newbies start here - New to the uilleann pipes?

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PiobROCK
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Re: newbies start here - New to the uilleann pipes?

Post by PiobROCK » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:05 pm

Hi,

I haven't posted here in awhile, but I had a question that I think would be relevant to this topic...

I found a great tutor in Washington D.C. since my last post and have had the opportunity (through him) to test a few different chanters. The chanter that came with my original set... had a real difficulty transitioning into the high E... without sounding a horrible screechy squawk. For months I thought the problem had to do with my status as a novice UNTIL, my tutor gave me a Daye chanter to work with. The squawk went away completely... and since then I've tried two other chanters that do not have the same screeching squawking issue. This tells me it was a chanter/reed issue on my original set and not a lack of pressure control or accurate fingering (that's my theory at least, lol).

The current chanter I am using (and I won't name the maker because they probably read and post here, lol) I'm not very happy with in terms of a few areas...

1. Top D is way to sensitive (bridal adjustment has little to no effect)
2. It has a thumbrest... not a fan.
3. When doing staccato triplets, in particular low hand (FGA) the "G" aspect sounds "croaky" and I realize a lot of chanters are like this... but I have played one that wasn't and was pleased with it.
4. Despite my efforts at bridal adjustment and reed seating, Top D pressure, does not transition into High E gracefully... My Daye chanter did this wonderfully.

So having said all that, I am looking for a new chanter. And I wanted to know the best way to possibly test chanters from different makers, without spending a mint. Or if anyone has advice on makers that include the following attributes...

1. A hearty Top D
2. No thumbrest
3. The ability to have one finger off the G hole, and still have it sound a clear note (particularly in the case of FGA triplets)
4. A nice fluid transition from Top D Pressure right into High E.
5. And I don't know that it makes a difference, but I tend to like the feel and grip of a thinner chanter.

Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much. :)

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the plod
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Re: newbies start here - New to the uilleann pipes?

Post by the plod » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:55 pm

go to a tionol and listen and ask if you can try.....

learnthegrip
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Re: newbies start here - New to the uilleann pipes?

Post by learnthegrip » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:03 pm

Except for the thumbrest and the thickness of the chanter all of the problems that you mention sound to me like reed problems—as in reed not matched to the chanter or overscraped rather than needing adjustment. Any chanter by any maker can have a weak back 'd', a temperamental low 'g' and be difficult to transition from 'd' to 'e' if it is not properly reeded.I wouldn't be too quick to abandon a chanter until you've sat down with a competent reed maker (a tionól is a great place to find one) who can try a number of reeds known to be good in it and either get it going to your satisfaction or confirm that it has inherent problems. You might also consider contacting the maker of your chanter to see if you can get a couple of reeds on loan to try, or send it back to be checked and reeded.

outofthebox
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Re: newbies start here - New to the uilleann pipes?

Post by outofthebox » Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:53 am

It could be, as learnthegrip has suggested, that the lips of the reed have been thinned down too much. In that case you could try drawing the lips of the reed gently across a piece of very fine and well worn sandpaper - or better still emery paper if you have it. Just place the paper on a flat surface and draw the upside down reed slowly across it - just one pass - then turn the reed the other way round and do it again. Then try the reed in the chanter. This sanding will strengthen the lips and make the reed more resistant - so strengthening your back D. If the lips are very thin you can repeat the sanding several times - testing in the chanter after each. But go easy - with the very lightest pressure on the sanding.

Mr Hulot
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Re: newbies start here - New to the uilleann pipes?

Post by Mr Hulot » Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:55 am

PiobROCK wrote:
I haven't posted here in a while, but I had a question that I think would be relevant to this topic...
Yes you are correct in that this is the appropriate place to post as it demonstrates how easy it is for a newbie to make a complete fool of himself
Learnthegrip wrote:
All of the problems that you mention sound to me like reed problems
Spot on. Well that’s three of us (LTG,OOTB and Me) that have spotted the trouble straightaway. Why didn’t your tutor spot this if he is so great ?
PiobROCK wrote:
I found a great tutor in Washington D.C / My tutor gave me a Daye chanter to work with. The squawk went away completely...
The Daye and other chanters only work better because they are set up properly and has almost certainly have been played a lot before you tried them. How clueless do you (and your tutor) have to be not to realise this. Also you are used to a slim chanter so perhaps you are not covering the tone holes properly on the chanter in question due to its different nature.

