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Old 02-18-2019, 10:30 AM   #15
Holy smoking keyboard!
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern Ontario
Posts: 1,077
Default Re: C natural Key or Back hole on chanter which is better?

Hi Barry,

I am just catching up on this thread and have to add my vote to the thumb hole alternative. I have been playing a Nate Banton (A-, C-, D-SSP) for about the last ten years. I have the minor third hole, tuned to just intonation relative to the key note of A, on all three chanters and I love it. The holes are a tiny bit further south than where my thumb used to rest but I quickly got used to this and don't notice the thumb placing at all anymore. I think that Nate did make the holes slightly angled to improve the ergonomics. As others have noted, the oddest thing to get used to is those all (or most) fingers off the changer moments while transitioning from C-nat to a high hand note. I have often thought that a thumb rest (like on a Low whistle) just above the C-nat hole might help with this.

The hole alternative is so simple, and easy to adjust to, that I would never consider a key for that note (other notes maybe..). The thumb hole is easy to use and I find myself getting irritated whenever I play a PC or other SSP chanter without one. I know another piper, who went so far as to have a C-nat thumb hole added to his Border Pipe chanter even though he could cross finger C-nat on that chanter.

In addition to the odd accidental in D-major tunes, having access to C-nat opens up a world of other tunes in A-min, A-dorian, C-maj, G-maj, E-min etc.

I think there isn't much to lose, going with a thumb hole. If you don't like it, you can simply tape over it and still have a perfectly functional and re-salable chanter.

Good luck with whatever you end up going with.
Kevin is offline   Reply With Quote