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Electronic Bagpipe

The Fabulous "Technopipes"
Fagerstrom Electronic Great Highland Bagpipe
&
Smallpipe

SALE!!
August 20, 2015: We don't normally have "sales" and we don't normally chase currency fluctuations with our prices. However, the present strength of the US dollar has decreased our cost for the extremely popular Fagerstrom TechnoPipes significantly, and we're passing most of that on to our customers for as long as it lasts. So, we are reducing the price of the Fagerstrom TechnoPipes from $399 to $369, a $30 savings. We have no idea how long the exchange rates will allow this, so be aware that this offer may vanish at any time. Customers outside the US, please remember to contact us before ordering for shipping options and costs.

Fagerstrom Technopipes Electronic Bagpipe
The Swedish Fagerstrom Technopipes
Electronic Great Highland Bagpipe & Smallpipe
(shown here in "clear" - also available in black (the most popular color)

Updated August 13, 2015

Please Note:
This Fagerstrom electronic bagpipe, called Technopipes, released in 2006, is a complete electronic bagpipe (so with drones), and thus differs from Fagerstrom's similar-looking electronic practice chanter, the Technochanter, which is on its own page here.



The State of the Art!

Anders Fagerstrom, the brilliant Swedish musical electronics engineer, has outdone himself! Long famed for his outstanding electronic Great Highland Bagpipe (GHB) practice chanter, the "Technochanter" (see detailed description here), his firm has just released a spectacular full-blown electronic bagpipe, the Technopipes, that emulates a Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe, a Scottish Smallpipe and more, and that fits in a pocket or purse!

Fagerstrom Technopipes Electronic Bagpipe
Piping on the Fagerstrom Technopipes

Since 2006 Fagerstrom "Technopipes" have re-defined the field of electronic bagpipes. This e-pipe is just plain fabulous and represents a huge leap forward over anything else currently available. Its superb sound quality and extensive features would make it a great instrument even if it were bulky and expensive, but it is extremely compact and moderately priced.

While the Fagerstrom Technopipes, like the Technochanter, is excellent for use as a practice tool it is also usable as a professional-level performance instrument. The output, either regular audio or MIDI, can be fed to an appropriate amplifier and speaker system or other devices.

Features:

  • Sound Quality: No other e-pipe or chanter comes nearly as close as the Fagerstrom Technopipes to genuinely sounding like a bagpipe. The Ross, which isn't even in the same ballpark let alone comparable in terms of sound quality, and the decent sounding but clumsy and overpriced Deger have both been left in the dust by the Fagerstrom. Running the output through a good amplifier or listening with high-grade earphones is a remarkable experience - one can easily forget that this is an electronic instrument.

    Sound Samples
    click here to hear the Fagerstrom Electronic Bagpipe click here to hear the Fagerstrom Electronic Bagpipe click here to hear the Fagerstrom Electronic Bagpipe
    Click on the pipers
    to hear the Fagerstrom Electronic Great Highland Bagpipe
    & Scottish Smallpipe

    Here are three sound samples of the Fagerstrom Technopipes. These were recorded very casually using the setup in the photo below. The piper, Charlie Martin (a pipe instructor and member of the California Division of Forestry and Fire Protection Honor Guard), had no previous experience with the Technopipes - we simply handed him the instrument and asked him to play a bit. It was interesting to see that he had no problems adjusting to the Technopipes. We spent about ten minutes altogether laying down these tracks.

    Samples #1 and #2 are in the Fagerstrom's default Great Highland Bagpipe mode. Sample #3 is in Smallpipe mode, with default drone tuning. We will be adding more samples in different drone tunings and pitch settings as time allows.

    These samples are "right out of the box" and have not been modified in any way whatsoever during or after recording, except for the additions of fade-in and fade-out.

    Note that these are large WAV files (for maximum accuracy), of 3MB, 5MB and 3MB respectively - downloading may take a while on a slow connection.


  • General Operation: Like the Technochanter, the Technopipes' controls, including the "fingerholes" and settings, are non-moving touch-contact switches. There are the usual seven finger contacts and one thumb contact, and two additional contacts at the bottom rear of the chanter. Various settings and functions are accessed by making different contact combinations.

  • As a Practice Chanter: The Technopipe can be used as a simple practice chanter whenever desired, by switching the drones off.

  • Pitch Adjustment: The Fagerstrom Technopipes' pitch can be adjusted over a huge range, from ground-shaking low (pump that though your kid's car stereo to drown out annoying thunderstorms or noisy neighbors ...) to a high that will likely attract flocks of bats. Pitch can also be snapped instantly to A=440 hz (standard modern concert pitch) to play together with other instruments. The drone pitch follows chanter pitch automatically. Aside from personal amusement this can be used for all sorts of special effects in a performance situation.

