1. #1
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    Talking Any Pipers On The Site????

    Hey there was just wondering if there were any pipers (just incase, I mean Bagpipers) that are out there and would like to pass on some of the knowledge that they've picked up through out the years???????

    tricks?
    funny stories?
    good places to get supplies? and music?

    I my self have wanted to learn for a long time but have only had the oppertunity to start this year. So I did and I've been learning for about 3 months. I have class once a week and have two friends that are teaching me. They are on the group that I am hoping to join.

    ttfn
    Rath De Ort

    RSM

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    Yes, I have been a Piper for going on 20 years. Currently have 3 sets of pipes the most recent was custom made one of a kind set of "War Pipes" that took nearly a year to make by a small family shop in Tralee, Ireland where I was born.

    Tricks:
    1- Always "weight" your kilt, which is to say sew something of weight to the inside bottom of your kilt. Two hands dedicated to playing the pipes and a windy day.....need I say more

    2- work on your lungs and get them strong. For those painfully long notes and the shorter ghosts between them you can make the transition much easier you will sound much better.

    3-practice in your front yard without your shirt on and your tattoos in full view of the neighborhood. You will find that after a day or two of this people are less apt to bug you. This also acts as a "crackhead" repellant if you happen to have a few neighbors who fall into this category.

    4- Count on never having to purchase a drink in an Irish pub on St. Pats day as long as your playing.

    5- Play with people that are better than you they will make you better.

    6- If you are having a problem striking a finger position or a transition dont work yourself into frustration simply go take a nap. Your brain works to solve riddles dealing with your fingers and hands while you sleep. This method is adapted from learning how to juggle.

    I dont have too many funny stories other that pub stories after a march.

    As for supplies and such I go with Bagpipes of Caledonia.
    I.A.C.O.J IRISH TATTOOED-HOOLIGAN

    DETROIT FIRE FIGHTER AND PROUD!

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    My goal is to learn to play this year. I Got my practice chanter last week, learned the 9 notes, grace notes, and basic throws and have my first lesson on thursday!

    I'm very excited as I've always wanted to play!

    Not sure if you know but there's a great bagpiping forum at http://www.bobdunsire.com/CGI-BIN/ultimatebb.cgi

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    I've been learning for the last couple of years, and I'm now on my pipes. All I can say is practice, practice and more practice. I'm guilty of NOT practicing as much as I should, and that's why I'm still not playing with my FD band!

    Motown...any suggestions on getting better and stronger lung power? I'm still struggling, and cut out my drones way too often. As for your suggestion for playing shirtless, well that would just scare the children and horses if I were to do it!!!

    Pat
    Communications Diva of the IACOJ, and proud member of the WOT!


    Bagpipes: They put the fun back in funerals!!

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    I have my chanter upstairs collecting dust. Ths may surprise some of you, but if I hadn't majored in Fire Science, I would have been a music major. Played brass instruments for voer 30 years.

    Is it possible to learn the pipes w/o lessons if you each yourself? i really want to learn, but time is at a premium.

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    George-
    Everything I've heard is no. lol

    Here's a website where you can spend hours and hours reading and there are some suggestions there for the brave soul thinking about attempting to teach themself...

    http://www.hotpipes.com

    (ps it only sounds like a porn site, I promise it's a piping site!)

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    I'm not a piper, but its the only musical instrument that I ever wanted to learn to play. The Clan McGreggor is one of my family lines. My oldest known ancestor is my 19th great-grandfather, named Greggor of the Golden Bridles. Maybe I'm not too old to try to learn, if I can find a teacher. Good Luck with the pipes.

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    All the things Motown says are true. The most fun I've had so far is playing in Savannah Ga. on St. Patrick's Day. It is the 2nd. largest St. Pat's parade in the country behind New York. The difference is that it is usually 75 degrees down there as opposed to the windy 30 degrees in Manhattan. The few days leading up to the parade are fun also. We usually march up and down River Street playing in all the pubs. River Street at this time is much like Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras.

    As far as memorable moments go, I would have to say it was having a car run through our drum section at last years Savannah Parade. A couple of the drummers got injured pretty bad, as did some of the spectators, but in the traditions of southern hospitality we were invited back this year to lead the parade. I would also like to note that the Savannah Firefighters and Police Officers extended every professional courtesy possible.

    Check us out at
    Monmouth County Police Pipes and Drums
    Last edited by TruckSkipper; 01-25-2005 at 11:27 AM.
    DKK
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    APFD
    IAFF Local 384:


    "Above all, an assignment to a truck company should be considered a promotion."

    Chief John W. Mittendorf-1998

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    ..........
    Last edited by StLRes2cue; 11-16-2005 at 10:06 PM.

