Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Winter 2013

It's December the 17th as I write this. After nine and a half years of doing the job I've edited my last ever edition of  `Chanter' the quarterly journal of the Bagpipe Society. I have to say, when I first volunteered for doing it, I never imagined I'd be at it for so long. On the whole it's been a thoroughly rewarding time, but now it's passed on to the capable hands of Jane Moulder and I hope she enjoys doing it as much as I have...

Things are moving on with Estron as well - the girls are away at University (though they're home now for Christmas) and to fill the void we've acquired a new member for the band - Jess who's a bit of a whizz on the harp has been joining us for the last couple of practices. Of course when the girls are home we've got the full band, but now when they're away we can still do a creditable performance.

Meanwhile things have been fairly quiet on the instrument making front. I still have customers waiting patiently for the pipes they've ordered - and they will be getting them soon, though I'm not as quick at it as I used to be. Just finished this set of pibau cyrn for one customer - it's made from yew sourced in Carmarthenshire, plastic Eezydrone reeds in both the chanter and drone:

Also finished for another customer - Bill Reese in Virginia who plays with the Welsh / Breton folk group `Moch Pryderi' - another set of pibau cyrn, again in yew. This is Bill playing them during a concert:

In my last Blog post I showed you a set of Swedish pipes (sackpipa) I made for myself. It works at a lighter pressure than my pibau cyrn so I've been playing it quite a bit recently - trying to get to grips with the different fingering, and assembling a collection of tunes in it's peculiar scale from various internet sources.

I've also gone back to my first love - the Appalachian dulcimer. I made my first one in the early seventy's and a few months ago made another. This is a type known as the Tennessee Music Box and has a bigger sound than the more normal types, due to it's much larger soundbox.

One characteristic is that the bridge and nut are formed from tin, cut and bent to shape over iron nails. Frets are made from staples and are placed just under the melody string, while the tuners are simply screw in eyes which work much better than you might imagine.