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  1. #21
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    2nd October 07
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    Denver, Colorado- a mile high, baby!
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    Quote Originally Posted by forestpiper View Post
    All I can say is hand in there - it took me about 7 months on practice chanter before taking up the pipes. Don't jump on the bandwagon too soon or it will be really frustrating! It has been a ride, for sure! Thankfully I stuck with it and I am piping all over the place, doing funeral, weddings, band gigs, birthday parties and memorials. I am playing for a boy scout troop next month as they retire a flag. The possibilities can be limitless, but you have to get through the "un-fun" stuff first!!
    Thanks for the advice. I don't jump into anything. I'll be getting my pipes in January, with my tax return, regardless, simply because that's the only way I'll be able to, with student loan payments, bills, blah blah blah... BUT- just because I have them doesn't mean I'll jump right in. And honestly, I have yet to find any un-fun stuff. Learning the E doubling has been in my... fingers... but that doesn't mean I haven't like getting it right. I think I have it right anyway... Well, regardless, welcome to X Marks!
    "Two things are infinite- the universe, and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." Albert Einstein.

  2. #22
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    17th June 08
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimB View Post
    I know nothing about music.
    As a piper, I can say that you should fit right in, then.
    Why, a child of five could understand this. Quick -- someone fetch me a child of five!

  3. #23
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    24th October 08
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phogfan86 View Post
    It can't be your fingers! Clearly you have a defective chanter, good sir!
    Very true! It's allowing me to do the heavy throw on D fairly well now... so maybe it's not all that bad.
    Last edited by Derek Conley; 7th November 08 at 02:48 PM.
    "A true adventurer goes forth, aimless and uncalculating, to meet and greet unknown fate." ~ Domino Harvey ~
    ~ We Honor Our Fallen ~

  4. #24
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    15th April 08
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    My instructor wouldn't let us advance to the pipes until we had memorized 5 songs. Took me nearly 18 months before I bought my pipes.

    Do listen to various sets before deciding on what you want

    If you see a set on ebay, don't be afraid to head on over to bobdunsire.com and have the users check them out for authenticity. Most of what you see is junk, but occasionally there are legit pipes there.
    dunsire also has a trading post where you can get used pipes,
    and you can also get great advice.

    I read somewhere that there's no glory in using gut busting reeds-there's no shame in using an Easy.....

    If you've got a week, check out the various workshops around the country. I'm heading to one near Pittsburgh this summer.
    The piping camp in North Carolina ,near Boone I think, is offered throughout the summer, and you could possibly head over to the Tartan museum after it's over.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    13th September 09
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    Middletown, CT
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    I have a chanter, i need to get going, I would like to find affordable/free lessons in Brookyn/NYC area. I am new here, so I will check out some of the suggestions on this thread.. Thank you.
    Last edited by KiltedSoldier; 13th September 09 at 10:04 AM. Reason: Spelling

  6. #26
    Join Date
    17th October 09
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    Seattle
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by beloitpiper View Post
    by the Pipers of X Marks the Scot

    Some other good resources are the Bob Dunsire Forums, the Bagpipe Forum, and Bagpipe Talk.
    Uh, for the record, I had nothing to do w/ writing the thread start -- and I have to say, a lot of good writing ... something like this is rather valuable to provide folks looking to start who are not somehow associated (as I was back-in-the-day)... but there are details to the writing that could be better clarified (eg that a practice chanter is a whole separate instrument from Highland pipes, not parts of Highland pipes, not as loud as Highland pipes) and opinions to the content that vary. ...Oh, and lets not forget the endless hot-debates about all of the above that goes on in the piping community... (/said as I feel my stomach roll).

    I am *VERY* glad that attention to eBay was repeatedly brought out -- yes, eBay is 99.9999978% of the time *NOT* your friend. Rosewood, I understand, actually is a rather good wood for making tone, but not when it is crafted into a Highland'esq instrument in a certain country beginning with a "P" and done so with p*ss-poor skill. The only Scot instrument I've heard of that I'd consider buying out of rosewood would be a set of Gibson fireside smallpipes -- but practice chanters on eBay/at Scot-shops/at music stores.... NO ...and $250 rosewood bagpipes, NO.