Have to wonder just how experienced your tutor is. First thing he should have checked was if your pipes were set up properly and if not told you to get in touch with the maker for a new reed if they were not.
PiobROCK wrote:
The current chanter I am using ….. I'm not very happy with in terms of a few areas... It has a thumb rest... not a fan
So you do not like feel of the chanter…. Well that is not the makers fault is it so why criticise his chanter design when the only person to blame is your-self for buying it without doing some research. You want a slim chanter because this is what you are used to as a GHB player. UP chanters are generally heavier so basically it is a case of 'get used to it'

The real point for your post seems more to slag off the maker of the chanter than anything else as your following comment also suggests.
PiobROCK wrote:
I won't name the maker because they probably read and post here, lol
As a member of this forum then you know full well they post here so why are you afraid to say I have a chanter by “insert maker name” and need some help as I am a new player.

What are you afraid of…… is it being asked why you have not contacted him for advice and looking an idiot

As there are very few makers whose chanters have a thumb rest you are in fact naming them and from this point I would guess the maker is the same as the one who made my own pipes or by one of his apprentices.
PiobROCK wrote:
For months I thought the problem had to do with my status as a novice
It is !!!

For your information mine plays perfectly with a superb hard bottom D and a strong back 'd' It is in tune through both octaves and swapping between to the two octaves is easy including octave jumps such as from low b to high b. Back d to high e transition is a breeze in either direction and as this is his standard chanter pattern yours should not be any different. I have tried just opening the ‘G’ hole and it does in fact play but understandably is a little flat as it is designed to be played with the standard fingering of the F# hole open as well.

You should also be aware that this maker has been in business a long time and has helped a number of other ‘would be’ pipe makers get started including a very big name one

Before moving up to the Dales I lived with my parents near to my maker and was able to visit and watch my set being made. They are a lot more complex and harder to make than a GHB especially the reeds and made the dedicated few by hand not churned out on cnc or copy lathes. I know him very well and do not like to see him and other pipe makers bad mouthed on the forums especially by inexperienced newbies.

Questions are

1/ Have you tried contacting the maker direct even if it was brought second hand...... most obvious solution is perhaps too obvious for you

2/ How long have you actually been playing the UP's. Being a GHB player would help a little but it is a totally different instrument requiring much more control over the bag pressure especially in the second octave.

3/ Did you buy the chanter/pipes direct from the maker or was it second or even third hand in which case did it have the original reed / spare reeds and were these reeds in original condition.

4/ If someone has tried to fit the wrong style of reed then it will not play correctly. Unlike the highland pipes where the reeds fall into the 'one size fits all' category the up's can require considerably different styles/sizes of reed depending upon the maker.

5/ UP reeds are very delicate and temperamental through changes in temperature, humidity and interference. Tampering / adjusting can cause problems even if you do know what you are doing.

You will need to do some proper research if you want another chanter e.g. do as ‘The Plod’ says and go to a Tional “. A number of makers go for a heavier body with all holes scalloped which will probably not suit you either.

A new take on an old adage seems to sum it up “A bad piper always blames his chanter”

Only makers I know of that made slim style chanters similar to a GHB one were McCarthy and Wilkinson of London who I believe are no longer in business

I have emailed the probable maker so he is aware of your post. Maybe he will reply or maybe he will think in the light of what you have written that you are not worth the effort of a few lines

Have a good Christmas

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the plod
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Re: newbies start here - New to the uilleann pipes?

Post by the plod » Wed Dec 26, 2012 12:11 pm

CIVIL DISCOURSE FOLKS! (YES I AM YELLING).

it's what sets us apart from the other forums out there. no need to call anyone (especially a new player) clueless.

I notice that the original poster has not replied, hopefully he hasn't been scared off.

the Plod

outofthebox
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Re: newbies start here - New to the uilleann pipes?

Post by outofthebox » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:47 am

the plod wrote:CIVIL DISCOURSE FOLKS! (YES I AM YELLING).

it's what sets us apart from the other forums out there. no need to call anyone (especially a new player) clueless.

I notice that the original poster has not replied, hopefully he hasn't been scared off.

the Plod
I think that lack of civility, or outright hostility, in response to posts can easily kill off forums like this. In the last twelve months there have been precious few posts here - let's hope for better things for the year ahead - and a Happy New Year to all pipers and pipemakers great and small 8)

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PiobROCK
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Re: newbies start here - New to the uilleann pipes?

Post by PiobROCK » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:47 pm

Thank you everyone for your input. It was indeed a reed issue. My instructor put a new reed in the chanter and it's working much better. He's sending the other one back to the maker.

And no, not scared off, lol. As a matter of fact this forum is the first an only forum that use to reach out to other pipers, and most everyone has been exceedingly helpful in the past.

