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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 07-20-2013, 08:48 AM   #1
markgottlieb
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Default Gibson Fireside vs Gibson Ceilidh

I have been doing the best I can to research small pipes on line.
I've no way to hear or play them myself.
I've played the GHB for many years and now would like something with a similar chanter feel but "quieter".
I like the look of the fireside but feel it's my attempt at keeping with the GHB appearance.
I've heard both played by Steve McNeil on YouTube and like the sound of both equally.
The firesides seem more sensible if you are walking as you play vs the cielldh...
My old teacher said stay away from Gibson small pipes and suggested Walsh.. But he was also wrong with my wonderful set of Dunbar DBs.
I'd appreciate any educated thoughts or ...
Thank you,
Mark
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Old 07-20-2013, 10:48 AM   #2
wvh46
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Default Re: Gibson Fireside vs Gibson Ceilidh

The Walsh pipes are great sounding, easy to play. There's a "combo" set that allows you to play in A or D. Comes with 2 chanters.

But I have the older 2 drone fireside in Bb and the Ceilidh in A. I prefer them. Bit more volume and I like the harmonics much better. Yes, if you're standing, the fireside set is great but if you're sitting the Ceilidh set is easier playing. I find I play the Ceilidh set more. If I'm playing in the house I'm sitting down. I use the 2 drone GHB style in settings where the "big pipes" would be too much. Really comes down to a matter of choice of which set suits the position you'd be playing in most, seated or standing. To my ear they sound the same.

The only downside to the Gibsons is that the pins are thin. I've heard of people breaking them if the hemp is too tight.
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Old 07-20-2013, 02:08 PM   #3
Piper_06
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Default Re: Gibson Fireside vs Gibson Ceilidh

I have had a set of Firesides for 6 years now. I find them great for practice when the full set is too much. Better than a PC since you can keep the continues tone similar to the pipes.

My set is in Bb. One trick I have picked up is I recently tried a Gibson PC reed in my chanter. It now tunes very well at 466, and the drones are up on the pins. With the original, they were very low, and it was hard to get it above 462. I really enjoy the sound of them now.

My wife is a side drummer and we can practice together with me on the Firesides and her on the drum pad.

Good luck in your decision on what to buy.
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Old 07-20-2013, 09:32 PM   #4
bellemastiff
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Default Re: Gibson Fireside vs Gibson Ceilidh

Take the plunge and go bellows. Once you buy smallpipes--assuming you like them--there's a big chance you'll end up playing bellows anyway (even if you don't realize it yet ;-)
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Old 07-20-2013, 09:35 PM   #5
bellemastiff
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Default Re: Gibson Fireside vs Gibson Ceilidh

Btw, Gibson makes a great quality instrument.

Fireside pipes were my first non-GHB pipes (like you, I was attracted to their similarity to the GHB). I did find them over sensitive to bag pressure, and, contrary to popular belief, smallpipes in general are not 'over sensitive to bag pressure'.

I find my current bellows McCallum reelpipes much easier to play (and again-- I LIKE Gibson in general).
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:33 AM   #6
RonSchlie
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Default Re: Gibson Fireside vs Gibson Ceilidh

I started just like you except I started directly w/ smallpipes. No bagpipe experience at all and full of questions.
Here is my comment.
I agree, take the plunge ! Both Gibson's are ok but only ok. If you want a true small pipe sound go with the real thing. Other members of our smallpipe group play the firesides and I can tell you first hand they do not sound as well as my bellows smallpipes. If cost and delivery time are a priority go with the Gibson's but my recommendation to you is to talk to some of the better smallpipe makers and place an order. Just Google Nate Banton or Chris Pinchbeck, who are two quality USA smallpipe makers (great sound clips on their websites). Their pipes cost more and you will have to wait, but you won't be sorry. Good Luck
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:44 AM   #7
PSoutowood
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Default Re: Gibson Fireside vs Gibson Ceilidh

I made the move from GHB to Gibson Ceilidh pipes and I can say that the reed setup is a HUGE part of the equation. I think a poorly-reeded set of Moore bellows-driven smallpipes would sound much worse than a nicely-balanced set of mouth-blown Gibson SSPs. To me the transition to SSPs was much easier taken in steps: GHB to mouth-blown SSPs to bellows-driven SSPs. But do yourself a favor if you're considering either the Firesides or the Ceilidh pipes: dump the double-bladed plastic drone reeds and get some single-bladed drone reeds. Ezeedrone makes some, I have some made by Seth Hamon. They are MUCH more stable and adjustable than Gibson's, which are so wavery that it's like trying to balance a ball-bearing on a pinhead. You'll go mad if you don't swap out those reeds. You may also benefit from a cane chanter reed, which, to my ear, sounds much better and woodier than the plastic Gibson reed. Finally, if you decide to transition to bellows, get a really nice set, like those made by Simon Hope. Like a good bicycle seat, they are worth every penny.

Don't be discouraged by the dogmatic SSP fanatics. There's nothing wrong with Gibson pipes, there's nothing wrong with mouth-blown, and there's nothing wrong with plastic reeds (aside from some instability). Go out and have fun playing first--you can dive into the deep water of expensive pipes and gear later.

-Peter
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:07 PM   #8
RonSchlie
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Default Re: Gibson Fireside vs Gibson Ceilidh

My line of thought is.
Why purchase a set of mouth blown Gibson's that you have to rebuild with new reeds all around. Why not take the plunge and only spend your hard earned money once on a quality set with matched reeds. If you take the one step at a time route you may accumulate a collection of pipes you are not completely happy with and probably end up spending more in the long run. I did this once with guitars before I realized I should have purchased a Martin to start with. As before, I have had NO previous piping experience and it took me over 2 months to master the bellows technique, but now two years later w/ a great instructor I have no need or desire to step up in pipe quality because I already have a top quality set.
I remember when I purchased my set I had to put a small deposit down and I had almost a year to put money aside for the final payment. Please, consider the Gibson's if the step approach works for you, but give it some thought.
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:27 PM   #9
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Gibson Fireside vs Gibson Ceilidh

Yeah, there's nothing wrong with Gibson's ssp. It's just that a Banton or Jones etc. WILL sound better PERIOD. If you're just gonna mess around and you're cheap, get the Gibson's. If you want to sound fantastic, you'll have to go elsewhere.
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:47 PM   #10
Dan Bell
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Default Re: Gibson Fireside vs Gibson Ceilidh

For whatever it's worth, I've played both and preferred the firesides. PM me if you want details; I'd rather not post them all here.

I'll readily admit to being a "dogmatic SSP fanatic," however. I consider the time I put into learning the bellows to be some of the best bagpipe-related hours I've ever spent.
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