Bagpipe Setup and tunes all on the Robertson’s with Rockets

Bagpipe setup is VERY important. The post contains recordings of a set of 1950’s Robertson’s accompanied by a Colin Kyo chanter and Husk reed. But first, bagpipe setup. The guy who owns these pipes would marry them if he could. They are great pipes. They are his solo instrument and up until his purchase of some Colin Kyo pipes, they were his band pipes too, despite owning 3 other sets of pipes. But, ever since he got the original mount added to a modern blowpipe, he’s been having trouble with the pipes. The blowpipe was a little short when manufactured so we used one of my longer mouthpieces to compensate. But turns out, the bore of the mouthpiece was TINY and that was causing ALL the trouble. Unfortunately, we didn’t discover this until after about a year, and more recently, shaving this new Husk reed down a little and squishing it just a little bit with pliers. DOH! I think a mandrel will set it just right but in the end, all it needed was a little squeeze with the pliers to bring the F up to pitch, no scraping needed really. So it’s a bit on the easy side and I search around for high G and A a bit in the recordings below. Regardless, the drones with custom glass Rockets sound FANTASTIC! Other salient point, the other reason why the recordings below aren’t as perfect as usual (yeah right!) is that most of it was sight read off the stand. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve played all the tunes before just didn’t have them memorized. Additionally, I pity the fool who doesn’t know how high up to tie the chanter stock, basically as high up as it will go and not obstruct the air flow. Otherwise you’ll be like me with hands that are worn out from reaching down doubly suckifying already sight read playing. We better git on that too now that we’ve got a bigger bored mouthpiece on there. There are A TON of variables to get right when setting up a pipe you are unfamiliar with, a la new. If your pipes are hard to play, check everything! Here be a picture of the pipes:

Bagpipe Setup and tunes all on the Robertsons with Rockets

Some time ago I transcribed what were referred to as “European Dance Tunes” off the Piper’s Controversy album. Here’s the sheet music (note that the comment at the very bottom actually refers to the first set of 1st/2nd endings). They are tunes from Brittany, France.

You’re A Peein’ Dance Tunes

I’ve been playing a lot of reels lately so here are a couple more:

Major David Manson (Peter R. MacLeod) and Willie Cumming’s Rant (D.C. Mather)

Then we have a set I’m working on with the owner of the Robertson’s:

Salute to James A. Henderson (Robert Mathieson), Scarce o’ Tatties, Queen of the Rushes, Fraher’s Jig

I listened to the July 2012 COP radio program today and they had I think Alasdair Gillies playing the Foxhunter’s Jig, or at least somebody was so I figured I’d work that in:

Sleep Dearie Sleep, Donald Willie and his dog (D. Morrison), and Foxhunter’s Jig

And just about the time my hands were wore out I decided to play some jigs that I barely know:

The Weaver and Ian Fraser of Foregin (both by Donald MacLeod)

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