E baritone on GHB

Well, I bought a bass drone bottom (imitation ivory mounts, Ni slide) made by Douglas MacPherson from Soren Larsen, for 2 reasons. One for a friend of mine who has a set of pipes, but no bass drone bottom in case he couldn’t get a replacement (same mounting) and two, because I’ve always wanted to try a baritone drone on the GHB. Well, it worked! I start up all 3 drones, turn off the baritone, then turn off the bass, then restart the baritone, then stop and start all 3 drones again and play through a March I don’t know the name of, Kalabakan which is a Reel in ‘D’, and then a Reel I don’t remember the name of off hand (something about a train or famous bridge) in ‘A’.

E Baritone GHB Recording


1950’s ABW Hendersons half-mounted with white mounts and Ni ferrules. Inside tenor drone bottom replaced with Douglas MacPherson bass drone bottom. Poly oval hole McCallum chanter.


MG tenor reed – outside tenor drone

MG bass reed + MG 440Hz extender – inside baritone drone (E)

Selbie bass reed – bass drone

Heavily carved Chris Apps G3 chanter reed.

Recorded in a carpeted bedroom with a Zoom H2 field recorder. I walk around. Normalized with Audacity.

Below was added March 3, 2009:

A table of different pitches obtained by changing drone pieces and reeds. * indicates the setup used in the recording above.


As you can see, there are many ways to get an E. Depending on reed, drone bore diameter, etc. I haven’t included any sound quality information except for 1 instance where it sounded not so good/not smooth. It is all kind of voodoo and after doing this, I’m amazed out how lucky I got. If I were to pursue this further, I might have a bass bottom made a little longer than normal so as to maybe be able to use a bass reed to get a D baritone and a tenor reed to get an E baritone. Although, I really have no idea whether it would work well or not.


I also tried my Henderson tenor top and bottom split by a bass midsection. My Henderson bass midsection was too big, so I tried my Center 3/4 bass midsection. I don’t recall what reed I used but it is basically an alto drone. It almost pitched to D, but D 1 octave below chanter D to give an alto drone, instead of 2 octaves below to give a baritone drone. As such, splitting a tenor drone with a middle section may not work.

This was all mouth blown. When a tenor reed was used, it was pretty much all the way in. When a bass reed was used in a tenor bottom, it was pretty much all the way out. But you get the idea.

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