Thursday, February 12, 2009

Response on BPF about the "best" innovations

Drone Valves: I've read the "Worst" posts and I have to say I love my drone valves - guess I'm just one of those lazy pipers, but I haven't noticed any difference in tone. Perhaps at a higher level of play I might think differently, but for me they have been a huge help. My bag is nearly full when I strike in and cut offs are a piece of cake. I use the hyland drone valves with my cannister system - had to fiddle with them a bit to get them working right, but I've not had any problems with them.

Synthetic Bags: I was handed a set of pipes with a hide bag by my instructor back when I started on pipes. I absolutely hated it. When I had the cash to get my own pipes I got a Ross Cannister zipper bag with all the guts. My instructor tried very hard to discourage me from going with a zipper, but I ignored his advice and interestingly enough he now plays a zipper bag.

The cloth bag felt pretty flimsy at first, but once I got used to it - wow. I'd never go back to the hide bag. There is a hybrid bag made by Gannaway which combines hide and synthetic. I've seen them, but haven't tried one - might be a nice compromise.

Not the best yet: I've read the posts about the synthetic chanter reed as well. I have heard one of those being played and I have to agree that it didn't sound as good as cane, but I wouldn't be too quick to pass them off as a bad innovation. I think it is only a matter of time before a material or method of production is found that will match the quality of cane and overcome some of the downsides of a cane reed.

Final note: At a certain level there is perhaps enough of a difference to embrace the sheep skin bag and cane reeds (drone and chanter) but I'm not there and at my age doubt that I will be. I love playing my pipes and that's what matters to me. If something makes that easier for me and I can't notice a change in the quality of the sound, then it's all good as far as I'm concerned.