    IMO Bob Dunsire Forums can be a very good place for information. I also recommend looking for Andrew Lenz's web page on getting started in piping -- how to pick out an instructor, all of that.

  7. #27
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    17th October 09
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    Quote Originally Posted by wvpiper View Post
    I read somewhere that there's no glory in using gut busting reeds-there's no shame in using an Easy......
    This is yet another point w/in piping that can be debated until the cows come home on unicycles with moose in their hair...
    My opinion/experience -- No, there is no glory in using the hardest reed you can find or blow ... I think much of that really has to do w/ bragging rights and bravado among pipers, and thats it. I do believe there is something to be said for less experienced players playing harder chanter reeds to produce steadier tone -- but only kind-of ... harder reeds take more work, and ultimately you still have to produce even pressure between your blowing and your arm squeezing the bag. An easier reed takes less work but is more sensitive to pressure un-steadiness ... but if you're working against the reed/instrument, you're going to tire yourself out, you're going to ingrain bad habits in your playing/fingers, etc. I used to play the hardest reed I could, and a lot of newer-bies do ... but as you become a better piper and switch to an easier reed (I tend to play mediums) you ask yourself retrospectively "Why?". If I had to pick between the two for beginning range pipers -- I would say an easier reed used in conjunction with an instructor.

    Quote Originally Posted by KiltedSoldier View Post
    I have a chanter, i need to get going, I would like to find affordable/free lessons in Brookyn/NYC area.
    I had free lessons for many years through a couple of different bands I was in respectively. That's not uncommon and it can be found. BDF has a listing for bands and instructors by area -- I suggest people use that to network and find out who's in the area in the way of teaching bands and instructors, reputation in Highland piping in my experience means everything. I started getting private lessons that I paid for around 2000, and it has made a BIG difference, although right now I'm a broke musician & student and can't afford lessons so buy my CDs. Seek & you will find!

  8. #28
    Join Date
    10th October 08
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    Louisville, Kentucky, USA (38 13' 11"N x 85 37' 32"W gets you close)
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    Quote Originally Posted by BagpiperDon View Post
    Rosewood, I understand, actually is a rather good wood for making tone, ... The only Scot instrument I've heard of that I'd consider buying out of rosewood would be a set of Gibson fireside smallpipes ...
    I must put in here that it depends on the source/type of rosewood. There are about 30 different varieties in the Dalbergia family. There are also some woods that are stained purple to look like rosewood. I agree that some are less stable that others, and the craftsmanship can leave something to be desired, but that can be said about any mass-produced instrument.

    I have a set of Great Highland pipes made out of Madagascaran Rosewood (Dalbergia baroni), a.k.a. Bois de Rose. Per the pipe maker, "Bois de Rose has the same grain structure, natural oil and machining properties as African Blackwood, but Bois de Rose is not quite as dense as Blackwood, thereby making Bois de Rose a little lighter in weight." They've held up pretty well over the last eight years, and have a really sweet tone.

    If you want to know the maker, send me a PM.
    John

  9. #29
    Join Date
    15th July 08
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    Victoria BC
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    Quote Originally Posted by beloitpiper View Post
    by the Pipers of X Marks the Scot

    So you've decided you want to play the bagpipes, eh? Well, let us help you get started. First, here's a warning: this is not an easy instrument. Many people drop out after only a few weeks or months. This takes dedication, commitment, time, energy, and money. If you cannot sacrifice one of those things, stick with the whistle.

    First, you'll need a practice chanter. What is a chanter? A chanter is the part of the bagpipe that plays the melody. A practice chanter is a chanter without the bag or any of the drones. With this you will learn how to play the tunes and embellishments. There are many good practice chanter manufacturers, Gibson and Dunbar both make wonderful chanters. You'll want to invest in one of these because you'll be using it the rest of your life. Ebay is not your friend. If you go for the cheapest chanter you can find, it will only make things difficult in the long run.

    "But why can't I just buy a bagpipe?" - This is a common question. Without knowing how to use the chanter, the bagpipes are useless. One does not learn how to play tunes on the bagpipes, they are for the performance. Learning tunes requires stopping, starting, and repeating. This is difficult on the pipes, because one cannot strike up the pipes, learn a section of a tune, then stop and put them down. Chanters are easy because they are smaller, quieter, and when you stop blowing, the sound stops.

