How to leard to blow the bag

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plunk111
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Re: How to leard to blow the bag

Post by plunk111 »

Good lord! I'm as bad as the original poster!!! I meant to change the "d" to an "n"!!!! To Mr Gumby: to be a little more precise: change "leard" to "learn"... :lol:
Pat Plunkett, Wheeling, WV
Glenarley
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Re: How to leard to blow the bag

Post by Glenarley »

Moisture Control Systems Again

This is one of those issues that will not die a quiet death and I am continually receiving argumentative messages telling me “Their” Canister Moisture Control System (cmcs) works well at keeping "Their" reeds dry contrary to my prior posts.

I am not going to argue with idiots as they will beat me every time with experience, so I will just focus on the science and let the facts do the talking.

Almost every cmcs will drag some moisture from the supply air in a mouth blown bagpipe however, how much and is it meaningful? This is easy to determine because it can be measured.

The supply air is from the human breath so it is saturated air, it cannot hold any more moisture and this will show up as 100% (99%) RH on a hygrometer.

Previously I have given data on exhaust air moisture content but based on some of the emails attempting to rebut my claims, measuring the exhaust air is too challenging for the average piper so I will suggest a different methodology that is easier to apply.

To be totally convinced that the cmcs does not actually keep your reeds dry, measure the cane chanter reed moisture content straight out of the reed box. This can be done with a moisture measuring meter and will display as a percentage or, for the technically challenged, use a multi meter. You can get a cheap meter from any auto or electronics store and even a very cheap meter will do the job.

Set the meter to ohms Ω, gently press the probes into each side of the cane reed and you will get a resistance reading. Play the reed for a few minutes with your cmcs fitted and after playing, measure the moisture content of the reed as before and you will see that the resistance reading has changed, the reed has taken on moisture. The cmcs does not, will not, cannot keep the reed dry on a mouth blown system.

Cheers

-G
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Re: How to leard to blow the bag

Post by Glenarley »

What does this error mean?

Cheers

-G
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Re: How to leard to blow the bag

Post by Glenarley »

Oops. This error message

"Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator at webmaster@forums.chiffandfipple.com to inform them of the time this error occurred, and the actions you performed just before this error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log."

Cheers

-G
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Re: How to leard to blow the bag

Post by Glenarley »

Moisture Control Canister Systems and Sheepies (a)

We also tested drone reeds when testing the canister moisture control systems (cmcs) and because we had a sheepie with a zipper, for the first time we could test the operation of a sheepie with a cmcs.
Sheepie proponents tout the sheepie as having a superior sound but our testing at the university department and blind testing did not support these claims and the reeds were found to be the main contributor to sound, not the bag material.

As noted in a previous post, when the tubes of the cmcs are attached to the drone stocks the sound generated is affected noticeably and the software shows how the overtone profile is weaker and phase locking more problematic.

Now that we had a zipper sheepie we could do a direct comparison with the different bag types and the results clearly showed to us that the sheepie did produce a more acceptable tone in both the blind testing and the software profiling.

We used a Gannaway zipped hide bag, a Ross breathable zippered hide bag and an unbranded (no visible name stamp) zippered sheepie.
We also used Drone Canister Set with Gel Desiccant.
Drone Canister System with Clay (kitty litter).
Individual Drone Canister System with Gel Desiccant.

The results explained a lot to us.

-continued-

Cheers
-G
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Re: How to leard to blow the bag

Post by Glenarley »

Moisture Control Canister Systems and Sheepies (b) -continued-

While we do not support the superior sound from sheepies argument, what we discovered was that both the blind test pipers (played at grade 1 level) were able to reliably pick which bag had cmcs tubes attached to the drones by both sound and ease of ability to phase lock. Both pipers believed the sound of the sheepie was louder without tubes attached and while the db meter did not really agree with this, the fact that the software demonstrated a stronger overtone profile, this could give the perception of louder volume.

This perception was present with all bag material types as they could tell with all bags whether or not the cmcs tubes were connected or not. As all bags being tested had the cmcs present inside the bags the only variable was whether or not the tubes were connected or not to the stocks.

When we went back and looked at our bag sound results, we were previously unable to test with a sheepie because none of our sheepies had zippers and this led us to the conclusion.

The pipers that claimed the sheepies had a superior sound is most likely correct if they were comparing sound to bags with cmcs systems as the sound difference is clear. As the sheepie they were playing most likely did not have a zipper, there were no tubes on the drone stocks so the sound and tuning operation would sound arguably superior as more overtones makes for a fuller (subjective term) sound.

Therefore, sheepies may in fact sound superior but just not for the reasons commonly believed but because they are being compared to bags with cmcs. Any bag without a cmcs will sound superior to any bag with a cmcs fitted, all things being equal as practicable. The caveat being that the reeds are configured to their most sympathetic state and the piper does not have painted on ears.

