From Facebook: Does sheepskin make much of a difference??
Sheepskin has a huge impact on the sound you can get out of the pipes. I’m not sure anyone knows exactly why, but the harmonics and richness that is produced by sheepskin is like no other bag.
The challenges with Sheepskin is in the maintenance of the bag – you need to play regularly to keep the bag from drying out. That being said, you don’t need to play every day. Even if you were to go a week or so without playing, a cap full of warm water or two does a nice job of reactivating the seasoning so that it can continue to provide that tight seal.
Seasoning the bag can be a pain, but the effort is well worth it when you consider the improvement in sound that you get out of a sheepskin. Plus, most other bags require regular maintenance. For instance, other hide bags all need seasoning and/or primer of some sort, and synthetic bags often have a moisture control system that needs regular attention. For instance, I played a Ross Canister Bag for several seasons as a soloist, and “nuking” my kitty litter (every few days) was a far bigger pain than seasoning my sheepskin every month or so.
To sum it up – for anyone that is serious about getting a good sound, experiencing sheepskin at some point is a must. Even if you don’t stick with it forever, Sheepskin can help teach a piper about getting a rich tone.
Thanks for the great question!
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