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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Other (not GH) Bagpipes > Uilleann, Northumbrian, Smallpipes +
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Uilleann, Northumbrian, Smallpipes + For all types of (non GH) Bagpiping discussions.

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Old 07-07-2014, 10:37 PM   #1
Mdcarter
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Default Uilleann pipes?

Brand new guy here, I wasn't sure where to post this.

I was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction regarding the Uilleann Pipes. More specifically, the very beginning stages of learning, and equipment needed?
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:01 AM   #2
CalumII
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Default Re: Uilleann pipes?

First, I'd very strongly recommend learning the whistle and submerging yourself in Irish music for a bit. Scottish and Irish music are very different, notwithstanding shared tunes and tune types.

Beyond that, my only advice would be to get the best set of pipes available (not the best set you can afford; save up!) and do not waste your time learning to make reeds until you've been playing for several years. There are quite a few semi-domesticated reedmakers out there now, make full use of them.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:13 AM   #3
Mdcarter
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Default Re: Uilleann pipes?

Thank you for the advice.
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Old 07-08-2014, 02:34 AM   #4
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: Uilleann pipes?

...and if you look way down the list of forums, there's one dealing with Uilean,, Northumbrian and other bagpipes.
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Old 07-08-2014, 02:52 AM   #5
Seán Donnelly
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Default Re: Uilleann pipes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdcarter View Post
Brand new guy here, I wasn't sure where to post this.

I was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction regarding the Uilleann Pipes. More specifically, the very beginning stages of learning, and equipment needed?
Na Píobairí Uilleann @http://pipers.ie will provide plenty of information. There's nobody in the office this week, the Willie Clancy Summer School, but they'll be back next week. Another site is http://www.uilleannobsession.com/, and there are many others.
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Old 07-08-2014, 03:01 AM   #6
Adam Sanderson
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Default Re: Uilleann pipes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdcarter View Post
Brand new guy here, I wasn't sure where to post this.
Moved to appropriate area.
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:28 PM   #7
Frank W
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Default Re: Uilleann pipes?

You will get some good info here but I think it would be safe to assume that most on this forum do not play the uilleann pipe. I would strongly suggest going to the
Chiff and Fipple forum and pose your question. They have a forum exclusively for uilleann piping with experience pipers and makers willing to guide you in the right direction.

I second with Callum's comments....I've been learning to play the UP for about 1 1/2 yrs. now and find it extremely enjoyable and challenging at the same time. I learned to play both the whistle and bellows small pipes before picking up a UP. Learning the whistle helped in understanding the music and somewhat of the fingering but what I found more helpful was learning to play with bellows beforehand. Three months after starting the UP I placed an order for a 1/2 set with a highly respected maker that will be setting me back quite a bit of money. By the time they arrive I will have saved up enough so that won't be a problem and hopefully I will be able to play a decent tune.

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Old 07-08-2014, 08:03 PM   #8
Piper Pig
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Default Re: Uilleann pipes?

In the very begining you will need a practice set made by a reputable maker. The practice set consists of a bag, chanter, and bellows. Unlike the GHB's, there is no decent mouth blown practice chanter. I would suggest a set from Pat Sky or David Daye if you're looking to keep costs down. Pat lives in North Carolina and is currently producing practice sets so this would probably be your best bet. He's a good guy to talk to. Much like the GHB's though, a good instructor is key to learning the right way. Pat can probably give you guidance there as well.
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Old 07-15-2014, 05:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: Uilleann pipes?

I've been playing uilleann pipes since the 1970s, and over the years have helped steer a large number of people, including many Highland pipers, onto the the uilleann path.

The first thing to realize is that it's an entirely different instrument. I've enumerated the differences in many threads like this one, but suffice it to say that for a Highland piper, learning the uilleann pipes is as different as learning the clarinet, or saxophone.

I don't think that learning whistle is a necessary step. Learning whistle is fine and all, and every uilleann piper seems to know how to play whistle, but I think if your goal is to play whistle start practicing whistle, but if your goal is to learn uilleann pipes then start practicing uilleann pipes.