Cheers

-G
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Re: How to leard to blow the bag

Post by pancelticpiper »

[duplicate post deleted]
Richard Cook
c1980 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle
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Re: How to leard to blow the bag

Post by Glenarley »

Moisture Control Systems and Drones/Reeds

With the canister moisture control system (cmcs) fitted the effectiveness was tested with respect to the moisture present in the drones using the same bags as used in the previous posts.

Both the clay and desiccant systems gave similar results where after about 15 minutes of piping at 20℃ with the cmcs fully fitted, condensation was clearly visible in the drone bores. At 15℃, the condensation was at such a quantity that droplets were observed running down the bores.

The condensation thar ran down the drones filled up the head space void in the reed models that used plugs and tuning screws. The amount of condensation in some cases filled the void all the way up to the vent hole in the reed. This was like winding the screw all the way into the reed and was enough to sharpen the reed so much that after 20 minutes, the drones were very obviously out of tune with the chanter and each other.

This situation was even more extreme on inverted reeds as the void is much longer. On cane drone reeds and one of the synthetic drone reed models, the tongue goes almost to the very end of the reed so there is almost no void that can be filled with the condensation that runs back and these reeds did maintain tune for the entire testing sessions as the condensation was able to escape.

While the flow restriction caused from the air being pushed through the cmcs did improve the reliability of strike-ins and almost remove roaring drones at start-ups, using a cmcs with tubes attached to the drone stocks, with the view that your reeds will be kept dry was not what we were able to observe.

Cheers

-G
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Re: How to leard to blow the bag

Post by pancelticpiper »

What you're saying was exactly the impression of our Tonemeister, and the rest of the pipers, when we switched from Ross Gore-Tex bags with the cannisters and hoses to Gannaway bags with nowt inside.

Personally I couldn't perceive much difference with the drones, but the chanter clearly seemed to be louder and/or richer in tone.

For me the biggest difference was that for the Gore-Tex bag I had to re-learn how to strike in and cut off the pipes, as they were far more finnicky and touchy than the hide bags I had been playing for 30 years.

The no-guts no-zip no-grommet Gannaway felt like a return home.

But then my next Pipe Major insisted on sheep, which despite 35 years piping I had never tried.

About any tonal difference with sheep I'm skeptical, but there are clear performance advantages. Somehow sheep maintains just the right level of moisture to the reeds, and makes for strike-ins so easy that even calling them "strike-ins" is a misnomer due to no striking being necessary.

Ditto cutoffs, because it doesn't matter if there's some residual air in the bag, when I lift my arm the pipes cut off perfectly cleanly.

In short I think sheep makes the ideal Pipe Band bag. About solos such things don't matter, because the pipers can take all the time they want squealing to get the pipes going, and can have trailing drones at the end.
Richard Cook
c1980 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle
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Re: How to leard to blow the bag

Post by pancelticpiper »

Glenarley wrote: Thu Oct 05, 2023 3:54 am
Image

What can we glean from the picture?

The gouger has no real understanding of how a GHB chanter functions.

The gouger has no measurable understanding of how GHB chanter reeds function.
Wow that's a blast from the past!!

For people outwith the Scottish Pipe Band world this was being done starting around 1990 because Pipe Bands were wanting to play sharper than the chanters currently being made.

The pitch desired was rapidly rising, and the makers couldn't keep pace. How rapidly? In the mid-1970s the top bands were playing around Concert B flat, 466 cycles.

By the mid-1990s the good bands were playing around 480 cycles. This is a rise of a quartertone in 20 years.

Until the makers caught up, the only way to get the desired pitch was to carve out some of the chanter holes.

That photo is an extreme and absurd example for sure. I've never seen a chanter carved that badly. But I still have a 1990s Warnock plastic pipe chanter which was heavily carved by a local leading Tonemeister of the time, a guy who at the time was playing in some of the world's best Grade One bands.

So a band would buy a matched set of chanters, then the Tonemeister would go to work. The carving wasn't haphazard, but done by Tonemeisters of the highest level of reed and chanter expertise, the guys setting up the tone of the world's top bands, guys who knew exactly the pitch and tone they wanted and knew how to achieve it.

For sure it was a stopgap measure, only necessary due to the desired pitch rising too fast for the makers to follow.

But as suddenly as the rapid pitch rise began, it stabilised, at around 480 cycles, by the 2000's. PItch is still creeping up, but instead of the cent-a-year rollercoaster of the 1980s and 1990s it's only gone up around 5 cents over the last 25 years, and makers have had no trouble making chanters to the pitches desired by the top bands.
Richard Cook
c1980 Quinn uilleann pipes
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Re: How to leard to blow the bag

Post by Glenarley »

Good day Richard

I too was a little sceptical when being told the sound was different and stronger when tubes were not fitted to the stocks and with my degenerative hearing loss, I am never really quite sure about what I am actually hearing. Luckily, the software has no such problems.

