The Royal Scots Cap Badge


Positioning Your Bagpipes, ready to strike in and play


This bagpipe lesson is a brief description about positioning your bagpipes to be ready to strike in, tune as necessary and play.

You can download a copy of this Positioning Pipes tutorial from this link for quick and easy refrence.


Preparing to play the bagpipes 1
Carry your pipes the military way, balanced on the forearm with the chanter hooked in the cord between the bass and next tenor drone. The blow-stick lies alongside the chanter.

Being hand – held with bass drone parallel to the ground is far too strained if held for some time, rather amateur and not recommended.

Preparing to play the bagpipes 1
Unhook to your front carefully to this position ready to place the drones on the shoulder.

Notice the parts held in each hand.

Preparing to play the bagpipes 1
On the shoulder, always maintaining straight posture.

Notice how the bass drone is close to the neck, drones angle well up, and what the hands are holding.

Preparing to play the bagpipes 1
The right hand controls the bag while the left hand takes the position on the chanter of “E” ready to inflate.

The right hand is under the bass drone to prevent a nasty bass double tone when striking in. Tuning the bass high on the upper pin as you can see avoids double tone.

Preparing to play the bagpipes 1
Inflating while the right hand places the bag more under the arm and drones more upright. Inflate with rapid good bursts of puff until you hear the slightest sound of a drone (no pre-attack sound in a band though, or later solo).

Pause briefly and be ready to strike in next.

Preparing to play the bagpipes 1
Strike in together with a push under the drones (no need to punch) while placing the bag under the arm farther and comfortable position. Immediately after striking in maintain strong enough puffs to increase pressure sufficient to sound the drones only then bring the right hand over to adopt the correct position of “E”.

When ready increase pressure to sound a clear “E”, maintaining that steady pressure through co–ordination of breathing and compensatory arm pressure.

Preparing to play the bagpipes 1 Preparing to play the bagpipes 1
Tune drones as shown while sounding a clear steady high “A’ as in the video and audio links.


Some Comments About Dress

Note please positions of dress: head–dress slight incline right, or if straight not left; kilt height not too low (sadly both these are a very common faults today); kilt pin position not at foot of kilt; and hose, etc.

A helpful extract can be found at &ndash Drum Majors' Basic Guide, Dress: Kilt: The recognized way to wear the kilt is to have it cutting the center of the kneecap.

Personally, I prefer to have it just at the top of the kneecap. The kilt should hang level all the way round. By Drum Major J. MacDonald formerly Drum Major of the Highlanders regiment.

In recital marching back and forth in a line counter march smoothly facing the audience each end. Avoid turning your back to an audience or judges.


Exit Positioning Your Bagpipes and return to the Bagpiping Articles




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