You may recall from recent post that a friend of mine won some Marr bagpipes. So, just the other day we had a drone reed optimization party to get the best drone reeds for each pipe. Out of Redwood, Henderson Harmonic Deluxe, Ezeedrone, Selbie, Wygent, Kinnaird, Colin Kyo, and Crozier cane we settled on Redwood tenors and a Selbie bass in the Marr’s. The Redwood tenors are very bright and solid while the Selbie bass gave a very deep and broad bass tone. Both he and I have never had much luck with the Redwood bass reed, regardless of pipe. Though the subject of another blog post, my Gellaitry’s ended up with Kinnaird tenors and a Wygent bass. Other reeds of note were the Crozier cane and Henderson Harmonic Deluxe tenor reeds.
Before we get to the recordings, a little bit about the chanters. There’s a thread on the bobdunsire.com forums at the moment that is a review of Bb chanters. Although the Gael is a 470 Hz chanter (not 466 Hz Bb), it is the first to be reviewed and a direct comparison is made in one post between the Gael and McC2 chanters. Specifically, that they are not too different pitch wise (Gael ~3 Hz flatter) and so one might as well go with the McC2 as the commonly accepted superior chanter (ya know, Willie McCallum designed it and all (though Jim McGillivray designed the Gael, also note the Gael was designed as a band chanter for lower grade bands to get their pitch down)). So, I’ve got both of those chanters in poly. So what follows are the same tunes played on the same Marr bagpipe with the same drone and chanter reeds, the only difference being the chanter. For those into such things, the drones are tied into a grommetted Gannaway bag.
So, you’re bored of reading my discourse now, so on to the recordings! Oh wait, the Gael came in at 472 Hz, the McC2 at 480 Hz. That’s a difference of 8 Hz for those of you too lazy to do the math yourself. Also, I’m walking around in a circle relative to the recorder (a Zoom H2), so you’ll hear tenor, bass, and chanter dominant parts as I walk around. Also, sorry about the lip seal noises, I passed my dissertation defense at the expense of not practicing for the last 2 months.
Gael – Swallow’s Tail and Rakish Paddy
The B on the Gael was a teeny bit flat. I’ve got tape on C, D, and F. The high G is in tune when I remember to blow out the high A.
McC2 – Swallow’s Tail and Rakish Paddy
The McC2 is pretty well balanced with tape on high G, F, E, C, and low A.