Bagpipe Maintenance – Wikibooks, open books for an open world

The bagpipes are a woodwind instrument, and with all woodwinds, they’re affected by the surroundings by which they’re saved and performed in. This may end up in issues with the care and upkeep of the bagpipes.

Wooden upkeep[edit]

A woodwind instrument, being manufactured from wooden, expands and contracts barely with the rising and decreasing of humidity. If the wooden is allowed to dry out, the wooden can crack.

With reference to oiling, there are totally different faculties of thought. Actually blackwood is of course a particularly oily wooden, even when it seems to be bone dry. Many pipers by no means oil units manufactured from blackwood to no obvious detriment. Others oil solely the outside. If oil is utilized, it ought to be accomplished calmly, and never too typically. Woodwind instrument sellers or bagpipe will promote appropriate oils; different substitutes, comparable to olive oil, vegetable oil, mineral oil, engine oil, and many others., are usually not substitutes!


Hemping is the method of coating a joint with hemp. To ensure that bagpipes to carry out nicely, joints have to be correctly hemped so they’re hermetic however moveable. Overhemping a joint ought to be averted. Varied kinds of hemp can be found – it’s truly made for cobblers, however are perfect for bagpipes – however probably the most handy sort is the pre-waxed yellow hemp. The black hemp is coarser, however extra moisture resistant, and might be helpful for joints such because the blowpipe which get very moist. If unwaxed hemp is used, it must be coated earlier than use both with beeswax or cobblers wax.

Hemp ought to be wound onto the be a part of evenly and beneath agency stress, constructing the layers up one after the other. A chunk of timber can be utilized to roll the joint on a flat floor: this compresses the hemp down and hurries up the method of “bedding in”.

Generally, PTFE (plumber’s tape) shouldn’t be used as an alternative choice to hemp, although some gamers use a really superb layer on tuning slides to help in superb tuning. There’s a faculty of thought which counsels towards this, claiming that PTFE can change into embedded in cracks and pressure them open. Whether or not that is true or not shouldn’t be clear.

Seasoning the bag[edit]

Pure leather-based luggage normally require a dressing which renders the within of the bag hermetic but moisture absorbent; this dressing, and the method of making use of it, known as seasoning. It is very important word that some luggage are handled in such a means that they don’t require seasoning, so you will need to test! Artificial luggage, manufactured from nylon or gore-tex, don’t require any seasoning (although they do must be checked repeatedly for airtightness), and ought to be stored as clear and dry as is practicable.

Traditionally, seasonings have been concocted from numerous extensively obtainable substances – honey and treacle have been common – however these days business preparations, comparable to Hardie’s and Robertsons can be found from bagpipe sellers. The recipes are commerce secrets and techniques, however are extensively presumed to be largely glycerine. Instructions are distinctive to every product, however normally the perfect method is to make use of generously – not less than a cup or extra – and as soon as labored into the bag absolutely, allowed to empty out again into the container for re-use. Steel containers for seasoning at the moment are principally a factor of the previous, but when encountered these ought to be transferred right into a plastic container, as as soon as opened the seasoning reacts with air and the tin and can go unhealthy.

Pure luggage do have a restricted lifespan: sheepskin luggage could final solely a 12 months (and even much less if utilized in moist climate or if uncared for), and conceal luggage could final 4 or 5 years (although they’re now unusual as they’re very poor at controlling moisture).

Reed Manipulation[edit]

Solely a certain quantity might be stated about reed manipulation on the printed web page, maybe the perfect of which is: do not! These days, we’ve got many glorious reed makers and it shouldn’t be exhausting to search out reeds that work nicely at a snug stress for anyone. There are people who concentrate on choosing reeds for mail order prospects who can not go to a reedmaker personally.

Earlier than altering a reed, it is vitally vital to search for different causes of an issue, comparable to filth and gunk constructed up contained in the chanter. Generally, a brand new reed might be gently squeezed on the high of the reed (an excessive amount of will injury the cane: not more than is required to shut the lips collectively is about proper), to ease it barely; whether it is nonetheless too exhausting after squeezing, the perfect method is to discard it in favour of one other. Nonetheless, it’s attainable to take away a bit cane so as to ease a reed if wanted; this ought to be accomplished with a really sharp knife or superb sandpaper, and be accomplished a little or no at a time: each reduce or scrape will make an audible distinction, and cane can’t be put again on! This method may even alter the pitch of the reed, and so ought to be accomplished with care.

Chanter Reed Drawback Fixing[edit]

Reed Too Arduous[edit]

  • Gently squeeze lips of blade
  • Frivolously sandpaper or scrape blades above sound field
  • With a pair of pliers gently shut staple – that is an excessive measure and is prone to destroy the reed.

Reed Too Weak[edit]

  • Open reed with a mandrel
  • Snip a tiny quantity off the lips of the blades
  • Get rid of the reed and get a brand new one

High Hand Too Sharp[edit]

  • Increase reed in reed seat
  • Sandpaper or scrape the higher a part of the blades (not the lips)

High Hand Too Flat[edit]

  • Seat reed additional into chanter
  • As a final resort, snip a tiny quantity off the lips of the blades.

Particular person Word Flat[edit]

  • Use a small file or very sharp scalpel to undercut the highest of the opening. DO NOT MANIPULATE THE CHANTER UNTIL YOU HAVE EXHAUSTED EVERY OTHER POSSIBLE OPTION

Particular person Word Sharp[edit]

  • Apply tape to the highest of gap
  • Often, single notes might be introduced into tune with small actions of the reed – that is significantly true of D, F, and excessive G.

Uninteresting Sounding Reed[edit]

  • Reed could have change into dry, so moisten both by blowing into it for a time period for a barely dry reed, or soak the reed in water and permit it to dry naturally
  • Frivolously sand the lips of the blades (This may sharpen the highest notes)
  • Reed could be unhealthy, toss

Squeaky Reed[edit]

  • Attempt treatment for weak reed
  • Reed could be unhealthy, toss

Reed Choking[edit]

  • Reed might be be too sturdy, or unhealthy blowing
  • Examine for attainable leaks
  • May very well be a foul chanter or incompatible reed

Double Firming F[edit]

  • Fastidiously squeeze sound field till you are feeling the reed give a bit. You could have to carry out the squeeze a number of instances however the issue ought to disappear because the reed comes down in power
  • If it seems in a performed in reed, bin it. You may have the ability to repair it by chopping and scraping, however the reed won’t ever be dependable.

Scratchy Excessive A[edit]

  • Wait till you could have performed the reed for a few hours, and if the issue continues, attempt utilizing very superb sandpaper to sand the tops of the lips

Drone Reed Drawback Fixing[edit]

Drone Reed Too Weak[edit]

  • Transfer the drone bridle away from the tongue seat

Drone Reed Too Sturdy[edit]

  • Transfer the drone bridle towards the tongue seat

Exterior Hyperlinks[edit]

  • “Bagpipe Care and Upkeep” [1]
  • “Care and Upkeep of Bagpipes” [2]
  • “Andrew Lenz’s Bagpipe Journey” [3]
  • “DIY pipe seasoning recipes” [4]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top