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The Real Reason Your Pipe Bag Slips


Does your bag slip down as you are playing?  Do you struggle keeping it in place under your arm?  Is it the bag cover or is it you?

Andrew and Carl address the key techniques you must know to keep your bag in place while you play.  Warning: a non-slip patch may not cut it.

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Video Transcription:

What John is really asking here is, "Do you have problems with the bag slipping?" All right, that's a really common problem. Now, the length of the blow pipe will absolutely play a factor. When we develop great bagpipe posture, this is bag slippage, all right? This is how to avoid it, number one, get all four non-negotiables of bagpipe posture. What are the four non-negotiables of bagpipe posture? We're going to be talking about this more, because we built it into the transitioning course.

All right, but the first one is that the blow pipe is the correct length. Then, how to determine the correct length has to do with the position of the chanter, okay? The chanter needs to be positioned in the exact center of your body with the gap between your two hands drawing a perfect line to right in between your solar plexus and your bellybutton, right? That's where your chanter should be. Our blow pipe needs to be the correct length to allow us to do that.

Another non-negotiable is that the bass drone needs to rest at approximately a 45 degree angle on your collarbone, okay? If it's straight up in the air, the down force is going to force your bag to slip down, right? We need it well-balanced on our collarbone, all right? Then, finally, last but not least, we need to be squeezing with our elbow and not with our wrist on our bag. All right, those are the four non-negotiables of bagpipe posture. They all need to be true, right?

On top of that, we need to make sure there's some resistance between the bag and your clothing or your arm. The patches that come on bags are helpful, all right? We want to make sure there's something there. Sometimes just taking the bag cover off completely and just letting that suede material cause some friction will definitely help the bag slipping down.

Then, what's the biggest reason the bag slips really probably after that? Once we get all of our posture sorted out, is non-constant pressure of arm squeeze thing, right?

Letting go.

Right? AKA bad squeezing technique, okay? If you fully lift your arm off the bag every time you blow in, well, what happens when you fully lift your arm off the bag? The bag's going to slip down, right? Good blowing technique has constant pressure of the left arm at all times. Looks like that, right? See how the squeezing part of the graph never drops below 25%? Is that my time up?

More or less.

Okay. That's how you avoid bag slippage, people. You got to get all that stuff right, which is another reason that, as soon as we release our transitioning into the pipes course, all beginners and intermediates should drop everything and go back to square one and go through it again. We will cover all this stuff and you will find gaps in your knowledge.

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Andrew Douglas Andrew is a prolific practitioner of the bagpipe, having been active at the highest level of pipe bands, solo competition, teaching, and creative endeavors for the past 20 years. He's also the founder and creator of Dojo U and of PipersDojo.com