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scoty-bass
28-05-10, 12:49 PM
Last season 2009, Toronto Police established a 2 bass drum medley set that to me resembled a somewhat DCI vs. PB appraoch. . . .now Shotts is also following suit with their 2 Bass system. The drumming for drinks contests are very fun to watch, listen to, and be a part of, sometimes with 2 or 3 bass drums being utilized. . .Kansas City host a very impressive contest at their "steam" event - I'm not afraid of 2 in the centre, if your band is as big as Shotts you can definitely provide the need for two, I've played in joined bands @ events where you play in a MASS band, playing the same set of tunes together...this...uhm not always such a good idea with 2 or 3 or 4 bassies. NOISEY!!

So with the many changes in our bands today, the technilogical enhancments in products, the band sizes, and on and on and on, I ask the question;

What is technical and what is twistable for a band to consider when playing in a major with a two bass system...technically what are they hoping to achieve, twistably . . . are they pushing it just to be different?

Churchill
28-05-10, 01:22 PM
Scoty, the rumour of Shotts playing with two Bass had been kicking about for a few years now and it was a big one just before the Worlds last year.

I personally feel it's a technical choice rather than to just be different. If you've read any of Tyler's articles, you'll find him talking about tuning the drums to certain notes to correspond with the chanter. I kind of got the feeling reading some of the stuff that he'd hoped to play in a band where he could have 9 drums, allowing the bass section to compliment the drum score while also complimenting the piping at the same time.

With Shotts, this has been achieved and it makes perfect sense in a technical sense to do it. Yeah, it can be seen as a gimmick having two Bass drums but to actually achieve the Low G and Low A required to match the chanter, you need the two bass drums. Getting a low A from the 18" pearl tenor is achievable but the sound is much better from the 26" bass that I believe Shotts used.

The tube in the drum? That's gimmicky and if you speak to Robbie he'll tell you that it might not be totally in the rules to play lol. The two bass drums? Technical, definately.

scoty-bass
28-05-10, 02:21 PM
Church, let me just make a qwik note before this gets out of hand!!!

I am in no way making personal attacks against Shotts or Toronto for attempting and using double bass'!!!

I like the idea myself and I understand exactly what they are trying to accomplish! Very innovative and creative - something I feel we need more of! Is everyone (judges included) going to find this appealing technically based on tradition...or is this another - - - whatever ??? I dont know?? My feeling is that there are traditionalists that still think a PB should remain as it always was and has been; A PIPEBAND not a concert on the field?

tartaniac
28-05-10, 02:27 PM
I'm confused when you talk about Winter Storm. Do you mean the part when they have the Drum-Off or when at the concert, or when the guy from SFU had three or four tenors around him tuned to various notes?

Churchill
28-05-10, 03:44 PM
Church, let me just make a qwik note before this gets out of hand!!!

I am in no way making personal attacks against Shotts or Toronto for attempting and using double bass'!!!

I like the idea myself and I understand exactly what they are trying to accomplish! Very innovative and creative - something I feel we need more of! Is everyone (judges included) going to find this appealing technically based on tradition...or is this another - - - whatever ??? I dont know?? My feeling is that there are traditionalists that still think a PB should remain as it always was and has been; A PIPEBAND not a concert on the field?

Hi Scoty, if my post came across in any way as argumentative then I'll apologise for it as it wasn't meant to be in the slightest. Just my response as to the technical aspect you spoke of.

With regards to the Judges, one performance and one win so far so one of the Judges at least understand what they're trying to achieve with the two Bass. With regards to tradition, the Medley, for me, is about pushing the boundaries sometimes, the MSR should be pretty traditional. I don't believe, from what I've heard so far anyway, that Shotts will use the two bass drums during their MSR performance but I honestly don't know either way.

Shotts and Toronto aren't the first bands out there to use two Bass either I believe? I'll have to ask some of the more experienced members of the forum to confirm that though.

Tartaniac, Scoty mentioned the Drumming for Drinks contest, rather than winterstorm, which is held in Todds bar every year before the worlds, it's a more freestyle drumming contest in which participants play multiple drums, wear fancy dress etc.

And just to finish (thank god I hear you cry), I like what they're doing.

scoty-bass
28-05-10, 09:34 PM
exactly my thoughts as well, but if its chanter complimentation we're after then use them in the MSR as well...no? Some people from "old'n days" referred to last seasons medley contest here in the PPBSO and the Worlds as a quote unquote "dog and pony show"...I guess there are still the traditionalist players/nonplayers that do not like the idea.

You could very well be right in that there have been others to use dual bass drums...I can remember the Cambridge Highland games many moons ago (mid '90's) a BASS player who I will not name, played in a lower grade as the "tenor" section...he played 3 tenors or "toms" if you will...interesting but over time it didn't fly...!!

