View Full Version : Pipe Bag size

15-09-09, 02:41 PM
I suppose its a personal preference but would it be better to use the next bag size down if you are styruggling to keep the bag full of air with all three drones going or is it something that will come with with practice.

Mark J.
15-09-09, 04:35 PM
How tall are you is the normal question here...?

I'm about 5'11" (180cm) and play with a medium Inveran sheepskin bag, which roughly is the same size as a large bannatyne or large gortex (not played any others). Probably, if you're either side of my height by 4", I would be playing with this size of bag.

There's lots of guys in my band play with smaller bags and they say once you get used to the size (and not having a mass of air under your arm), they can be better to play. But I'll stick with my size.

In your case, assuming your about that height...I would go thru the motions of making sure everything's airtight where it should be & general maintenance. If you don't find anything, it could be your drone's taking too much air - ask someone experienced to help there.
If that's all fine, then you're just probably not used to 3 drones. Go back to blowing two until your really comfortable with that, then try three and see what happens.

Hope this helps?

15-09-09, 07:27 PM
What Mark said, all good points.

Comfort is the main thing to think about, the larger bag will ( if yer a short arse like me ) put a strain on yer forearm. So try ( if you can ) various sizes before you splash out on a new bag.

15-09-09, 08:04 PM
Cheers for that guys . I am 6ft. The bag is a large one. I have been blowing 2 drones for a few weeks now. Took the cork out of third today and was having to blow more often however just been on pipes for an hour or so and discovered that if i squeez slightly harder i can blow more steady and play a couple of tunes through without stopping. Have checked bag for leaks just prior to writing this and everything seems ok.

15-09-09, 08:16 PM
Keeping the bag full is not really a size issue. As for size, you just want your arm to go around it correctly so that you are squeezing the bag comfortably with your bicep, not your armpit or wrist (if the bag is too large) or nothing to squeeze (if the bag is too small).

When I got my first synthetic bag, I had a bag that was too large and my elbow was nearly parallel with my shoulder, not good because you don't have the right leverage on the bag. If it's too small, there is simply nothing to squeeze, which was the problem of my 6'4" student. We traded bags and life is soooo much better!!

I think most beginner'ss/novice's problem, if they have the correct bag size, is simply just getting experience. Keeping that bag full is more of a co-ordination issue that a size issue.

Mark J.
15-09-09, 08:16 PM
Well if you've just taken the 3rd drone on today, make sure the drone's not taking too much air. Also check each drone for air tightness on it's own - these small things add up & they can ruin your practises if not checked & sorted.

Mind you tho, if you're managing just by keeping a bit of extra pressure with your arm; so long as the sound steady, you should be laughing!

Keep it up tho, and it'll only get easier :)

15-09-09, 09:31 PM
Cheers for that guys . I am 6ft. The bag is a large one. I have been blowing 2 drones for a few weeks now. Took the cork out of third today and was having to blow more often however just been on pipes for an hour or so and discovered that if i squeez slightly harder i can blow more steady and play a couple of tunes through without stopping. Have checked bag for leaks just prior to writing this and everything seems ok.

Mark had some good advice as well. Make sure your set up is efficient. It could be that the drones are taking too much air. It could be you just need to make some reed adjustments.

15-09-09, 10:50 PM
How do you know if drones are taking too much air. Is that when you have to adjust the bridles ?

Mark J.
15-09-09, 11:27 PM
Trial and error...can be frustrating but you'll get to know your reeds which is a good thing.

Try moving the bridle down a fraction (maybe 1mm), then blow up, play a tune & see if the drone stops. Keep doing this until it does stop then move the bridle back up a wee bit. This is the point where you can sound your chanter without the drones stopping, but without the reeds taking more air than they need to.

It's quite a long winded exercise, but the one, I feel, that most does the trick. Do each drone individually, but do it with all 3 drones on (if that makes sense).
...............Double post automerged..............
Try moving the bridle down a fraction (maybe 1mm)...

If the reeds the normal way up (tongue going down) - if the reeds inverted, then move the bridle up. The idea is to shorten the reeds' tongue.

16-09-09, 09:24 AM
Something else you could try in your practise time is to cut your chanter ( replace chanter with a stock cork ) this will be a lot easier for you to listen to your drones and let you improve your blowing.

Some cork off the drones and just play the chanter, but IMO any variance in blowing will be noticed easier via the drone method.

Try this for about a month prior to your normal full set playing.

Say you do an hour on pipes ( everything sounding ) do 10mins or so with the drones on their own.

Trust me, it will help.

Your doing fine, keep 'er lit.


15-04-11, 04:32 AM
[QUOTE=Mark J.;236602]Try moving the bridle down a fraction (maybe 1mm), ...............Double post automerged..............

