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Moisture controls in bagpipes


(Warwick)

Hello Bill,


Is it absolutely necessary to have moisture control in bagpipes. I can never get a reasonable answer from anyone I speak to. Some say yes, others say no. My personal feeling on the matter is that, if I put a moisture control on the blowpipe then that would be sufficient just so long as moisture does not reach the drone reeds. Ever since I started playing the bagpipe, I have been of the opinion that a moisture control system is part of the bagpipe - similar to an engine in a car. They are as one. What is your opinion?

Many thanks,

Warwick

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Dec 23, 2013
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Moisture controls in bagpipes NEW
by: Bill Robertson

Hello Warwick,
In the past when the mecvhanical moisture controls were not in use the driil was to check after playing the chanter reed and stock in particular for excees moistute because if left too moist for some time the reed would lose its good sound and if quite long fungus or such like. The drone stocks would also be checked and if in doubt dry out these also. Also check for moisture on the reed and blow through and wipe dry. Be very careful not to disturb the bridles' setting when wiping. A suitable stick and cloth folded in a way that gets to the botom stocks. If playing in wet clod conditions it pays to check throuigh the drone bore for beads if moisture that need a suitable pull-through to remove the moisture.
Today the moisture control systems are simply a matter of choice. Some pipes of note and some top bands do not have moisture control systems because they claim that the systems affects the sound somehow.Beware that moisture control in the blow-piece must not restrict the good flow of iar as in my other earlier comment.
Best wishes for the Festive Season, Bill

Dec 22, 2013
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Moisture controls in bagpipes
by: Bill Robertson

Hello Mike,
Make sure with a water trap that it allows the full flow of the air when playing. Like some blow pieces that are a bit too narrow and cause an amount of constriction of the air flow. The sign of that is like have a small leak in the bag and irregular air pressure.
I im not into all the different kinds of synthetic drone reeds, but on the whole find that the ones I and others I have set for other pipers work well when set properly. The position of the bridle on the tongue of the reed is important when testing with the reed and mouth blown through the drone. Listen for steadiness of the sound. If rough etc., the bridle most likely needs readjustment in small dreees downwards untill you reach a satisfactory smoot even tone that does not alter in pitch when you blow slightly stronger and wreaker. The sound shouls have a steady pleasant tone. The bass drone reed can be tested the same way, but do not go too far and kill the resonance. The bass drone upper section pin should be in a tuning that that allows 5-10 mm of the binding hemp showing. This prevents nasty double tone that can happen when striking up. Of course, the lower section will tune quite far down the pin. ASnother point - if your tenor drone are tuning below the hemp line it could indicate attention needed in the setting of the reed - most likely poor setting and tuning more frequently that normanlly.
I trust that helps - Best wishes for the Festive Season and New Year,
Bill

Dec 22, 2013
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Moisture Control
by: Mike

When I was playing in the early 80's I never heard of the traps that they use now, but that was with cane drone reeds. I stopped playing in 98, and sold my pipes 4 years ago. I have just this past year purchased another set to start playing and they came with synthetic drone reeds which I am still having problems with so I will probably go back to cane.

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