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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2002 7:59 am 
A few reactions (I was away andam just in the door from shannon).

Mammoth ivory is legally important from the US (and imported there from russia)the guys have been extinct for 10K years or more (see http://www.osofamoso.com)

Geoff being 'the man'for narrow bore D's well, they remain a strange hybrid and an acquired taste and they are not the thing he would fancy making.

as to the address, Cloghanmore before the Miltown Malbay would be more precise btu as said, even the Co clare would get the letter there. I eceived one addressed to me a while ago which had the address 'Ireland'


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2002 3:38 pm 
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Location: NorthernIreland/Scotland
I recently sent a letter to:

Da New Hoose [Orcadian dialect for the new house]
Near Kirkwall

and it got to the right person
[on Orkney]

Boyd.
http://www.strathspeyinmay.com


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2002 12:00 pm 
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Back to the Wooff set. Just thought I would let everyone know that he will *not* under any circumstances do a 'D' set. He would prefer a C or B set, but will do a c# or Bb set if the buyer requests.

His target price is $20,000-25,000 for those interested and with a lot of money. He is, of course, accepting offers.

Dionys


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2002 5:04 pm 
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"His target price is $20,000-25,000 for those interested..."

Ouch!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2002 11:25 pm 
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Don't let this keep you from making offers. I would guess, or perhaps hope, that the successful offer will be below this amount.

Dionys


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2002 10:24 pm 
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I'm sorry...$25,000...that's not even funny!

It's a collection of wooden tubes with holes in them. I'm sorry, unless the pipes are made by the Lord himself...$25,000?! The bottom line is that the pipes are worth $5000 and the name makes up the difference. Period...

$25,000....hee hee...


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2002 10:57 pm 
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Last time I checked there were no Lords or Ladies making pipes. As for what they're worth, they're worth what someone is willing to pay for them.

I balk seriously at the $20-25k price, however I understand Geoff's justification (multiple ones) of the price. Let me bring up some of the ones he brought up. These are *not* my arguments, and I will critique where I feel like it.

'The original instruments [he trys] to emulate cost 25-50 [punt] in pre-famine Ireland, which was six months to one years pay for a man with a fair good job.'

This is a valid argument. Of course taking into consideration the world-wide average pay instead of the average american year's pay would knock his estimate down some. Taking into consideration average Irish pay before the celtic tiger hit would do the same. Taking into account inflation and any other number of factors might knock the number down or up depending on how you look at it. I would be willing to bet if you took into consideration how much a wood flute of that era (for instance a Millhouse or Rudall & Rose), priced it and priced a modern equivalent you would not find the same drastic price increase.

'I feel the offer price should reflect what a set of [his] pipes will cost in 2016 if one had to join the waiting list, plus the silver and ivory factor, plus not having to wait.'

Sure. In 2016, taking into consideration inflation and market demand, his pipes could easily cost 20-25k. The entire world market could also crash and he might have to sell them for pennies on the dollar. One also could take into consideration that if you *could* get on the waiting list, you could put around 10k (maybe less depending on your luck) in a stable mutual fund and have easily the 20-25k he would be asking in 2016. What you are paying for is not having to wait. The silver and mammoth ivory, as far as I am concerned, are negligable additions in pre-building cost. What you are really paying for (or should be) is the workmanship. Is Geoff's workmanship and promise to have his best set in a year worth 20-25k?

'By suggestion of other interested parties I think $20-25,000 is probable.'

If those other parties are so interested, why haven't they made a solid offer in that range that he would accept? I don't know if it's a probable price range. I do know it's possible considering all the people out there with lots of money to spend. Someone might buy this set at 20-25kUSD, whether it be someone who is a professional piper with some extra money (haha - Well.. There has to be one out there, right?) or some new-money collector who made serious cash off short-selling Enron before it crashed and burned. I think it is *possible* that someone will buy that set at that price. Personally I do not think it is *probable*, but maybe that's because I don't have that much cash to throw around.

Then again I might not even buy the set at that price if I had the money. It would buy at least 5 used sets of some really, really good makers. Or two-three new sets.

When I was writing, I was imagining (and hoping for) a somewhat reasonable and somewhat achievable price of a few thousand over half what he is asking. That's just me, though. Perhaps I'm cheap :smile:

Please do not let my comments and thoughts keep you from purchasing or offering on Wooff's 25th anniversary set. I can only imagine it will be one of, if not the, most beautiful set(s) he will make. On top of that it will have some historic value and sentiment. Knowing Geoff's work, we all know it will sound wonderful. It's just a matter of if it will sound $12-17k more wonderful than someone else's set. That is up to the purchaser.

Was that a long message? Hmm.

