Uilleann Pipe Buying Questions

A forum about Uilleann (Irish) pipes and the surly people who play them.
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WhistlingGuitar
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Uilleann Pipe Buying Questions

Post by WhistlingGuitar »

Hi all,

Long time lurker, first time poster, as the saying goes. :)

As you can tell by the title of the thread, I have a few questions related to buying uilleann pipes, as well as uilleann pipes in general.

I’m planning to buy my first set of uilleann pipes, and I’m looking at a practise set. I’ve heard almost entirely positive things of David Daye’s chanter, so I’m really leaning towards getting one. My question is, are his bellows and bag also high-quality, or would I be better off sourcing them elsewhere? If so, what are your recommendations?

Also, are his drones well-regarded? If I made my own bag, or sourced one from another maker, what is the process for tying-in drones?

Finally, how far can you go when cobbling together a set? I’m going to guess that you want all the reeded pieces (chanter, drones, and regulators) to be made by the same maker, otherwise the reeds will have different pressures, and it will be difficult, if not impossible, to play all three together properly. Is this right, or is it possible to have, say, a homemade bag, a Thompson bellows, a Daye chanter, a set of Banba drones, and a set of Rogge regulators, and have it all work together?

Apologies if any of this has been covered in previous threads. I didn’t manage to find anything in the archives, but I might have missed something.
Ken_C
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Re: Uilleann Pipe Buying Questions

Post by Ken_C »

I found a Daye chanter to work fairly well to start out on. The reed managed OK through the extreme humidity changes of a northeastern U.S. house in winter. The bag and bellows, however, were not very useful; I'd suggest getting those elsewhere, which is what I had to do before I could really start playing. Later I got a Whitmer half set and while it takes more attention, I love how it plays. Good luck.
Tou-Che
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Re: Uilleann Pipe Buying Questions

Post by Tou-Che »

If we’re talking budgeting I’d much prefer to put the money in a good chanter with Daye bag and bellows over a Daye Chanter and good bag bellows. The Daye bag and bellows will work and won’t feel too insufficient til you add more reeds to the equation. I started on a Daye practice for the record.
WhistlingGuitar
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Re: Uilleann Pipe Buying Questions

Post by WhistlingGuitar »

Thanks for the information! This is what I was looking for.

Just to clarify, I hopefully will be able to add drones to this set sometime in the distant future, so whichever bag and bellows I get ideally would be capable of handling them.
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Re: Uilleann Pipe Buying Questions

Post by WhistlingGuitar »

Ken_C wrote: Sun Mar 10, 2024 5:38 am I found a Daye chanter to work fairly well to start out on. The reed managed OK through the extreme humidity changes of a northeastern U.S. house in winter.
This stability is the main reason I'm leaning strongly towards the Daye chanter. I live in Botswana, so weather will vary from cold and dry, to hot and dry, to hot and wet. I'm really wanting something that doesn't give me too much grief. Are there other chanters out there that have this same reputation for stability?
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Re: Uilleann Pipe Buying Questions

Post by rorybbellows »

I would think your main issue, taking into account the wild changes in temperature and humidity is with the reed. Learn all you can about reed shenanigising .
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WhistlingGuitar
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Re: Uilleann Pipe Buying Questions

Post by WhistlingGuitar »

Thanks, I'm already learning all I can. Plus, I plan on having more than a couple spare reeds as backup for whatever I end up getting. I'll probably try to learn how to make my own, as well...
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rorybbellows
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Re: Uilleann Pipe Buying Questions

Post by rorybbellows »

Best thing is to take advice from the senior members of the Batwana uilleann pipers club , they've probably seen it all before.

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WhistlingGuitar
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Re: Uilleann Pipe Buying Questions

Post by WhistlingGuitar »

I didn't know there was an uilleann piper's club in Botswana. Do they have a website? I haven't been able to find one.
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shakyhands
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Re: Uilleann Pipe Buying Questions

Post by shakyhands »

Contact Andreas Rogge, tell him your situation, and be prepared to spend a premium on actually getting a functioning reed to survive a trip to Africa. Start with a practice chanter. Banish ALL thoughts of budget sets, tweaking your instrument or "cobbling" together various parts of pipes - this approach will not serve you well with this instrument. Good luck.
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Re: Uilleann Pipe Buying Questions

Post by pancelticpiper »

shakyhands wrote: Fri Mar 29, 2024 8:29 pm Contact Andreas Rogge, tell him your situation, and be prepared to spend a premium on actually getting a functioning reed to survive a trip to Africa. Start with a practice chanter. Banish ALL thoughts of budget sets, tweaking your instrument or "cobbling" together various parts of pipes - this approach will not serve you well with this instrument. Good luck.
This of course depends on the climate you're in.

Here in parts of North America we have low humidity. David Daye reeds are made here, Rogge reeds are not.

I've had numerous beginners show up over the years. If they had a Daye chanter we could get to learning, if it was anything made elsewhere we first had to try to get the chanter to work. I had two beginners start at around the same time, one with a Daye chanter and the other with a Rogge chanter, and the Daye clearly outperformed the Rogge. If we had been in Germany I'm sure it would have been the other way round.

But as people are saying the rest of the Daye practice set is hopeless, with horrid bag, horrid bellows, and horrid connectors. So people have been getting Daye chanters and putting them with functional bag, bellows, and connectors to get a good-playing thing.

About cobbling together pipes my lord! I suppose in recent decades with the explosion of uilleann pipemaking and hundreds of newbies buying new sets it's different, but in the old days I saw many pipers playing sets that were cobbled together. The stuff in the Main Stock might match but so often with a different chanter. You'd see drones and regs by different makers, sometimes even one of the regs by a different maker than the other two. (Think Joe McKenna.)

For many years I played a set with five makers present.
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WhistlingGuitar
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Re: Uilleann Pipe Buying Questions

Post by WhistlingGuitar »

pancelticpiper wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 5:46 am
About cobbling together pipes my lord! I suppose in recent decades with the explosion of uilleann pipemaking and hundreds of newbies buying new sets it's different, but in the old days I saw many pipers playing sets that were cobbled together. The stuff in the Main Stock might match but so often with a different chanter. You'd see drones and regs by different makers, sometimes even one of the regs by a different maker than the other two. (Think Joe McKenna.)
Thank you for the information, I was really curious about this.

Perhaps I should clarify a little more about the climate. I don't have any way of measuring humidity, but I can provide temperature info. During the four months of winter, the temperature will be pretty stable, around the 60's F. Gradually it will warm up throughout the eight months of summer. It wouldn't be subject to any drastic changes in temperature throughout the day, or through the week. Temperatures should stay fairly stable, within 10 or 15 degrees F. During the hottest months, I think I can keep it right at or below 100F.

For about seven months out of the year, the humidity will remain quite stable, with everything being dry. Then, for the other five months or so, it will be quite humid. This will be a bit more drastic of a jump than the temperature, but it still shouldn't be too sudden. During the five wet months, humidity should be fairly steady.

In summary, the pipes will experience a fairly wide range of temperatures and humidity throughout the year, but none of it will be sudden. From my limited understanding, I should gradually be able to tweak a reed to better perform in whatever season I'm going into, right?
pancelticpiper wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 5:46 am
But as people are saying the rest of the Daye practice set is hopeless, with horrid bag, horrid bellows, and horrid connectors.
I understand the horrid bag and horrid bellows, but how can connectors be horrible? Isn't a connector just an airtight fitting that connects the hose between the bellows and bag, or the bag and chanter? In that case, wouldn't thread to tighten the connection be all that's needed to make it work?
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