Monthly Archives: October 2009

Which drone reed do you like most?

Below is a mp3 file. It contains the recording of 1 set of drones with different combinations of 2 sets of drone reeds (no chanter). The order is:

1 – tenors = set #1 bass = set #1

2 – tenors = set #1 bass = set #2

3 – tenors = set #2 bass = set #2

4 – tenors = set #2 bass = set #1

Here is the Sound file!

Which sound do you like the most and why? The make of the drones and drone reeds will be edited in later after a few non-biased opinions are given, or everybody ignores it long enough, haha.

Here is a snapshot is of the recording. Each track was independently normalized so the relative volume differences are qualitatively accurate.


To temporarily satiate those who asked for chanter along with drones, here you go. Here is 2 above, canning tenors, selbie bass, same standing position as the above, so the chanter is pointing away from the microphone, drones toward the microphone (which is slightly lower than (my) head height). The scale is played up and then down. The chanter is the Colin Kyo laminate chanter that 20 minutes before recording was sitting in my mail box out in the cold, this is the first reed I slapped in there. A little tape on high G and F, low G is a little flat. Not too bad for 30 seconds of warm up.

Enough talk, here you go: Sound File!

The pipes are my solo 1950’s Hendersons (not a big surprise to those who follow my blog, I’m sure).

The drone reed combinations are as follows:
1 – Canning tenors and bass
2 – Canning tenors and Selbie bass
3 – Selbie tenors and bass
4 – Selbie tenors and Canning bass

Keep in mind recordings are only useful for comparison to each other given the same conditions. Just because you don’t like a sound in a recording, doesn’t mean that is what it sounds like in real life, though it may be an accurate representation (but how are you to know?). They must be used relative to each other to be able to draw anything objectively, as opposed to subjectively.

What I note is the Cannings, the bass anyway, has a bit more buzz to it and a more ‘complicated’ sound whereas the Selbies generate very ‘pure’ tones.

I’ve got a couple more sets of drone reeds to try out, maybe my new Dunbar P-1s for commercial relevance. The suggestions to the include the chanter are noted and there is real value in that. We’ll see how much time that takes and if the chanter over powers the drones too much. I’ll probably do this again sometime before the year is out.

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


low E and low F# instead of low G

A couple of clips of the scale played on the highland bagpipes with the low G substituted for another note. Low A is tuned to 480 Hz + ~10 cents.

Low F# – obtained by taping over one tone hole entirely and taping over the other a little bit for tuning. Grace notes to and from low F# sound and act fairly normal.

Low E – obtained by taping over both tone holes entirely and extending the length of the chanter just a little bit with a ring of tape on the very bottom, less than a centimeter in length. All the grace notes on the bottom hand work well enough, though throws and such don’t work very well. All the top hand grace notes produce a squeal.

Chris Apps poly chanter with a ridge cut reed. 1950’s Henderson pipes, Selbie drone reeds.