General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
My first pipes were Walsh Shuttle Pipes. They are a variety of small pipe with a very compact drone arrangement. I was a bit of a disappointment to my mom for about 25 years because she was a GHB teacher and I wasn't interested. Then she got the first set of shuttle pipes in Fairbanks and I fell in love with the sound. I started taking lessons after that and it is now an important part of who I am. After I'd learned to play and saved the dough for a set of my own, I came to love the GHB perhaps even more.
I have only competed with great highland pipes. The shuttle pipes are for just plain fun.
I own a set of bellows-blown border pipes, but have not ever really played them. They were a gift. I imagine that using a bellows wouldn't be any harder than learning to blow the pipes I'm used to. But I haven't put in the time yet.
One of the really fun things about a dulcimer is that it has so many notes! Bagpipes have 9 notes. One octave, plus one note below. The dulcimer, you can play all 3 strings and get a lot of musical potential out of it. (I also play banjo, so I am used to having more than 9 notes with my other instrument.) One of the really great things about a limited instrument is that it is sort of a challenge to see how much music you can get from it.
A friend told me once that your reality defines your potential and your limitations define your reality. I don't know if that means anything here, but I do know that with as few as nine notes, there are thousands of tunes for the bagpipe and nobody has yet determined that we've run out of options. If you ever start stagnating with the dulcimer, remember that more notes and more tuning options means your limits are nowhere near as confining as the pipes, so the potential is much greater.