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

Published: February 29, 2012
(Page 8 of 8)

Conclusions

By our tabulations, the preferred instrument at the Argyllshire Gathering and Northern Meeting last year looked like this:  

  • Vintage Henderson drones

  • Naill blackwood chanter

  • Donald MacPhee chanter reed

  • Henderson cane bass reed

  • Ezeedrone tenor reeds

  • Begg sheepskin bag

  • Basic tube trap

Because our current survey was more extensive than the one conducted in 2009, it’s difficult to compare statistics, but overall we see a dramatic trend in the popularity of cane bass drone reeds. The use of vintage drones remains strong, but clearly modern drones are more popular with B-Grade players. Ezeedone tenor reeds are still by far the choice of the world’s elite pipers, according to our stats, while preference for MacPhee chanter reeds remains strong. Natural pipe bags have increased in popularity, and so it follows that tube traps are on the rise.

As with our 2009 survey, we could not find two pipers who responded who used an identical instrument and setup. The variety of choice continues to expand, and it’s clear that personal preference is what it’s all about.

As always, we encourage you to seek out your own ideal instrument!

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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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January 29, 1914Andrew Carnegie gives tenancy of Inveran Hotel to his piper, Angus MacPherson.
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TIP OF THE DAY
Pipers: The trend today is to sink a chanter reed as far as it can go in the reed seat, and then tape all the holes that are sharp, or drill the holes bigger if the note is flat. Raising a reed slightly or just getting the reed placed ideally in the seat can make a world of difference.
Brian Donaldson, Inveran Bagpipes, Edinburgh