
CalumII
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Default Re: Drone instability, poor blowing or moisture?

My observation is that large bags seem to make stock placement and blowpipe length less important, somehow. I like a small bag, but when I use one I'm pretty particular about having the drone stocks slightly forward and so forth.
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Old 03-30-2020, 07:22 AM   #43
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Default Re: Drone instability, poor blowing or moisture?

All I know is that in the 70s/80s/90s L&M days I was always playing a big bag.

From time to time I would acquire a vintage set that still had its sheepskin or hide bag on it and I marveled at how small they were. How did those pipers get any tone?

When I switched (finally) to sheepskin I got the Begg "standard" size which seems to me is closer to the smaller traditional size.

It felt odd at first, being the smallest bag I'd ever played, but I quickly got used to it and now I greatly prefer that size.
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Old 03-30-2020, 02:53 PM   #44
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Default Re: Drone instability, poor blowing or moisture?

Iíve been thinking of getting a smaller sized bag myself when I get a newer one.


Even though Iím about average height I canít seem to get the bag in a comfortable position, I keep having to move it higher and lower, back and forth.
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Old 03-30-2020, 04:05 PM   #45
EquusRacer
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Default Re: Drone instability, poor blowing or moisture?

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Originally Posted by magsevenband View Post
Not sure if it's nonsense...is there some empirical data on that?.I tried playing one of those Canmore extended small bags a while back that seem to be popular with some...I couldn't get rid of it fast enough..went right back to a Canmore hybrid large...the stability is superb.
Not empirical; but experience-based, if only anecdotal. I believe I blow just as steady, if not more so, with my medium Gannaway; and the large L&M that I was playing only gave me shoulder pain. As for the chanter reeds, I think a gut-buster is not superior or helpful...in fact, somewhat contraindicated. Granted that it should have some boldness, good tone, etc. But I believe it's more about efficiency than difficulty (i.e., hardness). A real awakening for me was when I played a couple of professionals' pipes and was amazed at how easy (though with good volume and tone) they were!
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Old 03-30-2020, 04:34 PM   #46
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Default Re: Drone instability, poor blowing or moisture?

Hello,

I have found some increased comfort by using a dycem patch on both sides of the bag, keeps the bag at a much higher spot than before for me. A lot less pressure on the forearm. I have seen a lot of people put emphasis on both ergonomics of playing and different cuts of bags that are designed for comfort as well that are worth looking into. I don't like playing hard bagpipes, easier the better in my opinion. I did watch Gordon Duncan video on you tube recently and noted that not only was his bag huge, he had a very interesting way of having the pipes drape over his shoulder.
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Old 03-30-2020, 05:37 PM   #47
WBpiper
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Default Re: Drone instability, poor blowing or moisture?

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Originally Posted by EquusRacer View Post
Not empirical; but experience-based, if only anecdotal. I believe I blow just as steady, if not more so, with my medium Gannaway; and the large L&M that I was playing only gave me shoulder pain. As for the chanter reeds, I think a gut-buster is not superior or helpful...in fact, somewhat contraindicated. Granted that it should have some boldness, good tone, etc. But I believe it's more about efficiency than difficulty (i.e., hardness). A real awakening for me was when I played a couple of professionals' pipes and was amazed at how easy (though with good volume and tone) they were!
Same thing when I played my Uncleís pipes many years ago.

I was blown away (no pun intended ) with how easy his setup was, not to mention it was SUPER efficient!



With that being said, my current reed is not a gutbuster, itís still an easy strength, and fairly comfortable, just a bit more firm than the one that was in there. If some of you were wondering.
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Old 03-30-2020, 05:56 PM   #48
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Default Re: Drone instability, poor blowing or moisture?

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Originally Posted by EquusRacer View Post
Not empirical; but experience-based, if only anecdotal. I believe I blow just as steady, if not more so, with my medium Gannaway; and the large L&M that I was playing only gave me shoulder pain. As for the chanter reeds, I think a gut-buster is not superior or helpful...in fact, somewhat contraindicated. Granted that it should have some boldness, good tone, etc. But I believe it's more about efficiency than difficulty (i.e., hardness). A real awakening for me was when I played a couple of professionals' pipes and was amazed at how easy (though with good volume and tone) they were!
The trick, if you can call it that, is to play a reed that vibrates freely...it's what the top guys know and they select reeds accordingly...it's the skilled reed maker who can achieve that consistently and the selection of the cane..these days I reject any chanter reed that does not fit the bill of vibrating freely and it goes right back in the post to the maker if it doesn't.
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Old 03-30-2020, 07:26 PM   #49
William McKenzie
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Default Re: Drone instability, poor blowing or moisture?

I think what's missed when talking about bag size is the physics of it. Air in equals air out as we know, but there's what the extra reservoir of air is feeling as this happens throughout the blowing/squeezing.

A small bag will experience more immediate changes in pressure from your arm or from your breathing given that the reservoir is smaller as compared to a large bag. It's easier to exert pressure on a smaller volume of air. It also means air runs out much quicker and requires a more steady arm to maintain that drop or that sharper rise. The arm itself has a lot more control over the pressure since there is less air it's manipulating. On a large bag there is obviously more reservoir and thus subtle arm movements don't immediately translate to a change in the overall pressure. In short, large bags are more forgiving.

I've read and been told by several pipers that they don't like small bags for this reason. For them it is harder to control as there's less reserve and because of this your breath and your arm make big changes easily. On a large bag the buffer can really mask poorer steadiness compared to a small bag. Ultimately I feel bag size should be about ergonomics vs mechanics; you learn mechanics for whichever size once you have a bag that fits you well.

I feel like this is the reason in the 70s everyone thought larger was better. In a way it's easier to play. And obviously this is not talking about the ergonomics which were awful with bouncing tenor drones, heads pointed off to the side from long blowpipes, hands pointed down at hip level stretched out. Bad, bad, bad.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:08 PM   #50
EquusRacer
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Default Re: Drone instability, poor blowing or moisture?

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Originally Posted by magsevenband View Post
The trick, if you can call it that, is to play a reed that vibrates freely...it's what the top guys know and they select reeds accordingly...it's the skilled reed maker who can achieve that consistently and the selection of the cane..these days I reject any chanter reed that does not fit the bill of vibrating freely and it goes right back in the post to the maker if it doesn't.
I believe you just described 'efficiency'. Perhaps I was too circuitous or abstract in describing that. Thanks.
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