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Andrew Lenz's bagpipe journeyAndrew
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Andrew's Articles for Pipers

What good is bagpipe knowledge if you don't share it? Articles I've researched and written about the various aspects of the Great Highland Bagpipe, for both beginners and advanced pipers. Perhaps you'll find answers to questions you didn't know you had!


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Instrument

Bagpipes Anatomy. Bagpipes parts 101—what all those things are called and how they fit.

My New Bagpipes Won't Play. Evaluating and setting up new bagpipes with no experience.

How to Season a Bagpipe Bag. Why not to leave it in the can, and more.

How to Tie-In a Hide Bagpipe Bag. Where to cut those holes, what to use for securing, etc.

Bagpipe Bag Sizes. Measurements of different brands of bagpipe bags.

Chanter Reed Basics. (Also available translated in German as a PDF file.)

Modifying Chanter Reeds. Tips on what to do if a reed just isn't right.

How to Artificially Break In a New Chanter Reed. Mechanical devices to make new reeds easier to play.

How to Carve a Chanter. Correcting holes in a not quite perfect chanter.

How to Adjust Synthetic Drone Reeds. The advice of adjusting all brands of bagpipe drone reeds.

How to Adjust Shepherd Plastic Drone Reeds. Specific advice for old plastic Shepherd reeds.

Bagpipe Leaks - Diagnosis and Repair. Your pipes are taking too much air?

Caring for Your Bagpipes After Play. What to do with your pipes before you put them away.

How to Clean Ivory on a Set of Bagpipes. If you are lucky enough to need to know.

Drone Cords: Tying and Making. How to secure those drones.

Drone Ribbons: Securing and Making. What's up with that flappy fabric.

Hemping your Tuning Pins. The various techniques for sealing drone tops to tuning pins.

How to Identify a High Quality Bagpipe. Chattering? Torn combing?

How to Appraise a Set of Bagpipes. Silver? Ivory? Warped? And list of appraisers.

Guide to Identifying Brands of Drone Reeds. The world's most complete listing.

Guide to Identifying Brands of Drone Valves. There's not that many made, but here you go.

Bagpipe Bag Cover Sewing Pattern. Just in case you want a do-it-yourself cover.

If you are looking for my Guide to Electronic Bagpipes, I'm not expecting it to be ready for posting until late December 2004 late January 2005 Spring 2005 Fall 2005 mid-2006 End of 2008? Thanks for checking. (Delayed due to waiting for required materials, and just time to do it.) Also in process, 'Guide to Blowpipe Valves', among other things!


Technique/Practice/Instructors

Bagpipe Finger Positions. How to place your fingers to get those different piping notes.

How to Become a Rotten Piper. If that's what you want to be—or maybe not.

Finding the Right Bagpipe Instructor. Where to get one and what to do when you do.

Learning Bagpipes without an Instructor. Why not, how to avoid it, and how to do it.

Where to Practice with Bagpipes. These aren't quietest instrument around!

How to Find Students to Teach. You can't be an instructor with no pupils!


Competition

Why or why not to compete. The pros and cons of solo bagpipe competition.

Things to Know for Your First Competition. How not to mix up your stewards and judges.

Understanding Solo Competition Grading. A primer. There's more to it than meets the ears.

Learning to March with Bagpipes. Marching for solo competition and with bands.

How to Pipe for Drumming Competitions. Help out that competing drummer!

I suggest you go to my Competition Journal for more insight on competition.


Band

Joining a Pipe Band. Where to find one, how to evaluate, and what to expect.

Band Equipment Rental Agreement. A legal form for bands to keep track of loaned items.

Improving Band Websites. Advice for pipe band website designers.

How and When to Change Bands. Thinking a new band? Some things to think about.

Top North American Pipe Bands. List of the Grade 1 and Grade 2 bands in the USA and Canada.


General

Piper's Dictionary. Learn what those puzzling terms and abbreviations mean.

How to Tie a Ghillie Brogues. All the little things to know about piper's shoes.

How to Wear a Piper's Plaid. It's possible to go it alone.

Horsehair Sporrans - How to Care for Them. Cleaning, brushing, storing.

Useful Items to Keep Around for Piping. Things you might never think of.

Playing Bagpipes in the Rain. How to make the best of a nasty situation.

Traveling on Airlines with Bagpipes. Remember to take your sgian dubh out of your case?

Andrew's Pipe Case Contents (For the curious). Perrier? Safety pins?

Making a Bagpipe Water Manometer. A tool for learning steady blowing and more.

How to Buy a set of Bagpipes on eBay. Wow! How can those be so cheap?

Bagpiping Disagreements and Controversies. What is best? How is best? An FAQ of sorts.

Guide to abc Music Notation for Bagpipes. How to engrave high quality bagpipe sheet music.

Who's Who in Bagpiping. (I can use all the help I can get on this one!)

The Piper to the Sovereign. The official pipers to the British Monachy since 1843.

The Piper to the Queen Mother. The official pipers to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

Index of Classic Collections of Piobaireachd Tunes. Alphabetical list of piobaireachd tunes and sources.

Interview with the late Bob Dunsire. A visit with the founder of the BobDunsire.com bagpiping forums.

Tribute to Bob Dunsire. Some tunes written (not by me) in honor of Bob Dunsire.


Historic Piping Competition Results and Medal Winners

Gold Medal Winners (Oban and Inverness). A list of gold medalists at the Argylshire Gathering and Northern Meeting.

Gold Medal (Canada). Awardees of the Piobaireachd Society Gold Medal (Canada).

Clasp Winners (Inverness/Aviemore). A list of winners of the Clasp at the Northern Meeting.

Glenfiddich Piping Championship Winners. List of overall winners of this (more or less) world solo piping championship.

The Silver Chanter Winners. A list of winners Annual MacCrimmon Memorial Piobaireachd Competition.

The Balvenie Medal Winners. Recipients recognized for services to piping.


Reviews of Commercial Products

Ghillators Ghillie Brogue Shoes. See what's up with these light-weight synthetic brogues.


Materials not written by me, but I'm making available here with permission.

One Minute Excercises by Aaron Shaw & Glen Thompson (PDF)

Gordon Speirs' Reed Making Paper

Jim McGillivray's Basic Principles of Drone-Tuning

Lorne Cousin's Tips to improve March, Strathspey and Reel Playing

Exercises for the PDQB Test (PDF) (BWW) Compiled by John MacDonald



Articles by Chris Hamilton (One-time Operator of Tone Czar Bagpipes)

Tuning Bagpipes Using the Korg CA-20 Chromatic Tuner

Tuning Bagpipes Using the Korg CA-30 Chromatic Tuner

Tuning Bagpipes Using the Korg OT-12 Orchestral Tuner




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