  • Volume Adjustments: Overall volume is adjustable. Drone volume, relative to the chanter, is adjustable. The drones can be silenced entirely. The drones can be sounded alone, with the chanter silenced. (Why? For example, try setting the drones to sound a harmonic fifth or fourth to back another bagpipe.) Sound can be switched off entirely when desired, while retaining settings.

  • Smallpipe Mode: The Fagerstrom Technopipes emulate not only a Great Highland Bagpipe but also a Scottish Smallpipe. All of the GHB features work in Smallpipe mode. Again, the tone quality is very, very good. Smallpipe chanters have a distant, hollow sound that is a defining characteristic of such pipes, and the Fagerstrom captures this without sounding artificial. (The Deger also has a smallpipe mode, which sounds OK - until you hear it side-to-side with the Fagerstrom.) There are five different drone tunings that can be used in Smallpipe mode (or for that matter together with the GHB chanter sounding) - A, AE, AD, E, or D - so again, versatility is unsurpassed.

  • Metronome: The Fagerstrom Technopipes include an adjustable built-in metronome.

  • Recording and Playback: The Technopipes have the unique ability to internally record up to 500 notes. The recording can then be played back, and during playback the Technopipes can be played along with itself. Wearing earphones, you hear the playback in one ear and what you're simultaneously playing in the other ear. The playback speed is adjustable in both directions. Pause is available. This is a great learning and practice tool for pipers of any skill level. ( For example, hand the Technopipes to a fellow piper and have him or her play that tune you've been trying to learn. Slow down the playback and play along until you've got it....)

  • Settings Memory (NEW): In mid-summer 2012 a new feature was added to the Technopipe. Previously, whenever the TP was turned off all settings made during the session, such as volume, pitch, etc., would revert to factory default. This meant that you had to reestablish all desired settings for each session (or leave the unit turned on during breaks). It also meant that all settings were lost when switching from earphones to an amplifier cable (since unplugging the cable from the TP is how it's switched off). Now the Technopipe remembers settings when turned off. (For management of this feature see the "practical notes" section below.):

  • MIDI: The Technopipes can be used as a MIDI instrument. A MIDI cable is provided. (We're not all that conversant with various MIDI standards etc. and will add some further comments and specifications here as we explore this capability.

  • Sensitivity: As with the Technochanter, the Technopipes' finger-contact sensitivity can be adjusted for skin moisture and environmental conditions.

  • Power: A single AAA battery powers the Technopipes , as opposed the the three button-type batteries used in the Technochanter. Battery life is about 10 hours. Rechargeable batteries are recommended for longer life & lower cost.

  • Dimensions: "Fingerhole" placement follows standard Great Highland Bagpipe spacing. Overall length is 10 inches (one inch longer than the Technochanter). Diameter is 5/8 inch and weight is 2 ounces (!!). The output jack is the normal 3.5 mm stereo socket found on most portable recording devices, laptops, etc. The extremely compact size of the Technopipes is a major attraction - it can be carried anywhere easily.

  • Reliability: Like the Technochanter, there are no moving parts in the Technopipes. While this is a new design, we are confident that reliability will be on a par with the Technochanter, which we have been selling in considerable numbers for several years with exactly zero reported failures. The Technopipes carry a one year warranty, which we honor directly here. (Update: In three years we've had only a couple of issues that required warranty work; the Technopipes have indeed proven to be highly reliable.)

Fagerstrom Elecrtonic Bagpipe
The Fagerstrom next to a Dunbar GHB chanter
This setup shows the Fagerstrom connected to a laptop
(on which the sound samples on this page were recorded)
and to two sets of headphones


A Miniature Speaker for the TechnoPipe (and TechnoChanter)

minispeaker

minispeaker


The TechnoPipes can be hooked into an amplifier system that will blow down a wall, but sometimes just a little speaker is all that's needed, perhaps to play for a student or an instructor, or for the folks in the car pool (careful with that, or you might suddenly be hitchhiking). The problems are that even the smallest portable speakers tend to be large in comparison to the Fagerstrom, and they usually require fussing with a cable. So, portability and convenience are compromised. This nifty little stereo "Minispeaker" is an ideal solution.

The Minispeaker plugs directly into the jack at the top of the Technopipes. It runs on two internal AAA batteries, which is convenient as that's the same size the Fagerstrom uses. And this means that very little of the Fagerstrom's battery is consumed. The Minispeaker has an on/off switch. Volume control is via the Fagerstrom. When shutting down it is necessary to unplug the Minispeaker from the TechnoPipe, just the same as with earphones, to turn off the pipe.

