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Drone Warm-up and Tuning

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  • Drone Warm-up and Tuning

    I'd like some opinions/approaches on this topic: When I get ready to play pipes, I plug my chanter stock and warm up my drones, tuning them together. I've taught students to do the same thing. I find it settles them in before popping in the chanter; and I think it makes it easier to tune drones to the chanter, especially when one becomes skilled enough to tune with all three going. I've asked a few open players, and opinions vary. Some agree; some don't; some say "Whatever floats your boat." I agree that what works for me may not work for others. But I'm curious what others on our forum believe and do. Thanks.

  • #2
    I do exactly the same. I also blow air (without making it sound) through my chanter and reed as well for a few minutes.


    • #3
      Yup. If nothing else, getting all three drones in tune with one another makes it easier to get them in tune with the chanter when I add it in, and helps to make sure the drones are going well (no leaks, reed issues, etc.) before bringing in the stiffer chanter reed.
      You don't have fun by winning. You win by having fun.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Graypiper View Post
        I do exactly the same. I also blow air (without making it sound) through my chanter and reed as well for a few minutes.
        That brings up a good point. When we in the band (or solo) are standing between tunes (e.g., someone is giving a speech, etc.) we continue to blow air in to keep things stable. That becomes really important when we're outside in hot, dry weather. Good point. Thanks.


        • #5
          I just go with everything all at once, at the approximate tuning positions I expect with a dry setup, and do an initial tuning, followed by some tweaking as the pipes warm up. If I'm on a gig, I usually don't have an opportunity to tune once I'm at the venue, so I'll start off with a couple tunes that hang on D a lot so I can reach up and adjust as I play.


          • #6
            Greetings to All

            Hmm... never much thought about it--which some--may find most
            appropriate--to my (general)--situation. :-)

            But that being said--I simply Carry On--with the method of my first
            Old Band.

            That being--give the chanter--and chanter reed a good go--and
            getting them "settled in"--and confluent with others--if playing with
            any others--and then the Strike In--and adjust the drones--as may
            be needed.

            Seems to work--at least--so far. :-)

            And wishing Good Fortune--with all of yours!! :-)
            (Pesky reeds!! :-)


            My friends all know,
            With what a brave carouse...


            • #7
              Whatever floats your boat is the most appropriate answer really.


              • #8
                Different strokes for different folks.

                Strike up, very rough tune, batter out 5 mins of 4/4s, re-tune roughly, batter out another 5 mins 6/8s, re-tune but this time more precisely, 5 mins of whatever yer fancy is, fine re-tune, competition tunes or whatever the flavour of the day is.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by iunderwood View Post
                  I just go with everything all at once, at the approximate tuning positions
                  Yep! It's a days work to get started so may as well jump in with both feet!


                  • #10
                    For me it seems that the chanter changes pitch with temperature changes far more than the drones, so it's the chanter I warm up when it's cold, by holding it in my hands or sliding it inside my jacket. Ditto holding the chanter reed between thumb and finger for a moment (not squeezing) to warm it up.

                    I'm talking literally warming up, as opposed to getting moist. In dry weather I give a quick light lick to the tips of the reed which brings down the pitch of High G and D. (For whatever reason on my setup those two notes go sharp when the chanter reed is dry.)
                    proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte


                    • #11
                      I don't know that warming up the drones really does anything with synthetics, although with cane reeds you could probably make a pretty convincing argument that that first shot of moisture and warm air helps quite a bit. One thing that this approach does do, however, is it's a good check that your reeds are seated and working well enough to continue. There's nothing worse than striking in and expecting sounds, and then...
                      We've all had that experience once, and it's not one worth repeating.
                      Serving Jello with a ladle since... forever