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The "Kitchen" Pipe
With Our Exclusive Upgrade,
The Dunbar Millennium 2000 Practice Chanter

Kitchen Pipe with Dunbar Practice Chanter
Kitchen Pipe with Dunbar "Extra-Long Millennium 2000" Practice Chanter
Made in Canada

U.S. $310.00 Sale Price, $295


We also offer J. Dunbar Ltd. Practice Chanters & Great Highland Bagpipes, Clanrye Synthetic Chanter Reeds, Electronic Bagpipes, Teaching Videos/DVDs, Tutorials and more:

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"Kitchen" Pipes??

During the past 400 years or so, makers of bagpipes in the British Isles as well as in Continental Europe have sometimes diverged from building the familiar large, powerful pipes that are typified today by the Great Highland Bagpipe and have also created a wide variety of small, gentle-sounding pipes. These can be grouped under the overall term smallpipes. Some, like the French Musette, are highly complex while others, for example early Northumbrian Smallpipes, are quite simple. In general, they are intended as indoor instruments and have sweet, low-pitched tone.

Aside from building the classic smallpipes such as the French Musette, Northumbrian Smallpipes, Scottish Smallpipes and so on, modern makers have followed their predecessors’ habits of striking off in their own directions, with varying results. Some makers, such as John Walsh and R.T. Shepherd, have been very successful, building beautiful and popular (though not inexpensive) instruments. Others, attempting to produce & market cheap "parlor pipes" using semi-skilled labor have infested us with evil-sounding wall-hangers.

A rather obvious concept in this direction is to create a smallpipe using an ordinary Highland practice chanter together with one or more drones. A huge advantage of this approach is that the practice chanter can be used by itself, conventionally, or it can be plugged into the pipe in a matter of seconds. Furthermore, the pipe maker is freed from the complications of constructing a chanter, as these are readily available from many firms.

This approach has been taken many times by professional and amateur makers, but the results either haven't been generally available in any quantity or at a reasonable price, or they have been rather crude, using lengths of off-the-shelf metal or plastic tubing for the drones and, sometimes, unsuitable materials for the bags.

Recently, a Canadian company has addressed this issue, with excellent results. Using "Delrin" (also called Polypenco - a machinable structural synthetic well established as an excellent material for bagpipes by high-end pipe makers such as J.Dunbar Ltd., among others) and modern manufacturing techniques, this maker has overcome the problem of matching high quality with low price. The resulting bagpipe, marketed under the trade name "Kitchen Pipe," is now widely available from bagpipe suppliers.

Our Exclusive Upgrade

Overall, the "Kitchen Pipe" as issued by the Canadian maker and as sold elsewhere is a nice enough instrument. However, it comes from the maker with a serviceable but undistinguished chanter (made by another firm overseas) that just isn't in the same class as the Dunbar.

Because nobody really needs two practice chanters, and because we (and a whole lot of others) have found the J. Dunbar Ltd. Millennium 2000 practice chanter to be so outstanding at its regular job, we undertook to see if it would be possible to upgrade the Kitchen Pipe to incorporate this fine instrument. By luck the sizes of the stocks of the Kitchen Pipe and the corresponding two halves of the Dunbar match - the Dunbar chanter and Dunbar blowpipe plug right into the pipe. We make one modification to the blowpipe airway, to allow for the passage of the extra volume of air required by the bag and the drones. This does not affect the performance of the Dunbar when used by itself as a practice chanter. Not only does the Dunbar sound better than the standard chanter in the pipe, but it is an excellent choice as a practice chanter for any piper and will be the only practice chanter needed for a lifetime of piping.

So, we arranged with the maker to supply us with the Kitchen Pipe without the chanter. Thus we are able to provide the Kitchen Pipe fitted with the J. Dunbar Millennium 2000 practice chanter. We are also able to provide our customers who have previously purchased this practice chanter from us with just the parts they need, at substantial savings.

Sound Sample
click here to hear the Kitchen Pipe
Click on the piper to hear the Kitchen Pipe
MP3 format, 36 seconds, 290 Kb, performed by Sean Folsom


If you are considering the Kitchen Pipe as your first entry into piping, you will need a tutorial to begin working with the practice chanter. We offer the long-established standard, the College of Piping "Green Book" with audio CD, or the first three volumes (with three accompanying audio CDs) of the outstanding John Cairns "Bagpipe Solutions" series. For guidance, please see our extensive description of both of these tutorials beginning here. If you have further questions about which tutorial will best suit your needs, feel free to contact us.

Note: It should be clear from the above description that it is the upgraded chanter of this pipe, as provided through us here at The Universe of Bagpipes, that is made by J. Dunbar Ltd. - the rest of the pipe is made by an independent Canadian maker. J. Dunbar Ltd. has nothing to do directly with the instrument, other than that they have no objection to our use of their excellent chanter in this upgrade.


