Great Highland Bagpipes

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Tuning Great Highland Bagpipes, Uilleann Pipes, Northumbrian Smallpipes & Binioù
There are two main instruments in the bagpipe domain: the Scottish Great Highland bagpipes and the Irish Uilleann pipes. They are radically different instruments, both in their physical attributes and the way they are tuned.

Standard Great Highland bagpipe tuning consists of a bass drone and two tenor drones all tuned to the note A, and a chanter tuned to a scale with a flattened seventh degree, which is unique to Highland bagpipes. Concert A pitch for Highland bagpipes is much higher than other instruments and varies between 475 and 485 Hz.

Uilleann pipes are tuned to a pure just intonation scale in the key of D, with a bass, baritone and tenor drone all tuned to D, as well as a set of assignable regulators and a chanter tuned to a justly-intoned D scale. Concert A pitch for Uilleann pipes is usually 440 Hz.

When groups of bagpipes are played together, as is traditional in pipe band circles, Peterson’s preset Sweetened bagpipe tuning settings are essential. Peterson counts many Grade 1 pipe bands among its users, including the Strathclyde Police, Inveraray & District, the Bagad Cap Caval Pipe Band and the City of Chicago Pipe Band, so you’ll be in good company!

Drones
  1. Begin by dialing in the concert pitch of the tuner to the bass drone of the master piper. This will set the tone for the entire band.
  2. Strike up the pipes on your instrument.
  3. Observe your Peterson tuner display while tuning the bass drone separately. The strobe display will rotate clockwise if the drone is sharp and counterclockwise if it’s flat. If the bass drone is flat, the drone must be shortened in length. If the bass drone is sharp, it must be lengthened. Adjust this using the tuning slide near the base of each drone until the strobe image display is immobile.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the tenor drones.
Chanter
  1. Dial in the GHB Sweetened Tuning preset on your Peterson Tuner.
  2. Play each note on the chanter and observe the tuner display.
  3. The strobe display will rotate clockwise if the chanter note is sharp and counterclockwise if it’s flat. If a note is sharp, use tape on the upper side of the corresponding hole in the chanter to flatten it. Up to ¼ of the hole can be covered before volume and tone will suffer noticeably. If the chanter note is flat, it is is better to readjust the drones to match it, as there is no way to sharpen individual chanter notes without structurally changing the hole shape by cutting. Continue adjusting until the strobe display is immobile.
Drones
  1. Confirm that the tuner’s concert pitch is set to 440.0 Hz.
  2. Switch on the tenor drone.
  3. Observe your Peterson tuner display while tuning the tenor drone separately. The strobe display will rotate clockwise if the drone is sharp and counterclockwise if it’s flat. If the bass drone is flat, the drone must be shortened in length. If the bass drone is sharp, it must be lengthened. Adjust this using the tuning slide near the base of each drone until the strobe image display is immobile.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the baritone and bass drones.
Chanter & Regulators
  1. Dial in the UIL Sweetened Tuning preset on your Peterson Tuner.
  2. Play each note on the chanter and regulator while observing the tuner display.
  3. The strobe display will rotate clockwise if the chanter note is sharp and counterclockwise if it’s flat. If a note is sharp, use the tape on the upper side of the corresponding hole in the chanter to flatten it, or move the reed to adjust a regulator. Up to ¼ of a chanter hole can be covered before volume and tone will suffer noticeably. Continue adjusting until the strobe display is immobile.
Unlike other tuners which offer no alternative to generic Equal Temperament, Peterson Tuners contain many choices of “Sweetness“, in other words, several degrees of harmony or consonance in a tuning preset. The Sweetener feature is exclusive to Peterson Tuners and there is one for almost any musical instrument.
NSP
Northumbrian Smallpipes in F+ tuning with Just intervals.
GHB
Traditional Great Highland bagpipe tuning.
UIL
Uilleann Pipes Tuning.
 The Peterson StroboPlus HD (SP-1) is THE premier desktop digital tuner on the market!  Equally as comfortable on a tech’s workbench as it is in a player’s guitar case, this tuner, with all of its features, is no exception to Peterson’s reputation for being THE most accurate in the industry — don’t let its demure palm size fool you! Players of both acoustic and electric instruments can rest assured— a built-in electret condenser microphone and ¼” input jack provide excellent connectivity. | Peterson Strobe Tuners