Mark, I'm going to probably sound REALLY stupid for asking this, but what part of the drone reed is the bridle? I think I know what you mean by the tongue. I've got Croziers. I would LOVE to be able to play all three drones, with a nice steady tone, but so far I've got my bass drone corked to play for any length of time. Would love your input.

Mark J.
15-04-11, 08:22 AM

The bridle is the plastic (probably) thing that goes around your reed, around the tongue.

If you can remember cane reeds, the bridle is the hemp that was tied around the reed. Moving it up or down sharpens or flattens the drone tone, whilst allowing more or less air to flow thru the drone.

The tongue is the (probably) flat bit of plastic. You maybe used to put hairs under the tongues on cane reeds to give them a bit of a lift.

I'll google croziers now cos I've no experience with them - if anything I've written is wrong, I'll correct it soon, or someone else surely will
...............Double post automerged..............
Righto - if you're looking at the reed so the hemped side is on your right...

The cone shaped thing poking from the reed is the tuning adjuster - for use once you have air-efficency set up. Move this in or out - moving it in makes the reed smaller which will make it sharper, and vice versa.

Moving along you have the reed body - nothing special.

On the reed body is a tongue - bit of plactic or cane depending on model. This vibrates giving you your sound.

Depending on model, next you might have an 'O' ring or some fastened & adjustable bit of plastic - this is your bridle. Move this, thru trial & error, til you get to the point so if you overblow, the reed will shut off. Ideally both tenors should be set to take the same amount of air and the bass should take a little more.

After this might be another 'O' ring - this just fastens the tongue to the reed.

And then you have your hemped end - obviously hemp this enough to keep the reed secure, but the further into the drone it goes, the shorter the overall length of the reed/drone combo, and so the sharper it will be.

Help much?

15-04-11, 05:18 PM
Helps a TON, Mark, thank you! So it's the O-ring I want to adjust to my lung power... I'll have to work on that and see if it helps. Would LOVE to be able to get my bass up too. Haven't looked yet, but if you see my post on Crozier Omegas, I'd love your input if you know of anyone with experience with them.

And yea, I'm a re-tread piper, so I remember cane reeds. MY hair was the stuff that always got plucked for 'em, lol!

12-10-12, 12:41 AM
I have a few questions that relate to this thread so I'll piggyback it here instead of starting anew(and so I can stop searching). I have yet to buy a set of pipes (doesn't hurt to windowshop now does it?!) I have noticed on some sites that ask for the 'piper's size' in order to customize the pipes. How essential is this when selecting a set? I eventually plan to go full regalia once at the appropriate level so there will probably be a few sets of not- so -inexpensive pipes in the collection. I would hate to fork over that much dough for something that isn't or can't be tailored...

Are there manufacturers whose pipes are better suited for larger individuals? Not to reveal too much but I'm 6' 7" (200cm) and not quite portly, rotund, porcine...uh, I'm not fat but sort of ....big? What on a pipe should I worry about, what can be adjusted and whom, if any, should I rule out completely?


12-10-12, 01:05 AM
The bag is the only thing that is a size consideration. A full size set of pipes is a full size set of pipes.

12-10-12, 01:08 AM
PS. HOLY CRAP! You're 6'7"???

12-10-12, 04:31 AM
Yeh, I'm the runt of the family. Bro is 6' 10".

OK, so when I get my pipes and it looks like a pan flute in my gorilla paws and I can't get through a doorway I'll say that jessierose swore it's only the bag I need to worry about... :wingman:

12-10-12, 08:26 AM
And even at that you'll probs still be fine with a medium. I have a pupil at 6'7, and he plays a medium quite happily.

12-10-12, 08:55 AM
I should not have read this thread after watching the South Park T.M.I episode......it's lonely here in the gutter.......

12-10-12, 09:10 AM
I've never watched ANY South Park, but I'm pretty satisfied we're in tune...

12-10-12, 06:52 PM
WOW... uhm, I think theyre more so refering to bag size and cord spacing when they talkj about the pipers size for set up... i mean, I could be wrong, but Ive never seen a 6' 7" Piper before so its all fair game I guess...

12-10-12, 07:09 PM
There's a giant piper in Florida or Louisiana, I can't recall which. He makes bagpipes look tiny. He's easily 6'7" or more. His kilt would make a great tent in an emergency.

12-10-12, 08:56 PM
The bag is the only thing that is a size consideration.

Actually, the length of the blowpipe is at least as, if not more, important. As Heed says, most pipers are fine with a medium bag, but a wrongly-sized blowpipe can impose poor playing posture and adversely affect performance.

12-10-12, 09:34 PM
True, true. I have had a telescopic one for so long, I forget that they aren't universal. Thanks.

13-10-12, 09:30 AM
Oh dear. So much innuendo, so little time...

13-10-12, 03:19 PM
It's always the quiet ones. :spank:

13-10-12, 03:34 PM
The kilt is another issue altogether...