What the world’s best pipers are playing: a pipes|drums Survey

Published: February 29, 2012
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Bass Drone Reed

 

Lots of reedmakers, but Henderson  Harmonic synthetic reeds emerged most popular, with three playing them. Of the cane reeds, Henderson, Lumsden, G1 and Barnes were listed by one piper each.

Tenor Drone Reeds

 

Ezeedrone was first in this category by a long margin, with 12 (67%) Premier-Grade pipers playing them. A smattering of other makers had two or one response, and Barnes was a write-in under “Other.”

Pipe Bag

 

Eight of the 19 respondents listed a natural bag, while the other 11 said they play a synthetic model. Overall, a Bannatyne synthetic bag was selected by most (five/26%), while Begg sheepskin and a zippered Canmore were played by four (21%) each.

Moisture Control

 

None of the 19 Premier-Grade respondents said they do not use a moisture system of some sort. The most popular devices are the Ross Canister and a “Basic Tube Trap,” each selected by eight (42%) respondents. Under “Other,” one piper said he/she uses a Ross Canister AND a Tube Trap, one listed a “Homemade contraption,” and another a system by Achiltibuie.

The typical Premier-Grade bagpipe thus is a set of vintage Henderson, Lawries or modern Naill drones, a Naill chanter with a MacPhee reed, a Henderson Harmonic synthetic bass reed, Ezeedrone tenor reeds, with a Bannatyne synthetic bag and a moisture system of either a Ross Canister or a basic tube trap. Your mileage may vary.

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  1. Doc

    For the future, it would be interesting to know if anyone has changed their set up in the past year, or even how many times they’ve changed their setup in the past 5 years, for example. Also, what is being changed. This would give us all an idea of the most volatile” areas that need watching

  2. Bagpipermann

    Perhaps the reason for a greater percentage of vintage pipes in the premier grade and newer pipes on the B grade is a reflection on the age/longevity of the players and their respective accessability to (at the appropriate age) reasonably priced instruments? EG, a 16 year old us not too likely to cough up 10K for a set of now rare Silver & Ivory vintage pipes compared to 2K? for an abundant new set of equal or better quality sound? Maybe? As far as bags and reeds, it’s interesting to see that the Old Dogs” have a preference for modern technology while the “Young Pups” are slanted more towards the old…hmmm…perhaps pups have more patience or energy for the persnicketiness of the old ways? Well. I’m stayin’ with my old pipes and new bags/reeds…I just don’t have the patience for the protracted battle of attrition for a negligibly better or worse sound at the end of it…gimme instant sound anytime!… Cheers

  3. AndrewBerthoff

    @Lawrie – thanks for the comment. I’m sure many of the respondents don’t care about revealing their identity, but keeping everyone anonymous gets many more responses, which is most important. @Doc – good idea. Perhaps we will add a question or two along those lines next time.

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TIP OF THE DAY
Pipers: Always ask yourself, Where has the reed been? Remember that all makes of pipe chanter reeds need a bit of moisture. To put some into it without a lick or a sook try the “heavy breath,” like when you want to “fog up” a window or your eyeglasses.
Donald MacPhee, reedmaker, Alexandria, Scotland