The Minispeaker works with any version Fagerstrom. (It can also be used with most any MP3 player). Sound quality is quite good considering the tiny size and low cost. It's not loud, of course, but can be heard well in ordinary environments. Build quality is high and it looks nice. Batteries are (gasp!) included!

The "Piper's Choice" logo is in the form of a sticker and can be removed if desired.

Price is US $30

plus $5 domestic US shipping
(unless ordered with other things, in which case we only need shipping payment for the main item).

See botttom of this page for ordering.


Some Practical Notes about the Technopipes

  • Color: The Technopipes are available in black and clear. We keep both on hand. In making a choice, consider that the clear tends to draw attention, while the black is more low-key. The clear model will show scuffs and scratches more than the black. Black is the most popular and we think the most practical.

  • Manual: A printed copy of the four-page manual is included with the Technopipe. It's in a smallish format, so it is also available on our site as a larger format PDF file here. We will be adding to these instructions from time to time on this page, with items such as the next one, below.

  • Battery Installation: The battery installs easily, but the method of retaining it is a bit unusual. We've put up a page here with illustrated instructions. Also see next item:

  • NEW! Battery Removal: : We hear occasionally that getting the AAA battery out of the Technopipe is a bit of a struggle for some folks, and that for one reason or another the current suggested method as seen via the above item in this list doesn't work for everyone. So, we've made a video and posted it on YouTube demonstrating a new easy method of battery removal. You should see it embedded right here, but if not you can view it directly on YouTube.




  • Hard case: The available soft case is adequate for most situations, but if you want a hard case one can be constructed very cheaply out of a few pieces of plastic plumbing and some bits of foam.

  • Portable Amplifiers: Any number of portable compact amplifiers will work with the Technopipe. We suggest that if you intend to use such an amp you try it before buying it - some may choke on the sound of a bagpipe. We are now using a Roland "Micro Cube" portable amplifier with our own Technopipes. This is a good-sounding amp for the price ($150 list, findable for around $125) and handles the range of the Technopipes well. It's about the size of a car battery and very solidly built. It operates on six AA batteries or an included wall-wart. Volume is powerful enough that you won't want to stand right in front of it. CAUTION: The input of this and similar guitar amplifiers is monaural - if you are connecting the Technopipes to any monaural input, use a simple stereo-to-monaural adapter plug, or damage may result. Radio Shack has adapters for a couple of dollars - in this case a 1/8 inch stereo to 1/4 inch monaural does the trick. We also stock a ten-foot cable with these sizes at the ends, for $10. See also our new minispeaker, above!

  • Earphones: At this time we are providing a set of basic ear-buds with the Technopipes. But do consider using high-quality phones to get the full effect of the Technopipes' great tone and wide range. (Lesser electronic instruments are sometimes better heard through low-end phones - that's definitely not the case here.)

  • Dual earphones: By using an easily obtained splitter (see photo, above), the Technopipes output can be fed to two pairs of earphones. This sets up a situation in which an instructor and student can work together anywhere in outward silence and privacy.

  • Learning the controls: There are quite a few control settings, all of which involve "closing" a particular set of fingerholes and then touching either or both of the dedicated control contacts. Some will be learned quickly while less frequently used ones will likely require having a look at the provided control fingering chart. This chart is also available as a PDF file from us. We suggest printing a reduced copy and keeping it with the pipe.

    Troubleshooting

    Why would we put a "troubleshooting" section right on the main page of a product? Because we want you to know what to expect before you purchase something from us, not later. After over six years of providing the TechnoPipes we have learned that they are extremely reliable. No weak points have surfaced and defects of any sort are very rare. But at the same time we occasionally hear from someone whose TechnoPipe is behaving erratically or not working at all. There are a few simple things that we have people try, and one or the other of these almost always fixes the problem. In no particular order, they are:

  • Battery: The TP may do strange things, not just quit, when the battery gets low. So the first thing is to make sure that a good fresh battery is installed, with the polarity correct (plus goes in first, negative is at back/bottom). It has happened more than once that someone has replaced a dying battery with another dead one - make sure that's not the case. Next, and less obvious, is the connection between the negative (bottom) end of the battery and the little metal bar that crosses the back of the battery. This bar holds the battery in and also makes the negative electrical connection to it. There must be metal-to-metal contact there. We have discovered that some off-brand AAA batteries have an inconsistent thickness of insulating plastic around them which may keep the bar from touching the center metal part of the battery. This has never been a problem with name brand batteries, but if you're using cheapies from a discount store or such, look for this.

  • Earphones: It may seem obvious check, but remember that it might be the earphones (or amplifier, cable, etc.) that's the problem, rather than the TechnoPipe. Try a different audio device/cable.

