Nick Wemyss's Product Reviews

  • Technochanter 2G by Fagerstrom Best non blowing practice possible, November 17th, 2009
    I also own a Deger electronic chanter, and they are about identical. Read my review (on the Deger) on why I think electronic chanters are great, both Deger and Fagerstrom. The differences are: Plus side: Fagerstrom has adjustments to improve sensitivity for dry fingers (travelling on planes which is why I bought it), I think the sound is slightly better, the clear tube version doesn\'t look threatening to airport security, it\'s discrete to practice on in planes due to it\'s small size. Negative side: it\'s plastic instead of metal so it\'s not quite as strong or hefty like a real chanter, the AAA battery doesn\'t last as long as the 9V in the Deger, the controls aren\'t labelled on the chanter like the Deger so you\'ll need to refer to the instructions and not lose them. Final choice? If it\'s air travel mostly for your practice time go with Fagerstrom, otherwise the Deger gets my vote. You won\'t be disappointed with either though.
  • Walsh Mouth Blown Small Pipes Hassle free, reliable, pleasant sound, April 28th, 2010
    The Walsh smallpipes are a great way to enjoy learning tune fingering, breath control and inside entertainment where even the off notes don\'t sound all that bad. The super simple plastic chanter and drone reeds require almost no tuning, are relatively unaffected by heat and humidity, and produce a sweet pipe sound. They take a surprisingly large amount of blowing to initially fill that bag, like a GHB, but once going require very little air providing a more relaxing and longer practice than the GHBs. Striking in and cutting off is a bit trickier with a tendency to squeak as the bag is huge relative to the air used. Plan ahead! The lack of full moisture removal means that who knows what is growing in that bag. Personally I take everything apart to dry it as best as possible since the bag doesn\'t open. I also tape off the middle tenor drone as I find the combination of the alto and bass a crisper sound and less air is required. I prefer this sound to the shuttle pipes which I find a bit kazoo-like, but listen to sound files here or at Walsh\'s website. Great instrument to play with a bodhran, whistle, guitar, violin or voice as the balance (maybe not the key though) is appropriate. Release your inner Celtic pub band!
  • Insta-Kilt Better than you, April 28th, 2010
    Looks super cheesy at first, but I bought a few of these and talk about kicking it up a notch at a party. All fo a sudden people were channeling their inner Bravehearts, creating some very photogenic moments. I\\\'m surprised by the number of occasions, kid\\\'s parties, celebrations, b-b-ques etc that these get dragged out. How many kilts can you throw in the washer and don\\\'t worry about food on it? You\\\'d never know in a photo it wasn\\\'t the real thing and I\\\'ve yet to see someone not want to wear one. And it\\\'s not even a bad towel. Now we just need bagpipe balloons.
  • Deger Electronic Chanter II Excellent except for dry skin, November 17th, 2009
    I bought this because of all the travelling I do; I felt it was a chance to practice on planes, hotel rooms etc. As long as you don\'t mind being stared at in planes, and being stopped in security, it\'s great. Good to carry music with you, some earphones and the battery works. You may need to play Scotland the Brave for someone in security. It\'s always been fun, sound quality and controls are great. My only BUT is, in planes especially, dry skin makes for poor electrical contacts. Hand lotion helps, but you end up really bearing down to make a clear signal. It can be very frustrating dropping out low A\'s or G\'s all the time. Maybe this new model has been improved, I had the previous one which had no sensitivity adjustments. It\'s also fantastic to practice on while watching TV on the sofa with your wife/husband/dog etc as you can get a practice in without bothering anyone. And if you have a cold or sore throat and don\'t feel like blowing, it\'s a great alternative. I\'ve never regretted owning it. I keep it in my car now, plug it into my sound system and practice while in car washes, slow traffic, long lights etc. Too much fun!
  • Kinnaird Carbon Fibre Drone Reeds Rocket science meets Rockin' sites, April 28th, 2010
    I replaced my solid set of Shepherd drone reeds with these. Although a bit pricier, once the brief "breaking in" period was over I'm impressed with how they lock in and hold a pure tone. There is a slight tendency to double-tone a bit upon warming up but within minutes everything is stable. Great sound, and I opted for the deeper bass which balances nicely against the tenors. Maybe the last set of drone reeds I'll ever buy?
  • Airstream Telescopic Blowpipe Blowstick good, Little Mac bad, April 28th, 2010
    The ease to adjust the blowstick is great, wide bore and oval mouthpiece comfortable, but I have an issue with the Little Mac valve. Run a swab through a blowstick and you can damage the flapper seat, and once broken these can be easily fixed. And a partially functional one can\'t be used with a basic flapper valve at the end of the blowstick as the two pressure changes interfere. So not a fan of the Little Mac valve.
  • Airstream Telescopic Blowpipe Correction to my review, April 28th, 2010
    I meant NOT easily fixed, sorry about the important missing word from my first review.