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H e l p is my bagpipe too big for me

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  • H e l p is my bagpipe too big for me

    How would I know if my pipe bag is too big for me..... I'm 5'8" and have been playing a med L&M scotian bag but I've always had some sort of issue with either left arm pain or top hand issues (ie slow or non response especially doublings) I've been contemplating changing to a l & m extended small or small bag but I'm concerned with tone issues... Could this be my problem? Thanks everyone

  • #2
    Re: H e l p

    Hi could you not try a set of pipes from anywhere that has the smaller bag first to try, if not ya could always make a sleeve from of a pair of old trousers. cut the thigh part of the trousers out, cut holes in it for the drones to fit thru and then put ya pipes into it just like as if it was a bag cover this should make ya bag smaller for you to try just to see if ya can reach chanter with ease, plus ya blowstick is not too long and pushing ya pipes away from you is it ?.

    Its should,nt effect tone other folk use smaller bags with no issues.
    Last edited by Ken Fitzpatrick; 02-03-2014, 01:55 PM.
    -----------------------------------------

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    • #3
      H e l p

      I'm 5'10" and a medium is way too big for me. Everyone is different but my guess is at your height you need a small.

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      • #4
        Re: H e l p

        Yes go down in bag size and check your blow stick length as well.

        I don't know where you came up with this
        Originally posted by threequez View Post
        snip......but I'm concerned with tone issues...
        What tone issues? Where from what? Some of the best play smaller bags, some sheep, some hide, some synthetic. So where does this come from?

        BTW I'm 5" 8" and play the Ross extended small. I started with the L&M Med hide bag and hated the size. Made the switch 8 years ago and have never looked back. And No I have no "Tone Issues"!!
        Last edited by Randy McIntosh; 02-04-2014, 03:36 AM.
        Randy

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        • #5
          Re: H e l p

          Thank you all for your help. I took your advice and placed a sleeve over the bag and I like the feel of the smaller bag it's seemed to free up my top hand. As far as tonal issues in my mind I thought that because the bag is smaller there would be less air volume and there would not be enough pressure to keep the drones going as they should. Anyway, hopefully this will do the trick. Thanks again.

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          • #6
            Re: H e l p

            Originally posted by threequez View Post
            As far as tonal issues in my mind I thought that because the bag is smaller there would be less air volume and there would not be enough pressure to keep the drones going as they should.
            Total bunk.....It's all about control and technique...
            Randy

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            • #7
              Re: H e l p

              Originally posted by Randy McIntosh View Post
              Total bunk.....It's all about control and technique...
              True, but if we played a bag the size of a city bus, we'd all have really steady sound. As a bonus, we'd have an excuse not to march in any parade.

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              • #8
                Re: H e l p is my bagpipe too big for me

                Originally posted by John Haack View Post
                True, but if we played a bag the size of a city bus, we'd all have really steady sound. As a bonus, we'd have an excuse not to march in any parade.
                Would you really?? Well maybe if you had 5 pipe corps to blow into it to get it filled up!!
                Last edited by Richard Mao; 02-04-2014, 10:37 AM. Reason: clarity
                Randy

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                • #9
                  Re: H e l p

                  Originally posted by John Haack View Post
                  True, but if we played a bag the size of a city bus, we'd all have really steady sound. As a bonus, we'd have an excuse not to march in any parade.
                  I could be incorrect as I'm a bit of a newbie, but wouldn't the size of the bag have very little to do with making a steady sound? I would imagine it would be the pressure of the air inside the bag that makes the difference, not the amount of air.

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                  • #10
                    Re: H e l p

                    Originally posted by Korwen View Post
                    I could be incorrect as I'm a bit of a newbie, but wouldn't the size of the bag have very little to do with making a steady sound? I would imagine it would be the pressure of the air inside the bag that makes the difference, not the amount of air.
                    I'm no rocket scientist but I would imagine the bigger the bag the minor the pressure variations if you press the bag with your arm.

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                    • #11
                      Re: H e l p is my bagpipe too big for me

                      Hi, my input for consideration.