Physical Description

The Dunbar PC plugs into the Kitchen PIpe
Instant Bagpipe! The Dunbar Millennium 2000 Practice Chanter
becomes the chanter and blowpipe of the Kitchen Pipe.
Inset: Stock (A), Adapter/Flap-Valve (B), Blowpipe (C)

The construction of the Kitchen Pipe follows more or less conventional smallpipe practice. The Kitchen Pipe has two drones, a tenor and a bass, coming from a common stock. These are very well made, with decorative turning and with conventional tuning joints. All of the parts are machined with no cheap moldings anywhere, and all of the parts are made for the pipe, with no clunky attempts to use off-the-shelf plumbing bits or such. The practice chanter's top half serves nicely as the blowpipe. The blowpipe stock ( "stocks" are the short tubes, tied into the bag, into which the various pipes themselves plug) incorporates a short part that carries the necessary flap-valve that keeps air from moving back to the player. (Bagpipes usually have this valve built into the blowpipe itself - practice chanters don't need them.)

Joints are hemped, with the conventional unwaxed yellow variety, and are thus easily adjusted. The Dunbar chanter employs o-rings rather than hemp.

The Drones of the Kitchen PIpe
The Drones


The drones and reeds are mounted on a common boss (C) and plug into the stock (A), which is tied into the leather bag. The tenor drone (D) has one sliding joint (E), while the bass drone (F) has two (G & H). The tuning pins (I), on which the sliding joints mount, are fitted with teflon tape at their ends, which provides a good seal and smooth movement while tuning and is easily adjusted or renewed as needed. Unlike a Highland pipe but in keeping with common practice for many smallpipes, the drone reeds (B) are of the double-bladed type - just like the reed of a Highland chanter or practice chanter. In fact, the drone reeds of the Kitchen Pipe are practice chanter reeds; thus all three reeds are the same, which has obvious advantages. Furthermore, while the Kitchen Pipe is provided with high-quality synthetic reeds made by John Walsh, almost any brand will work. As anyone who has ever owned a non-Highland bagpipe knows, having replacement reeds readily available is extremely important.

UPDATE, JANUARY 2010: The bag, heretofore leather, is now a high-grade synthetic made especially for the Kitchen Pipe by one of the leading bagpipe bag makers in the UK (Bannatyne). This is a distinct upgrade and the change has been made with no increase in price! (That is due to a general rise in price of quality leather, a corresponding decrease in the price of synthetics, and a reduction in labor costs.)

The pipe is supplied with a nice padded black nylon zippered soft carrying case. Just as with a Great Highland Bagpipe, the top two bass drone sections are removed from the pipe to stow it in its case.

The Carrying Case
Included Carrying Case
1-foot ruler for scale

Cover Colors: The bag covers are velveteen and are usually black or dark blue. If you have a special need for a particular color, please contact us. Be aware that bagpipe covers are very simple structures that can be quickly made by anyone who can run a sewing machine - so if you want a pink shag-rug cover or flaming dragons or such, get yourself the cloth and use the provided cover as a pattern.

Note: October, 2007: We've now been offering these upgraded Kitchen Pipes for about five years, and have placed several hundred sets in the hands of both beginning and established pipers. The feedback we've gotten is most enthusiastic. We get occasional questions about the "musicality" of these pipes. The Kitchen Pipe, though small and inexpensive, is not at all a toy. This is a real bagpipe and a fine musical instrument, with a rich sound which while not loud has a firm and dignified presence. It may be hard to imagine this, given the not-very-exciting sound of a practice chanter by itself. But the magic of bagpipes lies in what happens to the sound with the addition of drones - as listening to a Great Highland Bagpipe chanter played by itself without drones demonstrates dramatically.



The Kitchen Pipe as a Transitional Instrument
To the Great Highland Bagpipe

While the Kitchen Pipe is a nifty instrument in its own right, it can also serve as an excellent tool in making the challenging transition from the practice chanter to a full set of Highland pipes. In particular, it will help with becoming accustomed to a bag, including grip, posture and maintaining a steady airflow, and it will introduce the piper to tuning drones to the chanter and/or to each other. It will also continue to build up "wind." All of this, of course, without making too much of a racket!

For the new piper, aside from simply being a smaller, quieter more easy-to-manage bagpipe than the formidable Great Highland Bagpipe, the Kitchen Pipe can be quickly set up in two specific ways that will benefit the student:

1. As a "Goose": A Goose is a traditional transitional instrument consisting of a bag, blowpipe and practice chanter. Most instructors and tutorial systems call for the use of a Goose for the transition from the practice chanter to a full set of pipes. Using a Goose, the student, who at that point has become proficient on the practice chanter, is introduced to the bag and begins to learn all of the associated techniques of air management.

There's one big problem with a traditional dedicated Goose - once you're done with it, it's pretty much useless and will likely move to the top shelf in a closet. An alternative is to create a Goose by corking off the drone stocks on a full set of pipes and replacing the pipe chanter with a practice chanter bottom half (via a little stepped "Goose adaptor"). This works just fine, but of course requires that you already own a full set of pipes.

Our Kitchen Pipe is supplied with a large rubber plug that can quickly replace the drone assembly, thus creating an instant Goose. The drone assembly is simply pulled out of its stock and laid aside, in one piece (and do take care not to lay it where it will roll and fall - falling bagpipe parts always land reed-first, because of the same miserable law of physics that causes bread to land on the floor butter-side-down...). In the photo below, the supplied large rubber plug A replaces the drone assembly B; the group of supplied plugs is shown at C.

