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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:32 pm 
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I tried GHB, but a sad misfortune came over me, which caused me great difficulty blowing the things. Lately I had some success with an Abedour soft chanter reed that played well with only 22" H2O pressure, but I still had trouble tuning and balancing drones. I was wondering if other pipes would give me an easier start, with an easier blowing pressure (the 22" Abedour seems fine that way), more of a pick-up-and-play nature, and a quieter sound that will keep my mistakes politely at home until I develop some skill. A440 pitch and conical bore chanter for the better sound also seem nice to have.
The ones I'm aware of so far would be:
* Border Pipes from Pipers' Choice
* A2000 smallpipes from John Walsh
* A shuttle pipes from John Walsh

Any advice concerning what I think I want and what I would get would be welcome.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:46 pm 
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Someone advertised a set of SSPs on the used instrument forum a few days back:
viewtopic.php?f=35&t=105941

It's not me or anyone I know, but that might be an affordable start & wait list bypass.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:18 pm 
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s1m0n, thanks for pointing that out. thequietpiper site is very nice. And the sound samples were instructive. I notice the smallpipe chanters are cylindrical bore. Is this constant for smallpipes? Last on the sound page was a sample of "Highland Drones" played (I guess) along with a conical bore highland chanter. So far, knowing only what I do, this smoother, higher sound is what I prefer. Is that sound available outside GHB?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:27 pm 
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We're about at the limit of my SSP knowledge, I'm afraid. Anyone?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:35 pm 
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mwilson wrote:
Is that sound available outside GHB?

I didn't have a chance to look at the site, but check out smallpipes in D, border pipes, and reel pipes for a bellow driven sound closer to GHB.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:27 am 
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mwilson wrote:
A440 pitch and conical bore chanter for the better sound also seem nice to have.

It's not a better sound, but a different sound. They all play at 440 except GHB.

mwilson wrote:
I notice the smallpipe chanters are cylindrical bore. Is this constant for smallpipes?

Yes. While some makers (e.g. Julian Goodacre) use a very slightly tapered bore, this still basically behaves like a cylindrical bore.

Smallpipes have a cylindrical bore and play an octave down like a practice chanter.

Border pipes and reel pipes have a conical bore and play at the written pitch like GHB. They're also generally considered more difficult to play than smallpipes.

Smallpipes in D are normally just small smallpipes where A is now standard.

All of these are normally bellows-blown though some makers offer mouth-blown options. Mouth-blown can lead to more problems with the small reeds because of the wet air whereas bellows-blown pipes use dry air.

s1m0n wrote:
Someone advertised a set of SSPs on the used instrument forum a few days back:
viewtopic.php?f=35&t=105941

It's not me or anyone I know, but that might be an affordable start & wait list bypass.

That set was sold, but not marked as such on that thread.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:15 am 
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Thanks all, I'm pretty sure now that Border Pipes are what I want to try. My last doubt is about playing pressure. As I said, I'm reasonably comfortable with soft Abedour reeds at 22" H2O. Soft Megaritys around 27", not without serious shaving. Does anybody have hints or guidance on how Border Pipes (and others too, for the sake of information) act?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:12 pm 
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Are you thinking of staying mouth-blown as practice for the GHB?

Not that blowing method should really affect the pressure, but typical ranges for both SSP and border pipes are quoted as 13 to 16 or 17 inches, so way lower than even your softest GHB configurations.

http://forums.bobdunsire.com/forums/showthread.php?t=122313
http://hamishmoore.org/bellows-technique/

There are also other intermediate options like Garvie Session Pipes and Three-Quarter Pipes. There's a useful little table at that Session Pipes URL giving approximate pressure (in inches) and loudness (in dB) for GHB, Three-Quarter, Half-Size and Session Pipes.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:47 pm 
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Peter,
Thanks. That's what I wanted to know. I'll dial up my ambition and spend some money. I'm looking at a plastic set from a known dealer. I would start with mouth-blown because it's cheaper, and I'm somewhat used to it.
Garvie's has a very interesting site. I saw notes on the fingering chart (high g# and d#) that I was able to get from the Abedour reed. It must be a function of soft reeds, generally.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:34 am 
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Regarding playing pressures, here is a chart from my website outlining strengths and manometer readings.

http://www.bagpipereeds.co.uk/downloads/my-reed-strength.pdf

Obviously the strengths and pressures will vary from maker to maker.
I believe Ross Calderwood at Lochalsh Pipes is looking at something similar to Garvies Session pipes, I don't know what stage he is at but it might be worth contacting him.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:38 pm 
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Many thanks, s1m0n, Peter, Iain,

I have the Piper's Choice Border Pipes now, and I've put some air through them. They seem like a fine starter set. Polypenco sticks, imitation ivory mounts, combed and beaded. Bannatyne synthetic bag, Ezeedrone drone and cane chanter reeds.
So I find that my blowing is as unsteady as -- you name it, I'm that unsteady. Time to work on tone. High-ho.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 7:35 am 
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mwilson wrote:
* Border Pipes from Pipers' Choice
* A2000 smallpipes from John Walsh
* A shuttle pipes from John Walsh


Of those three I would strongly recommend the John Walsh A2000 smallpipes in A. They're about as beginner-friendly as SSPs are possible to be.

Border pipes are a completely different beast than smallpipes, but if the question is now about borderpipes I wouldn't recommend the Piper's Choice ones.

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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 9:35 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
mwilson wrote:
* Border Pipes from Pipers' Choice
* A2000 smallpipes from John Walsh
* A shuttle pipes from John Walsh

Of those three I would strongly recommend the John Walsh A2000 smallpipes in A. They're about as beginner-friendly as SSPs are possible to be.
Border pipes are a completely different beast than smallpipes, but if the question is now about borderpipes I wouldn't recommend the Piper's Choice ones.


I also have the Piper's Choice border pipes. (I've owned a set of MacHarg Border pipes but sold them to a much better player.)
I'd say the Piper's choice is a fine set for my current level of ability on Scottish pipes and the reeds they come with are pretty good.
I modified the bag to include a proper blow pipe to fit my Uilleann bellows and that works great for me. But still has the mouth piece if I want to play that way.

The other nice thing about them is I have a matching Smallpipe chanter that is interchangeable with the borderpipe chanter. Just some fine tuning on the drones and yer good to go.


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