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    Are there "cheap pipes" that are worth buying to learn on? I have seen some on ebay that look very cheap for around $150...I wouldn't use them to play in a band yet, but if I enjoyed it, I would upgrade. Don't want to spend $1,000 on something that I wouldn't enjoy! Thanks,

    Phil
    FTM-PTB

    "JOLLY ROGERS"
    FDNY E255 L157
    York, ME Fight'n Four :P



    "Ridin with pride" 1971 American LaFrance, former Hartford CT ENGINE 15
    "Get in, sit down, shut up, and hang on"

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    RE ebay pipes:
    NO!
    Most are made in Pakistan from less than quality materials and will take a lot of time and effort to get to a point where they're playable, if at all.

    The way to learn is by starting with a practice chanter to make sure it's somthing you really want to do!

    http://www.hotpipes.com

    That's where I ordered my practice chanter from, as well as a tutor book... if you're interested in learning, start there and read read read!

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    Phil,

    I'm with Firetacoma1 on this one.

    If you are really interested in taking up the pipes you should try reaching out to these guy's.

    The Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire Pipes & Drums
    DKK
    Truck Man
    APFD
    IAFF Local 384:


    "Above all, an assignment to a truck company should be considered a promotion."

    Chief John W. Mittendorf-1998

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    ummmmmmmm...what do you think???lol
    I have bee playing for about four years with a civilian band, but stay pretty busy playing for different functions as i'm the only piper in my area. you tend to get some strange looks at first, but when you strike up and play a tune for the first time, the looks will be dramatically different.
    Here's a story: on 9-11-01, i was at work, at our monthly training when the Attack occured. our instructor stopped the drill, and requested everyone step outside for a moment of silence. quietly he asked me to get my pipes.as everyone was conducting a moment of silence, i struck in with Amazing Grace. there wasn't a dry eye(including mine) in the house.
    As far as tricks go, one of the most useful ones i know is to tie a bit of hemp around your reeds, leaving a tail to stick out as you slide your chanter/drones into their stocks, let this tail stick out of the joint. this will prevent them from falling out at an inoppurtune moment(like striking in to play at someones wedding!!!!)
    As far as learning without an instructor, i wouldn't personaaly recommend it. there are far too many little things you need to learn in order to properly play this complicated instrument. only an instructor can show you these things and make sure you are performing them correctly.
    Capt. Todd J. Matthews
    South Lynches Fire Dept.

    "Loud Pipes Save Lives!!!"

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    Thanks for the help guys...I'll look into it more as soon as I have a few extra $$$
    FTM-PTB

    "JOLLY ROGERS"
    FDNY E255 L157
    York, ME Fight'n Four :P



    "Ridin with pride" 1971 American LaFrance, former Hartford CT ENGINE 15
    "Get in, sit down, shut up, and hang on"

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    Talking

    Hey guys
    Wow thanks for the replies. I love it.
    The stories are great.
    Motown
    I dont know about standing shirtless on the front yard Im sure it would attract some attention but Im sure Ild get arrested for indesent exposure. Hahahaha. Definately a good tip with waiting the kilt good point lots of wind no hands Im sure an uncomfortable situation for all.
    Fyrpiper32
    Just thinking about your story gives me goose bumps. thanks for the tips
    SFD333DFD720
    like firetacoma1 said I wouldnt try to self teach. Im in class right now in laconia with a great group and we are a a few months into but when we started there were so many little things that took us a while to get like how to hold the chanter and how to play each note and transition them that without a teacher I would have definately gotten all wrong. That and when you start to get into grips and throws and grace notes, doublings its EXTREMELY confusing......
    Truckskipper
    Yah those guys are really an awsome group of guys. Im my 2 instructors are from the group and are setting my group up with the woman who taught the chelsea MA guys. She sapose to be fanominal.Im hoping to aspire and become talented at this and be a member eventually.

    Thanks everyone for your input and hopefully when I check in again there are some more tips for me.
    I definately need all the help I can get.

    Thanks for the links too

    SYATBO
    Becky
    Rath De Ort

    RSM

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    Default Pakistani Pipes

    Just to echo what was said earlier. Don't waste your times with the cheap ebay pipes. As said earlier they're probably pakistani. Those are made from a cheap rosewood rather than the standard African Blackwood. Also, the construction is pretty shoddy. I would say go for a used quality set of pipes. Shepherd ( a scottish maker that I play, but there are many other great sets out there) makes a quality, affordable pipe. Naills are also very nice, but tend to be a bit more pricey.

    - jack rhem
    SPFD
    St. Thomas Pipe Band
    Last edited by vegas0012; 01-26-2005 at 01:18 AM.

