Band Tuning

    1. In lower grade bands blowing tends to be a big issue. In order to achieve really good tone players need to be able to blow steady. Some players tend to blow harder as the practice goes on. Some players have blowing problems on specific notes F, D, high A and sometimes B.
    2. Types of bags being played: In order to get and keep tone you will need to be able to control moisture and ultimately get every instrument in the band to change together. For instance Ross canister bags fulfill this requirement.
    3. Have everyone in the band use the same brand chanter that hopefully have been order together in a batch (so they are matched). Having people play different chanters is going to make tuning a lot more difficult and certain chanters simply will not work or tune with other makes.
    4. Do not let pipers go off and play by themselves. It is band practice time and you want to make sure that the instruments are played the same amount of time. If you let pipers wander off they will have different levels of moisture in theirs systems (bags).
    5. Remember that players will blow differently with drones off and on. If you tune all the chanters with the drones off most likely when you turn the drones on and tune them your chanters will be out of tune.
    6. Tune the band to the best tuned bagpipe in the band. This will usually be one of the best players in the band, most likely the PM. Let's call this the master instrument. Make sure that the master instrument is in tune, the chanter is balanced and every note of the chanter blends with the drones. During your 10 or so minute warm up period have someone tune the drones with the meter (for instance a Korg ca-20 or ca-30). Get the reading for the meter from either low A on the chanter of the master bagpipe or one of the tenor drones of the master bagpipe.
    7. During the warm up period while the band is playing the PM should walk around the inside of the circle to determine who is most out of tune using his / her ears. At the end of that set of tunes fix the players that are least in tune with the master instrument. Individually check each chanter with drones playing. It is best to play a tune. Make sure it is an easy tune that everyone plays well. Rowan tree is a good one because it hits the major notes. The reason of tuning the chanter while playing a tune is because many players will blow differently while playing the scale.
    8. Repeat step 7 until every player has had their chanter checked. Remember to fine tune chanters and drones as the practice progresses. Some chanters will wander a bit and you may need to sharpen the pitch of the drones a little.
  1. Sometimes recheck chanters using the tune Amazing Grace to specifically check F's and D's. These are two very hard notes to get in tune on the GHB.