Tune Your Bagpipes in Under 60 Seconds: Tips for Fast, Easy & Perfect Tuning with the InTune Mic™ - BagpipeLessons.com

Tune Your Bagpipes in Under 60 Seconds: Tips for Fast, Easy & Perfect Tuning with the InTune Mic™

by Jori Chisholm, Founder of BagpipeLessons.com
Last Updated: April 9, 2024

Hi, Jori Chisholm here from BagpipeLessons.com, bringing you a groundbreaking solution to one of the most persistent challenges faced by bagpipers: tuning your bagpipes quickly, accurately, and without hassle.

Every piper dreams of playing with confidence, knowing their instrument sounds great. The reality? An out-of-tune bagpipe can turn that dream into a nightmare. But what if I told you that tuning your bagpipes in less than 60 seconds, even in the noisiest environments, isn’t just possible—it’s easy?

With the InTune Mic and the Braw Bagpipe Tuner App, that dream becomes reality. Today’s video is a must-watch, as I’ll demonstrate how you can achieve perfect tuning every time, ensuring more time for what you love—playing. Whether you’re at the Highland Games, amidst the buzz of band practice, or in the tranquility of your home, flawless tuning is now at your fingertips. In this tutorial, I’ll guide you through the simple steps to get your pipes in tune fast, demonstrating the entire process live.

You’ll learn how to use these tools to harmonize your drones with your Low A, transforming your tuning process from a tedious task into a quick, enjoyable part of your practice. The InTune Mic and Braw Tuner aren’t just tools; they’re your passport to a world where your bagpipes always sound their best. Don’t let tuning hold you back any longer.

Watch the video and scroll down to read the full video script.

Video Transcript:

Hi!  Jori Chisholm here from BagpipeLessons.com.  Every piper knows that you play better and feel more confidence when your pipes sound and feel great.  Every piper also knows that an out of tune bagpipe sounds painfully bad.  The bagpipes are unique.  They have a continuous sound that is loud. With four separate reeds and four separate sounds. A bagpipe can get quite out of tune — and there’s no hiding from it.  For generations, pipers have struggled to tune their pipes by ear.  This is a difficult skill to learn and even harder to master.  But today, I”m going to show you how I can get pipes IN TUNE in less than 60 seconds using my InTune Mic and the Braw Bagpipe Tuner App.  And I’m going to teach you how you can do it too.  After watching today’s video, you’ll be able to get your pipes tuned perfectly every time you play, anywhere.  You’ll be able to spend more time practicing and playing for fun and less time fighting with your instrument just to make it sound great.  You’ll even be able to get in tune in noisy places like at band practice at the Highland Games or at band practice.

So stick around, you are going to love today’s video.

Tuning bagpipes by ear is a skill that takes years to learn. It’s crucial for playing well but hard to master, especially in noisy places like Highland games or band practices. It’s tough to get that perfect sound quickly and consistently every time.

Electronic tuners and smartphone apps have been game-changers for pipe bands, making tuning more precise than ever. However, individual pipers still face a challenge. Tuners need to isolate one sound to work effectively, but a bagpipe produces four sounds simultaneously. This limitation inspired me to create the InTune Mic: Wireless Clip-on Instrument Microphone for Smartphones. It allows pipers to easily isolate each sound, enabling accurate tuning in any situation, without needing someone else to hold the tuner.

The InTune Mic is ultra-compact and superlight and connects wirelessly to your smartphone.  It’s compatible with iPhones, Android phones, iPads, and computers and works with all tuner apps.  You just clip the InTune Mic to your pipes, open up your favorite tuning app and go!  The innovative design places the tiny microphone right next to the top of the drone so it only hears that one sound.   Move the mic from one to drone to the other and your pipes are in tune in seconds.

There are many different tuner apps available for your smartphone but my favorite by far is the Braw Tuner.  Braw is Scottish slang for great and it really is a great tuner.  It was designed specifically for bagpipes and has some excellent features that make it innovative and simple to use and helps you get your pipes in tune fast.  You can download the Braw Tuner:  https://bagpipelessons.com/tuner 

Your goal is to get all three of your drones tuned to the exact same pitch as the Low A.  When you are doing this by ear, there’s a whole process that can take a lifetime to master.  But with the InTune Mic and the Braw Tuner it takes seconds. 

