Band pipes and prototype drone reeds (again!)

If you only listen to one sound file, make it this one:

Pipe Major George Allan, Braes of Mellinish, and Old Chanter (John Wilson style, well, almost)

Amidst all this prototype testing I felt like just playing something I knew would work really well without fiddling. So, out came the band pipes as you heard above. 1950’s Henderson’s, Colin Kyo blackwood chanter, Gilmour chanter reed, Rocket tenor reeds, and Canning bass reed (Rocket bass is on loan). Only trick is, I’ve got a Canning bass with Rocket tenors. The Rocket tenors are rock solid, but as the Canning bass absorbs moisture as its body material allows, its tuning changes. This is in an L&M bag treated with Gannaway’s seasoning (which helps a lot), no tube trap this time, and there’s visible water absorption on the reed. You can hear at the end me just retuning the bass. So…it absorbs moisture so it doesn’t collect on the reed and affect tuning, but then again, the tuning changes because it absorbed the moisture. As the Rockets stay steady and my Kinnaird’s do as well in my Gellaitry’s, my vote is going to have to go to non-moisture absorbing reed bodies. What follows is actually the first set I played, an MSR, and by the end you’ll hear the drones had gone out again, at the very end you hear the outside Rocket tenor still being in very good tune, again, just the bass changed pitch. Tempos a little slow so I can work on phrasing (something I suck at).

Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque, Ewe with the Crooked Horn, Rejected Suitor

Lastly, I wanted to give my waltz written for my daughter some airing with my favorite tune to follow it with, a hornpipe I got off Colin MacLellan’s World’s Greatest Pipers that I don’t know the name of but I know it has one because someone told me what it was. Probably just as well, I can’t play the tune as well as Colin (this should be immediately obvious if you listened to the file, bleh!).

Calista Anne McLaurin and a hornpipe

Then, I moved on to the Gellaitry’s with the newest iteration of the prototype drone reeds. I guess since he’s responded in the comment sections in a post below, it’s no mystery that the drone reeds are being made by Terry Ackland up in the great white north somewhere, I think it’s called “Canada”. This newest batch has been corrected for pitch a bit as the variables were a bit maxed out on the last batch, but we’re sitting comfortably with a little wiggle room to go in both directions (sharp or flat) with this batch. I decided two prototypes at a time was a little much so I’ve got back to my blackwood Naill chanter with Gilmour reed as played in my most recent live and online competitions, as can be heard below. Those of you who follow the blog will recognize the high A crow I’ve been trying to blow out for weeks. :o) We’ll start with Hector the Hero followed by The Rock, an old set used to be played by the Hamilton Pipe Band out of Houston, TX (check out my youtube channel, for some videos of the old Hamilton band). Sorry one of my tenors cut out in the hornpipe (2nd part, can you hear it?), but I feel the slow air lets you get a good feel for the drone reeds. Notice they don’t really go out of tune, consistent with Terry’s treatment of them to resist moisture, despite having cane tongues on a plastic body.

Hector the Hero, The Rock (by James Scott Skinner and Jimmy Mitchell, respectively)

Lastly we have another MSR. There’s been a bit of talk on the forum about the Conundrum so I figured I’d whip it out again for giggles. I’m still moving around during the strathspey and reel, hence why the drones sound a little wonky, they go out of phase with each other when you move and so it sounds as if they’re out of tune a wee bit, I guess I should have just stood there, oops). Edit (2011-12-15): turns out the bass as setup was a little unstable and that was the cause of the out-of-tune-ness. My bad.

Conundrum, Ewe with the Crooked Horn, Miss Proud

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