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  • Pakistani bagpipes rebuild begins

    The teardown:

    The rebuild of my Pakistani made bagpipes is underway. I have disassembled the pipes and here they are after the bores have been oiled. I plan to get a new bag, synthetic reeds and chanter but not all at once- only as the budget allows. I'm not in a big hurry to get it done but I have at least started and wanted to keep all who are interested up to date on the progress.

    I'm doing the new bag, reeds and chanter in hopes these pipes will at least be acceptable sounding as a beginner's set. If this does not work out, then I will apply these new pieces to a good used set of pipes some day. A new set is completely out of my budget. I'll probably buy the bag first then later get the chanter and reeds. I'd like to get a bag that doesn't require tying in the drones. I'm going to dye the bag cover and braiding royal blue.

    There are no pipers or teachers near me within a two hour drive so I'm on my own on learning to play and on this rebuild, except for the welcomed help and advice from everyone on this forum.

    I'm having fun with my practice chanter and will get a couple of different reeds for it before I buy anything for the pipes. That's my main focus right now but it's also an interesting challenge to see what the pipes can do with some help.

    My Austrailian Shepherd is cocking his head when I play the practice chanter but thank goodness, hasn't started howling yet.

    Sent from my LG-M430 using Tapatalk

  • #2
    Re: Pakistani bagpipes rebuild begins

    Hi Jackie,

    I followed your previous thread and I am sorry the pipes you got were not what you hoped for. As others have pointed out, you have an uphill battle ahead of you but if you are handy and willing to buy a few quality parts, you may be able to make a use-able set of pipes out of this.

    A couple of thoughts:

    1. learning to play the bagpipes is a large challenge even with a good local instructor. If it is at all feasible, you would likely benefit greatly from even occasional Skype lessons.

    2. I couldn't imagine getting a non-functioning set of pipes (of any quality) working until I had a year or two of piping experience under my belt. It will be very tough to figure out if the mis-behaved squeals are a result of your inexperience with piping, the instrument, or a bit of both.

    3. Before you spend money on a new bag, you should check whether the old one is functional. This can be done by plugging off all but the blowpipe stock with rubber stoppers (you can get inexpensive ones at a DIY wine place), blowing up the bag and then seeing how long it will hold air. If it does leak, try listening to figure out if it is leaking from the blowpipe valve, where the stocks are tied in or from the stitching along the bottom of the bag. The first two can usually be corrected fairly easily.

    A new chanter and full set of reeds seem like the mandatory upgrades to me, any $$$ you can save on the rest would be better spent on a few Skype lessons.

    Best of luck with your project and please let us know how you are making out.

    Kevin

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    • #3
      Re: Pakistani bagpipes rebuild begins

      Hey Kevin, thanks for these great tips. The bag did not look very bad. The stocks were grungy where they were stuck to the bag and where they were inside the bag so I cleaned them up, lightly sanded and very lightly coated the ends that go into the bag with spar urethane. I will retie the bag as you suggest and check for leaks. It would not hold air before the disassembly.

      Sent from my LG-M430 using Tapatalk

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      • #4
        Re: Pakistani bagpipes rebuild begins

        A drive to visit a competent piper who could examine the pipes might save you from throwing good money after bad.

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        • #5
          Re: Pakistani bagpipes rebuild begins

          I would suggest contacting the Kentucky United Pipe Band (based in Lexington) to see if there may be a member or two (or a former member, or a known soloist) somewhere closer in your direction that may be willing to provide at least a monthly or bi-weekly meet-up for basic/beginner instruction.

          They would probably also have a contact or two willing to have a look-see at your pipes and provide some help/pointers with getting them going, and maybe even some gently used items (pipe bag, drone reeds, etc.) for purchase at a discount.

          Worst comes to worst, contact the Louisville Pipe Band. I know they can provide some pointers. (I'm a former Pipe Sergeant of the LPB and am currently on hiatus from piping).

          Good luck!
          John

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          • #6
            Re: Pakistani bagpipes rebuild begins

            I have been sending the Lexington pipe band requests through their website about learning for about three months now and haven't heard back from them. I did contact someone in the Louisville pipe band and they suggested I try contacting the Lexington pipe band website so it would be closer. A piper on a "pipers available" web page tried contacting someone in Lexington for me and had no luck. She did give a name for a pipe instructor in Knoxville but that's also a long drive for me. I'm not so good at long drives like I once was.

            Sent from my LG-M430 using Tapatalk

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            • #7
              Re: Pakistani bagpipes rebuild begins

              I wouldnt mess with tying in the old bag. A new synthetic bag is much easier and more reliable. I recently sold a set of those pipes that I had lying around. I put in a set of Ezee drone reeds that I had as well as my old Ross bag. I could get the drones to sound reasonable, but not great. The chanter was a waste of time though. No amount of effort would make it sound passable. I popped in a plastic WarMac and played them for a while before sending them out. It was okay sounding.

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              • #8
                Re: Pakistani bagpipes rebuild begins

                Originally posted by JackieL View Post
                I'm doing the new bag, reeds and chanter in hopes these pipes will at least be acceptable sounding as a beginner's set.
                That is highly unlikely.

                Nearly all of these Pakistani bagpipes are, in parlance I've often heard in ordinary musical circles, ISO's (Instrument Shaped Objects). There's a critical difference between a musical instrument and an ISO: the function of a musical instrument is to produce music, the function of an ISO is to have the outward appearance of a musical instrument.

