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.

1 comment:

Mike (AKA Pops) said...

Us older (and sometimes late learners)Pipers must never lose sight of why we play. It is not for competitive reasons, nor for profit. It is simply for the joy of playing! Funny thing, that joy is contagious, and most who hear us think we're great. We'll never let on they might be mistaken. :-)