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

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Old 07-16-2020, 04:51 AM   #11
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Why the bidding on these pipes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Lenz View Post
there are the odd Pakistani set out there that just happen to be fine.
A guitarist friend worked at a music shop back around 1980 that sold $100 Yamaha guitars.

He told me "We sell a couple dozen of those a week. I play every one we get in, because I figure that sooner or later they'll screw up and make a good one."

Eventually Yamaha did screw up and make a good one! He bought it.

He would be out playing somewhere and guitarists would ask to try it, and marvel at it. "It sounds like a $700 Martin" they would say. It did.

So yes perhaps once in a blue moon a bagpipe factory in Sialkot will screw up and make a good one.

I will say that in 45 years piping I've not seen a Pakistani pipe that was as good as the poorest Scottish-made pipes.

I did have a set, around 1980, that I picked up at a yard sale. I never could figure out what it was. It existed in an Uncanny Valley of pipemaking, too good to be Pakistani and too poor to be Scottish.

I think it might have been made by a hobbyist in their garage. The maker didn't have a combing tool, there was a certain crudity to the workmanship, yet those drones did play after a fashion.

Anyhow I played that thing for a bit, until I picked up a 1930s full ivory Lawrie at another yard sale.
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Old 07-16-2020, 04:34 PM   #12
MacCormaic
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Default Re: Why the bidding on these pipes?

I have often wondered about Pakinstani drones. I understand why the Chanters, reeds etc, would be bad, but why are the drones regarded as so poor compared to Scottish pipes? Is it poorer quality wood etc?

Last edited by Andrew Lenz; 07-17-2020 at 10:10 AM. Reason: Removed large unnecessary block quote.
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Old 07-16-2020, 06:52 PM   #13
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Default Re: Why the bidding on these pipes?

Poorer wood, and no attention to dimensions. But the thing is, we all assume we are the target market. We aren't, far from it. The target market is the tourist wandering down the mile, and they choose by tartan.
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Old 07-17-2020, 10:11 AM   #14
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Default Re: Why the bidding on these pipes?

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. . . they choose by tartan.


That made me chuckle out loud! A sad state of affairs!

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Old 07-19-2020, 06:59 AM   #15
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Default Re: Why the bidding on these pipes?

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Originally Posted by MacCormaic View Post
I have often wondered about Pakistani drones...why are the drones regarded as so poor compared to Scottish pipes? Is it poorer quality wood etc?
Yes as was stated it's as much about the dimensions, the specs, as it is about the wood.

Thing is, the Pakistani sets we usually see are the very cheapest ones those Sialkot firms make, the ones made in Sheesham wood, which is horrid.

Those same Sialkot firms also offer pipes in African Blackwood.

It doesn't help, because the specs are bad. So it's difficult or impossible to get reeds to play in them, or if you do get reeds to play in them the tone is very poor, a rough roaring sound. Generally those drones won't play at modern pitch either, they're very flat.

It's really inexcusable and head-scratching because it's the same cost in materials and labour to bore out wood to correct specs as to incorrect specs.

A friend was visiting Sialkot back in the 1980s and he saw one firm making pipes out of African Blackwood and stamping them R G Hardie Glasgow. As it happened I was working in a Highland outfitter/bagpipe supply firm at that time, we carried Hardie pipes, and we got some suspicious-looking pipes in. If you looked down the bores you could see burrs. These pipes played but the tone was as rough as the bores. (Actual Hardie pipes at that time had mirror-smooth bores and lovely workmanship.)

Anyhow here's another horrible Pakistani set on Ebay currently, happily there are no bids.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Highland-Ba...%7C6000%7C7000

It's not just bagpipes! A friend is a musical instrument repair-person and she hates being brought cheap Chinese violins, flutes, clarinets, etc.

She calls them ISOs (Instrument-Shaped Objects) because like Pakistani pipes they're not actual instruments, but models of instruments.

What she means by that is, musical instruments are built from the inside out one could say, they're form follows function, their primary reason for existence is to create musical sound. These cheap Pakistani and Chinese instruments are built from the outside in, the important thing is to have the appearance of a musical instrument, and any musical functioning is incidental/accidental.
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Last edited by pancelticpiper; 07-19-2020 at 07:08 AM.
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Old 07-19-2020, 07:21 AM   #16
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Default Re: Why the bidding on these pipes?

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...they choose by tartan.
Yes down The Royal Mile one sees tat shop after tat shop full of these cheap bagpipes, and equally bad kilts and such. (In fact the kilts are bad in exactly the same ways as the pipes, with incredibly low quality material, and design, and workmanship.)

I will say that when I ordered my first set of pipes, in 1975, from R G Lawrie, you were asked to specify which tartan.

I specified a somewhat unusual tartan, MacDonald Of The Isles Hunting, and indeed the pipes arrived with a cover in that tartan. Niceties one doesn't often see nowadays is that the fringe and cords perfectly matched the tartan.
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Old 07-21-2020, 03:42 PM   #17
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Default Re: Why the bidding on these pipes?

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Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
Yes as was stated it's as much about the dimensions, the specs, as it is about the wood.

Thing is, the Pakistani sets we usually see are the very cheapest ones those Sialkot firms make, the ones made in Sheesham wood, which is horrid.

Those same Sialkot firms also offer pipes in African Blackwood.

It doesn't help, because the specs are bad. So it's difficult or impossible to get reeds to play in them, or if you do get reeds to play in them the tone is very poor, a rough roaring sound. Generally those drones won't play at modern pitch either, they're very flat.

It's really inexcusable and head-scratching because it's the same cost in materials and labour to bore out wood to correct specs as to incorrect specs.

A friend was visiting Sialkot back in the 1980s and he saw one firm making pipes out of African Blackwood and stamping them R G Hardie Glasgow. As it happened I was working in a Highland outfitter/bagpipe supply firm at that time, we carried Hardie pipes, and we got some suspicious-looking pipes in. If you looked down the bores you could see burrs. These pipes played but the tone was as rough as the bores. (Actual Hardie pipes at that time had mirror-smooth bores and lovely workmanship.)

Anyhow here's another horrible Pakistani set on Ebay currently, happily there are no bids.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Highland-Ba...%7C6000%7C7000

It's not just bagpipes! A friend is a musical instrument repair-person and she hates being brought cheap Chinese violins, flutes, clarinets, etc.

She calls them ISOs (Instrument-Shaped Objects) because like Pakistani pipes they're not actual instruments, but models of instruments.

What she means by that is, musical instruments are built from the inside out one could say, they're form follows function, their primary reason for existence is to create musical sound. These cheap Pakistani and Chinese instruments are built from the outside in, the important thing is to have the appearance of a musical instrument, and any musical functioning is incidental/accidental.
Thank you, very informative.
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