Pedagogy - the art or profession of teaching

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Tone enhancers: devil's spawn or saving grace?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #31
    Re: Tone enhancers: devil's spawn or saving grace?

    Your experiences may vary.

    When I first began piping I had a synthetic bag which was much like a boneless chicken under my arm. Without the "Tone Enhancers" I expended air unevenly and had a difficult time with the bag and drones.

    Two things my instructor did to aid me, aside to having me use a goose before moving onto the drones, were to place an old leather bag over the synthetic so that it would have a more solid feel and incorporate the tone enhancers to even the air flow.

    The Tone enhancers were not the small valves that can be adjusted by screw length but ceramic beads trapped between felt discs. One unique experience I had was when playing, I had a poorly seated drone reed drop out. While I needed to replenish my air in the bag at a slightly faster rate, I was able to finish a solo, then excuse myself to reset the reed. In that regards it was a saving grace.

    As for impacting the quality and depth of sound from my drones, I still use the enhancers, and my drones are significantly louder than 3 some other pipers I play with. With that said, I don't believe I have a down side to using the Tone Enhancers I employ.

    Are they a crutch? I don't think so. I feel they are more of an adjunct to piping much like the moisture management systems available, that many pipers use.

    And again, your experiences may vary.
    Breaching the peace? What bagpipes officer?

    Comment


    • #32
      I dug up this old topic because I was refreshing my research about "tone enhancers" (are these the same thing as "drone valves" or not?) and I recalled reading threads like this one some years ago, when I first heard about such things. I needed to gain some input and perspectives because I am hearing that the PM of a Grade IV band I am looking to work my way into (new resident; need to learn all the new settings and comp sets and parade sets first) is unhappy with unsteady drones and wobbly strike-ins/cut-offs at competitions and is going to insist all the pipers buy and use Shepherd tone enhancers. I am not happy with having my instrument modified in this way. I take a lot of trouble and expense to get a good tone and balance in my pipes, and I've competed and performed as a soloist. A band chanter is one thing, but having my pipes potentially compromised with things I've never used and never felt I needed is a red line for me, I'm thinking.

      If this is catering to a lower common denominator, then I'm sorry, maybe this is not a band I'd be happy in. I would think more individual attention to instruments and more practice in these trouble areas would be preferable to monkeying around with instruments that are not a problem (If it ain't broke...) or compromising individual preferences. I am not going to surrender control over my pipes to anyone in this way. There's enough compromises and subsidies to being in a not-for-profit band as it is.

      Comment


      • #33
        I can see where you're coming from, but at the end of the day a band leader gets to have a say in instrument setup, whether their ideas are right or wrong. I agree with you that it's not the approach I would take, but uniformity will always achieve better results than two dozen pipers doing whatever they feel best.

        If you can, setting up a separate instrument as a pipe band bagpipe would probably be the best way to go, so you can leave your solo pipe as you want it and the band pipe can be set up however the band leadership wants it.
        http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
        -- Formerly known as CalumII

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by Calum View Post
          I can see where you're coming from, but at the end of the day a band leader gets to have a say in instrument setup, whether their ideas are right or wrong. I agree with you that it's not the approach I would take, but uniformity will always achieve better results than two dozen pipers doing whatever they feel best.

          If you can, setting up a separate instrument as a pipe band bagpipe would probably be the best way to go, so you can leave your solo pipe as you want it and the band pipe can be set up however the band leadership wants it.

          Hi, thanks for weighing in. I'm interested in gathering as much feedback as I can. pro or con.

          I have since discovered a NEW complication -- you need access to the interior of the bag to install these things. I do not have a zippered bag on my pipes and this just introduces a NEW complication.

          In the past, the band officers have complimented my pipes' tone and sound and tuning. I don't think I'm the one having issues with strike-ins or cut-offs. I know I'm not going to replace my bag as well as invest in "tone enhancers". Getting a second set of pipes purely for band use isn't really an option either. Frankly, the band experience maybe doesn't mean that much to me at this stage of my life. I may be happier with solo competitions and performances and instructing rather than endure a lot of time-consuming parades or band comps in a stressful environment with a lot of arbitrary edicts.

          Comment


          • #35
            Tone enhancers and drone valves aren’t the same thing. Valves will close completely when there isn’t enough air pressure to open them, while tone enhancers just restrict airflow overall.

            As far as the PM requiring all pipers to get tone enhancers (which I think is a misnomer for most pipers out there), that’s something he can do as PM.

