Tuning problems are almost never tuning problems. They are almost ALWAYS caused by maintenance problems, and if they're not caused by maintenance problems, they are caused by Tonal Quality (steady-blowing-at-the-sweet-spot) problems.
As students of piping, it's easy to become obsessed with tuning. We hear a lot of folks say: "No matter what I do, I just can't get my pipes in tune!" A lot of pipers are depressed, on the verge of quitting, because others can tune their pipes, but they can't. What's going on here?
Easy! If you're having problems tuning, you need to start at the root of the bagpipe tree of sound, and work your way up again. Are your pipes really 100% efficient? Are you REALLY blowing steadily? Are you REALLY hitting the exact sweet-spot of your chanter reed? If not - THERE'S the problem with your tuning. And - I'll give you a hint - even the top players in the world have to check on their maintenance, and work on their Tonal Quality.
Now, once you actually DO have a good grasp on the preceding bagpipe-tree-of-sound essentials, there are a few skills you should know to tune your pipes. But again - they're really quite simple! If tuning seems complicated to you - remember the tree of sound. It's an elephant in your practice room, lookin' you square in the eyes!
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