Style Guy
May 31, 2010

Phil a beggin’

Dear Style Guy:

I see all kinds of ways to tie drone cords. Sometimes they’re done so the drones are close together and sometimes they’re rather spread apart. The old pictures of pipers always had them really far apart, but I have noticed photos over the years showing them closer and closer together.

Is there a rule for the distance they should be from each other?



Dear Dronagenous:


Another excellent topic. Often the appearance of the instrument itself is overlooked beyond the bag cover (see above), but the set-up of drone cords is an important matter.


Indeed, if you look at images of Angus MacKay and the like you see drones splayed across the shoulder to their widest possible distance. Then, compare that with, say, the great Tom Speirs in the 1970s and his drones were so close they were almost all vertical. Big Tam’s son, Iain, also sports the compact look to his drones.


I like the more compact look. Each drone should be of equal distance, and I’d say about six inches looks great to my impeccable eye.


  1. I’ve seen a leopard cover that had a wee, footlong tail sticking out behind. In its tip there was some fluff of sorts… My cats would love it.

  2. Covers in strange colors or patterns for solo pipers could turn against you. If you have a zebra, tiger or cow pattern as your cover, it should fit you and your style. The zebra cover should tell something about your way of playing. Funny, wild, crazy or artistic. If you walk into the room on a 4/4 march, play Amazing Grace and finish of with Rowan Tree, you should change to a dark blue cover, like me…… if you can realy pull a great show and still play well, keep the animal on you bag…..



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