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Carving chanters

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.. Carving chanters

Post by MacSpadger on Thu 7 May - 14:10:41

Does carving chanters go on as much as it used to?

In my last band no-one seemed to do it, but we had an endless supply of reeds and could try out loads.

Now I'm in a civvy band on a budget. I couldn't seem to get my Warnock's high A to stop sounding flat while it was at the same pitch as the rest of the band, so I've given it a scraping. I went through a puckle of Chesney reeds, and had the same bother with all of them. The chanter sounds better now, but no-one else seems to be doing it. Most of them use tape to correct sharp notes, but no-one carves the plastic.

Am I out of step? I hate taking a blade to a chanter anyway, even more so if I find out I've dropped a clanger.

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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by True_Blue_Piper on Thu 7 May - 18:29:36

Your problem might lie with the magnetism caused by the black buttons in your spats and the smell from your hodden gray kilts.

Perhaps if you changed to a light-welterweight, chobham armour stapled reed in your Hakkam Dim chanter it might make a difference, especially when wearing a caubeen at a jaunty angle.......with your Irish warpipers CD of the history of the 16th Foot and Mouth.

Apparently it is now available, under the title "Huth's Highlanders", produced by the BBC...... big grin
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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by MacSpadger on Thu 7 May - 18:50:01

True_Blue_Piper wrote:Your problem might lie with the magnetism caused by the black buttons in your spats and the smell from your hodden gray kilts.

Perhaps if you changed to a light-welterweight, chobham armour stapled reed in your Hakkam Dim chanter it might make a difference, especially when wearing a caubeen at a jaunty angle.......with your Irish warpipers CD of the history of the 16th Foot and Mouth.

Apparently it is now available, under the title "Huth's Highlanders", produced by the BBC...... big grin

Ya see, top notch advice straight away, that's what I like about this place laughing

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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by Gordy88 on Thu 7 May - 19:41:31

Welcome to the forum mate,

Yeah, carving chanters goes on a fair bit still.

A few years ago, McCallum brought out a plastic with elongated holes, they sort of realised we were going to hack them to bits anyway, so did a neat job for us laughing

If you are stuck, I don't see carving a hole , or at least backing it out a bit as a problem, You can always tape it up again.

Cheers
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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by Redneck on Thu 7 May - 19:44:25

We use the ABW Warnock chanter, at the end of last season we got the whole chanter opened up pitch holes included.

This helped enormously wi the overall balance and gave a brighter fuller sound too.

Maybe the big man had to change the reed to suit his newer model.

The high A problem was a big hassle wi us too, to get the pitch we had to sink the reed too far in to clear the high A it rendered the top hand useless ( very thin ), after the opening of the holes this has helped enormously, there'll be the odd one, but not as often prior to doctoring the chanter though.

So, yes, it is still ongoing. With all chanters not just Warnock's.
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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by MacSpadger on Thu 7 May - 20:39:27

Redneck wrote:The high A problem was a big hassle wi us too, to get the pitch we had to sink the reed too far in to clear the high A it rendered the top hand useless ( very thin ), after the opening of the holes this has helped enormously.

OK, Brilliant, it's not just me, cheers m8, so my ears must still be doing alright. I was sinking the reed in really deep to get a true high A as well, but it sounded crap, not just the top hand but the C and D went pretty flat. I'd rather give just the Hig A a carve then give it a listen, than start with a blade on the whole thing.

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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by stormy on Thu 7 May - 23:45:38

Let's take one note (High A) and use it as an example.
Every other note on the chanter sounds fine and you are happy with the pitch but the High A is just a tad flat for your liking. You sink your reed and get the High A you are listening for, but this "knocks out" some of the lower notes.
You now have a choice. Fix one note (High A) which is flat, or fix 2 or maybe 3 notes which are sharp.
Black tape will certainly help sharpen the flat notes but will listening and altering 2 or 3 notes not take you longer than altering 1 note? I think it will.

It is a decision that comes with experience. Personally I would rather fix 1 note rather than upset notes which I am already happy with.

Taking a sharp instrument to a chanter, whether wood or plastic, is an art in itself. If you do not know where or how to "carve" the hole of the chanter then you can give yourself further problems.

If you have the experience then fix the problem note without altering the others.
Why give yourself problems with other notes which are avoidable?

