Monthly Archives: September 2012

Jeffers Bagpipe – playing with bass drone reeds

Howdy ho my peoples. My last post from yesterday was short and sweet so this one is long and sour, maybe? My Selbie bass has a bridle so loose I would not be surprised if it is sliding during playing. So, I figured I’d putter around with some other bass drone reeds. Leave a comment if you’d like indicating your favorite or what you thought didn’t sound so good. I think the Selbie is still the best. Colin Kyo was good though, my only quibble is it being high on the pin. The regular ole Ezeedrone just didn’t seem to settle. The Henderson Harmonic Deluxe didn’t work at all so there is no recording. The Crozier glass was really buzzy. The Crozier carbon quiet, as usual. The Rocket that makes my MacPherson bass sing, sucks air in this pipe like no other. So, Selbie it is! Selbie tenors in all the recordings below, and I forgot to mention that’s a Colin Kyo chanter and Husk reed, same for the previous post. Presented in chronological order and I’m going to be really lazy today, given the volume of recordings, and not beautify the track lists. Recorded in the bedroom today so you get to hear them from many angles.

Selbie bass:

01-74ths_farewell_to_edinburgh (I still suck at B taorluaths)

02-donald_macleans_farewell_to_oban (I still round off the quarter C doublings)

03-74ths_slow_march-some_march-pipers_prelude (E grace notes on D are killing me)

04-humours_of_ballyloughlin (this tune has been trying to get on the blog forever, so I finally caved)

Colin Kyo bass: 05-highland_wedding-susan_macleod-bessie_mcintyre (meh)

Crozier Glass: 06-kalabakan-famous_bridge-big_yin-donald_macleod (buzzzzzzz)

Ezeedrone: 07-going_home-sleepy_maggie_x2-dick_gossips-dancing_feet (yeah, I dunno)

Crozier Carbon: 08-scarce_o_tatties-queen_of_the_rushes-frahers_jig (no I didn’t barf)

Rocket: 09-waltz-gravel_walk-korgi (guess I didn’t remember that one tune eh?)

New Pipes – are they the real MacDougall?

Out of the blue I had a fellow by the name of Keith Jeffers shoot me an email and ask for my comments regarding an audio file of him playing his pipes. I thought they sounded good but you know audio files, it can be tough to judge. I didn’t recognize the maker though, so I asked, and he fessed up admitting that in fact, he had made them. I thought that was pretty cool. He told me the styling was inspired a bit by Duncan Gillis. He also told me that he bored them to what basically amounted to ever so slightly modified Duncan MacDougall specifications. I believe he said the bores were intact, so maybe something in the bell was slightly altered, I’m unsure. He would then be the third pipe maker (or pipe maker’s friend) to have suggested to me in the last month or so that they thought the MacDougall based pipe was the absolute best. I then fessed up and said for all that I hear about them, I’ve never knowingly heard a set of MacDougall pipes live. Then you know what, Keith made a set and sent it over for me to try. And here they are, about a month later:

Sorry for the iPhone pictures with the lovely backdrop of my bed’s blanket. I personally love the styling. The cord guide on the bass could be a little narrower and the stocks more uniform and smaller, but other than that I have no quibbles. I like how the rings of the projecting mounts look, passing up the slope smoothly into the wood for a different effect. The understated chalice tops. The slight taper of the drone top sections, but without the bulge you would see on a set of MacLellan’s. The flat drone top. Even the inverse bead is neat. I believe the mounts are made of hard maple. The drones themselves are cocobolo, a wood Keith prefers over african blackwood. He has taken a very different approach to how a bagpipe should look and I think it turns out very nice.

On to the sound, I settled on Selbie reeds (though I’ve only tried Kinnaird, Ezeedrone, and Crozier Glass), but having just sold my new set to a friend up in New York, I’ve got my old, probably need to replace the bridles, Selbies in there. My list of excuses today include having a brutal 1 hour workout about 3 hours before recording, I think the reed is about done in the chanter, and I suck as usual. I’m also in the walk-in closet recording as the kids are asleep and mommy is working the NICU this block. Hopefully I’ll get a recording in an open room soon for a better perspective. Sometimes it gets a little tenor heavy because I guess I kept switching feet (tired from the workout) which apparently landed the outside tenor a little too close to the mic. Nothing bad, just noticeable. I think the tone is great. I don’t have a clue if they sound like MacDougall’s, but the sound very nice regardless. I’ve got two recordings for you. I’ve been meaning to record the band set for the players to play along with and haven’t gotten around to it until tonight, I figured two birds, one bagpipe. So, bear with the rather lackluster tempos and be thankful it makes it easier to hear the drones. Then to make up for it I demonstrate how to play hornpipe shakes with no consistency whatsoever, followed by that jig I finally got right. Cheerios!

Battle of Waterloo, A Dram Before You Go, Glasgow Police Pipers, Deer Forest, Firth of Lorn, Sleepy Maggie, & Dancing Feet

The Redundancy & Rakes of Kildare