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Kilberry 3/4 (chamber) pipes

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  • Kilberry 3/4 (chamber) pipes

    I've been looking into getting a set of 3/4 pipes (or reel pipes or whatever you choose to call it) in the key of 'A' for playing with a folk band I'm starting up with a couple of people, and Kilberry seems to make pretty much what I'm after in my price range. (I've been in contact and they said they have an option for the key of 'A')


    I found this thread :
    It gives an impression of the maker nearly as bad as a certain Pakistani manufacturer.
    That thread is over 10 years old though, and doesn't mention the chamber pipes specifically.

    Can anyone confirm or deny if Kilberry is still better off to be avoided, particularly in relation to their "chamber" pipes?

    And if I should stay away, can anyone recommend a maker of 3/4 (or similar/equivalent) pipes in the key of 'A' for around the same price?

  • #2
    Re: Kilberry 3/4 (chamber) pipes

    You're using terms which traditionally refer to two quite different sorts of instruments.

    Throughout the 19th century and well into the 20th century all of the leading Highland pipe makers made pipes in three different sizes, which they called

    "Great Highland or Military Bagpipe"

    "Half-size or Reel pipe"

    "Miniature Highland pipe" (in the MacDougall pricelist called "Miniature or Chamber bagpipe")

    The "half-size or reel pipe" is what we call "3/4 pipes" today. It's an ordinary Highland bagpipe scaled down to around 7/8 size. It's loud. Modern makers are making them mouth or bellows blown and calling them various things.

    The "miniature or chamber pipe" is what we usually call "smallpipes" today, though many makers (for some unknown reason) have coined their own names for them like "fireside pipes" and on and on. Smallpipes are quiet, with a chanter sort of like a Practice Chanter.

    L-R Great Highland or Military Bagpipe, Half-size or Reel Pipe, and Miniature Highland or Chamber Pipe

    I play in a trio with guitar and fiddle and I've found that at least for us the halfsize/reel/border pipes are too loud, and the smallpipes are just right.

    Personally if I was to buy Scottish Smallpipes I would get them from a maker specializing in smallpipes rather than a Highland pipe maker who makes smallpipes as a side thing.

    If you're on a really tight budget you can't get a better value than the John Walsh smallpipes in A, which you can get mouthblown or bellows-blown. They're plastic with plastic reeds. They look sort of ugly but they play great.
    Last edited by pancelticpiper; 07-25-2018, 07:01 PM.
    proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte


    • #3
      Re: Kilberry 3/4 (chamber) pipes

      Yeah, I've noticed the terms are confusing and sometimes interchangeable.
      And yes, I do need something a little quieter. I'm sure I've seen some makers advertising their 3/4s as quiet and suitable for indoor use, but I guess they're misusing the term (be it out of ignorance or "marketing")

      Perhaps it's a bit of ignorance on my part, but I always understood smallpipes to have three drones in a single stock, and not looking just like scaled down GHBPs. (Maybe that's why certain makers use terms like "firesides" and "chamber pipes" instead of "smallpipes"??) They're something I would like to invest in further down the track, but for the time being I'm really interested in the "scaled down, quiet highland pipes" variety.


      • #4
        Re: Kilberry 3/4 (chamber) pipes

        Sounds like you want a border pipe in a highland style.

        Garvie makes one.

        Piper’s choice makes an A 440 Hz border pipe chanter for fairly cheap. I’m not sure if they have a highland style set of 440 drones. You’d need heavy moisture control (as Garvie and McCallum/Morrison implement for all their mouthblown border pipes) to keep moisture from destroying the chanter reed. Get the harder reed option and it’ll be like an easy highland pipe reed. I guess you could ask if they could make smaller ID stocks to accommodate border drones in highland style stocks?

        MacLellan makes 3/4 sets and offers an A 440 option.

        I found it on Kilberry’s website, so deleted part of my post regarding not finding it.

        Their chamber pipes say they’ll give you a practice chanter type sound. So this isn’t what you want, apparently.
        Last edited by Patrick McLaurin; 07-26-2018, 05:45 AM.
        My Piping Blog (recordings, articles, reviews, etc.) - Homepage - Pekaar's Tune Encyclopedia - Convert BMW to ABC


        • #5
          Re: Kilberry 3/4 (chamber) pipes

          I'm happy for them to sound like smallpipes or a practice chanter rather than highland pipes. As far as the sound what is most important is that it's relatively quiet and in the key of A. I just think for our audience who perhaps haven't seen smallpipes before, something that looks more like the highland pipes will help give us that 'authentic scottish' feel.
          I think the Pipers Choice concert pipes are actually pretty close to what I'm after. Thanks Patrick! That website is very useful


          • #6
            Re: Kilberry 3/4 (chamber) pipes

            Where would one find a bag for miniature pipes? I have a set but they are not tied into anything.
            Who Dares Bins


            • #7
              Re: Kilberry 3/4 (chamber) pipes

              McCallum makes folk pipes which would match up closely to what the OP was looking for. Quite apart from their more traditional looking smallpipes. I'd love a set.....
              They may also be willing to source you a pipe bag for your wee set...
              I've always found them to be very helpful.