30 Days and 30 Minutes to Becoming a Stronger Bagpiper. Go!


What is the one single thing that will improve your performance as a Highland bagpiper? Did you come up with an answer? It’s wrong if it is not what is the most important thing that will lead to improvement: Physical Exercise.

A previous series of posts here at Pipehacker.com, “Be a Stronger Piper” deals with this very issue. As I wrote in “Be a Stronger Piper, Literally,” it’s clear that good tonal production on the bagpipe requires no small amount of physical stamina and exertion. Being a stronger bagpiper is not just about stronger fingers and better quality playing, it is about being a stronger bagpiper, literally. The best part? It’s really simple.

Being in good physical condition is one of those easy, obvious things we can all do to improve our quality of life. But it’s not just about feeling good and improving your health, it carries a side benefit of making you a more fit piper as well. Long playing sessions, band practices, and endless competition can take its physical toll. Here we are, 30 days from the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. That is four weeks to put yourself in the shape you need for a grueling day on Glasgow Green—not too late to bring your body up to a level with noticeable improvement. Here is a modified version of “The Piper’s Power Workout” from the above-mentioned post that, if done daily for 30 minutes each day, can put you in the right condition to get you through the remainder of your competition season. Obviously, if you’re not used to doing regular physical activity, some caution is in order. It’s not a contest. Do what you can and don’t force anything. Stick with it and the gains will come more quickly than you think. If you are already in good condition, this is an excellent maintenance workout for the piper on the go. Read More




Small Tunes Podcast: “Saint Columba”


This episode’s tune is “Saint Columba,” a march/polka named for the ancient Irish Christian saint. Columba, or “Columcille” as he is known, spearheaded an age of high learning and scholarship throughout ancient Ireland and Scotland. Download the set score and listen to the podcast for more historical background, as well as a rendition of the tune on the bagpipe.




Pipehacker Project: Rebuild and Resurrect a Practice Chanter Reed

Friday, June 24, 2011

Never chuck a good reed. Wait. Did I say that already once before? Well, it’s true, and if you’ve been at this bagpipes thing for any length of…


The Salvaged Wood Smallpipe

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fellow bagpipe addict and pipehacker-in-training Johnny L. stopped by for a visit recently and he is the first recipient of the “Pipehacker DIYB award.” OK, I made that…


Pipehacker Tip: The DIY Pipe Bag Seasoning Funnel

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bagpipe bag seasoning is messy stuff. The wide mouth opening of your modern container of Airtight makes it an easy matter to make a clean pour into your…


Pipehacker Project: The Reed Capsule

Friday, March 11, 2011

Even though you now has a portable reed case (as well as minty fresh breath) you still have need to store, transport, or otherwise protect your chanter and…


Pipehacker Project: The Personal Reed Case

Friday, February 4, 2011

An enterprising bagpiper can accumulate a large number of chanter reeds over time. But once you find those choice bits of cane, what do you do with them?…


Pipehacker Tip: Bagpipe Bag Hole Punch

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

For those new to the hide bag tie-in, it has always been necessary to measure out and place the spots where your stocks will insert. A quarter-sized hole is then cut into the leather and the stock pushed through. The trick is always to get as round a hole as possible. The more perfectly circular the hole, the less likely it will be to tear when you push your stock through. The only way to do this well is to have an ideally sized “punch” to stamp out that hole.


Pipehacker Project: The DIY Blowstick Valve

Friday, November 12, 2010

Are there any pipers left who remember the days of leather blowstick flapper valves? The little circles of old bag leather that dried up and had to be gnawed back to life in order to function? No? Well, once upon a time pipers had to make their own flapper valves to tie on to their blowpipes.


Pipehacker Project: The Black Art of Black Wax

Friday, October 22, 2010

Back in the day, the gooey black bits of “cobbler’s wax” were oftentimes a melted mess in a piper’s maintenance kit awaiting their next turn at a strand of hemp. What is simply globs of pine resin and pitch (otherwise known by the scientific name “soot”), the stuff was crumbly, sticky, and infuriating at the same time but has always been ideal for sticking that first wrap of hemp on your pipe tenons. But what do you do when your chunk of black wax has crumbled to nothing?

Content Protected Using Blog Protector By: PcDrome.