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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 09-02-2011, 09:47 PM   #1
Karl Chang
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Default Border pipe, kitchen pipe, small pipes, fireside pipes, or shuttle pipes?

Hi everyone

Living in HK now with not a lot of space to play the GHB, especially not indoors. Looking for a practice chanter alternative that I can also enjoy playing at home more often.

I've checked and found that there are a LOT of various sorts small pipes and have not clue to purchasing which one. I've tried searching through old posts and see that quite a few have the John Walsh small pipes and the Gibson fireside pipes.

Can anyone share their views on the sound, convenience to get replacement parts (reeds, etc..), and preference for all these different kinds of pipes and which one you'd suggest?



Cheers

Karl
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Old 09-02-2011, 10:13 PM   #2
Shawn Husk
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Default Re: Border pipe, kitchen pipe, small pipes, fireside pipes, or shuttle pipes?

1. Border pipe - basically a small bellows blown bagpipe, loud chanter, decently loud drones.

2. Kitchen pipe - a mouthblown smallpipe often with brass tubing drones, quiet but not very good sounding.....

3. small pipes - a true instrument, expensive, bellows blown, cane chanter reed, this is a cylindrically bored chanter which is much more quiet and mellow than that of a conically bored chanter such as the border pipe.

4. Firesides, basically a mouth blown small pipe, same style of chanter, plastic reed. Excellent sound (this one get's my vote btw...)

5. shuttle pipes - drones are not straight pieces of wood as all others but are contained in a unique round tube of wood with several bores in it. All plastic reeds, mouth blown, same kind of chanter as the firesides and small pipes.

I like the firesides the best for cost and sound. A true set of high quality smallpipes will cost you double that of a set of Firesides. Firesides sound very good.

Shuttles are nice too and more portable but I've always found them difficult to keep steady, and I like the overall sound of the Firesides better.

Disadvantage to smallpipes and border pipes is you have to learn to use a bellows. Maybe not a disadvantage?

That's my take.

Shawn
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Old 09-03-2011, 06:35 AM   #3
RonSchlie
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Default Re: Border pipe, kitchen pipe, small pipes, fireside pipes, or shuttle pipes?

Karl,
You also need to ask yourself a few questions. #1 How much am I willing to spend? A true custom set of pipes cost much more than a set that's mass produced and sitting on a shelve in a warehouse. #2 How long are you willing to wait? I waited over one year for my custom set of Banton smallpipes, but in my opinion they were worth the wait. (options, quality & customer service). Everything we purchase has a price and a reward. Your free to buy a Mercedes or a Kia. The choice is yours. My suggestions for you are to place an order with a quality builder. Put money away every payday while you wait for the pipes to be made. Improve your playing skills on a practice chanter while you wait and finally, good things come to those who are patient. Good Luck!!
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Old 09-03-2011, 08:11 AM   #4
Charlie Rutan
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Default Re: Border pipe, kitchen pipe, small pipes, fireside pipes, or shuttle pipes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl Chang View Post
Hi everyone

Living in HK now with not a lot of space to play the GHB, especially not indoors. Looking for a practice chanter alternative that I can also enjoy playing at home more often.
*gut response: to heck w/ your neighbors...PLAY YOUR PIPES!
*realistic suggestion: some sort of techno pipe, redpipes, fagerstroms, etc. (no bellows, no blowing, no different sized chanter, no reed to seize up when weather chgs)
*cheap-out suggestion: drone corks & a goose adapter.
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Old 09-03-2011, 01:13 PM   #5
steven17
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Default Re: Border pipe, kitchen pipe, small pipes, fireside pipes, or shuttle pipes?

I started with a beginners set of smallpipes from Nate Banton, 2 chanters, bellows & bag, with the drones being made as I learn the bellows. Ive been at the bellows for 3 months now & can hold them pretty steady. I listened to a lot of youtube clips of smallpipes to get an idea of sounds but it is different to hearing them in person. I also used youtube to get an idea of how to use the bellows & bag. I went for smallpipes because I like the sound, have chanters in different keys, they suited my living situation, I could use ghb fingering & there seem to be more & more makers out there so repairs & parts might be easier to come by.
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Old 09-03-2011, 08:29 PM   #6
Ron Teague
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Default Re: Border pipe, kitchen pipe, small pipes, fireside pipes, or shuttle pipes?

