Charles Roberts Bass Drone

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JohnnyKerr
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Charles Roberts Bass Drone

Post by JohnnyKerr » Thu Sep 10, 2009 3:19 pm

I have tried contacting Charles Roberts and have not yet been able to get ahold of him (for about a month). I had a question about the design of his bass drone so I thought I might ask here in case another poster has experience with his instruments. I purchased the drones used a few months ago.

The bass drone seems to have two tuning slides. Right now I have it threaded so that only the one furthest from the mainstock operates as a tuning slide. The other one is threaded as a snug joint so that I can easily move the tuning slide with one hand. When I got the drones they were held together with plumbers tape and it was difficult to tune the bass drone one-handed with the two joints moving about. I was wondering if Mr. Roberts designed it this way to facilitate breakdown for compact storage or if it was intended as an extra tuning slide (if that is the case, it seems odd to me which is why I'm not using it as such).

Any insight is appreciated.

Thanks,
Johnny

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the plod
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Re: Charles Roberts Bass Drone

Post by the plod » Sat Sep 12, 2009 4:01 pm

can you post a picture?

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JohnnyKerr
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Re: Charles Roberts Bass Drone

Post by JohnnyKerr » Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:29 am

This shows the drone assembled as I would tune/play it:
Image


This shows the same but with the 1st joint in question slightly pulled out:
Image


This is the drone completely disassembled with the elements in order from top to bottom. Notice that the male ends are identical in size. The main difference between the two joints is that the first one features a solid metal female joint and the second (tuning slide) is all wood (with nickel dressing around the wood).
Image

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Re: Charles Roberts Bass Drone

Post by the plod » Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:40 am

I'm not so sure that the first one (at the bend) is a tuning slide, I think that is just the construction of the joint. I would re-wrap it so that it doesn't slip. The other (closer to the drone end) is the actual slide.

Jeff

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Re: Charles Roberts Bass Drone

Post by Kramden » Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:31 am

Slightly off topic, but would anyone have a current e-mail address for Charles? I, too, tried contacting him a couple of times; I'm in need of dimensions for his concert pitch chanter reeds (see my post from this morning), but no response. Any info would be appreciated.

Best,
John

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JohnnyKerr
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Re: Charles Roberts Bass Drone

Post by JohnnyKerr » Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:00 pm

the plod wrote:I'm not so sure that the first one (at the bend) is a tuning slide, I think that is just the construction of the joint. I would re-wrap it so that it doesn't slip. The other (closer to the drone end) is the actual slide.
That is how I currently have it wrapped; the first joint does not move.

What had me the most curious about the design (which I should have also mentioned) is that the tenor and baritone slides are designed like the first joint in the picture where the male portion is wood (with thread) and the female is nickel. The only joint on the drones that is wood on wood is the tuning slide for the bass drone.

Anyways, thanks for confirming for me. If anyone else has any insight to offer into Mr. Roberts' work it is welcome.

MichaelLoos
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Re: Charles Roberts Bass Drone

Post by MichaelLoos » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:59 am

The bass drone of my own set (made by Robbie Hughes) is of similar construction. I use both joints as tuning slides. The first one, however, I have wrapped tighter than the second one and only use it when a bigger adjustment is required, in my case (living in Germany), for the regular half-yearly setup for summer and for winter. The second joint is the one I use for daily tuning before playing - I have to take this apart anyway in order to fit the pipes into their case. I find this arrangement very handy and have used it for the past 25+ years.

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Evertjan
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Re: Charles Roberts Bass Drone

Post by Evertjan » Thu Sep 17, 2009 5:24 am

My first full set was by Charles Roberts and had the same bass drone construction.
You should use the first (the one close to the main stock) for tuning the second one you set once depending on the reed.

Evertjan

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Re: Charles Roberts Bass Drone

Post by JohnnyKerr » Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:49 am

Evertjan wrote:My first full set was by Charles Roberts
So then you didn't have trouble accessing that first joint with regulators on top of it?

