Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Atherton drones: Premiere vs Legacy

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

  • Atherton drones: Premiere vs Legacy

    From those who have played them or otherwise know them: what are the tonal qualities of the Atherton Premiere and Legacy models? What are their shared general characteristics as well as distinctions between the two?

    In the last few months I've heard two sets of Atherton pipes played by open pipers. Both stood out subtlely but unmistakably from other pipes in the group; both were quite wonderful pipes to hear. I don't know the models that were played, though I don't believe either were the MacDougall (sic) model.

    Many thanks.
    Eddie
    "All politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision." Lord Shaftesbury

  • #2
    (Our member sjcavy posted this in 2021. These are not my words or throughts, but his.)

    "The basic rundown that I could find was:

    MD: A variation of a MacDougall bagpipe. I THINK he started with the MD specs, and then tweaked them for the aspects that he wanted. Ironed out the kinks so to speak.

    Premier: Still tried to keep the BLEND of the MacDougall drones, but with a more punchy bass drone. My personal notes: lovely set. Light on the shoulder, and you can really feel the drones hum. A dream to play. Easy to find the sweet tuning spot in relation to the chanter. Each set of drone reeds I have tried brings something new out of the drones. Fun to experiment. Dark but sweet tone (very subjective, I know). Really fun to play.

    Legacy: A more robust drone sound, a product of his own measurements/development. HUGE sound. Very punchy bass with very resonant tenors. My personal notes: big tone, almost too big to play in the house. Tone of the drones is great, and different than the Premiers. Great harmonics in relation to all three chanters that I have. IMO each chanter brings something different out of the drones, and it is really fun to play.

    Above are my thoughts from all I could scrounge on the interwebs before I made the plunge into buying two sets.​"
    Last edited by pancelticpiper; Today, 02:13 AM.
    proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by pancelticpiper View Post
      (Our member sjcavy posted this in 2021.)

      The basic rundown that I could find was:

      MD: A variation of a MacDougall bagpipe. I THINK he started with the MD specs, and then tweaked them for the aspects that he wanted. Ironed out the kinks so to speak.

      Premier: Still tried to keep the BLEND of the MacDougall drones, but with a more punchy bass drone. My personal notes: lovely set. Light on the shoulder, and you can really feel the drones hum. A dream to play. Easy to find the sweet tuning spot in relation to the chanter. Each set of drone reeds I have tried brings something new out of the drones. Fun to experiment. Dark but sweet tone (very subjective, I know). Really fun to play.

      Legacy: A more robust drone sound, a product of his own measurements/development. HUGE sound. Very punchy bass with very resonant tenors. My personal notes: big tone, almost too big to play in the house. Tone of the drones is great, and different than the Premiers. Great harmonics in relation to all three chanters that I have. IMO each chanter brings something different out of the drones, and it is really fun to play.

      Above are my thoughts from all I could scrounge on the interwebs before I made the plunge into buying two sets.​
      Thank you, pancelticpiper! I performed a search on "Atherton drones" but clearly missed that post.

      Dave Atherton is still making pipes, I assume. I've perused his Web site over the last few months, noting no change. Am I correct in assuming they are considered to be exceptional solo instruments?

      Cheers
      Eddie
      "All politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision." Lord Shaftesbury

      Comment


      • #4
        I wrote him last year about having a set made for a friend and got no response. I have heard others not get a response either so I don’t know if he is still making pipes. They do come in the used market, I might put my premier set up for sale at some point. They are considered the best among a lot of open players in the B.C. Area. I got these for their purported ease of tuning and steadiness on recommendation from Alan Bevan myself, and haven’t been disappointed.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ralph View Post
          I wrote him last year about having a set made for a friend and got no response. I have heard others not get a response either so I don’t know if he is still making pipes. They do come in the used market, I might put my premier set up for sale at some point. They are considered the best among a lot of open players in the B.C. Area. I got these for their purported ease of tuning and steadiness on recommendation from Alan Bevan myself, and haven’t been disappointed.
          Thank you, Ralph. I've had the same experience: I sent an email a few months ago, but have not gotten a reply; I will try again. I don't really need another set of pipes, and could scarcely do them justice, but the Athertons I heard played at the Stone Mountain open competition were as beautiful as any I have heard. It would be a joy to play a set like that.

          If you choose to sell your set, I would be very interested.

          Cheers
          Eddie
          "All politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision." Lord Shaftesbury

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ralph View Post
            I wrote him last year about having a set made for a friend and got no response. I have heard others not get a response either so I don't know if he is still making pipes.
            Ever since I got into piping in the 1970s, makers of uilleann pipes and Irish wooden flutes, and some Highland pipe makers too, have followed this business model:

            1) the customer contacts the maker and they work out the details of what the customer wants to have made.

