Category Archives: Blog

Correctly Identify 3 Tunes and enter a drawing for RG Hardie hat and small t-shirt

I recently won a raffle with the College of Piping and got some neat stuff. Two of the prizes I won were a RG Hardie ball cap and a size small t-shirt. Ball caps make me look more stupid than usual and the shirt is a wee bit too small. So, shoot me an email or PM ( forums) with the names of the tunes I play in this youtube video and I’ll enter to you into the drawing (unless you’re the only one to respond and then you automatically win) and I’ll mail this stuff to you. Only email and PM entries will be accepted. Entries close end of day, CST, Sunday (the 11th) and I’ll try to get it mailed out next week. USA and Canada entries only please. If you can’t find my email address, you probably have no idea what the tunes are! Hint, hint…

The other raffle prize was an engraved silver Naill practice chanter. It’s obviously not in the drawing as it fits just fine!

Thanks COP, Naill, and Hardie!

Salado Highland Games and Competitions

The Salado games this year were once again a success. I got firsts in H/J and 2/4, seconds in 6/8 and SR in grade 2 out of a field of 4 or 5. A friend captured a wee bit of my jig, as seen here:

Hen’s March

Jack Lee said I was above my grade level in the 2/4 march. Though unsanctioned, maybe that’s enough to get me out of EUSPBA grade 3. The quartet went well enough, so mission accomplished.

Also competed in Jori Chisholm’s Online Competition. The deadline hasn’t been reached yet but, I’ll take constructive criticism anywhere I can get it. Ta da:

Yay! I’ve got a way to sell stuff!

So, here’s the scoop. The trading post on the forums of work really well. The only trick is, sometimes someone will sound genuinely interested in buying something and then you never hear from them again. I try to be nice and tell anyone who inquires after that person that they’re next in line after I hear back from the original person. Well, more often than not you don’t hear back from anyone. So, to get around that, I spent a couple days writing a butt load of php spread across a few scripts and opened a for sale section on my website. Transactions are handled with PayPal and as soon as something is bought, PayPal sends my scripts some data that they then process and remove the item from the for sale page. The only catch is if two people try to purchase an item around the same time. If someone clicks “Buy Now”, the for sale page will state that someone has clicked on the Buy Now button and how long ago they clicked on it, but that the transaction hasn’t finished yet. The notification disappears after 20 minutes as I’ve assumed the person changed their mind. The notification states that it’s probably safe to proceed with the purchase after a delay of 5 minutes as they’ve probably changed their mind, but to refresh the store page right before finalizing the purchase to make sure that item still shows up on the store page and hasn’t been bought while you were filling out the PayPal “paperwork”. Check it out!

Chanter Reeds

I have spent a lot of time and money buying chanter reeds, and a lot of them just weren’t that great. Many of the older recordings on this site were done with older reeds resurrected from my past piping life simply because I couldn’t get a decent set of new chanter reeds. There is much talk of what chanter reeds best suit what chanters. Rubbish! Find a good reed with no flaws, and it’ll work in any chanter. Similarly, there are lots of praises for ridge cut reeds. Well, no thanks, if I drank tea it wouldn’t be my cup.

In the last year or so I’ve had the pleasure of playing Gilmour reeds. They are FANTASTIC! There are only 2 problems with Gilmour reeds. 1. Gilmour must be left handed because the hemp supplied with the reed is wrapped backwards. Maybe it’s just because he is from Australia and I’m on the wrong side of the equator. 2. The hemp isn’t waxed and is very springy. Okay, so there’s nothing wrong with the reeds, you just hafta take the hemp off, wax it, and then put it back on the right (clockwise) way.

Recently, after much bugging Shawn Husk on bookFace, I’ve had the chance to play a few Husk reeds. They are similarly fantastic when settled, and a new batch on the way should be more my strength and should settle a bit better for me in the pipe. Even better, the hemp is wrapped the right way and it’s waxed. Ta da! Shawn Husk is about to start selling (October 1st launch date, Edit: okay Shawn has pushed it back to November 1st because he thinks he can make them even better, I’m not convinced but I certainly don’t mind him trying!) what is probably the finest, and most consistent, chanter reed on the market today. Of the 4 I ordered, they are all identical. No really. I also hear a ridge cut is in the works from Shawn, which while it does lessen my opinion of him just a smidge, I’m kidding of course, if anybody can make one that isn’t blown out in a couple hours, it’d be Shawn.

So, stop mucking about trying the find the reed whose flaws don’t manifest themselves in your chanter and go buy some real reeds that will work in any chanter. May Gilmour continue to prosper and Husk dominate the NA market. Good on ya!

McLaren synthetic chanter reed strength guide

You’ve probably heard by now about Malcolm McLaren’s synthetic bagpipe chanter reeds. He gives a rough guide as to the strength ratings he uses (13-20) by giving the equivalent values in inches of water for 3 of his reed strengths (13 = 18 in. H2O, 17 = 28 in. H2O, 20 = 35 in. H2O). It is immediately obvious that the scale is roughly linear. So this is a trivial post, I’m just going to fill in the gaps for ya.

McLaren in. H2O McLaren in. H2O
12.97 18 13 18.07
13.38 19 14 20.5
13.79 20 15 22.93
14.2 21 16 25.36
14.61 22 17 27.79
15.02 23 18 30.23
15.43 24 19 32.66
15.84 25 20 35.09
16.26 26
16.67 27
17.08 28
17.49 29
17.9 30
18.31 31
18.72 32
19.13 33
19.54 34
19.95 35

The equations are:
McLaren = 0.41095890411 * (in. H2O) + 5.570776255708
in. H2O = 2.431432432432 * (McLaren) – 13.540540540541

More Formulae for calculating Points earned per competition

Attached is a WORD document, an accompanying PDF copy of the WORD document, and an EXCEL spreadsheet that explains and shows graphically a few of my proposed formulae for the calculation of points awarded to a competitor for a given competition. The red box in the EXCEL spreedsheet is the only number that should be changed; it contains the number of competitors to be used in the calculations.



New Formula for Season Points in Sanctioned Competitions

The current system of awarding points by the WUSPBA (and seemingly EUSPBA is similar) is:

(Points per competition) = (Number of Competitors) – (Placing – 1)

I say a better formula is:

(Points per competition) = (Number of Competitors)*(1/Placing)

Note, only the top 6 places are awarded points. Everybody else gets zero points. Also, piobaireachd is worth double points.

Anyways, as an example, this is how the top 40 in Grade III in the EUSPBA would be reorganized based on my new formula.

Old Rank – Name and Branch – Old Points – # Comps – New Points – Old Pts/# Comps – New Pts/# Comps


Oops! & Upgrade

Well, I accidentally deleted the uploads directory so I am having to go back and reupload the contents so I don’t have some of it on my computer anymore so some of the posts have been deleted. All to upgrade to 2.6.3. I am an idiot. Take care what you delete!

Yeah, so, if you find a missing file, let me know and I’ll fix it!