Hemp twine for making joints nice and tight, waxes to keep things from turning or rotting from moisture, caps for the chanter when it’s not in use, metronomes for practicing your tempo control, the list goes on and on … oh, and of course a good case to keep your pipes nice and safe.
From time to time, there’ll be all kinds of “little things” that you’ll need to have on hand, and there’s no way around that. It’s kind of like your car … you can spend all you want on the vehicle itself, but if you want to keep it looking and running nicely, you’re still going to have to shell out here and there on things like Armor-All, washer fluid, engine oil and those little pine tree thingies for your rearview. =)
This will by no means be a full list of every-little-thing you’ll ever have to look at grabbing … but I’ll do my best to try and think of most items.
Pipe case: $100 – $250
Without a doubt, this is one of the bigger, and most important purchases you’re going to have to consider. It’s essential that you use something to help you keep/transport your pipes safely. These can be hard, stiff shell cases, or softer “gig bags.”
There are plenty of ways to go about it, including a number of unconventional options. Expect a separate article or blog post on this subject pretty soon.
Anyway, here are a few examples of what I consider to be good case options:
Bag Cover & Drone Cords: ~$50 – $75
Quite simple really, this is a specially made, decorative fabric cover for your pipe bag. Some players (like myself) actually prefer not to use a cover, but it’s a bit frowned upon, depending on where you’re playing.
To look a little more professional, it’s a good idea to throw a cover on your bag.
As for drone cords, they are essential, but generally inexpensive. All they do is keep your drones in the right position as you play, in a semi-decorative fashion.
This used to be a really simple item. But modern innovation has prompted the creation of all sorts of variations of this device.
It’s bad for your chanter reed if you leave it sitting in your pipes for extended periods after playing. It’s best to separate it from the instrument, and throw a “cap” over the exposed reed section. This keeps the reed away from all sorts of moisture that will often collect inside the bag. People who neglect to do this often have trouble with mold showing up on their reed.
Here’re a few examples of chanter caps you can find/use.
Maintenance Items: ~$50 – $75, total
This is all the little stuff that you should always have around. If you don’t you’ll be that person who’s always mooching it off of the other pipers around you. Don’t be that piper … have this stuff onhand, and keep it in your case.