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Re: Charles Roberts Bass Drone

Post by Evertjan » Thu Sep 17, 2009 3:54 pm

JohnnyKerr wrote:
Evertjan wrote:My first full set was by Charles Roberts
So then you didn't have trouble accessing that first joint with regulators on top of it?
Euhm.. Why should you access the first joint, as long as the slide connection isn't wrapped too much and can move easy get it where you can

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Re: Charles Roberts Bass Drone

Post by Blackbird » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:13 am

Evertjan wrote: Euhm.. Why should you access the first joint, as long as the slide connection isn't wrapped too much and can move easy get it where you can
This question confuses me... Evertjan, you previously said to normally use the first joint (the one closest to the mainstock) for primary tuning, then to use the second one (the one furthest away from the mainstock) depending on the reed - this is confusing enough. Then Johnny asked if accessing the first joint on the bass drone (for tuning the bass drone) was difficult due to the regulators. So since you suggested using the first joint, why are you then basically saying you shouldn't access the first joint? :? Again, confusing.

Seems to me and alot of other sets of pipes... That there is only one tuning joint for the bass, and it isn't the one closest to the mainstock either... To be honest, the fact that nobody has been able to get ahold of this maker, speaks volumes to me about his work - Among other things... Unless he croaked of course, then R.I.P.

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Re: Charles Roberts Bass Drone

Post by pascal » Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:18 pm

Hello,
I write you from France.
So I am a piper ( scottish bagpipe). Some years ago I bought an half set uilleann pipe made by Charles Roberts. it was 6 years a long time :-)
Your words about your bass drones don't surprized me...I mus to tell you that my set doesn't NEVER WORK RIGHT!!! Drones don't sound right, NEVER!! and the chanter too! NEVER I can to play with this set so badly made!! A very bad work made by Charles Robertd. I tried to contact him, with emal and letter but no answers ?!!! I have learnt that he stopped the making of uilleann and lives now in Spain !! I am very very much disappointed by his half set which cannot play right ...
I have no, and never problems with my highland bagpipe made by Mc Leod in Scotland: A very good work!
So you can read that Robett seem to be used to make bad work...
I am planning to get a set with another full maker but who???
In french: Charles Roberts est un escroc. il n'a jamais voulu assurer un service après-vente de son instrument très mal construit.
I think you must to try to repair yourself your bass drone...
Let me know please...
A bientôt

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Re: Charles Roberts Bass Drone

Post by chris bayley » Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:13 am

Hi Pascal

Charles should be at the Boulegan festival, St Jean du Gard, Languedoc at Easter. He has moved to Spain and is still making pipes and I think his email may have changed. From sets I have had in the workshop his work is fine and usually works well.

If you cannot get to Boulegan I am going and may pass close enough to meet up and have a look at your pipes. Usually use Eurotunnel and the motoway past Clermont Ferrand.

If not I will be at St Chartier (16th, 17th and 18th July). This has changed location and is now at the Chateau d'Ars just outside La Chatre and can look at them there.

Chris
New Website now live at http://www.uilleann-pipes.co.uk. It is still under construction with more to be added
My original website http://www.bagpipeworld.co.uk remains in place as historical

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Re: Charles Roberts Bass Drone

Post by hpinson » Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:00 am

Hi Pascal. Can you describe what wrong with your bass drone? Is it a reed problem? Or is it something else? The Roberts D concert and B drones I've encountered have been quite nice. Perhaps we, the users of this forum, could help you determine what is wrong, or help you find someone near you who could help you get the set working if Charles is not available to help. Uilleann pipes are often much more difficult to get setup and working right than are highland pipes, like those you describe. Finding another maker may not solve your problem. You may have just as much difficulty setting up uilleann pipes even made by the best makers. There are so many little things that can go wrong.

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Re: Charles Roberts Bass Drone

Post by pascal » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:44 am

Hello!
I reply with very much delay to your posts...
About my half set made by Charles Roberts,
It's a reality that it doenst work right !!!
NEVER i can play with my set.
my drons reeds dont work right , never and my chanter reed is ot ok even if i put another one.
Alos I tried to contact Charles Roberts who never replied me.........
For me he is an "escroc" french word dont know the english same. = thief.
I have just orderec another set make by a french pipemaker and my charles Roberts will finidh soon in the fire on barbecue the real place
of the kind of bad instrument.It is a very shame fir Ireland to made so bad instrument with is not albe to play right..

C'est à vous dégoûter de la musique.
Charles Roberts est indigne de sa qualification de full maker.
rares sont les moments où je peux jouer un air en entier sans avoir des problèmes..
En plus sur mon set il y avait des fuites importantes sur le soufflet, la poche ( toute la couture) les valves!!
rien de bien!
tout à refaire!
les bourdons n'ont jamais pu sonner ensemble, tout est faux !!!
honte à Roberts!
A déconseiller vivement.
Best Regards ;-)

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