  17. #17
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    Default Don't waste your money

    Definitely pass on the cheap pipes. It is $150 you could put towards a real set. I bought a decent Naill chanter about three years ago and learned to play a few tunes. I then decided this was something I was interested in doing. I saved for a year and bought a set of Naill pipes. Best money I ever spent.
    One and only tip from me (As after 2 years on the pipes, practicing regularly I consider myself to be poor but improving):
    The chanter will seem impossible to play at first. You will get used to it with time. Then you get your pipes, and they will seem impossible to play. This will not change. Good Luck, and happy piping.

    P.S. in my other spare time I have taken to teaching myself to play piano, it helps me relax after practicing on the pipes.
    See You At The Big One

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    I dont know one thing about bagpipes, or playing them, but I do know of a place in Bethlehem Pennsylvania that sells anything for "pipers." The place is called Donegal Square, their webpage is www.donegal.com I like to browse in there, just out of natural curiosity of all things Celtic. "IF IT'S NOT SCOTTISH, IT'S CRAAAAAP!" (just kidding....Who remembers where that came from??)

    I know they have pipes, kilts, jackets, glengarrys, plaids, sporrans, feather bonnets, etc etc etc.

    Also- Philaelphia Police & Fire Pipes & Drums: www.phillypoliceandfirepipeband.com
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    After I thought about it I figured I'd impart some of my personal preferences to any aspiring pipers.

    Don't get a hide bag, get a synthetic one with a zipper.

    I had a water trap but It mildewed after only about a month. I now use a beck valve/water trap. It replaces your mouth piece check valve but it fits into the mouthpiece stock from the bottom. You just gotta remember to dump it every half hour or so of playing.

    Easydrone reeds with drone enhancers.

    Pre-waxed hemp.

    Lube up your equipment (to protect against chaffing) on hot humid parade days. I can't stress this enough. I learned the hard way and had to do the last 10 blocks with my feet 3 feet apart.

    If any of this sounds like a lot of work, it is. But for me it's worth it. Also remember that drummers only have to put a fraction of the work and effort that pipers do and they have almost as much fun.
    DKK
    Truck Man
    APFD
    IAFF Local 384:


    "Above all, an assignment to a truck company should be considered a promotion."

    Chief John W. Mittendorf-1998

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    GOOD PIPES ARENT CHEAP AND CHEAP PIPES ARENT GOOD

    of course you should take in to consideration I spent nearly 6 grand on my last set.


    All good advice, Now someone asked what to do to get the lungs strong.....practice. Hold the long notes until you foul the note then begin again as quick as you can. Usually after a day or two of seeing "Chrome knats" buzzing about in front of your eyes you will see a marked improvement.

    One last thing I forgot, once the general population knows you play the pipes you will no doubt be asked to play in a funeral or a wedding. If you are not comfortable or are only a beginer you owe it to the family and yourself to refuse your service until you are not only good at playing but are great at it.

    Now for those of you seeking instruction and I do recomend instruction here is some suggestions of places to look:

    1- Ancient Order of Hiberians (if you indeed have a chapter in your area)

    2- Local pipe bands (usually more than willing to take on new players)

    3- Emerald Societies (if you cant find a fire fighter society check out the police and even the building trade society look online for The "Emerald Society Green Pages" orginized in most states.

    4- Celtic Historical Society (if they dont have players thay can put you in contact with some)

    Good luck all
    I.A.C.O.J IRISH TATTOOED-HOOLIGAN

    DETROIT FIRE FIGHTER AND PROUD!

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    MOTOWN's right about the importance of quality. Most of the Pakistani pipes "might" make decent kindling for a fire. Stay away from them. I've got a set of Gibson's that I'm well pleased with the tone, and having paid just about $1200, they were affordable. I currently know of a set of full silver Robertson's with a price of $8,000. They are an absolutely gorgeous set of pipes, but way beyond any need that I would have.

    There are several brands of quality pipes out there that are affordable. Kron, Naill, Gibson, and Dunbar to name a few. Someone mentioned Ezeedrones as the drone reed of choice. While I agree when used in my Gibsons, I have also been happy with Ross Omegas and Lee Rockets. The same reeds may sound terrible in another maker's pipes, and may even vary from set to set. As for the hide bag versus the synthetic, I prefer the hide simply because of the feel, and I don't like enhancers at all. They caused me more problems than they solved. Proper technique on the strike ins was the best fix for me.

    As a disclaimer to any of my opinions in any issues discussed prior to this, you'll find just as many opinions against me. As time goes on, you'll develop your own opinions, and those are the only ones that will come to matter to you anyway.

    There are several good suppliers out there, and most are very willing to help you. Jim McGillvray is one of the nicest guys you'll ever talk to, and he'll bend over backwards to get you with the best pipes you can afford. Some others with the same mind-set include Chris Hamilton, and the people at Aberdeen Bagpipe Supply.