Dionys

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2002 4:20 am 
Around 1980, just as I was getting started on the pipes an editoial written by Breandan Breathnach appeared in the newsletter of NPU, An Piobaire. In it Breandan aired his disbelief and apprehension at the fact that what everybody had thought unthinkable had in fact happened. As he put it 'a millennium has arrived in Ireland'. The price of at least one maker's [Bruce du Ve] full sets had reached one thousend punts. I soon after purchased a full set for 750 so not every maker had gone through that ceiling then.
However; things have taken off from there in the past few years. Geoff Wooff for one, found himself in the situation where his pipes were fetching prices second hand over twice the price he was making them new. How do you respond to that you can wonder.

It is ofcourse all fine to worry about that here, but since Breandan lamented the prices of pipes going beserk, the organisation over which he presided has made no systematic effort to advance pipemaking, no formal training has ever been set up, hardly any knowledge has been gathered and disseminated.
The fact is ofcourse that most pipemakers are struggling to make a half decent instrument, few, have gathered enough knowledge to actually do that. Some make nice chanters, some make nice drones, how many really manage to make all bits going well together, and produce an instrument the player can be fully happy with, ask yourself that question.
So, while the world is rejoicing that piping is saved for another generation, one can wonder who is going to make the instruments for the generation that is now taking up the instrument.
I would think it is time to make a push to get aspiring pipemakers trained so that people deserving of a good instrument can actually obtain one, rather than the nice instruments going to people who can afford throwing a bucket of money at the pipemaker.

Getting off-topic maybe but worth a think-about because it's at the root of prices going way beyond any reason.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Peter Laban on 2002-04-27 09:54 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2002 9:39 am 
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I'm feeling compelled to remark. 20K to 25K is a whole lot of dough to spend on an instrument. I'm very certain that there are other instrument sthat can garner such a price. Classic violins, a resaonably nice grand piano, few of a kind guitars, &c...

This is an opportunity for someone to purchase an outstanding instrument and enjoy it for a lifetime. It's rediculous to think that the average Joe (like me) would want to buy this glorified set, just like I wouldn't buy a Bösendorfer Piano for $180K — that I'll leave to Oscar Peterson and the like. For some people this would be like buying an original artwork. I'm not implying - because I've never actually played a Wooff set - that this will be the paramount of Uilleann pipes. I am saying though, that if I could justify paying that kind of loot as an investment in quality, enjoyment and treasured heirloom, that it would be an enormous privilege to own them. Definitely a status item, but hopefully could be regarded as much more than that. My piano doesn't get played every day, but I sure love it when I sit down at it, way more than when I sit down at a tiny apartment sized keyboard.

Sometimes emotion outweighs practicality in such a proud investment.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2002 10:14 am 
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Peter has a very good point which is obviously related to the topic of price (and in Uilleann Piping in general). There are not many makers out there and the number of excellent makers are even fewer. You could easily put the price he is asking down to simple supply and demand.

The other point he laments is that there has been no funding or effort towards formal training and very little effort put towards gathering and disseminating information concerning pipe making / pipe building. I think part of this is that a lot of makers want to keep their special methods to themselves. There are many makers, of course, who want to share as much information as they can (and these are usualy the better makers). The problem is that they have very little time on their hands to do this because they are busy trying to make enough pipes to keep their families alive. So in this aspect, perhaps the 20-25k is valid.

Personally, I would be willing to apprentice to a pipemaker (Brad Angus lives around 20 minutes from me and I would jump at the opportunity to apprentice with him -- Any of his good friends would be welcome to pass this along to him). If Geoff Wooff would apprentice me, I'm sure I'd find some way to move myself and my son over to Ireland. Though I would prefer someone local due to custody issues. I'm relatively young, though I would probably be starting somewhat later than many pipemakers.

I think what we need to do to ensure the continuation of knowledgeable pipemakers is to start some kind of apprentice program. Either people willing to apprentice full time to a maker for not much pay (but hopefully enough to stay alive on) or through weekend classes given by a pipemaker.

Beyond that we need to start spreading everything and anything on pipemaking (such as David Daye has done). Post X-rays, measurement listings and computer CAD files on measurements. It'd be ideal if we could find a physics person interested in acoustics that could devote some time/energy (or a paper) on the acoustical properties of Uilleann Pipes.

These are all just beginning suggestions. Let's come up with some more. I'm going to post this to a new thread: 'Apprentice Pipemaking' so we can come up with some ideas. Post if you're willing to be an apprentice so that pipemakers know there is interest out there.

Dionys


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2002 1:21 pm 
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So many great points about the whole thing. Where to start. I just can't keep my mouth shut when the conversation gets this interesting.