                If you want to play music I would set this ISO aside and begin the task of playing music.

                First to get a quality Practice Chanter with a good reed (a chanter by Gibson, McCallum, Naill, Dunbar, whoever) and start learning the pipes properly, in person or through Skype.

                Then when it's time to start the pipes obtain a legitimate instrument.

                I, and pretty much all players and teachers, reject the idea that beginners should start out on poor quality instruments or non-instruments such as you have. A beginner is wasting their time and money on such things.

                I have a set of 1960s Lawrie bagpipes, which perform and sound at a high level, which I bought recently for $200. Legitimate high quality Scottish-made pipes sell all the time on Ebay for little money- you should be able to get a quality set of vintage pipes that will last a lifetime for around $500 or so, certainly for well under $1,000.

                Sorry to be negative about your project, but my 40 years of experience with the pipes tells me that spending time and money on a Pakistani set like that is time and money utterly wasted.
                proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

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                • #9
                  Re: Pakistani bagpipes rebuild begins

                  Originally posted by pancelticpiper View Post
                  Sorry to be negative about your project, but my 40 years of experience with the pipes tells me that spending time and money on a Pakistani set like that is time and money utterly wasted.

                  This is really good advice. Your time is valuable, and spending years of your life trying to make an instrument work that isn't designed to work is painful. Me or Richard (panceltic) or any other good player could probably take these drones and get them going after a fashion but we really wouldn't choose to.


                  Regardless, you don't need to make any decisions now. Stick them under the bed and get on with the practice chanter for now. And maybe try sticking $20 a week in an envelope until you decide what to do, which will get you a chunk of the way to a decent instrument.
                  http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
                  -- Formerly known as CalumII

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Pakistani bagpipes rebuild begins

                    After these last two posts, I'm seriously re-thinking the project. I am an artist and may reassemble the bags to make a framed shadow box wall hanging. I would like to do a wood burning of a bagpiper as the background.

                    Maybe it's a sign you mention putting them under the bed for a while because that's exactly where I had them! I have to admit it is more than a little disappointing to find out they were not quality pipes but I am very happy with the Grainger & Campbell chanter that came with the pipes and books.

                    $500 would not be bad at all for a set of nice older bagpipes so I will start saving and practicing. I do not have high speed internet available where I live (it's a very rural area of Kentucky) so I'm not sure Skype would work here through my phone but I will check into it. I even have to go outside on the porch to get a fair enough signal to text, email or make calls.

                    Sent from my LG-M430 using Tapatalk

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                    • #11
                      Re: Pakistani bagpipes rebuild begins

                      Originally posted by JackieL View Post
                      After these last two posts, I'm seriously re-thinking the project. .. $500 would not be bad at all for a set of nice older bagpipes so I will start saving and practicing.
                      Glad to hear it. You have plenty to work on with just practice chanter for a while. Most people, that's at least a few months, depending on the methods employed by an instructor. My first instructor insisted on a minimum of 6 months working on practice chanter alone before even looking at a set of pipes.

                      In my experience, $500 would be an absolute low end figure. Personally I'd be prepared to pay up to around $1,000. It really depends though.

                      There are some good articles out there that can help prepare you in the future ... these are from one of the moderators here, Andrew Lenz:

                      http://www.bagpipejourney.com/articl...bagpipes.shtml

                      http://www.bagpipejourney.com/articl...bagpipes.shtml


                      And these are from one of the most helpful and knowledgable gentleman with-whom I've ever encountered, Ringo Bowen:

                      http://www.thebagpipeplace.com/buyin...-bagpipe-pt-1/

                      http://www.thebagpipeplace.com/buyin...e-new-or-used/

                      http://www.thebagpipeplace.com/buyin...agpipe-part-3/

                      http://www.thebagpipemuseum.com/Buying_a_Bagpipe.html

                      http://www.thebagpipeplace.com/buyin...tic-or-import/


                      Please do also try to at least arrange to have lessons with someone online. Plenty of folks offer it ... One of whom just sent an email blast about it today, a regular contributor here, and wonderful fellow (though I've not had the pleasure of meeting him yet), Chris Apps.

                      https://appsreeds.com/collections/lessons-and-workshops

                      Cheers,
                      ~Nate

                      Cheers,
                      ~Nate

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Pakistani bagpipes rebuild begins

                        Reiterating Pancelticpiperís comments... quality pipes can be found at reasonable prices. I recently bought a set of 1970s Hardie pipes in unused condition. It appeared as if the owner started lessons but quit before getting onto the pipes.

                        I subsequently sold the set to have them be played rather than stored.

                        Keep eyes open ...but in the interim...do the chanter work as noted above.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Pakistani bagpipes rebuild begins

                          Thanks to all for the advice and links... Onward with the practice chanter.

                          Sent from my LG-M430 using Tapatalk

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                          • #14
                            Re: Pakistani bagpipes rebuild begins

                            I got a decent set of 1970s Graingers for £500.. They're out there..


                            I didn't buy them on the Bay though....
                            Who Dares Bins

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                            • #15
                              Re: Pakistani bagpipes rebuild begins

                              Have a look in the Trading Post down below...there are quite often complete sets for sale.
                              Randy

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