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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 11-26-2013, 02:09 PM   #1
12cmgc
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Default Smallpipes recommendation

Been toying with the idea of acquiring a set and playing with a borrowed set of Walsh parlour pipes as a start. Looking at blown McCallum, Gibson, and Walsh smallpipes and if there are any recommendations of these three.

Plus is there one of the above that has greater sound volume or presence than the others?

Thanks for any information!
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Old 11-26-2013, 02:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: Smallpipes recommendation

Quote:
Originally Posted by 12cmgc View Post
Been toying with the idea of acquiring a set and playing with a borrowed set of Walsh parlour pipes as a start. Looking at blown McCallum, Gibson, and Walsh smallpipes and if there are any recommendations of these three.

Plus is there one of the above that has greater sound volume or presence than the others?

Thanks for any information!

I myself have walsh small pipes and shuttles

would highly recommend the shuttle if you are looking for an instrument that is generally maintence free and easily adjustable ..
walsh small pipes are nice too ,, a little more maintenance in terms of drone reeds and tongues needing to be eventually replaced ..
small pipes will project sound a bit more and are generally a bit louder in
comparison the shuttles .. 3 and 2 drone are also different
3 drone will add a bit more complexity to the ambient sound of the instrument
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Old 11-26-2013, 03:39 PM   #3
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Smallpipes recommendation

I'm not a fan of the Walsh products. I have owned a D Walsh smallpipe and have serviced a friend's shuttle pipe for a while. My first criticism is that the chanters are heavily countersunk which makes fine tuning with tape nearly impossible. Let's be honest, expecting to put a reed in a chanter and expect perfect tuning even if the reed is plastic and made to high standards, is unrealistic, and is inconsistent with my experience. Secondly, the shuttle pipe chanter reed is a proprietary design, if you don't like the way it sounds or tunes, tough. Lastly, I found the smallpipe chanter reed to only last a few months before needing to be replaced, odd for plastic reeds. My last complaint is that Walsh small/shuttle pipes come with blowpipes so long they would contend for longest piece on a set of highland pipes.

I would pick something with a more open source design. This includes McCallum and Gibson, and also MacLellan, limiting to makers who cater to those seeking mouthblown sets, although McCallum's standard is with a cane reed and are therefore preferably bellows blown. YouTube videos galore show how well the Boyd reed is adapted to these (McCallum actually offers Boyd as a plastic reed option instead of cane for mouthblown sets). The Boyd is similar in design to the Gibson reed and I believe MacLellan comes standard with Gibson plastic chanter reeds. What that means is you have several options for chanter reeds, including cane if you choose to go bellows down the road. These reeds, in my experience, also don't have limited life spans.

Boyd reed in a MacLellan Bb chanter:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1d-x...ature=youtu.be

You can also check out recordings/videos of Boyd reeds in other pipes on his facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/BoydReeds

I've played Gibson fireside pipes but never had the opportunity to spend time setting them up myself so I can't comment too much on them, or their smallpipes at all. Same with McCallum. I've just spent a little time thinking about this as of late!

For reference of my abilities with mouthblown smallpipes, please reference these videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCsoLQriNKM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-K4Re_psR0

Last edited by Patrick McLaurin; 11-26-2013 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 11-26-2013, 06:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: Smallpipes recommendation

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Originally Posted by 12cmgc View Post
Plus is there one of the above that has greater sound volume or presence than the others?
I have a set of Gibson Firesides in A and a set of Walsh A 2000's. In my opinion, the Firesides have more volume, although that might be a function of the drones being up by the ear, instead of across the chest like the Walsh's
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Old 11-27-2013, 06:19 AM   #5
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Default Re: Smallpipes recommendation

I have a set of mouth blown smallpipes made by Duncan Soutar of St Andrews. I have played Gibson Shuttle and Fireside and heard Walsh smallpipes. I prefer the tone of mine to those. Mine have a more refined tone. The Walsh were significantly louder though. The Shuttle are quieter.
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Old 11-28-2013, 05:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Smallpipes recommendation

Thanks for the feedback and advice!
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:38 AM   #7
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Default Re: Smallpipes recommendation

I have been playing Walsh smallpipes for many years and love the sound, have had no troubles, and I'm still on the original reed...all of them actually. I bought them after I sold my firesides.
Yep, blowpipe was long...so I trimmed it....being plastic it took 3 minutes with a pipe cutter.
There's at least 6 other sets floating around my band too, and once the reed is set properly in the chanter, the things just seem to roll on forever... No matter the climate, not matter the country, I wish I could say that about my other bellows blown small pipes with cane reeds.....
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Old 11-29-2013, 10:08 AM   #8
John Dally
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Default Re: Smallpipes recommendation

I've seen, heard or played most of the mouth blown SSP out there, and IHMO Roddy MacLellan's studio pipes are the best sounding and easiest to play.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8chB67M0U_Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huGQPvHo7Oo
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Old 11-29-2013, 01:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: Smallpipes recommendation

I've got a four drone/four chanter (A,D,C,G) combo set from Lochalsh Pipes (cherry and rams horn)...the drones (with a bit of moving parts around) will tune roots and fifths to all the chanters and a bunch more as well. Mine are bellows blown but I know that Ross makes mouth blown sets as well...worth taking a look.
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