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] Date Posted:01:22:11 05/19/03 Mon In reply to:
's message, "Re: playing the bagpipes" on 16:08:43 05/17/03 Sat
>>ok so i just got these highland pipes from
>>e-bay...rosewood standard beginner kind of piPes
> I also bought the same pipes off of Ebay(I'm another
>newbie). I had trouble keeping them filled with air
>also. Take all the drones out of their stocks and plug
>the stocks,then blow the bag up with air. Check to see
>if air is leaking from any of the drone stocks. You
>wil notice that air is problably leaking out of the
>chanter stock, thats where mine was leaking.
In any pipe there are a number of places that might leak ... the chanter stock tie-in can be problematic if the person who did it doesn't have the technique down for padding around the seam (welt) in the bag. However any of the drone or blowpipe tie-ins can leak, plus you can get leaks around any of the joints (in which case you need more hemp twine) or through cracks in the stocks (in which case you'll either need to glue the stock, or have it repaired or replaced). In addition if you're playing any kind of hide bag you should season it regularly ... it can leak through the pores or the seam. One of the best concoctions for that is Hardie's Airtight for most leather and sheepskin bags, or Gannaway's dressing for the Gannaway bag.
It's a good idea to check the pipe every couple weeks or so for leaks ... cork up all the stocks and see if it holds air. It should remain about as tight as a football for about 1 minute if it's reasonably airtight ... if not, you're working too hard and need to find the leaks. Also, none of the joints should "rock" if you try to move them back and forth ... either where the drones, chanter, and blowpipe are attached to the stocks, or on any of the tuning slides.
The rubber flap valves are generally much easier to work with than leather flap valves although if you have the time to tinker with them the leather ones can be made to work OK.
Likewise cane drone reeds can usually be adjusted to make them go better or smoother or to take more or less air. They are however generally more trouble than plastic, especially if you don't play often (cane drone reeds really need to be played at least once every other day to keep them going). One problem I've noticed with using plastic drone reeds in Pakistani pipes that students have brought to me is that some of the drone stocks are too narrow to accommodate some models of plastic drone reeds - Henderson, Wygent, and Ezeedrones will usually fit better than some others like Omegas or Shepherds which are often too fat.
You may find you want to replace the pipe chanter at some point ... the chanters on most Pakistani instruments are poor (very flat and often impossible to tune properly due to poor hole spacing and workmanship). Likewise the bags are often either very short-lived or completely unuseable ... though they can be replaced of course. Often after getting better reeds, a better valve, fixing or replacing the bag so it doesn't leak, and replacing the chanter, you can end up with a useable instrument, though I'd recommend getting a Dunbar or Crisler polypenco pipe instead - after all the required upgrades the price of both will be similar and the polypenco pipe will sound nicer than the Pakistani pipe and be much more trouble-free.