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Technique & Instrument Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

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Old 04-11-2019, 09:42 AM   #21
Matt Willis Bagpiper
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Default Re: Would you purchase your Blair electronic chanter again?

Thought folks here might be interested in an unboxing of a Blair Digital Chanter I posted today: https://youtu.be/5xxxi2DOwH4

This thing is pretty dang cool! Wish it was mine...
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Old 04-16-2019, 10:34 PM   #22
William McKenzie
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Default Re: Would you purchase your Blair electronic chanter again?

Well.. you guys got me. A great thread so far with lots of good information. A frustrating practice session the other day put me over the edge and I pulled out my credit card

Matt great video for this thread, thank you! I honestly was under the impression this was an actual pipe chanter body with electronics inside as well. A bit of a shock to learn it's disappointingly a practice chanter with little holes you can't feel now that I've watched your unboxing

Seems like the whole point of it is that it is not a practice chanter but a full pipe chanter for practice, playing with other instruments, etc. What I currently use as a PC is actually a Gibson small pipes chanter with a mouthpiece for the very same reasons. The holes are well spaced, deep, and the sound is in an actual key. Just tired of dealing with a squealing reed when I try and rest the chanter on my thigh, or the volume it projects when my significant other is sleeping. Oddly my cat also seems to think I'm speaking to her when I practice and comes over and starts meowing at me or wants into my lap. Go figure.

This should solve all that. (I hope).
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Old 04-27-2019, 11:11 PM   #23
William McKenzie
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Default Re: Would you purchase your Blair electronic chanter again?

So far the Blair Chanter is a very interesting experience. Still trying to unpack it all.
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Old 05-07-2019, 09:14 AM   #24
Juan Pablo Plata
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Default Re: Would you purchase your Blair electronic chanter again?

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Originally Posted by William McKenzie View Post
So far the Blair Chanter is a very interesting experience. Still trying to unpack it all.
Review, please!! ;)
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Old 08-08-2020, 10:20 PM   #25
MaverickBrittany
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Default Re: Would you purchase your Blair electronic chanter again?

As a newbie learning the pipes but one who travels a lot ( well did before this COVID think) the thought of an electronic practice chanter solves all kind off issues about practicing while on the road. After reading several reviews in multiple spots I wonder if there is an app or laptop interface that would make adjusting sensitivity easier then going through the display on the chanter. Pair your phone to the chanter, make adjustments and done. Not sure if Mr Blair has thoughts of going down that road.
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Old 08-09-2020, 06:44 AM   #26
Tom MacKenzie
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Default Re: Would you purchase your Blair electronic chanter again?

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Originally Posted by Piparoo View Post
As perhaps the lone voice of dissent, I’ll just say that I bought one, played it for a bit, and quickly realized that it wasn’t for me. Even after adjusting the sensitivity, it seemed that the playing experience was not similar enough to a PC or chanter to be beneficial for me.
I second this. It was always a struggle to get the Blair to actually work consistently. I sold it after 6 weeks or so.

I have a Deger II and it always does what I want it to. The only disadvantage is that I have to use moisturizing cream on my hands to get a reliable the electrical contact. I keep a tube of unscented moisturizing cream in my case with the chanter.

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Old 08-09-2020, 06:51 AM   #27
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Would you purchase your Blair electronic chanter again?

Since the OP did open the discussion to other makes I'll say that buying a used Fagerstrom fifteen years ago for under $100 was one of the best piping purchases I've ever made.

It's so compact, only 224mm (5 7/8 inches) long and 16mm (5/8 inch) in diameter so combined with earbuds it's a pocket instrument.

Its greatest value has been

1) Flying. I can pop it in a pocket and play it during long tedious flights. I bought a clear one specifically so TSA/police/security inspectors can see nothing is hidden inside.

2) Composing harmonies. I can play along with a recording of myself or any piper playing a tune on the full Highland pipes using a splitter. It sounds like two pipe chanters playing, and you have the effect of the drones (which make some harmonies that work on two practice chanters or on piano not work in a pipe band).

3) Practicing tunes that require crossfingerings that won't work on Practice Chanter. I just wish the Fagerstrom was chromatic all the way up! It only gives you C natural and F natural.

BTW I have had virtually no sensitivity issues, I can nearly always pick up the Fagerstrom and play. I think two or three times over the last 15 years my hands have been so extremely dry that I've had to use lotion.

If I could change two things they would be

1) Make it fully chromatic, using real-world fingerings that work on the actual Highland chanter, or in the case of crossfingerings that don't work well on Highland chanters use the standard Border chanter fingerings.

2) Have it do vibrato in a real-world way, replicating the way that vibrato works on the actual Highland chanter. (The Fagerstrom has built into it a purely theoretical vibrato fingering system that only works well on the Fagerstrom, and not on Highland pipes, Border pipes, Smallpipes, or Practice Chanter.)
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Last edited by pancelticpiper; 08-09-2020 at 07:02 AM.
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Old 08-11-2020, 01:28 PM   #28
Graineag
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Default Re: Would you purchase your Blair electronic chanter again?

I bought a Fagerstrom from the College of Piping shop back when I was living in Glasgow in 1998. I've played it almost every day since, and it still works great! My wife even accidentally put it through the wash once!

It's certainly not on the level of a Blair chanter, but it kept me going for long spells when my pipes were on the other side of the world or gathering dust in my closet... If not for that humble little piece of plastic and circuitry, I doubt I'd still be playing GHB today.
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Old 08-11-2020, 02:20 PM   #29
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Would you purchase your Blair electronic chanter again?

I have to make is clear that my Fagerstrom comments refer to the one I own, which is a very early model (no drones, no alternate timbre choices, limited chromatic notes).

Many more features have been added since then.
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Old 08-13-2020, 11:20 PM   #30
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Default Re: Would you purchase your Blair electronic chanter again?

Yes I would buy the Blair digital chanter again. The chanter performs better overall for me than competitive options, and even overcome the size and weight issues it presents while traveling. I have very dry hands and it is made worse with my home environment (highland desert) and the products I use to clean and sanitize my hands. This made products that use the metal contacts (Fagerstrom etc) less than optimal. I had to carry around lotion and even with that often had to lotion up twice just to finish a practice session with the other products. The Blair chanter resolved the issues I was having and inspire of a few oddities it is a great product over all.

Pros:
More natural playing experience. It actually feels like playing a chanter.
Upgrades are easy and the product appears to have reasonable long term support.
Adding new instruments (small pipe in d etc) is very simple, and there are quite a few to choose from
Removal of mouth piece stem to allow for more compact storage.
Comfortable to play.
Looks great.
Metronome built in.

Cons:
Takes a while to get set up perfect and requires some tweaking here and there.
Size. It is almost too large. While I like the sole and length when looking at it is is just bigger than is always desired for travel.
Seems to be fragile. I worry about breaking it.
Weight and balance. I donít know why but it wasnít quite there. It isnít too heavy but compared to other products out there it is a bit heavy.

In summary for me the Blair Digital was a better fit for me than the competition. I pack it in my carry on every time I travel and also enjoy using it late at night so I donít wake up my wife and kids.
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