The Kitchen Pipe configured as a Goose
The KP converts into a Goose, as explained above.

2. As Drones Only: A smaller rubber plug is supplied with our Kitchen Pipe that fits the chanter stock, thus making a bagpipe with two drones but no melody pipe. This allows the student to work on general bag & breathing techniques such as maintaining steady pressure, and on tuning one drone to another, without having to devote attention to playing a tune. This can be a regular part of a student's exercises, or it can provide an occasional welcome break from chugging along on the practice chanter. In the photo below, the supplied smaller plug at A replaces the chanter B, while drones C remain installed.

The Kitchen Pipe configured to drones-only
The KP set up to play drones only, as explained above.

A key point that applies to both of the above configurations is that if a student moves onto a complete bagpipe too soon, it is likely, because there are several new things to do at the same time, that fingerwork on the chanter will be sloppy and that bad habits will develop. That's why most instructors won't let a student near a bagpipe until some tunes can be played correctly and pretty much automatically on the practice chanter. But when there's no chanter involved, then there's little risk of this happening.

Be aware that instuctors' attitudes about these and many other things vary, and if you are working with a teacher you should ask before paddling off in your own direction. If you're working on your own, it's important to maintain discipline and not spend big chunks of your practice time, especially early-on, honking away on your Kitchen Pipe. On the other hand, working with just a practice chanter does get boring and tedious at times, and having something fun, like a Kitchen Pipe, to turn to for relief has kept many people in the game.



Price:

Kitchen Pipe, complete as shown and described above,
with upgraded J. Dunbar Millennium 2000 practice chanter and case, ready to play:


US $310.00 On Sale, $295

(If you need a tutorial to accompany the practice chanter, please see our learning to play pages.)

Kitchen Pipe without chanter,
available only to our customers who have already purchased the Dunbar Millennium 2000 practice chanter from us:

US $235.00

Important: If you plan to purchase this way,
read this now.

Spare reeds:

US $7.00 each

(Note: The pipe works best when all three reeds are the same. The the pipe comes with 3 very high-quality reeds. These reeds are long-lived, unless physically damaged; one spare reed is plenty in most circumstances. In a pinch, any working practice chanter reed will do.)

Shipping:

All configurations, $16.00 via Insured Priority Mail. For extra reeds ordered alone, postage is $2.00 for up to three reeds via First Class Mail (no charge when ordered with pipe).

Stock Status:
Kitchen Pipes are on almost always on hand, available for immediate shipment.
(If we run out, we always have more on the way.)

Ordering and Payment:


SHOPPING CART BUTTONS, below, can be used to purchase any of the items on this page. The on-line shopping cart system is administered by PayPal and is highly secure. The merchant (that would be us) never sees your card numbers. You do not need to have an account with PayPal to use it. There are no fees or such added at your end.

You can also order (or just ask questions) by calling us at

(707) 937-1626

between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. U.S. Pacific Coast Time (GMT minus 7 - 8 hours), 7 days.

We welcome calls, which help both you and us be sure that you are getting what you expect and need!


You can also choose to pay by numerous other methods, for example by mailing a check, using PayPal, and so on. For details, including shipping policies, warranties, privacy, return policy, etc., please contact us and/or see the General Ordering Information Page.

International customers: Contact us first! We routinely ship all over the world. But if you are ordering from outside the U.S. (other than from an overseas US military address), you must contact us for shipping options and costs before orderimg.

IMPORTANT: Please pay attention to the shipping cost options! If you are ordering multiple items, we do not want you to pay additional shipping for each item. You should only pay shipping for the item with the highest shipping cost. To allow you to do this, each item has two "Add To Cart" buttons, one with shipping cost added and one without. If you are purchasing only one item, select the button WITH shipping. If you are purchasing multiple items, use the WITH shipping button only on the item with the highest shipping cost, and use the WITHOUT shipping buttons for the rest. For example, if you are purchasing a No. 2 Practice Chanter Outfit and two spare reeds and a water trap, you would add the outfit to the cart using the button WITH shipping and add the other items using the buttons WITHOUT shipping. When you look at your shopping cart, you should see one, and only one, item in the list that has "plus shipping" after the item name. This little dance may be a bit awkward, but the idea is to keep you from overpaying for shipping.

Click the above button to view your shopping cart.



KITCHEN PIPE, complete and ready to play with J. Dunbar chanter, J. Walsh reeds, plug set, bag cover and soft case
WITH Shipping: $295.00 + $16.00 = $311.00
WITHOUT Shipping: $295.00


KITCHEN PIPE, NO CHANTER (contact us before ordering!)
WITH Shipping: $235.00 + $16.00 = $251.00
WITHOUT Shipping: $235.00


REED, Kitchen Pipe (practice chanter reed by J. Walsh)
WITH Shipping: $7.00 + $2.00 = $9.00
WITHOUT Shipping: $7.00




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