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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 11-20-2011, 06:11 PM   #1
Bothwell
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Default Tuning Fireside pipes ???

A number of people are tuning their Firesides -- LA to Bflat rather than to A on a Korg30 -- I don't understand this but have no real way to discuss this with them with a good reason not to do it this way.
Can anyone help??? --Jo
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Old 11-20-2011, 06:26 PM   #2
Patrick McLaurin
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They make them in A and Bb don't they? Just depends on which model you bought.
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: Tuning Fireside pipes ???

They also make a D -- would you tune it to D???? -- Jo
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:32 PM   #4
Patrick McLaurin
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Doubt the firesides come in D, but I'm sure they make their more normal looking smallpipes in D as well as Bb and A. So yes, low A would be a D. I never understood why some smallpipe makers make Bb sets. Pretty useless key, it seems.
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Old 11-21-2011, 05:29 AM   #5
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Equally obvious, right, a market of ignorant people keep the manufacture of Bb pipes going. Do smallpipes get played with brass bands?
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Old 11-21-2011, 08:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: Tuning Fireside pipes ???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick McLaurin View Post
Equally obvious, right, a market of ignorant people keep the manufacture of Bb pipes going. Do smallpipes get played with brass bands?
Bb chanters have a narrower finger spacing than A chanters, and also wider than D chanters. The finger spacing makes them more comfortable for some people to play.
Does having a chanter that is comfortable to play and make music with make people ignorant?
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Old 11-21-2011, 08:37 AM   #7
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Tuning Fireside pipes ???

I don't think the vast majority of people who buy Bb pipes do so because they find it more comfortable to finger. I've got tiny hands and have no problems with A chanters. Those that buy Bb are probably buying Firesides because they look like GHB, an instrument they're familiar with, and they pick the key closest, again, to what they are familiar with. Certainly those discriminating enough to know what they are buying in a set of smallpipes probably wouldn't be looking at Firesides...

Just saying such manufacturer's are deluding their customers by even offering it. Our most popular seller is our least useful instrument! There's no point to having a Bb set. You can't play with highland pipes because you don't have the volume and if you want to jam with guitar, fiddle, and whatever else, you'll want A and D chanters as I haven't found too many 'other musicians' willing to completely relearn there repertoire to play with a smallpiper in Bb. If it's just for you, sure, whatever floats your boat. But, sorry, I believe it is the manufacturer's responsibility to relieve their customers' ignorance of what they are getting themselves into. One very effective measure in educating their customers would be to just stop making them in Bb. Make it a special order item, for those that like playing with themselves (and keyboards, apparently, from the link linked above).
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:38 AM   #8
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Default Re: Tuning Fireside pipes ???

While I don't pretend to know why the vast majority of people buy fireside pipes in Bb, I can still point out that they are more comfortable for SOME people to play. I can also point out that there is historical significance for the Bb chanter. I own an antique set with the original chanter in Bb, I've also held a Glen parlour set owned by the very famous piper Calum Piobaire in Bb. From what I know, the A chanter is a modern invention(past 20 to 30 years)that was evolved from the older alternate pitched chanters, ask Hamish Moore or Colin Ross about this. In fact, do yourself a favor and listen to Hamish's "Bees Knees" or "Farewell to Decorum" albums. No A chanters to be heard, just C, D, and Bb, if I am remembering correctly.

I seriously have to disagree with you that "manufacturer's are deluding their customers by even offering it". I can in no way see how simply offering customers an option to choose a different key is misleading, nor how it preys on consumer ignorance. As Oldsoke pointed out, the drones for both A and Bb sets are the same with just different chanters. There is also no difference in cost from Gibson.

One of the things I've really enjoyed about playing SSP for the past 16 years is the wide variety of keys available to play in. I own or have owned sets in C, D, Bb, A, and Eb. It would be a shame for there to only be the two options of D and A.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:09 AM   #9
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Default Re: Tuning Fireside pipes ???

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldsoke View Post
Oh dear, oh deary me, such negativity... anyone have any mental floss handy?
Just being honest about my perspective, which may come off as negative. Some people have to keep it real, at least from their perspective.

Rob, we're coming from two different perspectives. More often than not, there is a lack of information about the utility of instruments provided by their manufacturers. That is all I'm addressing, not the actual Bb smallpipe itself. Address that concern, and I've no problem with the Bb smallpipe being the most popular. I'm just afraid the majority of them are bought without the knowledge of why there are better options if you're just going to be buying and owning the one smallpipe. Cheers
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:53 AM   #10
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Default Re: Tuning Fireside pipes ???

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldsoke View Post
Some people? Recognise the hole and stop digging
Perhaps we're in a really big well lit cave and I'm actually digging out of it, leaving you behind?


Quote:
Originally Posted by oldsoke View Post
Jo any of this been of any use so far? If not, do come back with a little more specificity if poss
A few more details would help. Can't tell if it's you or the other people that don't know what they're doing.

Last edited by Patrick McLaurin; 11-21-2011 at 10:57 AM.
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