BAGPIPE SET UP AND MAINTENANCE
Help in setting up and maintaining a bagpipe. The Bagpipe help pages below provide instruction in setting up and optimising drone reeds, manipulating chanter reeds and maintenance of pipe bag and joints. A well set up bagpipe is the key to achieving a steady sound and bagpipe maintenance is the key to obtaining a well set up instrument.
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The above are critical areas to look at but in addition, you must not forget about regular ongoing maintenance of the instrument.
BAGPIPE BLOWPIPE AND VALVE
Blowpipe and mouthpiece must regularly be cleaned and special attention given to the effectiveness of the valve. There are many types of valve on the market but the all have the same function, to prevent air loss as a breath is taken, the valve must therefore be free from debris that collects quickly both on the valve and the valve seat. This debris can cause leaks and/or cause the valve to stick when blown open. A warm damp cloth will clean this out; additionally the blowpipe and mouthpiece may be clean using a thin stiff bottle brush.
It is essential to regularly inspect and clean the stocks particularly with a sheepskin bag. Seasoning can collect at the bottom of stocks, especially as the bag ages. This will cause unsteadiness and cause unwanted overtones in the drone sound. A regular pull through of the stocks with a warm damp cloth will prevent this. Removal of dampness from the stocks is a requirement afterwards otherwise there is a risk of the wood splitting
There are help pages above giving guidance on how to properly hemp a bagpipe, however the instrument is made of wood and no matter its age the wood will be forever changing in dimensions due to climatic changes. It is important that joints are regularly inspected not only to ensure they have not become too loose, which will cause unsteadiness, but just as importantly that they have not become too tight which will put undue stress on the wood and result in cracking.