The Royal Scots Cap Badge


by Michael

I've had a practice chanter for over a year and purchased my first full set of pipes. No one around here plays so I'm basically on my own, along with websites like this one. I play the guitar, banjo and mandolin, and they are all easy to tune.

The pipes, however, has proven to be a different animal. Is there any website with a very detailed and indepth of how to get all of the pipes in tune? Thank you.

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Mar 21, 2011
Pipe tuning for Rookies
by: Tom McCurdy, a fellow autodidact

Michael you have my full empathy and encouragement. I have been in the same situation and am only now getting some confidance. Here are some of my experiences.

You probably won't get the pipes tuned for longer than you think. They do not ' tune ' like conventional instruments because the scale a pipe chanter is unique. You have to rely on your ear as much as mechanics.

Also the difficulty of playing the instrument presents its own initial obstacles before you can get a good chance at tuning. The bag, the drones, the wrappings, the mouthpiece all seem to conspire at first against you.

Add to this the simple difficulty of playing a tune on the chanter alone. Not just learning the notes but teaching your fingers to play with your ear listining to the sound of each note as the air pressure constantly varies with grace notes, fingerings and the fluctuation of the air columne with your own diaphram, breathing, armature and fatigue.

There is way more going on then you realize. In tuning a bagpipe you are tuning as least four ' instruments ' each with its own variations.

That being said I now say this: PERSIST :-). IT really does come together. But it takes weeks, maybe months,not days. Each time you play with attention your subconscious is acquiring skill and experience. Amazingly so but it will happen.

And then some day you will catch just the whispers of tone and overtone. Maybe just for a moment but you will hear it.

Persist and you will find it more frequently. As you keep practicing it will grow and you will create a sea of ascending harmonics. Tune to this. It will happen and it is astounding.

I don't know but I suspect only the performer gets to experience the full snap of gracenotes and and slip of rythmn that marches through this air of harmony. I could be wrong but I have experienced it for myself.

It is glorious and it is intoxicating.

Persist friend,


Mar 21, 2011
by: Bill Robertson

Please see our site's main page left Bagpipe articles Tuning etc., and postioning pipes etc., and relevant links within that should help you with your pipes as for a begiiner first up on the pipes. Trusting that helps and let me know please.
All the best,

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