Tartaniac; Kansas drum off is just one, as well as at the Todd. City of W. keeps makin it exciting each year they're there (in KC) - agreed? The four tenors was very cool as well by SFU!

Fred Fomm
28-05-10, 10:53 PM
This is really interesting!

So I understood from the Church-Scoty chat that the two basses are tuned differently - one to match the chanter's Lo-A and the other, the Lo-G. Is this right? The one vid I found online of Shotts at Dumbarton was at YouTube, with a questionable streaming quality, so I couldn't really make it out.

And from a piper's point of view that transparent rubber hose that Shotts plugged in the tenor by 2008 did look very odd indeed... Looked a bit like the orotracheal tubes we use in Accident & Casualty for trauma victims or acute respiratory failure!

Fredgie

Churchill
28-05-10, 11:26 PM
Yeah, they are tuned differently Fred. They had 9 in the bass section to allow them to play the nine notes produced by the chanter. I can't be 100 per cent on the actual tuning but if it'd been me, then the two bass would have been tuned to low g and low a. I know Tyler reads the forums, maybe he might confirm this for us.

Oh and scoty, the RSPBA rules state that the following instruments comprise a pipe band

Instruments that comprise a Pipe Band:
• The Great Highland Bagpipe – (an exception may be made where there is no
cultural history of using The Great Highland Bagpipe).
• Pipe Band Snare drum.
• Marching Bass Drum.
• Single Toned Pipe Band Tenor Drum – Tenor Drums optional in all Grades.

The Single tone is why tom's aren't allowed.

Fred Fomm
28-05-10, 11:53 PM
Thanx mate!

Is there a standard for tuning the usual small pipe band three-tenor corps, with 14", 16" and 18" tenors? A-C-E, I'd guess?

I'm asking because now - and for the first time in our band - we have tenors with different diameters [I think I got their measures right in the lines above] and me as the P/S and my buddy Alayr as the L/D have been brainstorming about this...

Fredgie

Churchill
30-05-10, 12:35 PM
A C E with 3 tenors is definately the best way to go imho. If you're using a tuning meter like a Korg or similar then tune the Bass to Bb, 18 to a D, 16 to an F and the 14 to Bb also. This will give distinct tones which are sympathetic to the pipes.

Daz Gregory
30-05-10, 01:03 PM
Next thing the Bass section will be playing STB all on their own then.......:wink:

chops9286
30-05-10, 01:22 PM
Next thing the Bass section will be playing STB all on their own then.......:wink:

My thoughts exactly.... although would be interesting to hear that :-)

Armorican
30-05-10, 02:10 PM
Next thing the Bass section will be playing STB all on their own then.......:wink:

If it was Highland Laddie, they could do the march past themselves. :wave:

Daz Gregory
30-05-10, 02:23 PM
If it was Highland Laddie, they could do the march past themselves. :wave:

:bg:

So much potential here!.......:whistle:

Fair play to 'em - just not my thing.

Churchill
31-05-10, 10:15 AM
TBH with you, the Shotts bass section have a few very handy side drummers in there, so if it came to it, they could handle STB or Highland Laddie easily.

scoty-bass
31-05-10, 11:51 AM
This is or has been good knowledge to find out, still begs the question if its complimenting the chanter and its going to win you a contest then - why not use them in the MSR's? Maybe the criteria for competing bands should be if you field a player in the Medley, you must field the palyer in the Set - WOW, ok, don't elaborate on that one, thats a whole other box of pintz to open up discussing that topic!!! hahaha!!!

I think its interesting, good on anyone for attempting it...how could the dualing drummer boys compliment the set tho??????

Armorican
31-05-10, 12:17 PM
TBH with you, the Shotts bass section have a few very handy side drummers in there, so if it came to it, they could handle STB or Highland Laddie easily.


PAH! If that was the case then they'd be pipers.

Churchill
31-05-10, 12:42 PM
There's some of the Shotts drum corps than can play a tune or two on the pipes too haha. Pretty talented corps that one.

Scoty, I'm not 100% sure if they will or wont use the two bass drummers in their MSR. Only people who will know for certain are the Shotts boys and girls themselves. They don't use the tube in the drum during their MSR currently remember. The MSR is a much more traditional affair after all.

scoty-bass
31-05-10, 08:31 PM
Why arent there any others trying it? Remember, my question wasn't just directed at Shotts - and yes a purely innovative, talented and musically gifted bunch from the front line through to the snares indeed! Are there any others though experimenting with this currently?

scottcurrieltd
31-05-10, 08:52 PM
Churchill has been pretty close to the money in relating what we strive to acheive at Shotts. Just for the sake of clarity, I'll throw my hat into the ring on our use of dual bass drums.

In the last 6 or so years, we have built a mid-section capable of functioning within the typical chord progressions familiar to bagpipe/pipe band compositions; in particular, but not restricted to 'DFA', 'GBD' and 'ACE' chords. We have been able to do so with a bass drum on 'low A' (Bb) and 5, 6 or 7 tenor drums providing at least roots & fifths of those chords and most recently, triads of all three chords.

