The Pipes Arrive
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From the  -- I've been sort of bloging the whole experience for my friends at the campfire.  Most of them are a bunch of rifle loonies

I've been entertaining y'all with stories about the little Scotsman that the Lord blessed us with. Why God would want to bless the union of a hillbilly girl and her German-American husband with a little Scotsman is beyond me, but we're coping. He's going to be 9 in April, and last week he sat in for his first practice with the Caledonians, the big pipe band here in Cincinnati.

Well sir, last night was a big night for us. His teacher came over for dinner and gave him a bagpipe lesson. We ate steak and then settled into the den and brought up the projector video and I opened up a browser session and we started to figure out what kind of pipes to order for our little Angus. He's just so big for his age, and so far along in his piping, that it was deemed appropriate to start him early. So there we were, the culmination of about 2 months of research on our part.

Buying bagpipes is at least as intricate as buying a new rifle, at least the way the rifle looneys on here talk about it. Each manufacturer has a distinct sound. You've got about 10 major variables, and then you get into the ornamentation-- nickel versus silver, blackwood versus plastic, and so on. Then you have the aftermarket add-ons. He needed the equivalent of a Timney trigger and a Leupold scope for what he's into. He's had two teachers so far, and they disagreed on which pipes to buy-- sort of a Sucks vs Savage thing. The teacher's father put his oar in the water, and suggested I go up to Cleveland and visit Gibson, the only bagpipe manufacturer in the States. I may still.

Angus cut to the chase. He did not want anything to keep polished. He did not want any engraving. He wanted it plain and simple. Why? He wanted to keep costs down. (I told you, God gave us a Scotsman). The nearly plainest set of pipes from a good manufacturer set us back about a grand, and then the teacher took the helm and added on a bunch of extras. I came back on to add the credit card #, and off we went.

Angus put the finishing touch on it. "Pull the trigger on it, Dad!" I clicked, and they were ordered.

Here's what we settled on:

McCallum AB2

. . . ordered from -- sort of like MIDWAYUSA for the pipers.

They're coming from Scotland, and at this point I have no idea when they'll show up, but they'll probably be here for his birthday in April.



UPDATE  02/16/2007

They arrived last night.  We had just enough time to unpack them and then bundle them up in a suitcase and take them up to practice at the church.  

Angus' teacher, Katie, made the announcement before practice that the band had a new piper, and then Angus, Katie and the pipes went to a back practice room where Katie spent all of her normal lesson time showing the class how bagpipes show up, and what you do to get them ready for play.

In the hour or so she spent showing the class, Katie only managed to get a small portion of the preparation compete.  Most of this involved hemping the fixtures-- wrapping the fittings with waxed hemp string to produce a good seal.  Before Brendan can start wailing on them, Katie has to do the equivalent of  free-floating the barrel, bedding the stock, collimating the scope and doing a trigger job.

I may be able to shoot some pics of Angus holding the pipes over the weekend, but they still are not put together.  I'm dropping them off at Katie's later on so she can finish the prep work and have the pipes ready for his next lesson.


Angus and the box

Inside the box

After it was all unwrapped.

Angus' pipes laid out in the demonstration.

Katie, a bagpipe prodigy and Angus' teacher.  


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