Dionys, I think you mentioned something about Geoff's fondness for B/C, asking why that might be, given how common they are today (relatively speaking). This is by NO MEANS a flame; I just have a couple of thoughts on that. :lol: First, remember that it's because of folks like Geoff that B and C *are* so popular now. Second, there are huge differences (pun intended) between, say, D and B chanters. I think he finds them comfortable to play and to make.

I had a long LONG conversation with Geoff as to pitch and timber when I ordered my B set five years ago. He only uses ebony, as many of you know, for the functional timber parts. He's made blackwood in the past, and boxwood; he just believes that ebony sounds the best. Likewise, I think he likes the way the B chanter sounds and responds. Sure, a lot of it has to do with how you make the chanter and the reed, but a lot of folks in music (a lot of the really accomplished ones) think that different keys have different "colors" or "flavors," depending on whether you want to be visual or gustatory about it.

The idea of a "chromatic" instrument with tempered tuning to allow you to play in many different keys is a very recent idea, in terms of Western music. Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier" is one of the early works written for such an instrument. Before that, if you wanted to play in F, you'd tune your harpsichord to meantone intervals based on F. Then C would sound weird, so if you wanted to play in C . . . you'd retune.

I've heard other makers express affinities for timbers and pitches based on tonal qualities. Hamish Moore, whom many in the smallpipe world regard with esteem similar to Woof, prefers boxwood and the key of C as the best material/key for smallpipes. Go figure!

Stuart

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2002 12:46 pm 
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I think the idea of physicists measuring instruments is fine for documentary purposes but to understand exactly how to make a good instrument the maker has to firstly know what a good instrument is and secondly have an intimate understanding of how to get them to sound the way they want them to sound. Of course there is physics involved in this process initially but it needs to be a part of how the pipemaker thinks, it has to become part of them... this is what I mean by an understanding.

For the pipemaker to be a good player of the complete instrument is paramount also, how is a maker supposed to make good in-tune regulators if they don't even know how to play them?

This set is an investment on both Geoff and the buyers behalf. The buyer will probably be an enthusiast who has a son or daughter learning and they want a really great set in the child's hand's as soon as possible to accelerate their learning, a great set is a true secret to fast progress on an instrument imo.

Hopefully the set winds up in the hands of someone that will be able to play it well, or will strive to do so. Whomever ends up with the set though, may not even play it themselves but it will certainly be in a great pipers hands at some time, maybe in a future generation?

Patrick.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Patrick D'Arcy on 2002-04-29 14:48 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2002 5:11 pm 
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I'm an aspiring pipemaking apprentice (would-be, really--an excellent pipemaker lives 5 hours from me, a little too far for frequent visits, though I've been trying my best to do what I can), so I've followed this discussion with avid interest. I'd like to suggest that one way to start opening the door for the next generation of pipemakers would be for a master maker to write a serious and thorough book on how to make a full set of pipes, illustrated and photographed thoroughly. Being by nature and by necessity and autodidact, the absence of such a book has been the single greatest obstacle I've faced in getting an idea of how to form goals for myself, both in terms of manual skill and technical knowledge. Actually, I want to propose to Peter Laban that, as an accomplished piper and photographer, he might be an excellent person to assist in such an endeavor--and I have to think that there are easily enough Irish government funds available to either supplement the pipemaker's income while he slows down the process enough for documentation or do the same for the photographer, or pay a scribe, or what have you. It would be lovely if there were a program available in university somewhere that would bestow pipemaking knowledge as there are for so many other instruments, but would this not cost a great deal more than a book? I suppose there is the question of how many people would actually buy the yoke, but, again, there must surely be a way to defray the profit motive with cultural subsidy funding. I know that I myself would happily pay $100 or more for such a book. What do you think, Peter?


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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2002 2:04 am 
I have actually done the very thing, took some 500 photographs when Geoff was making Maire ni Ghrada's set some three years ago, a selection of 25 snaps are in the latest Sean Reid society journal. A book has been considered, Geoff was to write the text, but interest in publishing a book is not very high on the side of the publishers so the project has been sitting on the shelf since.


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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2002 7:12 am 
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Have you already cultivated a relationship with a particular publisher for this, or is it a matter of finding one who is amenable to the project? I'm thrilled and not terribly surprised to learn that you've already done work on it and since the thing is already underway it seems especially important to find a way to see it through. Do you need to find a publisher who can offer an advance so that Geoff can take time off to write the text? I'm not an agent, but I'm willing to shop it around to American university presses if it would help--or, indeed, do anything to help that I can. My email is joshua_perkins@hotmail.com, if you'd like to contact me and keep talking about this off-list. Cheers.


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