Robertson bagpipes with Robertson Rocket drone reeds

Today’s post is the first installment of a series that will cover a set of Robertson bagpipes on loan to me from David Murry (NY). I’ve played these pipes once before but they were shipped up to Dunbar to be refurbished, but now they’re back in my hands again. If I recall correctly they’re ebony with a few bits showing the lighter brown sapwood. They’re button mounted, nickel ferrules, and yellowed imitation ivory ringcaps that don’t quite look like anything I’ve seen before (not chalky like casein (which also doesn’t turn yellow), not celluloid as there’s no grain, not that stuff you find on Hardies as it isn’t shiny enough, so I dunno). David is offering the pipe for sale so in the interim I get to play them (they have sold). There’s no blowpipe or chanter but the drones are complete along with the complete set of stocks. I could also provide these carbon fiber Rocket drone reeds, though I’ll think you’ll find Cannings better suited once I get around to recording them. I’m playing them in my Henderson stocks so only the drones are being playing currently as I don’t have a spare bag to tie them into.

I was hoping the Robertson spec Robertsons would go a little better than the recordings indicate. The bass is big and the tenors mellow and with where I put the recorder (same spot as usual) you get a lot of bass without much tenor. There are spots in the recordings where you can hear the blend as for the most part I’m usually just meandering around the room, so they’re there, you’ll just have to wait for them. The tenors can be made bolder as I have the bridles as far down as they’ll go without shutting off for the sake of stability, though they are on the verge of being outside the normal operating range as indicated by the marks Mark Lee puts on the reed bodies to indicate bridle positioning. Live and in person, the blend was very nice, but I’m a tenor man so Cannings are in next.

Sorry about the fingers, digging up and lifting the ugly concrete landscaping in my front yard yesterday left my forearms like jelly.

Leaving Port Askaig, Angus MacKinnon, and Ellenor – A few band tunes out of order and in the wrong sets

74th’s Slow March, Donella Beaton, Braes of Melinish, and Rakes of Kildare – I’m about tired of hearing top notch players playing wussy versions of Rakes!

Hector the Hero, Cork Hill, Glasgow City Police Pipers, Clumsy Lover Jig, Troy’s Wedding – These jigs are a new band set except Clumsy.

Kanatare to El Arish, Susan MacLeod, and Lochiel’s Awa to France – Da MSR

David shipped some original Shepherd drone reeds (not SM-90), ya know, the black ones with white tongues cause he says the tenors sound fantastic. I don’t believe him (lol) but I *might* try them. For sure, next in the pipe are Cannings. Cannings have a great ring on the tenors that will really bring out the harmonics and the bass will blend a little better, I think.

Typical of Robertson bagpipes, the bottom joint on the bass is almost as exposed as the top joint. This poses some problem with reliable strike in with this Rocket bass, so hopefully I can find a bass (Canning carbon fiber or polycarbonate, or maybe low-pitch Genesis Kinnaird) to allow me to pull it down just a tad. I don’t like hitting the bag too hard because I’m afraid I’ll pop off the tenors.

2 thoughts on “Robertson bagpipes with Robertson Rocket drone reeds

  1. Locked in well for sure. The tenors do sound a bit light…blend is not there with the Rockets as much as I’d like. Definitely need beefier tenor reeds.
    Nice chunes laddie.

    David NY

  2. I may break the Rockets out again, push those bridles back to centered stock configuration, and have another go. We’ll see. There was about 1/2-3/4″ inch of hemp showing on the tenor pins, so it wouldn’t hurt. I just don’t want to loose stability.

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