Kitchen Pipes are nice but are VERY sensitive to blowing problems. I have found them nice to help me with my blowing technique. that having been said, I spend more time worrying about my blowing method with them then actually playing a tune. The full size pipes are easier to play than the Kitchens for me.

Small Pipes--I am selling my switch back small pipes as it is a different instrument than the GHP. Lovely sound but not for what I play which is Ceol Mor and the low g hole is further away than on the GHP so it is a stretch for my geezer fingers.

I got these to play indoors during our very hot summers but they didn't work out, alas.

I am thinking of getting a nice set of reel pipes or 3/4 pipes. I will have to pay big bucks for these but they might work. Perhaps someone will know who is currently making these. I will probably have to ask Ringo to find me a set. When I sell my old Granger's, I will probably sink the money into a set of these

Piobaireachd is not quite the same on smaller pipes I think.

I have just gotten a Techno-pipe and IT WORKS. I just sit down, plug in the ear phones and oingo boingo I am playing music. It is terrible for my breathing technique and my lip strength is falling off. BUT I don't have to worry about sweat dripping on the bag AND I can play it on the train or airplane when I have to make long trips.

Cheers
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Old 09-03-2011, 08:51 PM   #7
Mark D
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Default Re: Border pipe, kitchen pipe, small pipes, fireside pipes, or shuttle pipes?

I think you nailed it from the get-go: Walsh or Gibson would both be fine choices. I have a set of Walsh that I play a lot and they always hold up well.
I have a set of A/D smallpipes on order (bellows, cane) from Nate Banton. But for easing into the smallpipe world a good set of plastic reeded set is an economical, fast way to get going.

I would suggest that smallpipes are akin to fiddles (or use whatever comparison you like -- I live in an area with a lot of fiddles). At any rate, you shouldn't buy any musical instrument based on ideas or music clips off these forums or the Internet. There's a wide range of quality, features, comfort, etc. that come into play. Until you've attended a smallpipe workshop/camp I would suggest holding off unless your small apartment/piping needs dictate otherwise.

Happy trails in your search for a suitable smallpipe.
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Old 09-04-2011, 03:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: Border pipe, kitchen pipe, small pipes, fireside pipes, or shuttle pipes?

I went down the Gibson Firesides/Technochanter route before picking up the GHB.

The Firesides throw out 80 decibels as opposed to the 110 dB+ from my GHB, so family and neighbours are reasonably happy... I also cork off the drones and use the Firesides as a goose. They are pitched an octave below the GHB so not the same sound as the GHB. However you get a reasonably full blowing experience and I found the subsequent transition to the big pipes very easy.

The Technochanter is excellent for "silent" practice - as a commuter I regularly clock up an hour's practice a day, working on fingering and timing issues as well as tunes. The sound is comparable to the old Stylophone, rather electronic, unlike the Deeger which I understand gives a more authentic sound, with drones.

I usually play the Firesides a couple of times a week, so by the time I get to the local sports hall for my weekly GHB practice I can hit the ground running.
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:35 AM   #9
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: Border pipe, kitchen pipe, small pipes, fireside pipes, or shuttle pipes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark D View Post
I think you nailed it from the get-go: Walsh or Gibson would both be fine choices. I have a set of Walsh that I play a lot and they always hold up well.
snip Until you've attended a smallpipe workshop/camp I would suggest holding off unless your small apartment/piping needs dictate otherwise.

Happy trails in your search for a suitable smallpipe.
I'd agree with most of what Mark D posted, other than the likelyhood of the original poster finding a workshop/camp in Hong Kong is rather slim.
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:16 AM   #10
John Dally
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Default Re: Border pipe, kitchen pipe, small pipes, fireside pipes, or shuttle pipes?

You might also consider Roddy MacLellan's studio pipes:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7T4vdjTLSO0
Until I played these I found all mouthblown, plastic instruments to be finnicky, too quiet and kazoo-like. YMMV! These sound as good as or better than some bellows blown instruments I've heard. If I'm playing at a session in a crowded pub, these are the pipes I take, rather than risk one of my other sets that cost four times as much. They're nearly unbreakable and they sound great for what they are.
I hope this helps.
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