Strike up – mystery solved!

Striking up the pipes was very much hit and miss for me, until recently.   I can now get 9/10 success rate 🙂

I used to think that the strike up was about pressing the right hand ( if you are a right handed piper) against the bag while keeping the left lower arm steady and using is a kind of anvil which doesn’t move. Wrong! At least for me. The solution is to press both the right and and left lower arm into the bag at the same time. Simple.

Now back to warming up those pipes for tuning practice.

Long time gone but now am back again

My last post was over a year ago. Wow, time flies when you are studying and working and struggling with the pipes.

That does not mean that my pipes lay sadly in their case slowly gathering dust and drying out.  Nope. Not quite. But almost at one stage.

I’ve re-acquainted myself with my old friends over recent weeks and am now pretty much where I left off.

My main goal right now is to learn to tune the buggers. I don’t want to be dependent on someone else in this regard.

I read a few articles on this ‘black art’, and the first thing I did was to learn about chanter tuning using my chromatic tuner.  With the help of this little tutorial, http://www.kinnairdbagpipes.com/docs/FAQ/Instructions%20for%20Korg%20Tuner%20Jun06.pdf, I learnt to adjust the reed up and down to align the tuning. So far so good.

The next step is to tune the drone to the chanter, right? I dust off the Complete Pipers Handbook by Brett Tidswell.  It instructs me to blow high A and listen to the wavering. I can’t hear it. FAIL.

I gave up on that and started reading some old Chanter publications produced by Bruce Campbell from the http://www.pipingschool.co.uk/ where I came upon an article about tuning pipes. I am instructed to play the pipes for an hour to warm them up before attempting to tune them. That is a big challenge for a beginner piper like myself! I will give it a try today though, as  I simply have to learn to do it.

We shall see how it goes 🙂

PS: I still haven’t found a way to get my butt to an instructor to help me progress.  In the past it was studies interfering with regular times for practice and now it’s work schedules that can be unpredictable at times and I hate to have to perpetually cancel tutoring sessions.