StroboPLUS HDC

$179.99

The Peterson StroboPlus HD (SP-1) is THE premier desktop digital tuner on the market! Equally as comfortable on a tech’s workbench as it is in a player’s guitar case, this tuner, with all of its features, is no exception to Peterson’s reputation for being THE most accurate in the industry — don’t let its demure palm size fool you! Players of both acoustic and electric instruments can rest assured— a built-in electret condenser microphone and ¼” input jack provide excellent connectivity. Gone are the days of having to carry extra batteries and tripping over power cables during a performance! This tuner is rechargeable via computer bus or outlet power, and its large, circular screen is easily viewed in both the darkest and brightest environmental conditions. Features such as Auto Off, easy menu navigation, tripod mounting capability, over 90 of our Sweetened Tunings, tone generation ability via built in speaker, and a headphone output jack round out the package. Finally, future-proof updating and parameter editing is made possible by the tuner’s unobtrusive side-mounted USB jack. And for those feeling exceptionally adventurous, this tuner can be upgraded to also feature our super flexible Body Beat metronome option, along with both audible AND tactile mode operation. Hear the beat or feel it…the power is in your hands. This tuner is fit for the most discerning of players and technicians for sure!
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 The Peterson StroboClip HD™ (SC-HD) has the same tenth-of-a-cent accuracy as all Peterson Strobe Tuners. | Peterson Strobe Tuners

StroboClip HD

$69.99

The Peterson StroboClip HD™ (SC-HD) has the same tenth-of-a-cent accuracy as all Peterson Strobe Tuners. This versatile tuner comes complete with a bright high-definition screen, over 50 Sweetened™ tunings, alternate temperaments for a vast array of string and wind instruments, and soft rubber-lined jaws to protect your instrument's finish while offering a firm grip for maximum signal tracking.
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 The Peterson StroboPlus HD (SP-1) is THE premier desktop digital tuner on the market!  Equally as comfortable on a tech’s workbench as it is in a player’s guitar case, this tuner, with all of its features, is no exception to Peterson’s reputation for being THE most accurate in the industry — don’t let its demure palm size fool you! Players of both acoustic and electric instruments can rest assured— a built-in electret condenser microphone and ¼” input jack provide excellent connectivity. | Peterson Strobe Tuners

StroboPLUS HD

$149.99

The Peterson StroboPlus HD (SP-1) is THE premier desktop digital tuner on the market! Equally as comfortable on a tech’s workbench as it is in a player’s guitar case, this tuner, with all of its features, is no exception to Peterson’s reputation for being THE most accurate in the industry — don’t let its demure palm size fool you! Players of both acoustic and electric instruments can rest assured— a built-in electret condenser microphone and ¼” input jack provide excellent connectivity. Gone are the days of having to carry extra batteries and tripping over power cables during a performance! This tuner is rechargeable via computer bus or outlet power, and its large, circular screen is easily viewed in both the darkest and brightest environmental conditions. Features such as Auto Off, easy menu navigation, tripod mounting capability, over 90 of our Sweetened Tunings, tone generation ability via built in speaker, and a headphone output jack round out the package. Finally, future-proof updating and parameter editing is made possible by the tuner’s unobtrusive side-mounted USB jack. And for those feeling exceptionally adventurous, this tuner can be upgraded to also feature our super flexible Body Beat metronome option, along with both audible AND tactile mode operation. Hear the beat or feel it…the power is in your hands. This tuner is fit for the most discerning of players and technicians for sure!
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 iStroboSoft™ offers the unmatched accuracy of a mechanical strobe tuner for the highest degree of precision available in a software tuning application. | Peterson Strobe Tuners

iStroboSoft (iOS)

$9.99

iStroboSoft™ offers the unmatched accuracy of a mechanical strobe tuner for the highest degree of precision available in a software tuning application. Plug in your electrics or use the built-in mic for acoustic instruments to quickly and easily tune with 1/10th cent accuracy.
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1. In a Pipe Band situation, delegate the tuning to a non-playing member if possible.

2. It’s normal for moisture and vibration to cause reeds to fluctuate and affect pitch, so checking the tuning frequently is essential.

The GHB Sweetener contains the traditional Highland bagpipe scale, where some notes can vary from “normal” equal temperament by over 30 cents (almost a quarter-tone!). The UIL Sweetener uses the correct cent offsets for just intonation with a D root, an equally tempered set of pipes would be unlistenable.

Great Highland bagpipe and the Uilleann Pipe Sweeteners (the presets are called GHB and UIL) aren’t just an optional extra, they are the ONLY way to tune these instruments with a tuner. Using an ordinary tuner will not work. Enhance and simplify your tuning technique by letting a Peterson Strobe Tuner featuring specialty Sweetened Tuning settings do the hard work for you.

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