Posts Tagged ‘northumbrian pipes’

How many keys do I need on my pipes?

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Here’s the second of the decision charts for new pipers – one of the most frequent questions I am asked is ‘what keys should I get?’ There is no perfect configuration – everything is a compromise – and the most common one is ‘standard 7’:


Note that this chart only applies for F & G pipes – on a D set the chanter stick is much longer and different restrictions apply.

Choosing your NSP Pitch: F, G or D?

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

For anyone new to Northumbrian piping, and expecially for a lone piper, it can be difficult to work out which sort of instrument to get. Whether commissioning a new set or looking for a used instrument – here’s a basic guide to choosing your Northumbrian smallpipes pitch:

As you can see – the default answer is ‘F’. At some point I’ll add another chart for choosing keys – that question comes up even more frequently – and the answer is ‘7’

Shaw 9k NSP, Boxwood – concert G

Sunday, August 14th, 2016


Here’s a concert pitch set of Northumbrian Smallpipes made by Dave Shaw. Chanter & drones are Boxwood & Brass. It has a 9 keyed chanter with the standard 7 + F naturals; the middle B and e holes are angled to ease the finger spacing. Four drones each with tuning beads, hand rolled ferrules and Dave’s piston drone ends (not chained stoppers). Fully reeded, full playing condition – bellows & case included.

Price: £1050 + delivery

Location: West Northumberland – and occasionally elsewhere

Contact me to buy or for more details.

What is an Interchangeable Stock?

Monday, February 1st, 2016

One of the features available on some sets of Northumbrian pipes is an interchangeable stock – here’s a description of what that means:

  • Non-interchangeable: Chanter is plugged into a wooden stock that is tied into the neck of the bag. Unplugging the chanter exposes the reed.
  • Interchangeable: A socket is tied into the bag and the chanter and stock are plugged in. Unplugging the stock protects the reed.

An interchangeable stocks is commonly used to allow a player with one set to switch between two or more chanters (e.g. 7k & 17k chanters or ‘F’ and ‘G’ chanters) whilst protecting the reed.

It is also possible to have an interchangeable dronestock – allowing you to swap sets of drones – but this is far less common and significantly more work to make.