View Full Version : Chanter "adjustment"
01-02-2003, 01:25 PM
Ok, I've read all the comments about ubdercutting holes to sharpen and loads of tape for grossly " adjusted chanters. I am curious to know how this should be aproached with a new chanter. Does one set a chanter to prefered pitch on a certain note, say low a for wxample, and then make necessary adjustments there after to the other notes or is it better just to sharpen everything to a certain degree and then use tape for tuning. I've played in a couple of bands with what I would call good sound and there were none of these " adjustments" made. The P/M picked his own reeds and sunk them to the hilt, he then used tape to tune. What is the general opinion here. Jim's opinion would be greatly Apreciated.
01-02-2003, 01:32 PM
I'm a BIG fan of setting the chanter so that the Low A and High A are balanced (yes, we all tend to tune our High A's *slightly* flat to a true octave, but balanced within that parameter). Then adjust other notes as necessary. I don't like to tape either A or A' ... just a preference of mine ... I'll do it if absolutely necessary for a given reed. A chanter that consistently is flat or sharp on those notes, I won't use it.
Each well-made chanter / reed combo has a natural preference for balancing at a certain pitch. The important thing is finding that spot. Many chanters these days are very flat on High A and / or very sharp on Low A. No use for that.
In a nutshell, set the chanter at the pitch where it will balance A and A', and fine-tune other notes with a spot of tape or a small touch-up with a carving tool as needed.
Wholesale taping or carving, not my thing.
01-02-2003, 02:24 PM
I would agree pretty much with everything Chris said, although, with all due respect, I don't set my high A flat at all, not to my ear or to the meter. It's a personal commandment of mine.
And, yes, getting the octave right initially is crucial.
It helps an awful lot if you know the general characteristics of the chanter and/or chanter/reed combination you are working with. For example, one prominent chanter tends to have a flat F and a flat low G. If you have one of these, knowing that it might have this fault gives you a bit more confidence when you think you need to cut.
Be careful of reeds -- one make may have a flat or sharp note in a particular chanter. It's always a good idea when you buy a new chanter to ask the dealer or maker what the preferred reeds are.
Also, when you're dealing with a brand new chanter, don't be hasty with the knife. I think it's a good idea to play several reeds and even several reed makes before you start to carve. I once bought a new chanter just days before a competitive trip to Scotland. When I got there I immediately carved three notes to suit the two reeds I had because the Oban Gold Medal was the next day. Pipes sounded great in the contest, but the chanter spent the rest of its short little wooden life with permanent tape on those holes.
So, as they say, measure twice, cut once. And cut in small increments. As they also say, you can't go back.
I use a little deburring tool for very minor undercutting, but if a note is pretty flat I go for the Dremel tool. I practised quite a bit on old chanters first.
And don't believe the myth that every chanter is perfect when it comes from the shop. The honest makers will admit that they do the best they can, but.... When I test chanters in the shop before sending them out, I know what their faults might be and if the preferred reed isn't quite right I try others. You'd be surprised the percentage of chanters that need just a little touch on a note here and there. Nothing major, but often something.
I think usually if people are having to do major work on many holes on a chanter it's either because they're using the wrong reeds, or they're trying to get the chanter to operate at a pitch it wasn't built for -- a common reason among the top Grade 1 bands who want to get the pitch of a 477 chanter up to 481.
01-03-2003, 08:20 AM
Is carving chanter holes covered on Pipes Up?
BTW - Got Pipes Ready for Christmas, I think it's absolutley great.
01-03-2003, 08:30 AM
P/M John Elliott, who knows more than a thing or two about producing tone, says the following on his website http://home.interlog.com/~jaereeds/maint_1.htm
for his reed-making business:
"Due to the numerous chanters that have been manufactured over the many years it is possible that certain procedures may have to be done to suit your reed to the chanter. If you feel that you are having a particular problem and need advice on what to do please contact me either by mail, phone or e-mail and I will gladly explain how to make an adjustment to your reed.
Please always remember though; fit the reed to the chanter and not the chanter to the reed."
In other words, carving a chanter is the last thing you try, not one of the first.
01-03-2003, 08:39 AM
Originally posted by mosafef:
Is carving chanter holes covered on Pipes Up?
BTW - Got Pipes Ready for Christmas, I think it's absolutley great.Yessir. Including tools.
01-03-2003, 09:06 AM
Like the new Pic Jim :wink: