rob moore

Uilleann and Northumbrian pipes, Hurdy Gurdy, Lira Organizzata, Eclectic Instruments

Northumbrian Small Pipes-A Double Bass Drone and a Switched Drone Stock

Northumbrian Small Pipes

A Double Bass Drone and a Switched Drone Stock to Take the Fifth Drone


The Double Bass “D” Drone For My ‘D’ Set Of Northumbrian Small Pipes

I have always had a leaning towards the more bass sounds.  The sound of the cello over the violin, the sound of the baritone saxophone over its higher pitched siblings.  With this in mind I decided that what my Northumbrian Small Pipes needed most was a big brother, hence the double bass “D” drone was born.

As can be seen in the photo, the standing/reed end of the finished drone is not outrageously large.  The use of a gun drill cannot be over recommended for even ‘the part time pipe-maker’.  It pays for its self on the first set of pipes and what a visual reward when you look down those straight and shiny smooth bores.

If I had known how well it would work out I would have used the last piece of Macassar ebony that I had, so as to match up better with its drone end and the chanter.  Although the dogwood I used took the leather dyes well enough to look presentable. One more application of dye and a light rub with gunstock oil should blend it in well enough that I won’t bother making another.  Besides, the set has evolved over the years and is a mixture of various woods.

If anyone is interested in having a go at making one, I can e-mail my dimensioned sketch.

End View-Standing Section

Tuning slide to be inserted into bore #3 of standing section

Tuning slide to be glued into the counter bored end of #3  standing section

The cliché for the Day:

As has been said by many people many times, “one thing leads to another”

Hence my next project:

The Switched Drone Stock

A new drone stock was needed not only to take the fifth drone but also to have more options when playing the pipes.  It is so cool to start off a tune with just the chanter playing and then on the second time through, a flick of the chin cuts in the harmony of the drones.

I was really impressed on hearing Jerry O’Sullivan on Uilleann pipes playing “Colonel Fraser”.  He starts off on just the chanter.  After, as the excitement increases he cuts in the drones, then, when you think it couldn’t get any better he adds harmony by adding notes with the regulators, gradually adding more and more until the listener is left with their mouth agape and their heart racing.

Well I would never compare myself to the likes of Jerry O’Sullivan but do you think the Northumbrian Piping Police might get their dander up if I was to add regulators to my pipes?

NSP drone-stock

Finished drone stock, double bass drone removed to reveal details of the stock switch.  I was told by a fellow pipemaker that it looked like a gearshift lever and it might be a good idea to engrave an ‘H’ pattern on the stock ferrule.  My only reply would be, ” it had to be that long in order for my chin to strike up the drones while my hands where on the chanter.”


My pipes with the double bass ‘D’ drone, the switched 5 drone stock, and my 10 keyed ‘D’ chanter