Hints & Tips

Squeezing the chanter reed

Squeezing the chanter reed

By David V. Kennedy The question a piper may ask is: “Why on earth would one want to squeeze the blades or the staple of a chanter reed?”’ And this is certainly a valid question. After all, didn’t the reedmaker assemble the reed correctly? Didn‘t he tie the blades onto […]

‘Scraping’ the chanter reed

‘Scraping’ the chanter reed

By David V. Kennedy In an early issue of The International Piper, Mr. Roger Gould-King wrote an informative, and useful, article on the chanter reed. He included a drawing of the reed, dimensioned. From the top of the lips, going downwards to the staple- bindings, he drew in a conception […]

Extending the life of a chanter reed

Extending the life of a chanter reed

“The pipe reed obeys no laws. Like the most fickle woman, it rewards, if at all, the lavish attentions of an honest heart with but a brief and transient display.” – J.C.M., Piping Times, October 1949. By Chris Apps Contrary to ‘J.C.M.’s’ quote, the average pipe chanter reed, if well […]

Maintenance, part 2

Maintenance, part 2

Stocks By Seumas MacNeill Having dealt with the bag situation the next obvious consideration is the state of the stocks you intend to tie on to your bag. Most people probably feel there is not much in the way of maintenance to be done on the simple five wooden tubes, […]

Maintenance, part 1

Maintenance, part 1

The Bag (size and shape: the stocks: seasoning)       By Seumas MacNeill One of the most important things for a piper is the state of his bagpipe. The choosing of tunes, the ability to play well, the chance to perform for somebody’s pleasure (maybe his own), all go for nothing if […]

The scales of practice

The scales of practice

By Dugald B. MacNeill Pipers will talk endlessly about their pipe chanters and go to great lengths to get them just right, or what they believe is right. They will spend money on reeds and buy new pipe chanters to increase the chance of getting both the correct scale and […]

Aspects of tuning – reeds

Aspects of tuning – reeds

By Roger Gould-King Figure 2 shows a typical chanter reed design suitable for most chanters and the average piper’s blowing habits. This design follows the principle that all dimensions of the blades are based on a simple ‘rule of 3’. For example, the staple is 4mm in diameter, which multiplied […]

Aspects of tuning – pitch, scale and drones

Aspects of tuning – pitch, scale and drones

By Roger Gould-King Today, there is a phenomenal increase in the number of pipers. Whether this is because of the increasing popularity of the instrument or whether it is a natural incremental function of the population explosion is not clear. What is clear is that along with the global expansion […]

The doubling of C

The doubling of C

A short tutorial on how to make your C doublings crisp and distinct. This is by Captain John MacLellan and taken from The International Piper of October 1978. By Captain John A. MacLellan MBE Having listened to umpteen performances of ceòl beag during the competition season, it has become very […]

The competition march

The competition march

Today, we once again delve into our not inconsiderable archives to bring articles that we feel will be of interest to pipers, regardless of whether they are a student or a seasoned competitor.  These articles remain free to all and we will continue to add more each week. Today’s article […]