Monthly Archives: December 2011

Giving the McC2 some air

New recording of my slow air, A Father of Piping, Brian Barrow. I figured I’d better give the McC2 some play time if I was going to go around saying that I thought other chanters had better tone, despite its relative ease of tuning. Played on Gellaitry pipes, Ackland tenors, Kinnaird bass, same Gilmour reed played in the Naill chanter in the post immediately before this one, and a poly McC2 chanter with nickel sole.

A Father of Piping, Brian Barrow

Band pipes and prototype drone reeds (again!)

If you only listen to one sound file, make it this one:

Pipe Major George Allan, Braes of Mellinish, and Old Chanter (John Wilson style, well, almost)

Amidst all this prototype testing I felt like just playing something I knew would work really well without fiddling. So, out came the band pipes as you heard above. 1950’s Henderson’s, Colin Kyo blackwood chanter, Gilmour chanter reed, Rocket tenor reeds, and Canning bass reed (Rocket bass is on loan). Only trick is, I’ve got a Canning bass with Rocket tenors. The Rocket tenors are rock solid, but as the Canning bass absorbs moisture as its body material allows, its tuning changes. This is in an L&M bag treated with Gannaway’s seasoning (which helps a lot), no tube trap this time, and there’s visible water absorption on the reed. You can hear at the end me just retuning the bass. So…it absorbs moisture so it doesn’t collect on the reed and affect tuning, but then again, the tuning changes because it absorbed the moisture. As the Rockets stay steady and my Kinnaird’s do as well in my Gellaitry’s, my vote is going to have to go to non-moisture absorbing reed bodies. What follows is actually the first set I played, an MSR, and by the end you’ll hear the drones had gone out again, at the very end you hear the outside Rocket tenor still being in very good tune, again, just the bass changed pitch. Tempos a little slow so I can work on phrasing (something I suck at).

Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque, Ewe with the Crooked Horn, Rejected Suitor

Lastly, I wanted to give my waltz written for my daughter some airing with my favorite tune to follow it with, a hornpipe I got off Colin MacLellan’s World’s Greatest Pipers that I don’t know the name of but I know it has one because someone told me what it was. Probably just as well, I can’t play the tune as well as Colin (this should be immediately obvious if you listened to the file, bleh!).

Calista Anne McLaurin and a hornpipe

Then, I moved on to the Gellaitry’s with the newest iteration of the prototype drone reeds. I guess since he’s responded in the comment sections in a post below, it’s no mystery that the drone reeds are being made by Terry Ackland up in the great white north somewhere, I think it’s called “Canada”. This newest batch has been corrected for pitch a bit as the variables were a bit maxed out on the last batch, but we’re sitting comfortably with a little wiggle room to go in both directions (sharp or flat) with this batch. I decided two prototypes at a time was a little much so I’ve got back to my blackwood Naill chanter with Gilmour reed as played in my most recent live and online competitions, as can be heard below. Those of you who follow the blog will recognize the high A crow I’ve been trying to blow out for weeks. :o) We’ll start with Hector the Hero followed by The Rock, an old set used to be played by the Hamilton Pipe Band out of Houston, TX (check out my youtube channel, youtube.com/patrickmclaurin for some videos of the old Hamilton band). Sorry one of my tenors cut out in the hornpipe (2nd part, can you hear it?), but I feel the slow air lets you get a good feel for the drone reeds. Notice they don’t really go out of tune, consistent with Terry’s treatment of them to resist moisture, despite having cane tongues on a plastic body.

Hector the Hero, The Rock (by James Scott Skinner and Jimmy Mitchell, respectively)

Lastly we have another MSR. There’s been a bit of talk on the forum about the Conundrum so I figured I’d whip it out again for giggles. I’m still moving around during the strathspey and reel, hence why the drones sound a little wonky, they go out of phase with each other when you move and so it sounds as if they’re out of tune a wee bit, I guess I should have just stood there, oops). Edit (2011-12-15): turns out the bass as setup was a little unstable and that was the cause of the out-of-tune-ness. My bad.

Conundrum, Ewe with the Crooked Horn, Miss Proud

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 (bobdunsire.com 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!

Prototypes and Diddly Tunes

It’s been about 2.5 weeks since I played last due to a head cold. What that has allowed is some prototype products to arrive at my door. One is a gorgeous blackwood chanter and the other is a set of drone reeds. The last prototypical product is a Shawn Husk chanter reed, but he’s selling those now; but I got this one free and before he opened up shop so it still counts! The other two will remain unidentified as their products are still in development and are not currently for sale. I’m playing my Gellaitry drones with the prototype chanter and Husk reed in every file, what changes is the drone reeds, tune selection, and crapy-ness of playing. These are kitchen piping tunes!

Kinnaird Drone Reeds – Polkas – I don’t know the names of these, Ger the Rigger might be one of them (the first?)

Kinnaird Bass Reed & Prototype Tenor Reeds – Reels – Swallow’s Tail, Gravel Walk, Sleepy Maggie major, Sleepy Maggie minor, Dick Gossip’s, Dancing Feet

Prototype Drone Reeds – Jigs – Scarce o’ Tatties, Queen of the Rushes, Fraher’s Jig, Rocking the Baby, Glasgow Police Pipers, Kesh jig