Maintain the Bagpipe Blowpipe


Most bagpipe blowpipe problems are caused by a faulty valve. A typical blowpipe valve has a round rubber flapper that is used as the sealing element. If the rubber has hardened or does not lay flat against the seat, replace the valve. If the rubber is dirty, sometimes a good cleaning will get the valve working properly again. With a flapper valve, you may need to adjust how the valve seats on the bottom of the blowpipe. You can move the copper stem up and down or bend it to get the valve seated better. You can also check that the bottom of the blowpipe is flat and smooth.

The blowpipe itself must also be airtight. To check this, place the mouthpiece in your mouth and suck on it. You should be able to stick your tongue to the mouthpiece if there is no air leaking. If the valve is good, then the leak is either at the joint between the blowpipe and mouthpiece or the blowpipe is cracked. If the joint is leaking, remove the mouthpiece and add some waxed hemp or Teflon tape to the joint until the leak is gone. If the blowpipe is cracked, you will need to replace it or have it repaired.

The size of the blowpipe bore is also important. The larger the bore, the more air that you can blow through it for the same amount of effort. Ideally, the blowpipe bore should be 3/8". If it is smaller than 1/4", you should consider having it bored out to 3/8" by a bagpipe maker/repairer.

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