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Parlor Pipes Help

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  • Parlor Pipes Help

    I picked up a set of parlor pipes (about the same size as Gibson Fireside Pipes) about 15 years ago at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games for $25. My thought at the time was to use them as wall hangers because there's NO WAY I'm hanging any of my other sets on a wall. I just thought they'd look cool up there, and I am probably still going to do that.

    I had forgotten about them until this morning when I found them shoved in a corner behind some boxes and my curiosity has gotten the best of me. I did some measurements and some side by side comparisons and the holes on the chanter line up perfectly with my Gibson long practice chanter and my shorter Dunbar "regular" practice chanter. I put a Walsh PC reed and a Gibson PC reed in it and they both fit (just barely), and the chanter played in "A" rather than "Bb" like the PCs do, so I'm thinking this chanter is supposed to be played in A. The scale is surprisingly in tune. I don't have any smallpipe/fireside pipe reeds to test in it.

    The assumption was, and always has been that these are inexpensive middle eastern pipes that won't play very well and wouldn't be worth spending money on, but since I already have them, I'm curious. I already have a good set of GHB and a good set of Smallpipes, so this is just a project of curiosity, not one of trying to save money or even play these at a gig. There are no maker's marks and there were no reeds included. All of the hemp is yellow unwaxed and APPEARS to have never been played.

    So my questions for you are these:
    1) Can anyone identify these pipes?

    2) Does anyone have an old set of reeds that would fit these (Fireside Reeds?) that you were just going to get rid of anyway that you would give me or sell very cheaply? I'd like to try a set of reeds first without a major investment before buying new ones.

    3) If I determine that they COULD be made to play and want to pursue putting them together, does anyone have a recommendation for where I could get the bag, reeds, cords, etc necessary for them. I've been using Bannatyne bags that are obviously plug and play so I don't have the skills or knowledge to cut and tie in an uncut bag.

    Thanks in advance for any input you can give me. I won't need any lectures about buying crappy pipes because I know better than to do that (I've been piping for 22 years, so I get it). Like I said, I paid $25 for these to be used as a wall decoration (and that will still probably be their fate).

    I can't get the pictures to post for the life of me (why is this site so clunky?), so here are the links to the pictures:

    Full Set of Sticks: https://imgur.com/lEFFm28

    Tenor Drone Tops: https://imgur.com/Tr21jKp

    Bass Drone Top: https://imgur.com/DJYTuK6

    Chanter Side By Side with a Gibson Long PC and a Dunbar Short (regular) PC: https://imgur.com/T8TWg02

    Bass Drone Measurement: https://imgur.com/OxVjsIq

    Tenor Drone Measurement: https://imgur.com/tCEMYGR

    Chanter Measurement: https://imgur.com/rQAt0gU

    Close Up of a Bottom Drone Section: https://imgur.com/oQHgzkk
    Last edited by BESharp; 03-12-2019, 09:11 AM. Reason: Added Pictures Links
    "Be responsible for what you are responsible for!"

  • #2
    Re: Parlor Pipes Help

    Out of curiousity, have you tried a practice chanter reed in any of the drones? I previously had a set of poly kitchen pipes that used reeds similar to the PC in the drone housing. Can you determine if the wood is cocobolo or stained maple or other similar hardwood? That might also help to provide a clue. If they were, Pakipipes I would presume the bag was a simple stitched and glued hyde bag the sticks were tied into. that may help provide a clue as well.
    Breaching the peace? What bagpipes officer?

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    • #3
      Re: Parlor Pipes Help

      There was no bag when I bought them, only the sticks you see in my pictures.

      I have NO IDEA how to tell what kind of wood it is.

      A PC reed will fit into each of the tenors and when tuned up on the hemp naturally where the GHB tenors want to tune, they play an Ab. When tuned all the way sharp they play a concert A.

      The seat on the bass drone is about double the diameter to fit a PC reed.
      "Be responsible for what you are responsible for!"

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      • #4
        Re: Parlor Pipes Help

        They are Pakistani parlour pipes. The wood is sheesham, sometimes called cocus or rosewood, but it's not a high quality bagpipe timber. You can either treat them as an experiment or go the wall hanger route. I rigged up a set for a buddy (he payed $200, so you're already off to a better start) The blowpipe stock wasn't even tied into the bag in correctly. The chanter was worse than the average practice chanter and will need some treatment with a Dremel and tape. A Walsh pc reed seemed to work the best. The drones are "usable", but you might want to look into making your own drone reeds following something similar to this method:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PIxufdrnUE&t=27s
        Before you start fixing problems with your reeds, check to see if the bag or stocks are leaking.
        http://www.youtube.com/user/Marcblur?feature=guide

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