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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by Wyatt on Fri 8 May - 0:26:35

Its even scary ...thinking about it...!!!
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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by Redneck on Fri 8 May - 10:34:08

Stormy has posted an excellent post regarding fixing the flat high A, which is true if you are happy with the overall sound of your chanter pitch / brightness.

What I must point out here is our reasons were financial and the revamp gave us what we needed.
This was not done to sort out one note, however sometimes it has to be done no matter what.

Richard has heard the difference this has made to our overall sound.

Good post Stormy as usual m8, but my post was in answer to the reaming of holes and not the fixing a flat high A.

His chanter may be of an older version from which the band plays and so he most likely will have to open the holes( very slightly and not overdone ).
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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by Redneck on Fri 8 May - 10:50:22

Wyatt wrote:Its even scary ...thinking about it...!!!

Maybe so, and to a certain degree I'd go along with that also, but, it has to be done.
Not to the extent we done, but there's not one grade 1 band or any other grade that hasn't some chanters done in this way. ( big statement I know, but I'd stand by this )

The sound back in the mid 80's we had wi the Graham Memorial was superb, all ABW chanters no carving, but things have moved on. The pitch is at it's limit now ( IMO), but I'd prefer our sound back then to now.

The sound the top bands are getting is amazing, 22 pipers plus, high pitch.
Stormy, help me out here Glasgow Police 6 in a row band, pipers? 12-14.

The Glasgow Police were the bench mark sound wise, because of this higher pitch are the bigger pipe corps need to gain volume to carry this pitch compared to the Glasgow Police days?.

No one can say their sound wasn't good.

Yes, you have to move wi the times, and I do like the sound of today, but where is it gonna stop?.

Morning rant over......DT's are nearly gone. big grin laughing
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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by Gordy88 on Fri 8 May - 11:19:28

Stormy and Redneck are both bang on, there are pros and cons,

What a carving session will do, is open up the bottom hand, giving a better 'whack' off the chanter,

It also can improve the balance of the chanter, ie a full octave between low A and high A, some times, when driving a reed in to get the desired Hi A, it sends the chanter haywire.

On the other hand, overdoing it can wreck your chanter.

As a side note, there is a band based just outside Lisburn, where I live, and the PM insists that tape is unecessary on a Pipe chanter, I assume he doesnt carve either.

His band go out, with no tape at all on the chanters, all set by him.

It is amazing how Bloody awful bagpipes can sound!!! laughing
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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by stormy on Fri 8 May - 19:29:55

Redneck wrote:Stormy, help me out here Glasgow Police 6 in a row band, pipers? 12-14.

Yer numbers are pretty well bang on!
As I recall the "volume" we had back then was just as good as 20 - 25 pipers can produce today.
I personally think that a "higher" pitch does not produce the same volume as a "lower" pitch.

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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by Redneck on Fri 8 May - 21:24:39

stormy wrote:
Redneck wrote:Stormy, help me out here Glasgow Police 6 in a row band, pipers? 12-14.

Yer numbers are pretty well bang on!
As I recall the "volume" we had back then was just as good as 20 - 25 pipers can produce today.
I personally think that a "higher" pitch does not produce the same volume as a "lower" pitch.

Cheers John, you sorta confirmed my theory too reference chanter pitch V's bigger pipe corps.

The biggest we had in the Graham was 14-15, the volume we had was good. Good enough fer the top 6 at Cowal.

How do we see this pitch thing leveling out?...or is there more?...... I hope not.

Would you like to see it rise?.......me?....no.

Peter, Gordy.You two are currently playing grade 1 now, What yiz reckon?, I think it's at it's limit.
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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by Piping Connections on Fri 8 May - 21:37:51

Remember reading an article last month in The piping times about a summer school in Germany i think !! Robert wallace was comenting on Mathieson setting up the Tutors Chanters to play at the end, His comment was 'Mathieson set the chanters at a comfortable Pipe band Pitch of 484' !!!!!!!!!
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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by Redneck on Fri 8 May - 22:16:36

484 ??????????? excuse my ignorance m8........whats 484 mean?.....dog whistle?
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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by stormy on Fri 8 May - 23:14:44

Redneck wrote:484 ??????????? excuse my ignorance m8........whats 484 mean?.....dog whistle?


laughing laughing laughing laughing
Just what I was thinking before I read this post.
Traditionally the chanter of the Highland Bagpipe tunes between A and Bflat. A semi-tone of a difference.