While it is possible to acheive discernable 'low G' and 'low A' (root) notes on tenor drums, they just don't have the same timbre that only a bass drum can provide to the ensemble. What the addition of a 'low G' bass drum does for our set up is to eliminate the dissonance of a 'low A' bass drum over the tenor drums performing 'GBD' passages, while giving us the body and warmth we need to make the sound complete.

I've heard it said recently that the addition of the 'low G' bass drum is dissonant with the constant 'A' (Bb) of the bass drones. That may be so, but so does the corresponding chord progression or harmonies thereof on the chanter, which our tenor drums are tuned to replicate or harmonise with. Continuing that train of thought, could it be argued 'why play tunes on the bagpipe which have a dissonant effect with the constant of the drones?' My answer to that would be "where would pipe bands be today without compositions like Cameronian Rant or Balmoral Highlanders?" Both are examples of classic compositions having significantly predominant 'GBD' passages within their texture.

It's difficult to feed that always constant 'A' of the drones 100% of the time... even on the Great Highland Bagpipe! All we're doing with dual bass drums is enhancing what's going on melodically on the chanter at corresponding times with the relelvantly tuned tenor drums.

The bottom line is 'it's music'! Different effects are there to be explored, some don't work - some do. Whether something works or not is usually a matter of opinion for the listener rather than a matter of fact. Having experimented with the concept at length, we're happy with the results and will continue with it. We're especially delighted with the feedback we have received from people, many of whom are pipers. That being said, just because we've found it works for us doesn't mean everyone has to do it!

In a traditional context, think of the whole new dimension that could open up with the introduction of a 'low G' bass drum to a piece like Balmoral Highlanders. Now, will we be playing two bass drummers in the MSRs? You'll have to wait and see! ;-)

Oh, and just to dispel any myths out there about 'weight' or 'dominance' issues, both bass drums never play at the same time...!

I hope this helps a little with the Shotts part of the discussion.

Churchill
31-05-10, 10:30 PM
Thanks for that Scott, I'd hoped someone would come on and give us some insight into this. I think you guys are doing a cracking job and was very impressed with the setup.

Scoty, there aren't many bands out there with bass section the size of Shotts so there probably aren't many corps out there who could experiment with the two bass drums.

Daz Gregory
01-06-10, 03:31 PM
Nice one Scott

Although I earlier said it wasn't my thing I've heard an HD recording of the performance at Dumbarton and I really enjoyed it. The interaction of the two Bass drums was very good and didn't detract from the overall sound at all.....if anything it kind of finished off the missing pieces of the jigsaw and "enhanced" that well known Shotts sound and style.

My preference is still for smaller mid-sections but hey that's just me...we all like different sounds and styles right?

I'll admit it - I was wrong and too quick to write it off as "gimmicky"

That said I still wanna hear STB! :beer:

Regards

Daz

scoty-bass
01-06-10, 06:24 PM
WOW Scott! Thank you for enlightening me and or all of us! As I've said earlier purely innovative and inspiring! Thank you for sharing so much and clearing it up! I like the interaction myself, two playing at once is noise unless an acheivable chord can be produced. As always the way you put it, makes it seem as if all of us could do it, "overtime", but as usual many bands are not equipped with the man power or the musicality that you (Shotts) guys have!

I would be very interested in hearing an MSR...I think the main reason I started this thread was to find out more, because I do believe that theres alot to be said for a well played MSR - via midsection!

bigger isn't always better, but maybe it just leaves more room for creativity! Very Kewl indeed!

Celtic Mitch
06-06-10, 12:11 AM
Two bass drummers is NOT NEW. It was tried by a couple bands in Ontario in the 70's and 80's. Although not as sophisticated as it is now, it's been done. No one has invented the wheel here. Just saying. However, it should be tres interesting to see how it all pans out. I think some bands will also give it a go without the expertise the guys in Shotts have and it will not fly very well.

I might be somewhat of a traditionalist but I think leave well enough alone. This is NOT a put down as to what is happening, I just sometimes think where and when will the line be drawn and when it will just become annoying noise? I dunno. The proof will be in the pudding I guess....

KAILY
07-06-10, 09:13 AM
This is what I love about modern Pipe Band drumming, bands like Shotts are prepared to experiment and try something different that will enhance the overall musical sound of their band.
"Well Done Shotts"
Kaily

tartaniac
13-06-10, 10:47 PM
Next thing the Bass section will be playing STB all on their own then.......:wink:

Hey, if they can have all tuba bands doing Christmas Carols, why not!

And thanks to all of you for all this great info.

I love these discussions where we get into the musicality of drumming. I really appreciate all of you coming in. My head is spinning with possibilities right now. Wow.