                      I believe tonal controls vs bagsize .... not too much of an issue... because world class pipers (e.g Bill Livingston) THRIVE with a small bag. If you can keep steady pressure on whatever bag size you choose / that fits you???? then you'll have good tone... (leaving aside the sheepskin vs the world bag issue).... i.e. don't blame your tone "problems" solely on bag size...

                      Originally sizing a bag.... my guideline to my students... try out bagsizes from various piping friends first, if you can...

                      The full bag should fit snug under your arm... close up to the armpit... such that when you squeeze with your arm.... you're squeezing IN on the bag...

                      i.e. not so fat a bag that you are squeezing DOWN on the bag.... making the bag want to squirt out from under your arm..

                      Forward vs Back... The pipe drone stocks should be held close to arm... such that the drones stand fairly vertical... supported by the platform of the full bag...

                      AND that your hi hand forearm or wrist is not being pressed on by the bag... potentially numbing nerves (a symptom of bag too large and/or drone stocks tied too far back for your anatomy).

                      Once you have the bag size... a previous poster gave good advice as to check your blowstock/blowstick/mouthpiece length... With your bag being carried in playing position horizontally to the ground... (front not tipped up or down towards the ground)... you want the tip of your blowstick laying naturally/easily coming at about 1/4 inch (or whatever is comfortable) past your lips... (I dislike coming in as far as the teeth... especially not wanting my student pipers to chomp on the mouthpiece)

                      Nomenclature... different makers have different bag circumference/diameter measurements they call "small"... etc... for example I am 5" 10" ... 34" arm/shirt sleeve measurement... the Ross small extended is fine for me.. I've done ok with an L&M medium ... but better with an L&M small sausage bag.

                      I think Andrew Lenz' website has the nomenclature/mfr/size charts that would help you...

                      Finally different bag compositions? My only .... very personal... input here... is that pure goretex bags (naked without stiffening) are a bit too "squishy" for me... i.e. my arm goes "push" and the bagpipe doesn't go "oomph" it goes "murphle..." lol... (I guess I mean the responsiveness of the bagpipe does not correlate directly/immediately enough for my tastes to the action of my arm pressing on the bag)...

                      best wishes,

                      Richard Mao, The Peking Piper
                      <|;|-)

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                      • #12
                        Re: H e l p is my bagpipe too big for me

                        Bag size is just about ergonomics. What one person finds comfortable may not fit another even if they are the same size people. Personally i find very small bags difficult to handle and cause my left shoulder to rise up while in between breaths, even with the correct length blowpipe. Medium and large bags in various brands are the most comfortable for me, I can keep my shoulders down and i dont feel like im squeezing the bag ever it just kind of presses against my arm, also I can angle the chanter a little toward my body rather than straight down which I find far more comfortable for my left hand. Small bags are also usually shorter in the distance from drones to chanter which makes a big difference for me. Im 5'9" and played a large l&m comfortably for many years, now I'm fatter and find medium bags more comfortable. I also let the bag rest lower than some others who like to hike it up into their armpit. This position invariably causes shoulders to rise and bags to slip. Check out angus maccoll for the most comfortable looking posture ever.

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                        • #13
                          Re: H e l p is my bagpipe too big for me

                          I'm 6', play a small bag, keep it up under the armpit, have no slipping, tone, lack of air issues, and my shoulders are level. I've suggested smaller bags to many players and have yet to have one say they regret the change- quite the contrary. Having said that, there's no one-size-fits-all (pun intended) answer. Try other people's set ups (preferably with your chanter to eliminate the reed strength variable) and see what works for you.
                          Aaron Shaw
                          [email protected]
                          [email protected]

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                          • #14
                            Re: H e l p is my bagpipe too big for me

                            I had a medium Scotian bag and felt it was larger than any other medium sized bag I have played.
                            Stewart Keith

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                            • #15
                              Re: H e l p is my bagpipe too big for me

                              Our entire band plays bags that are medium or smaller. I'm no expert but I'm not a small guy and an extended small feels just about right (except for the neck, I prefer swan necks).
                              Powered by lefse and lutefisk since 1992

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