  • Dirt: A common problem is plain old dirt, though it may not be visible. Operation of the TechnoPipe depends on very subtle electrical connections between your fingers and the metal "fingerhole" contacts of the TechnoPipe. Over time, a buildup of different substances - sunscreen, BBQ sauce, ski wax, whatever - will interfere with these connections. We've fixed quite a few TPs over the phone with three words: "Wipe it down." Use a slightly damp cloth or paper towel, with the TP shut off. Alcohol wipes are OK.

  • Moisture: As mentioned, operation depends on a subtle electrical connection between the metal and your fingers. From time to time, depending among other things on the weather, some people may experience an extremely dry skin condition. If there is no moisture in the skin, no connection will occur. Washing your hands at some time prior to playing will usually fix this.

  • NEW: Reset: The Technopipes have a whole lot of settings and user-selectable features. It's not hard, especially when just fooling around, to end up in some obscure corner or mode with no clear idea of how to get back to square one. On Technopipes made before mid-2012, simply switching off and back on resets everything to factory default settings. But the newer version retains settings between sessions, and so must be manually reset. This is simple, but with a bit of a catch. Below is a video showing what we think is the easiest way to do it. (You should see it embedded right here, but if not you can view it directly on YouTube.



If you need further help troubleshooting your Technopipes you are always welcome to contact us, whether it is still under the one-year warranty or not. Also be advised that Fagerstrom is extremely good to work with, and in the unlikely event that your older Technopipe needs work they do a complete overhaul for a very reasonable price.

A NOTE ABOUT PRICES: BEWARE!

You may find a slightly lower posted price than ours on the web for the Fagerstrom TechnoPipes. However, be aware that a few low-ball dealers provide no support or direct warranty, overcharge for shipping, charge excessive "re-stocking fees" for returned items, omit necessary accessories, don't keep adequate stock on hand, sell outdated models, don't know the instrument well enough to answer questions (note that Fagerstrom's own site refers visitors to us for information), and are in some instances just plain unfriendly and uncaring.

ANOTHER NOTE ABOUT THE PRICE
APRIL 1, 2014

As of April 1, 2014, the manufacturer's price for the Technopipe has been increased for the first time since this great instrument was released in 2006. The increase to us is $25, but instread of adding "margin" to this we are increasing the retail by less than that amount, thus keeping the price below $400. The Fagerstrom remains by far the best value in e-pipes (and arguably the best e-pipe period, at any price). Its great features, combined with what after eight years is turning into legendary reliability, sets the Fagerstrom Technopipes apart from the vast majority of electronic devices that we consume. You won't be throwing this into a junk drawer with your old phones, iPods, PDAs, etc. anytime soon!

SALE!!
August 20, 2015: We don't normally have "sales" and we don't normally chase currency fluctuations with our prices. However, the present strength of the US dollar has decreased our cost for the extremely popular Fagerstrom TechnoPipes significantly, and we're passing most of that on to our customers for as long as it lasts. So, we are reducing the price of the Fagerstrom TechnoPipes from $399 to $369, a $30 savings. We have no idea how long the exchange rates will allow this, so be aware that this offer may vanish at any time. Customers outside the US, please remember to contact us before ordering for shipping options and costs.

Prices:

Fagerstrom "Technopipes" Electronic Bagpipe

US $399.00 On Sale! $369.00

Shipping: $10 via insured Priority Mail (domestic US)
International shipping cost varies, please contact us!


Soft Case, Padded Black Nylon: $12


Audio cable, for guitar amps: $10

Minispeaker: $30
(See description in box, above.)

Stock Status:
Unless otherwise mentioned here,
the Fagerstrom Technopipes are in stock, available for immediate shipment.


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.

NOTE: You may not see the following format on other product's pages; we are switching to this one page at a time.

Click the above button to view your shopping cart.



FAGERSTROM TECHNOPIPE, Color BLACK
WITH Shipping: $369.00 + $10.00 = $379.00
WITHOUT Shipping: $369.00


FAGERSTROM TECHNOPIPE, Color CLEAR
WITH Shipping: $369.00 + $10.00 = $379.00
WITHOUT Shipping: $369.00


SOFT CASE for TechnoPipe
WITH Shipping: $12.00 + $2.00 = $14.00
WITHOUT Shipping: $12.00


AUDIO CABLE, 10 ft., one end 1/8" male stereo, other end 1/4" male monaural (for guitar amps)
WITH Shipping: $10.00 + $2.00 = $12.00
WITHOUT Shipping: $10.00


MINISPEAKER, for all versions of Fagerstrom e-pipes (Note: April, 2014: New model, appearance may differ.)
WITH Shipping: $30.00 + $5.00 = $35.00
WITHOUT Shipping: $30.00


See the Fagerstrom Technochanter Practice Chanter

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