If the pitch continues to rise then I can see the Worlds being held at Crufts Dog Show and only the dugs will hear anything. That being the case.....I'd put my money on Shotts or FMM!!!!!!!


g-close

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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by MacSpadger on Sat 9 May - 11:59:17

Redneck wrote:
His chanter may be of an older version from which the band plays and so he most likely will have to open the holes( very slightly and not overdone ).

That's quite likely. the band use Warnocks that are maybe a couple of years old at most, I don't know the age of mine.

Anyhows, I've done it now, and went out with the band last night, everything sounded OK, little tape on C, lots on D but a good high A. I hated carving it, I had a lesson from Chris Apps yonks ago, and have carved two old abw Hardies, but this was my first time hacking into the plastic. I found the plastic more difficult to scrape, it's bowfing when all the little plastic bits come away.

Well, the chanter sounds OK now, I have no excuse for not getting on with improving technique!

Thanks for all the advice!

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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by Gordy88 on Sat 9 May - 13:47:01

MacSpadger wrote:
Redneck wrote:
His chanter may be of an older version from which the band plays and so he most likely will have to open the holes( very slightly and not overdone ).

That's quite likely. the band use Warnocks that are maybe a couple of years old at most, I don't know the age of mine.

Anyhows, I've done it now, and went out with the band last night, everything sounded OK, little tape on C, lots on D but a good high A. I hated carving it, I had a lesson from Chris Apps yonks ago, and have carved two old abw Hardies, but this was my first time hacking into the plastic. I found the plastic more difficult to scrape, it's bowfing when all the little plastic bits come away.

Well, the chanter sounds OK now, I have no excuse for not getting on with improving technique!

Thanks for all the advice!

Remember to clean rthe chanter out sfter you do it.

Wee bits of debris can get everywhere,

I played at a wedding last year, and on starting to tune up, the chanter reed wouldn't sound.

Looked at it, and a minute piece of polypenco had lodged between the blades of the reed.

Could easily have happened on the line



cheers
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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by Gordy88 on Sat 9 May - 13:57:37

Redneck,

IMO we are already at the maximum for Pipe bands, and some bands are over it.

This impacts as you say on volume, but also on the general competitiveness as a whole, by this I mean too few bands in a grade. For many local comps this year, as last, only Ballycoan and CUllybackey will enter grade 1.

However, if you look a the size of the NI grade 1 bands, we have 23 pipers, FM 25/26, I dont know about Culleybackey, but I assume 18 or so,

That leaves approx 66/70 pipers in NI grade 1.

Cast your mind back to the 80's and 90's, biggest RUC band I was ever in had 12, that was average, 14 was huge. FM, SLOT, RUC, Graham, McNeillstown, cullybackey at a time too, We had a proper Grade 1

Cut numbers down to a max of 18/20 and we could get that back.

And, if everyone plays a max of 18 say, the volume will be different, and will show up the men from the boys

I would suggest,

G1- 22 on the books, 20 on the line,
G2 - 20 on the books, 18 on the line
G3 18 and 16
G4 16 and 14 etc

Might be too sensible tho laughing

cheers

There are the same number of pipers in G1 as ever where
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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by Redneck on Sat 9 May - 17:20:13

We talked about this before Gordy, 'n a tend to agree.
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.. Re: Carving chanters

Post by True_Blue_Piper on Sat 9 May - 17:29:50

Gordy88 wrote:Redneck,

IMO we are already at the maximum for Pipe bands, and some bands are over it.

This impacts as you say on volume, but also on the general competitiveness as a whole, by this I mean too few bands in a grade. For many local comps this year, as last, only Ballycoan and CUllybackey will enter grade 1.

However, if you look a the size of the NI grade 1 bands, we have 23 pipers, FM 25/26, I dont know about Culleybackey, but I assume 18 or so,

That leaves approx 66/70 pipers in NI grade 1.

Cast your mind back to the 80's and 90's, biggest RUC band I was ever in had 12, that was average, 14 was huge. FM, SLOT, RUC, Graham, McNeillstown, cullybackey at a time too, We had a proper Grade 1

Cut numbers down to a max of 18/20 and we could get that back.

And, if everyone plays a max of 18 say, the volume will be different, and will show up the men from the boys

I would suggest,

G1- 22 on the books, 20 on the line,
G2 - 20 on the books, 18 on the line
G3 18 and 16
G4 16 and 14 etc

Might be too sensible tho laughing

cheers

There are the same number of pipers in G1 as ever where



......pity the RSPBA aren't listening. I wholly concur.
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.. Re: Carving chanters

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