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  • Atherton premier

    Hello,
    I have read about how the atherton premier gets reviews about being much easier to lock in and stay in tune than other bagpipes, from some of the best players around. Curious to know what people who own them or have played on how they compare to other pipes for tuning ease of playing and steadiness over time. Specially compared to legacy. Thanks!

  • #2
    I'll let someone else speak to tone, but Dave rejects even the smallest flaws in the wood that he uses. Some of his rejects went to another very small (more hobbyist) maker and that maker couldn't find any defects. I do know that David Hilder—former long-time PM of Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band and the Triumph Street Pipe Band—has a set of Athertons. I talked to him over dinner some years back and I brought up his Athertons and I know he was very pleased with his set.

    Andrew
    Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. • BDF Moderator
    BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

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    • #3
      Just out of interest, is anyone keeping track of major prizes (Gold Medals, Clasps, Silver Star...) won by Atherton sets?
      http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
      -- Formerly known as CalumII

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      • #4
        Well.... If you'd like to know how they behave at the hands of a mere mortal piper, I can help!

        I've been playing them for just over a year. They are awesome. Compared to my other sets, the Premiere lock more readily and stay in tune longer (moisture issues addressed accordingly, of course). The sound is huge and enveloping - there are harmonics I haven't heard from other sets.

        A friend of mine has the Legacy, but I have not played (or heard) them back-to-back yet. I hope to perform the comparison in the next few months.

        FWIW, the mount design Dave uses on the Premiere adds an eye candy bonus!

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        • #5
          I had a very short session on a set of premiers that were setup very well, fantastic tone. I’ve had more time on legacy.

          If I were buying, it’d be premier.

          I don’t think there’s a noticeable stability difference. Moisture will be the biggest factor. Some pipes are less stable, I have not experienced that with Atherton.
          My Piping Blog (recordings, articles, reviews, etc.) - Homepage - Pekaar's Tune Encyclopedia - Convert BMW to ABC

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          • #6
            I borrowed my former PM’s set of Premiers for a competition several years ago. They were fantastic.

            It took me a little while to get used to the sense that the drone sound was coming from all around instead of from my shoulder. But they locked in really easily and, when tuning up the band, the piper tuning me remarked “now THAT is a set of pipes” from the sound.

            Looking back, I wish I had bought them off of him when I had the chance.
            You don't have fun by winning. You win by having fun.

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            • #7
              I believe Dave Atherton has stopped and started production here and there, are they still being offered? I haven't played an Atherton set but have heard them in person. Excellent pipes of course.

              I would agree with Patrick that there probably isn't a noticeable stability difference versus other top makers. I would also add that these days with the amount of different types of drone reeds you can get most any set of pipes to sound anyway you'd like from calm up to roaring. If we were all using one type of reed such as cane reeds this wouldn't be the case but as it stands there are so many types of drone reed tongues, tongue sizes, apertures, body lengths, body materials. I believe it just comes down to how much your chanter pitch will settle (moisture control) and if your drones like the drone reeds you have in them. I have experienced pipes that are hard to tune with some drone reeds and wander but on the whole I believe any modern pipe (that isn't necessarily a duplicate reproduction of something older) will tune just fine. My McCallums are very easy to tune.

              I don't intend for this to come off in an elitist, or mean, or condescending way either. "locking in" as well is a nice sounding misnomer, sort of hearsay that lacks any weight or true meaning. It's an appeal to emotion argument said to make one maker etc. seem much better quality than another when it's not a real quality or something that can easily be measured, if measured at all. You'd need a room of ~10 pipers with 10 pipes setup exactly the same except for the drones, then a few more pipers with the same pipes for control. The ten players could take turns playing the different pipes at the same time, in the same condition (humidity, setup, temperature) for the same amount of time. This would probably need to be done several times before you could get statistical significance. From there you might be able to say on average the Athertons stayed in tune "x-minutes" longer, or didn't, or there is no significance to say either way.
              Happy Piping

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              • #8
                I'm too lazy to find the link just now, but I recall in a Youtube video of a recital by John Angus Smith recorded maybe 5 or so years ago, he commented at one point that he had played a set of Athertons, which he personally enjoyed, but he kept getting negative comments from judges about his drone sound, so he switched to an old set of Hendersons.

                I'm wondering if other high-level competitors in Scotland have heard of similar stories. I know Jori Chisholm plays a set of Athertons and has competed successfully on the games circuit in Scotland, but he's the only person I'm aware of.
                www.portlandpipes.com
                soundcloud.com/channing-dodson

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                • #9
                  It's the brilliant workmanship as well as the sound. I have a set of custom half silver Kron Heritage pipes made when Atherton was the turner for Kron pipes. The sound is super, in the old Henderson style, and the set is faultless. I reluctantly no longer play them as, nearing heritage age myself, I find them too heavy, but can't bring myself to sell them.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by paul_111 View Post
                    Well.... If you'd like to know how they behave at the hands of a mere mortal piper, I can help!
                    That is really the only kind of review that interests me, actually. Who cares what something can do in the hands of those on Mt. Olympus? It's like the top 1% (less?) drives this thing, with only their opinions valued or validating. I want to hear what Buster from Chicago's results are. That is what is so nice about this forum, IMHO.
                    "...peak performance begins with the preparation and practice phase, not in the execution phase, of a particular activity." Dr. Walter Doyle Staples

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by macdaddy65 View Post

                      That is really the only kind of review that interests me, actually. Who cares what something can do in the hands of those on Mt. Olympus? It's like the top 1% (less?) drives this thing, with only their opinions valued or validating. I want to hear what Buster from Chicago's results are. That is what is so nice about this forum, IMHO.
                      Your indignation aside, I care what accomplished pipers think, and their experiences and advice. It’s helped me in many ways over the years.

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                      • #12
                        Jori is also trying to make a buck. He sells pipes and pushes Legacy heavily, though maybe he was just trying to dump some extra sets he bought. He always seems to be selling some “great” thing he bought extra of.
                        My Piping Blog (recordings, articles, reviews, etc.) - Homepage - Pekaar's Tune Encyclopedia - Convert BMW to ABC

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Patrick McLaurin View Post
                          Jori is also trying to make a buck.
                          Not to get too off topic but I have to agree with this. I appreciate his ingenuity in wanting to make piping products, but Mr. Chisholm's "Piper's Ultimate Reed Poker" is an excellent example of taking something like a ubiquitous, inexpensive reed poker most of us own and giving it a fancy title in the name of sales. It takes advantage of people's ignorance which frustrates me.

                          Bagpipelessons.com $30US + $6 shipping-

                          s-l1600-51-1-e1619822558792.jpg

                          Etsy $5.88 US + $2.85 shipping-

                          il_794xN.1462967433_7bov-e1619822418882.jpg

                          Other products also like the "Piper's Advantage Bagpipe Mount" which sells for $40US + shipping. This is a phone mount for bicycle handlebars that can be purchased for around $12-$16 dollars shipped.
                          Attached Files
                          Happy Piping

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                          • #14
                            That’s par for the course for almost everything marketed as “for pipers”

                            If you were to buy a set of 3 corks for drone tops and a set of 5 corks for stocks from a piping shop, that’ll run you $8-10 USD. The EXACT same corks can be bought at a hardware store for about $2 USD. They just don’t come in a little cellophane baggy at a Highland games or through the mail.
                            You don't have fun by winning. You win by having fun.

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                            • #15
                              Can someone point me to a phone mount for bikes that works like Joris bagpipe mount? I have looked and never found one that is the same style that I thought would work to mount on a blowpipe and frankly want one but don’t want to pay their dollars for it. Thanks!

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