Glencoe and Jeffers bagpipes, whew!

Bunch of pipes this go around as I’m catching up. All the pipes below are played with blackwood Colin Kyo chanters and either a Husk or Gilmour reed. First on is my D. MacPherson’s (Kinnaird tenors, Rocket bass, band chanter) with a couple jigs, the second composed by EJ Jones that I transcribed from his album “The Willow”. EJ is a great musician; he also makes some of the best smallpipes and A440 chanters out there. I’ll admit this isn’t the first time I’ve ripped off some of his music. Go check out his website, it’s pretty cool!

Old Chanter and Leisa McCord (Ebert Jones)

Next is one of my last goes on the Jeffers bagpipe before I ship it back to Keith. I’ll say this bagpipe is steady as a rock. As I’ve said before my Selbie’s are well past their prime: loose bridles, moldy, what have you and these Jeffers pipes took them in stride, no problem. That is one thing Keith told me about them, that they were easy to tune and would stay locked in, and I heartily agree with him. Look for the last few posts before this one and you’ll have recordings of these Selbies in the Jeffers and my Gellaitry. I stopped playing the Selbies in my Hendersons because I couldn’t get them in tune. I had no trouble in the Jeffers, but you’ll see even my Gellaitry’s couldn’t restrain them and I had to switch back to Kinnaird for the piobaireachd for stability. We’ll hear similar issues when they’re put in the Glencoe’s later. So that’s all retrospective, today we’ve got the uber-stable Jeffers with one last set of reeds, Crozier Carbon. These tenor reeds have always been decent but I’ve never been a big fan of the bass until the last few days. I’ve always pegged it for quiet which was irritating against the volume the tenors produce. Turns out the trick is to bury that tuning plug in there as far as you can. I’ve known of this effect for a long time, but never experienced it do much except on Wygent reeds. Well, add Crozier Carbon bass reeds to that list, the tuning plug position drastically affects the volume, so push it in and you’ll get good volume from it. These are just a little on the quiet side because my Zoom H2 got reset a bit (unbeknownst to me) when I had to buy a new SD card for it, oh well. This is my easy fun chanter so the reed doesn’t respond well to B grace notes, as regular listeners might have noticed last time I played Thief of Lochaber all the grips from D were pretty mushy. Oops!

Alan MacPherson of Mosspark, I laid a herring in saut, and Kenneth MacDonald’s Jig

Kantara to El Arish, Dora MacLeod, and Captain Lachlan MacPhail of Tiree

Locheil’s awa to France and Miss Proud

Then we move on to the Glencoe pipes, apparently made by an ex-Lawrie turner by the name of Matt Marshall who immigrated to Canada and made bagpipes out of his spare bedroom. They were my father’s but eye problems have put him out of piping so I’m picking them up. We start with some more quiet recordings with my Naill-spec Rockets. This is with my solo chanter at the moment. The bag these are tied into kinks right above the chanter stock which I find irritating and think contributed to the chanter sound, especially the rather odd sounding high G. None of these tunes are played particularly well as the geometry of this pipe as it’s tied in is just wrong for me. The bag sits too low and the kink in the bag above the chanter stock is because it isn’t a “goose” neck bag and your left hand is responsible for keeping the chanter in a playable position, which didn’t help my focal dystonia-ish E grace note problem you’ll hear at some point in at least one of the recordings in this rather long post.

Donald Cameron’s Pipes and Sweet Maid of Mull

Cowal Gathering

So, next day I’m back on the Glencoe’s but I’ve hemped them up for my Dunbar stocks in my medium Gannaway (perfect fit) bag (that I played the Jeffers drones on above). So this is also that same easy fun chanter instead of my solo chanter as directly above. What a mixed bag this post is turning out to be. Also, they’ve got the Selbie’s in them again. Hear that ring? These drones aren’t the truest as far as being perfect concentric circles as you look down the bore and the Selbies, again, are worn, but I think they held their own fairly well.

Fair Maid, Swallow’s Tail, Rakish Paddy, Hen Wife’s Daughter, and Lady Doll Sinclair

Calista Anne McLaurin, Kitty O’Shea’s, and Mason’s Apron

Fairie’s Hornpipe, Jolly Beggarman, Pigeon on the gate, Fleshmarket Close, and Kelsey’s wee reel

On a side note I’ve got some rather interesting things in the works. I’m working on a python script (usable on Windows, Mac, and Linux) that will give ultra-high frequency resolution of the component frequencies that make up a bagpipe, analyzed through an audio recording. This uses numpy/scipy functionality called FFT (fast Fourier transform) to switch between the time domain of a signal to the frequency domain. More neat, is that you can do an inverse Fourier transform to go from the frequency domain back to the time domain. So the idea is that you can convert a recording of a set of drones into its constituent frequencies, zero out certain fundamentals or overtones, reconvert back to the time domain audio signal and hear what the drones would sound like were they lacking certain overtones or hear what JUST the overtones coming off the drones sound like. Pretty neato huh? So, the script is mostly fleshed out but it needs a little more work which means I have to find the time sometime to get around to finishing it. My wife is on a research block for 4 weeks which means I won’t have any nights to myself as she won’t ever be off at the hospital overnight so I’m not sure when it will get done. So I figure writing about it on here will ensure that I do get it done sometime because maybe someone out there might actually use it.

Alrighty, this post is long enough and I bet I’m needed else where. Cheerios (and Corn Flakes)!

3 thoughts on “Glencoe and Jeffers bagpipes, whew!

  1. Nice stuff Patrick.

    The Jeffers do sound rock solid. I am getting that same steadiness out of my set, and even more so now that I am playing a hide bag with them. Sorry to hear about your day’s eyes…at least he will know those Glencoes are in solid hands (and fingers).

    Good piping. Your slip jigs sound much better than you give yourself credit- nice driving pulse you played them with-and I do like the ring coming off those pipes!

    Cannot wait to see that pythonic and going.

    David NY

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