    To learn tunes, you'll either join a band, buy a book, or both. It is extremely recommended that you join a band or receive formal training through a tutor or pipe major. There is no true substitute to having a live person there giving you immediate feedback and demonstrating how to play. Joining a band also helps you standardize your playing, and playing with other people will help you learn faster. If a live teacher is unavailable and a book is the only option, the almost universally-used book is the College of Piping Tutor. This is available for about $35 and almost every instructor recommends it as the best book. But BE CAREFUL. Self-taught pipers almost always develop bad habits which must be untaught by pipe majors when joining a band. This takes time and will slow your development considerably.

    Tips while leanring:
    -The first few months of scales and embellishments are boring and difficult, pay attention and work hard on them, if you don't you will be very sorry later on.
    -Be able to set aside prioritized time for practice. A good regimen is four days a week (minimum) for roughly an hour. But, everyone has to develop their own schedule. If you have to go more than a week without practice, then you may not have the schedule or the self-discipline to stick with it.
    -Go slow! This doesn't come over night. It takes a long time to learn a tune properly, so take the time necessary.
    -Metronomes are essential. Even if you believe you have a good internal beat, this will only help and even improve your sense of rhythm.
    -Be sure not to grip the chanter too hard. Your hands will become sore and your fingers won't be as nimble. It doesn't take a tight grip, just a firm grip.
    -Listening to good piping can only help, and there are plenty of piping CD's out there. Buy a few and train your ear to know what good piping sounds like.

    After years of practicing on the chanter, you may be ready to move onto pipes. Begin by talking to your pipe major. See what the band uses and what reeds and drones the rest of the people use. EBAY IS DANGEROUS. There are a lot of tempting offers, almost all of which are too good to be true. It is usually advisable to get a set of kitchen or practice pipes. These are bagpipe from none to 3 drones, but require less air than the Great Highland Bagpipes. This provides a gradual step up to the great pipes.

    So that's it. If you have any other questions, just ask. Some other good resources are the Bob Dunsire Forums, the Bagpipe Forum, and Bagpipe Talk.
    I agree whole heartedly with the metronome concept. Absolutely essential!!!
    I found a great website, metronome.com that I can crank up on my computer speaker system so it can be overheard when I'm playing my pipes.
    If you cant play to the beat, you won't be playing in a band; or worse, you'll get the old golf tee in your chanter trick if the band needs bodies to fill the ranks.
    Happy piping...I've been playing for 4 years now. I only wish I could have started sooner!!!!

  10. #30
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    17th October 09
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobbyMc View Post
    I agree whole heartedly with the metronome concept. Absolutely essential!!!
    I found a great website, metronome.com that I can crank up on my computer speaker system so it can be overheard when I'm playing my pipes.
    If you cant play to the beat, you won't be playing in a band; or worse, you'll get the old golf tee in your chanter trick if the band needs bodies to fill the ranks.
    Not sure I'd heard about using a golf tee -- I had heard about a reed with a piece of scotch-tape. I'd gotten a marble stuck in my chanter once -- unbeknown to me -- made a hell of a sound before I knew it was in there, made another interesting one once I saw it and gave it a hard blast shooting it out hard enough to bounce off the tile floor/hit the cealing/bounce on the floor. Word from the wise -- don't stash a few odd marbles you find in your pipe case.

    I too was quite glad to see the metronome remark in the thread-start (/rolls eyes/ another point of debate). Metronomes have helped much-ly in my experience -- not only during playing but when I'm not. I have a Korg metronome I can clip to my ear -- I listen to that while I'm walking around (time your steps with it and sing your tunes & you'll learn a lot about your music IMO), while doing office jobs, sitting around, whatever .... of course, everyone things its some kind of weird big blue-tooth mobile-phone piece ... its up to you if you want to pretend it is and hold weird one-sided conversations to mess with people, kinda like that crazy lady at the laundromat. Yeah, metronomes have helped to steady my sense of beat -- which already was rather good but needed to be better w/ piping -- and improved my music. I also use a programmable drum-machine for practicing sets w/ tempo changes (plenty of tricks to getting it all to work w/ its volume & pipe-volume so I don't go deaf is another story).

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