            I’d suggest bringing your concerns to the PM directly, one on one, and if it still is something that neither of you are willing to budge on, then it sounds like it would be time to find a new band or just going the solo route for a while.
            You don't have fun by winning. You win by having fun.

            Comment


            • #36
              [QUOTE=piper909;n1376125]I

              If this is catering to a lower common denominator, then I'm sorry, maybe this is not a band I'd be happy in.

              Quote]

              What Grade is the band you’re dealing with?

              Comment


              • #37
                Grade IV. I'm only a Grade IV piper myself but I know how to set up my instrument and make correct strike-ins and cut-offs. (I think I might advance to Grade III as a solo player now that I live in an area with more sanctioned events.)

                And thank you, Jim, for your comment above. I would be sad to sit out because there's not another band in this immediate area that I'm aware of. But I'm not switching bags AND adding more widgets to my pipes just to play in a band, and a band bagpipe is financially out of reach for me (plus the lack of time to keep multiple pipes in good form).
                piper909
                Forum Silver Medal
                Last edited by piper909; 01-15-2022, 10:37 PM.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by piper909 View Post
                  Grade IV. I'm only a Grade IV piper myself but I know how to set up my instrument and make correct strike-ins and cut-offs. (I think I might advance to Grade III as a solo player now that I live in an area with more sanctioned events.)

                  And thank you, Jim, for your comment above. I would be sad to sit out because there's not another band in this immediate area that I'm aware of. But I'm not switching bags AND adding more widgets to my pipes just to play in a band, and a band bagpipe is financially out of reach for me (plus the lack of time to keep multiple pipes in good form).
                  There is prerogative and there is foolishness; or, put more kindly, generalization (I'm referring to P/Ms). That's not to be confused with some level of standardization. I've witnessed P/Ms apply what they believe is a standardized approach, minimizing or trivializing (or even ignoring) the importance of assessing individual set-ups, skill, and so forth of each member. And also functioning from some misguided notion of what is key to the band's sound, execution, and so forth. I'm cognizant of your dilemma, and appreciate your position. I don't know your band, your P/M, or enough details to be any more critical. But, as I stated above, I have witnessed P/Ms in some bands that have insisted on some questionable approaches. I hope that you're able to continue with your approach, for it sounds like you know what you're doing, and still continue as a positive contributing member of the band.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    As others have said, tone enhancers are not the same as drone valves. My impression is that Shepherd tone enhancers are a saving grace if you're using Shepherd synthetic reeds. They're largely a solution to a problem that Shepherd created. Not necessarily devil's spawn when used with other synthetic reeds, but not really necessary. However, if you've been complimented on the tone of your drones my guess is you are not playing Shepherd synthetic reeds.
                    If the PM is insisting everyone uses valves as a kind of belt and braces thing for cut-offs, I can kind of understand that. But if the PM is insisting on Shepherd tone enhancers irrespective of what type of reed each player is using, I'd question that.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by gisahag View Post
                      As others have said, tone enhancers are not the same as drone valves. My impression is that Shepherd tone enhancers are a saving grace if you're using Shepherd synthetic reeds. They're largely a solution to a problem that Shepherd created. Not necessarily devil's spawn when used with other synthetic reeds, but not really necessary. However, if you've been complimented on the tone of your drones my guess is you are not playing Shepherd synthetic reeds.
                      If the PM is insisting everyone uses valves as a kind of belt and braces thing for cut-offs, I can kind of understand that. But if the PM is insisting on Shepherd tone enhancers irrespective of what type of reed each player is using, I'd question that.
                      Interesting. I don't have that kind of knowledge on the relationship of the enhancers and Shepherd reeds. However, as a P/M, I insisted on accurate attacks and cuts, as well as tone. I could care less how it was achieved, as long as satisfactory. I wasn't about to mess with someone's well-setup and well-played pipes. Why compromise and complicate someone's pipes when all is working?

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        I will add, for a while I did find a good use for a tone enhancer: the nose cone of an old Kinnaird bass drone reed would occasionally fall off, so, in just the bass stock, I used a tone enhancer with all the guts taken out to make it as open as possible, but it would catch the nose cone when it fell off.
                        You don't have fun by winning. You win by having fun.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          If everything in piping was as easy as accurate strike-ins and cut-offs, we’d all be open grade players.

                          Comment

                          Working...
                          X