It's always been difficult for a beginner to acquire a good-playing instrument. All of the makers with top reputations either have long wait lists (ten years for example) or aren't taking new orders at all.

Who has stepped into this obvious vacuum is David Daye, who makes pipes that perform like some of the best pipes, but are very reasonably priced, and can be had with only a short wait. David's pipes look like something somebody cobbled together in ten minutes from stuff got at the ironmonger but make no mistake, the pipes play great.

Get a "practice set" which consists of a REAL ORDINARY CHANTER (there's no equivalent to the Scottish practice chanter in the uilleann world) with a real ordinary bag and real ordinary bellows. It would be like Highland pipers learning on a pipe chanter tied into a bag with blowpipe, only missing the drones.

And get a teacher! So many of the issues that ruin a beginner's progress can ONLY be diagnosed and corrected in person! Skype is cool and all but the teacher can't play YOUR chanter over the internet, and only by the teacher playing YOUR chanter as it now is can he know why you're producing the sounds you're producing. Thing is, pretty much identical sounds can be produced by bad finger placement on a chanter with a perfectly good reed, and by good finger placement on a chanter with a bad reed.

good luck!!
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Old 07-30-2014, 08:18 AM   #10
New Hudson Highlander
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Default Re: Uilleann pipes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
I've been playing uilleann pipes since the 1970s, and over the years have helped steer a large number of people, including many Highland pipers, onto the the uilleann path.

The first thing to realize is that it's an entirely different instrument. I've enumerated the differences in many threads like this one, but suffice it to say that for a Highland piper, learning the uilleann pipes is as different as learning the clarinet, or saxophone.

I don't think that learning whistle is a necessary step. Learning whistle is fine and all, and every uilleann piper seems to know how to play whistle, but I think if your goal is to play whistle start practicing whistle, but if your goal is to learn uilleann pipes then start practicing uilleann pipes.

It's always been difficult for a beginner to acquire a good-playing instrument. All of the makers with top reputations either have long wait lists (ten years for example) or aren't taking new orders at all.

Who has stepped into this obvious vacuum is David Daye, who makes pipes that perform like some of the best pipes, but are very reasonably priced, and can be had with only a short wait. David's pipes look like something somebody cobbled together in ten minutes from stuff got at the ironmonger but make no mistake, the pipes play great.

Get a "practice set" which consists of a REAL ORDINARY CHANTER (there's no equivalent to the Scottish practice chanter in the uilleann world) with a real ordinary bag and real ordinary bellows. It would be like Highland pipers learning on a pipe chanter tied into a bag with blowpipe, only missing the drones.

And get a teacher! So many of the issues that ruin a beginner's progress can ONLY be diagnosed and corrected in person! Skype is cool and all but the teacher can't play YOUR chanter over the internet, and only by the teacher playing YOUR chanter as it now is can he know why you're producing the sounds you're producing. Thing is, pretty much identical sounds can be produced by bad finger placement on a chanter with a perfectly good reed, and by good finger placement on a chanter with a bad reed.

good luck!!
Being a fledgling Uilleann student and former GHB (asthma) player, I agree with everything said here. The music is as different as apples and oranges, although they're both fruits. The principles of maintaining the pressure on the bag is similar with both instruments, but the Uilleann chanter takes way less pressure. Bellows aren't too difficult to get used to, but do take some adjustment in coordination.

There are also two octaves, the higher one achieved by squeezing the bag slightly harder.

I've not played a Daye set, but have heard nothing but praise for his practice sets...but I have to agree that....well, one is paying for functionality, not appearance. Once one is comfortable and does reasonably well on the practice set, then comes graduation to the drones, either by addition of the drones or most likely purchasing an upgraded set.

And...they aren't cheap compared to the GHBs. Google around for UP makers or check out the several uilleann forums around, and check out the for sale forums to get an idea of used prices.

Personally, I'm still stuck between SSPs and UPs, not being good enough on either yet not willing (yet) to commit my limited practice time exclusively to either.
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