    Piping and pipe music is one of those things that you'll either hate or dearly love. I feel that it's one of those instruments that's got to be played from the heart or it's music is hollow and not much beyond noise. Taps on a bugle can be awe inspiring in the proper setting, but nothing...nothing can rip out my heart like Amazing Grace, Oft in the Stilly Night, and The Mist Covered Mountains on the 'pipes.

    I've always been taught to honor and respect your heritage as a matter of family value, and those beliefs (for me) have spilled over to my fire service family. Without getting into the history of the the association between bagpipes and the fire service, suffice it to say that I feel the bagpipe is the essence of that heritage. With that in mind, both will always hold that "special" place in my heart.

    Then again...maybe I just take this stuff way to seriously.
    Steve Gallagher
    IACOJ BOT
    ----------------------------
    "I don't apologize for anything. When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

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    WOW thanks and keep the tips coming.

    My chanter is a dunbar and I'm not sure what Ill go with when I get my pipes but I have my buddies who all said I could feel theres out or that they would go with me to make my choice. They are quite expensive but I figure I wont be good enough for a set for at least a year so if I start saving $10 dollars a week Ill be able to afford a bad *** set when Im ready

    Hahahaha "If its not scottish its craaaap!" thats histarical SNL old school.

    Motown OUCH you were fealn the pain on that one for a while huh...or just till the after party set in?LOL. I will definately by pass that discomfort.thanks.
    Rath De Ort

    RSM

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    Rebekkerz,
    As far as a first set of pipes, I would HIGHLY recommend as set of Dunbar P1's. They are of Polypenco (Delrin ) material, and are dang near indestructible. They require very little maintenance, sound great, and are probably the most inexpensive, good quality pipes on the market. We have several members in our band currently playing them and even the most experienced ears have diffuculty telling them apart from african blackwood pipes. I would suggest a leather abg to start with, as the leather has more weight to counterbalance the weight of the drones. New pipers(myself included) sometimes ahve diffuculty learning to strike in with the gore-tex bags, and constsantly feel as if your pipes are going to fall over backwards.The Ezeedrone brand drone reeds are also a good choice.Also, when starting out, you'll want to use a an Easy strength reed in your pipe chanter, as this will aloow you to get the feel of your pipes and learn play basic tunes without giving yourself a hernia in the process.
    As far as suppliers go, I use Chris Hamilton at Tone Czar.com. He's as knowledgeable as anyone and is very helpful with any questions you may have.
    Good luck with your endeavor. This is truly an instrument that carries much heritage, honor and tradition. Strive to perfect your skills, and I promise it will be one of the most fulfilling tasks you will ever undertake.
    Capt. Todd J. Matthews
    South Lynches Fire Dept.

    "Loud Pipes Save Lives!!!"

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    Drone Reeds:
    No one has suggested this, but just so you know...don't waste your time with cane reeds. They do provide a slightly warmer tone IF they're set up right and the conditions are right...but that's a big if. Hardly anyone plays these anymore, and when they do - they're usually world renowned solo pipers who have decades of experience and plenty of time to deal with the inherent high maintenance of a set up like that. Get some Rockets or Omegas. They are incredibly stable. I prefer the Omegas, but they're a bit more work to adjust bc you have to use a very small allen wrench. Still, either set is a good bet.

    Bag:
    Some have suggested synthetic bags like Gore-Tex for ease of maintenance, while others like leather bags bc of the balance they provide by they're weight. Having played on both leather gannaway bags and the old goretex ones, try this out. Go get a shepherd bag. It's synthetic on the inside with a zipper and moisture control system, but on the outide it's leather for that balance. So essentially you get the best of both worlds. Also, someone suggested the gore tex bags for ease of strike in. Another option is to get 'tone enhancers' from Shepherd pipes. Initially, I thought they were sort of gimicky. However, after a few months of using them I noticed cut offs were much easier and attacks were noticeably easier to hit spot on. Just a thought.

    Jim McGillvray: I have never met the guy, but I don't doubt he's easy to work with. In addition to helping you out finding a set, see if you can get a hold of his exercise books. Good execution is at the core of good piping. His book goes into good depth about what good execution is and how to attain it.

    Anyways, I've talked long enough. Hopefully everything works out well.

    P.S. When you first get pipes, it might behoove you to play with your middle tenor turned off. This makes it easier as you adjust. Then eventually when your stamina has improved you'll be able to handle all three drones. Cheers!

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    So would I be able to get that shepherd bag and use it with a set of dunbar pipes?? I dont know how that works.
    thanks
    Rath De Ort

    RSM

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