I tied the same sticks and reeds into several different bags and the material made no difference to the produced sound. This flies in the face of many sheepie proponents but it is just what is provable. My local engineer is a mechanical engineer with a PhD in an acoustics discipline and he has some very expensive tools to play with. The engineer from the Lubbock TX university has a software interface from the oscilloscope to the PC and he can provide all manner of log samples from our audio samples so I do believe the science.

The bag material cannot have the effect some claim simply because the bag is usually in a cover of some type and the bag is jammed between your arm and chest which removes any possibility that the material produces some magical vibrance. Put you hand on a drum skin and tell me it makes the same sound as it would without your hand on it, it really is just that simple.

Because of the same situation you sited, we went through the rigors of testing and it was absolutely clear that some pipers, with their naked ear, could determine the sound difference with and without tubes on the stocks. What we also found, and I did not previously post this, was the preference some pipers had for the feel of the bag.

Sheep hide bags are thicker than most other bag materials and have a slightly spongy (for want of a better word) feel to them and some pipers believed this gave them better feedback from the bag. I can’t argue with results and it would seem to be reasonable to believe that you would play better with a bag that you liked the feel of best. Subjective but understandable.

We have just been provided a “premium Sheep skin bag” made by Lee & Sons to test however, this “premium Sheep Skin Bag” is not all sheep skin, it’s a hybrid so we will be sending it back, no action taken, no point.

Again, where I was once sceptical, I must concur with what your Tonemeister claims about a sound difference being audible to the ear (just not mine) with or without tubes fitted. I would be taking notice of such a person.

Cheers

-G
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Re: How to leard to blow the bag

Post by Glenarley »

Short Stock Burble

A client brought his pipes over to see if I could identify an annoying sort of burble sound with his chanter. His chanter played and sounded fine in a few different bags I own yet in his Hardie set, there was a definite overtone that was audible. I say burble but it is the sound you get from a chanter reed just before it starts to crow.

I have had this situation before and after a quick glance, I found he has installed the short blowpipe stock and chanter stocks in reverse positions. Because the blowpipe stock is so short, using it as the chanter stock it does not have enough length of stock for the sound wave pulse from the reed to behave as intended.

This is not unheard of and while it will not always happen with every short chanter stock, chanter reed combination, it does explain why the original GHB designers settled for a nominal 4” chanter stock.
Where this situation is more commonly found is in split stocks. In the picture we have a standard wooden chanter stock, a conventional poly split stock made to simulate the length and bore of the standard wooden stock and a split stock that has been made to a very short length with a larger than standard bore.

A band piper using these short split stocks came to me because he could not fix what he thought were reed problems. A flat F, a bendy C and a high A with a rattle. I swapped his short split stock for one of the conventional length split stocks and with the exact same chanter and reed configuration, the F was on pitch, the C was no longer bendy and the back a was bright again.

The original GHB designers actually knew what they were doing when they developed the stock designs and did so without computers and laser tools, they had ears, time and patience.

I believe the makers of the short split stock pictured are just saving material to make more money and are clueless as to how the GHB design was evolved and why some dimensions should not be mucked about with.

Cheers

-G
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Re: How to leard to blow the bag

Post by Glenarley »

The defiling of Danny Boy

I recently heard a piper proudly playing Danny Boy on his GHB at an Irish Wake. He was playing with a band pitched chanter (ugh) and he was playing a Mixolydian mode chanter to boot.

How a piper can defile such a noble, and mostly plaintive song with his GHB is what I feel is one of the primary reasons so many hate the GHB so much. There is no way on earth that Danny Boy can be sung along to when played in Mixolydian mode on the GHB and yet, there they are, doing it with no idea of how they are defiling this noble song.

When Danny Boy was played at wakes and such when I was growing up, the pipers used a major scale chanter so the seventh was actually G# and not the natural G of the mixolydian mode therefore, the song could be sung along to when played on the GHB. When I have made this point in the past, all I get is the 1000-yard stare and a silly expression.

There are still plenty of major scale chanters available as Lawrie, Hardie and many other chanter makers of the time produced them. They all play in Bb (466 Hz) as was the pitch of the time and they can be readily identified because the distance between the F and hG is about 27-28mm while a typical modern mixolydian mode chanter is 21-23mm. It kind of sticks out like dogs nuts so it can be seen at a glance. (in picture)

I have only found one modern poly chanter to have a major scale hG but I do have a modern chanter that has 2 hG holes drilled. One for major scale tunes and one for mixolydian. You simply tape over the hole you do not want to play so the one chanter can be used to play conventional GHB mixolydian mode tunes and major scale tunes on the same chanter at the same function with the simple movement of the tape.

While I have singled out Danny Boy, there are many other such examples so, if you are reading this and are one of the noble song defilers, please consider the plaintive nature of the song and event and have some consideration for the audience, use a major scale chanter.

Cheers

-G
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