So here goes:  I’m going to tune my pipes first and then we’ll talk about what I did.  Watch closely, it’s going to be quick!

Okay, so here’s what I just did.

  1. I’ve got my Piper’s Advantage™ Bagpipe Phone Mount with my iPhone with the InTune Mic receiver plugged in.   
  2. Clip the InTune Mic to the bottom of your pipe chanter.  Make sure you don’t cover any of the holes. 
  3. Open up the Braw Tuner app.
  4. Play a bit of a tune.  Make sure it has some Low As in it so the Braw Tuner can get a good reading from your Low A.
  5. Tap the Low A button and choose Use Current Average. The number in there shows the number for the pitch of your Low A based on the few seconds of playing you just did.
  6. Now the Braw Tuner is calibrated to the pitch of your Low A and you can move on to the next step which is to tune the drones to match that Low A pitch.
  7. Tuning the drones — outside tenor to bass or bass to outside tenor, order doesn’t matter
  8. Now the drones should have a full rich and harmonious sound with no audible wavering sound.

There you go.  Your pipes are now perfectly in tune.  And it was FAST and EASY.  This is something you can do anywhere, anytime and because the InTune Mic is placed so close to your instrument it is not affected by any other sounds or noises.  You can even do this at band practice while the entire pipe band is playing around you.  

Your pipes will warm up as you play and the Low A pitch will typically come up a bit.  So, I recommend you do this at the start of your practice when you get your pipes out and then again after you’ve been playing for a few minutes and the pipes have warmed up.  Because you can tune your pipes so FAST and so perfectly with the InTune Mic you are going to have more time available to practice and play and you’ll really start to enjoy the sound of pipes that are always in tune.  No longer will you have to make a big deal about the difference between playing and tuning.  You’ll spend way more time playing and just do a quick tune when you need it.  It’s a piece of cake.

You can get the Braw Tuner at https://bagpipelessons.com/tuner and check out the different options we have for the InTune Mic at https://intunemic.com — including a bundle where you can get my popular Piper’s Advantage™ Bagpipe Phone Mount for half price when you buy it along with the InTune Mic.

The InTune Mic really is a game-changer for pipers and pipe bands.  You love playing your pipes and you know play better, with greater confidence, and with great enjoyment when you pipes sound and feel great.  And that’s what the InTune Mic can help you do.  You deserve it, so get your InTune Mic today.

I have lots of other videos about the InTune Mic and many, many other piping topics at the BagpipeLessons.com Youtube Channel, so check it out and please remember to subscribe and click the little bell icon to be notified when we add new videos to the channel.  Thank you so much if you’ve already subscribed.  I know it sounds a bit silly, but it really does matter , because when you subscribe, it lets YouTube know that you like the videos I’m putting out, and they are more likely to share my videos with other viewers.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section below, or if you have a specific question about a tune or something you’re working on, I would love to hear from you. If you enjoy this exercise and this video, I have many, many more available to members of my BagpipeLessons.com Inner Circle. With your membership, you gain full access to the very best of everything at BagpipeLessons.com. This includes weekly live, interactive online classes for pipers of all skill levels, led by me and World Champion guest instructors. You’ll also get access to my exclusive lesson library, filled with hundreds of videos, lessons, tunes, exercises, demonstrations, and more, covering nearly every topic in piping, from music theory to technique to tuning, maintenance, setup, and so much more. And you get personalized support from me to help you reach your piping goals. To find out more about joining my Inner Circle, please visit BagpipeLessons.com/membership. I would love to see you there.

For more free resources, including videos, lessons, and other guides, make sure to head over to BagpipeLessons.com/learn and download my free PDF guide: The Best Smartphone Apps Every Piper Should Have.  The link is in the description below. Remember to subscribe and click the notification bell to stay updated when we post new videos here on the BagpipeLessons.com YouTube channel.

Thanks for watching, and happy piping!

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These tips are based on my 30+ years of experience as a piper and teacher to pipers of all ages and ability levels from around the world.