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  1. #11
    Join Date
    2nd July 06
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    Madison, Wisconsin
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    Some of my friends who don't play as often use plastic pipes. Interestingly enough, I was talking to Colin Melville from the Tannahill Weavers, and he said he uses plastic pipes when touring because he flies a lot and moves to different climates quite regularly, which is tough on wood pipes.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    27th October 07
    Location
    Fairbanks, AK
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    A little about the O-ring option. The local band has two sets of P1s as loaners. Both with O-rings. Those rings are not a very good setup on these two sets. They have a slight "bounce-back" effect when tuning that makes it a little harder to really get in tune. And they wear out. So, all of a sudden, the drone telescopes down on itself. While playing. This, obviously, does nothing good for the tuning. If I ever get a set of poly pipes, I am going with hemp on the joints.

    There's a fellow on the Dunsire forum who dressed up a set of P1s to look rather fancy just using that metallic foil tape you can get for making packages pretty. Added just the right touch of bling to make the pipes look really stylin' instead of very severe, as they normally do. When I saw the pictures, I was so tempted to start saving for a set, but came to my senses when I realized I would seldom play them.

    Oh, and the P1s are heavy. I haven't had experience with any other pipes, but those are significantly more clunky feeling than my blackwood pipes. The sound can be very good, but I think you need to know there's more than just sound involved in playing a set of pipes. And there's little argument that a set of blackwood pipes will sound as good (or better - as wood instruments age they can improve in tone, though some folks seem to argue about this, still it is well-accepted by luthiers and many woodwind makers). I would find the P1s awkward because of this weight. Others might not mind.

    As to price, those Dunbars are not as cheap as some folks seem to think they are. The cheapest price I've seen is $700 from Hotpipes. That seems great until you realize they come with cane reeds (beginners should probably not use cane, just due to the additional frustration factors) and a leather bag. Now, I like leather bags, but not everyone does. If you want synthetic reeds, you add another $100 (maybe 75, maybe 125, depends on what you get). So, to get a setup that is appropriate for a beginner, we're talking about more like $800. You can get plain-turned Wallace pipes in blackwood for that. And add another hundred and you can get basic McCallums (the AB0 model) in real blackwood.

    If you want a no-maintenance bagpipe that you can pound nails with, go for plastic. If you want to take the time to baby an instrument that is made of natural materials, get the wood. The price isn't really the big factor. Your willingness to do the work of caring for your instrument is the key. And it isn't that much work, really. I play wood.

    -Patrick

  3. #13
    Join Date
    13th August 05
    Location
    NJ, USA
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    I have a set of Dunbar P-3's, played them for about 7 years now. I've always been satisfied with the tone. I frequently replace the Dunbar chanter with an old (40's - 50's vintage) Forbes blackwood chanter. When I use the older chanter I sleeve the drones to make it easier to tune to the flatter pitch without fooling with the reeds.
    Just under a year ago I bought a set of plain turned, chalice topped Kintails. I enjoy both sets, but there are differences (at least to my eye/ear).
    In their stock set up, I find the Dunbars to be louder than the Kintails. Actually, even with the drones sleeved and the bw chanter they still seem to be slightly louder. The Dunbars are slightly heavier on the shoulder, and are more problematic with moisture. I play synthetic tenor reeds and cane bass in both sets, with a McCann chanter reed in the Forbes and Dunbar chanters and an Apps reed in the Kintail. My instructor is a strict traditionalist who only plays cane reeds, and he approves of the tone of both sets.
    I initially bought the Dunbars with an eye toward durability. We do a good bit of Rendezvousing and Reenacting, and we have 11 grandkids. They seem to fill that requirement well. 7 years so far, without any major damage.
    All skill and effort is to no avail when an angel pees down your drones.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    2nd October 07
    Location
    Denver, Colorado- a mile high, baby!
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    What about Dunbar chanters? I have a poly chanter, but the holes are straight bore, and not countersunk. I want one with countersunk holes because these straight bore ones are a pain to find without looking. (Being a bass player, I feel like an idiot having to constantly look at my fingers!! It's a pet peeve.)
    "Two things are infinite- the universe, and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." Albert Einstein.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    2nd August 05
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    Prescott, Arizona
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    In my experience, and I have a set of Dunbat P-3s and a practice chanter, only an advanced piper can tell the difference.

    And only sometimes.

    Best investment you can make in pipes, IMO.

    And regarding a good poly practice chanter - go with a Gibson long.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    2nd October 07
    Location
    Denver, Colorado- a mile high, baby!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prester John View Post
    In my experience, and I have a set of Dunbat P-3s and a practice chanter, only an advanced piper can tell the difference.

    And only sometimes.

    Best investment you can make in pipes, IMO.

    And regarding a good poly practice chanter - go with a Gibson long.
    I was looking at those, too! I had a Gibson bass once- fantastic instrument! I had no idea they made piping supplies until earlier today! If their pipes and chanters are as good as their axes, I just may have to get one! Thanks for the advice.

    And my piping instructor actually says the same thing about the Dunbars. As I am learning to play so my reenactment clan will have a piper again, I'll be doing a lot of camping and traveling with my pipes eventually, so the poly ones would be a must- especially for me... I'm clumsy. Clan MacStumblebum?
    "Two things are infinite- the universe, and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." Albert Einstein.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    2nd August 05
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    Prescott, Arizona
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    haha

    I don't think it is the same Gibson...unless Jerry Gibson has been holding out on us and making guitars all these years on the side.

    Still the practice chanter is top drawer, and has a great sound.

    I love my Dunbars, and though I'll never make much of a wake in the competitive circles, my son plays 'em like a pro.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    24th August 08
    Location
    NY state, but not NYC.
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    When you purchase you pipes, you'll also need to purchase a case if they do not come with one. A lined padded case will help protect the ABW pipes while in trasit. Also get one large enough to put some supplies into as well. A bit of extra hemp, spare reeds, maybe a tuning aid (Korg).

    Also take the time to learn how to hemp you stocks, Occasioanlly tou may need to re-hemp them. hemp is a natural material and will also break down over time, swells and shrinks with changing humidity/moisture levels and can make setting you drones interesting.

    There are mechanics of the pipes as well as the sound.

    But I'm just a Hack piper who plays for beer.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    2nd July 06
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Q-Piper View Post
    But I'm just a Hack piper who plays for beer.
    I think we're going to become great friends.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    28th April 06
    Location
    Sanford, NC
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    I'm hitting this a little late, but I have a set of P1s that I took to Iraq. They survived the heat very well and had no real problems going from the 70 degree air in my room to the 130 degree heat outside. I run EZ Drone reeds in them. My only issue is that the high A and G sound really weak. All the new sets are normally hemped joints - the O-ring ones are no longer produced. They are tough - I've walked into door frames, dropped them off the bed, and had them loaded with the rest of the dufflebags into the cargo hold of an aircraft with no problems.
    I'm a well rounded guy - English motorcycles, Irish brew, and Scottish clothes and music.

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