            2) the maker puts the order in his 'book' and gives the customer an approximate completion date, which can be as much as ten years in the future.

            3) the customer puts down a 50% deposit.

            4) the completion date passes and the customer calls the maker to find out why the instrument isn't finished.

            5) the maker explains the reasons why the instrument is behind schedule, and postulates a new completion date.

            Repeat steps 4 and 5 for months, or years.

            6) Either the maker says the instrument is done, customer sends balance, and everyone is happy,
            .....OR the maker passes away and nobody gets their down payments back,
            .....OR the maker decides to stop making instruments and disappears with everybody's down payments,
            .....OR (the most unlikely scenario) the maker decides to stop making instruments and refunds everybody's down payments.

            Even before Covid, a number of instrument makers I know decided to escape this endless cycle of downpayments, missed deadlines, and angry customers, and also the lack of creativity and the spontaneity that creative people cherish, and adopt an entirely different business model:

            1) the maker refuses to take orders of any sort.

            2) the maker makes whatever he feels like making whenever he feels like making it, with no customer input whatsoever.

            3) whenever an instrument is completed the maker puts it up for sale.

            Thus the customer can purchase an instrument from a highly desirable maker with no wait time.

            From what I can glean, Dave Atherton has adopted this far more sane business model. For a while he was putting up instruments on Ebay regularly for far less money than people charge for his instruments on the used market.
            Last edited by pancelticpiper; 05-24-2023, 03:56 AM.
            proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Eddie Selden View Post

              Am I correct in assuming they are considered to be exceptional solo instruments?
              Yes, and from what SFU thought in 2009, Athertons are exceptional band instruments too! I think that's the year they showed up at the Worlds with around a third of the pipers playing brand-new Athertons.

              You can plainly see Athertons at 1:33 (the Pipe Major) 3:05 and 5:37 for starters. Even in a closeup of the piper's face you can see the distinctive brass ring just just below the mouthpiece on the blowpipe.

              It's interesting that they bunched the Athertons together in the circle rather than dispersing them amongst other makes of drones. Evidently it wasn't considered an issue.

              (56) Simon Fraser University Pipe Band - Medley - World Pipe Band Championship 2009 - YouTube
              Last edited by pancelticpiper; 05-24-2023, 04:19 AM.
              proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

              Comment


              • #8
                In 2021 he was making bespoke instruments because that is how I had mine made. I wrote him and he wrote back and I ordered and paid, I haven’t seen him post anything for sale on eBay for years at this point,

                Comment


                • #9
                  Take a drive and visit him :-)
                  www.selpiper.dk

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Søren E. Larsen View Post
                    Take a drive and visit him :-)
                    That's a very good idea, Soren. I think I would enjoy that, if he welcomes visitors. However, I don't know where he keeps his workshop, and I wouldn't want to intrude without his approval.
                    Eddie
                    "All politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision." Lord Shaftesbury

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pancelticpiper View Post

                      Yes, and from what SFU thought in 2009, Athertons are exceptional band instruments too! I think that's the year they showed up at the Worlds with around a third of the pipers playing brand-new Athertons.

                      You can plainly see Athertons at 1:33 (the Pipe Major) 3:05 and 5:37 for starters. Even in a closeup of the piper's face you can see the distinctive brass ring just just below the mouthpiece on the blowpipe.

                      It's interesting that they bunched the Athertons together in the circle rather than dispersing them amongst other makes of drones. Evidently it wasn't considered an issue.

                      (56) Simon Fraser University Pipe Band - Medley - World Pipe Band Championship 2009 - YouTube
                      Very interesting, Richard. So Jack Lee played an Atherton set at that time? I wonder if he still plays them, or now uses one of his own pipes?
                      Eddie
                      "All politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision." Lord Shaftesbury

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Eddie Selden View Post

                        Very interesting, Richard. So Jack Lee played an Atherton set at that time? I wonder if he still plays them, or now uses one of his own pipes?
                        From what I have heard, Jack is now playing a set made by Andrew Lee.

                        If Dave is no longer making pipes, Andrew is THE guy to talk to...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Dave has taken hiatus before, so who can say whether or when he'll break the current hiatus, if indeed he's in one.

                          Who can say whether or not he himself knows when the urge to make pipes will come; I've known makers to say one thing and do another.

                          (BTW yes the Latin plural of hiatus is hiatus.)
                          proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have a set of Legacy coming up for sale in a few weeks.
                            MCGILLIVRAY PIPING & PIPETUNES.CA
                            www.piping.on.ca
                            www.pipetunes.ca
                            [email protected]

                            Comment

                            Working...
                            X