@Mr. Hulot: No disrespect meant to you or any makers. Thank you for weighing in. Should we ever meet in real life, we'll hit a pub, I'll buy us a pint and we'll have a good laugh. :)

PipeZ
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Re: newbies start here - New to the uilleann pipes?

Post by PipeZ » Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:49 pm

Hi all. I received a set of Uilleann pipes as a present and am trying to figure them out. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a teacher near me. My biggest problem so far is that the Connector Tube between the bellows and the bag kinks up when I try to play. The neck of the bag, between the reservoir an the chanter stock, also kinks up. The bag size is 30" x 11" and the pipes are from Columbia Products. There is a picture at http://www.bagpiper.com/classifieds/sho ... -set&cat=2. I have played the Great Highland Bagpipes for several years, so the problem may be a habit from there. I was perusing the photo forum and noticed that my chanter is missing all the bumps that everybody else seems to have, as well as the little metal rod in the middle of the chanter. I thought that experience with one type of pipes would ease the transition to another, but I was wrong! Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. By the way, does anybody else find it funny that the spell-check does not recognize "uilleann"?

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KM
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Re: newbies start here - New to the uilleann pipes?

Post by KM » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:19 am

PipeZ wrote:Hi all. I received a set of Uilleann pipes as a present and am trying to figure them out. My biggest problem so far is that the Connector Tube between the bellows and the bag kinks up when I try to play. The neck of the bag, between the reservoir an the chanter stock, also kinks up.
HI , would some stiffer radiator hose from an auto store fit the fittings? Then you could cut it to size and it shouldn't kink. The bag neck kinking shouldn't be a prob unless it cuts off the air supply. As a last resort the bag neck could be cut shorter but I can't advise you to go chopping bits off your set. Someone would need to see it to tell you if you were holding everything correctly.

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djm
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Re: newbies start here - New to the uilleann pipes?

Post by djm » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:35 am

PipeZ wrote: There is a picture at http://www.bagpiper.com/classifieds/sho ... -set&cat=2.
Sorry, but you are the recipient of garbage. This is a common trap that those unfamiliar with bagpipes often fall prey to. You can barely buy a good reed for the price of this entire set ($280). Please contact your city's waste management authority and request assistance with the disposal of toxic materials. Plan to spend minimum $1000 on a good beginner's set (chanter, bag, bellows).

Spell check resides on your computer, not the web site. If "uilleann" not there you must add it.

djm
Sex and drugs and uilleann pipes

outofthebox
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Re: newbies start here - New to the uilleann pipes?

Post by outofthebox » Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:15 am

Hi Pipez - These pipes are all about problem solving, so that's how you should approach them from day one. KM's suggestion is a good one - I have used the flexible drain hose for a washing machine in this way and it has worked very well for me. Take things slowly and methodically and your instrument will begin to let you know how it wants to be played 8)

PipeZ
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Re: newbies start here - New to the uilleann pipes?

Post by PipeZ » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:39 am

Thank you all for your advice. I will try KM and outofthebox's suggestion. Thanks to djm for what I can expect when pricing pipes and reeds from here on out!

benedictus
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Re: newbies start here - New to the uilleann pipes?

Post by benedictus » Sat Jul 13, 2013 6:58 am

Hello folks. I am new to this forum, although I have been studying it and learning as much as I can from you gentlemen (and ladies?) for some time.
In that regard, I thank you all en mass for easing much of my worry in starting on this long road of learning the UIlleann Pipes. :)
I am eagerly awaiting my Penny Chanter I have recently ordered from Mr. David Daye, and while I wait, I have set out to complete my practice set.
And here is where I need your help. I'm basically gathering or making all the rest of the parts of the practice set by piecemeal due to budget constraints.
To start off, I have bought an unstocked leather/vinyl bag as well as a bellows connector tube. Also, I have begun the daunting task of making my own bellows.
Aside from finding a cheap short length of brass tubing for the connector tube stock, I seem to be doing okay gathering the materials for my bellows design. Where I'm having major trouble is finding (or knowing how) to make the bag stocks, specifically the bag stock that fits with the bellows connector. Can anyone point me in the right direction to a simple DIY design? (To be sure, I have carpentry and prop making experience, I just don't have my usual wood shop connections like I used to and have no access to working with a lathe.)

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Mr.Gumby
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Re: newbies start here - New to the uilleann pipes?

Post by Mr.Gumby » Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:36 am

I have seen stuff straight out of the plumber's supply shop used to screw into the bag, not sure I'd recommend it but there's precedent. Maybe get someone to turn a few bits for you would be the most solid way to go though.
My brain hurts

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