Bagpipe maintenance and tuning is an important job. Without proper maintenance and tuning your bagpipe will never produce a good sound and will fall apart. If you follow my maintenance and tuning guidelines you should have a bagpipe that is a pleasure to play and easy to tune.
Practice Chanter Maintenance and Tuning
Hemping Your Bagpipe
Bagpipe Pipe Bag
Bagpipe Blow Stick
Bagpipe Pipe Chanter
Bagpipe Moisture Control
Bagpipe tuning is a craft that takes a long time to master. I've been doing it for over 20 years and I'm still learning new things everyday so don't feel bad if this takes a while. Tuning a bagpipe is much more difficult than a “normal” instrument. With a “normal” woodwind or brass instruments a single tuning that takes less than minute will suffice. With string instruments such as a guitar or violin you will have to make some small tuning changes every now and then to compensate for the changes of the tension of a vibrating string. However, this is nothing compared to the work that goes into tuning bagpipes.
With a bagpipe you have 4 reeds working independently that are continuesly being affected by moisture. When you play the bagpipes the chanter becomes sharper the longer you play. Thus, you have to constantly retune your drones to your sharpening chanter.
Also, when playing the bagpipes you must be able to blow steadily to produce a constant and steady air flow through all the reeds. If you ease off on your blowing your bagpipe chanter will go flat compared to your drones and if you blow to hard your chanter will become sharp compared to your drones. If that wasn't enough you have to use electrical tape to tune each individual note of the chanter.
UUGGHHHH!!! This sounds exhausting doesn't it? It will be at first. However, like everything else in life the more you do it the easier it gets.