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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Great Highland Bagpipe > Technique & Instrument
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Technique & Instrument Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

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Old 04-21-2020, 03:37 PM   #11
DapperDan
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Default Re: What are the Practice Chanters with true scale, 2020?

This issue bothers me too, a lot. A related question that's been debated on here is why High G is especially out of tune on most PC's.

I have a nice wooden McCallum PC, feels nice, has a sweet tone. Absolutely impossible to get in tune. I wrote to them and they actually sent me reeds (Warnock I think) and still no luck. It can't be fixed with tape because the holes are too small. I think trying different reeds can only do so much if the holes weren't drilled in the right place. I got it close with a Colin MacLellan PC reed (he makes them you know, very easy blowing and sweet sounding). Thinking of selling it, but is it ethical to sell an out of tune PC? Serious question. It wasn't cheap.

I also have a Dunbar PC, it's pretty darn close. I took a dremel to C, maybe another note or two. I don't play it much because it's in true A, and at band practice everyone else is sharper. I got a beat-up Walsh PC on fleabay to play with band and gave up trying to tune it. It's close enough so that it sounds good in band practice, even playing harmonies. For my own practice I use a Fagerstrom, which I figure is better for my ears.

I've heard Gibson is the way to go, but I should clear my bench of PC's before investing in another one. Again though, I feel bad giving away or selling one that can't be played in tune.
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Old 04-21-2020, 05:21 PM   #12
EquusRacer
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Default Re: What are the Practice Chanters with true scale, 2020?

DapperDan, could you drill/Dremel the G hole at the bottom, bringing it down and giving you room to tape the top? I appreciate your ethics of not wanting to sell a wonky PC. And while opening the hold isn't ideal, it sounds like an otherwise nice PC.
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Old 04-21-2020, 05:44 PM   #13
Greenpipe
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Default Re: What are the Practice Chanters with true scale, 2020?

No pipe chanters have a "true" scale, do they? That is if you are thinking of the tempered scale to which today's pianos are tuned.

I use 2 PCs, a late 1920s Lawrie and a late 1970s Dunbar; neither is "in tune" with a true scale nor with each other. Both are flat in high A as well. But then I don't have anything near perfect pitch so they don't bother me. A good friend of mine does, and can't stand the pipes. I haven't dared play a PC to him.

I once played some of the Donald MacLeod New York Recordings to him. His comment: "The sound drives me crazy, but that guy is a fine musician." Mind you, the high A on his chanter in those recordings is so flat that it is hard not to cringe. But, to meander on, lots of the old players 50 years ago had pretty flat high As if I remember rightly, and I like my high A a bit flat.

I picked up a booklet from 1974, Bagpipes and Tunings by Theodor H. Podnos, Detroit Monographs in Musicology, Number 3. It discusses pipes from all over Europe from Portugal across to Russia and up to Scandanavia with details of scales, relative pitches, photos and drawings. Absolutely amazing stuff! None of them anywhere near a true scale as far as I could make out.

Last edited by Greenpipe; 04-21-2020 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 04-22-2020, 05:25 AM   #14
CalumII
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Default Re: What are the Practice Chanters with true scale, 2020?

I don't think we want to digress off into tuning systems - a chanter should be in just intonation but the fact is most chanters aren't in tune with *any* sensible system of intonation.
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Old 04-22-2020, 08:14 AM   #15
Matt Willis Bagpiper
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Default Re: What are the Practice Chanters with true scale, 2020?

The Hardie twist-trap long practice chanter has a pretty accurate scale, as it had to be modified to fit their twist-trap practice pipes. When the drones are added, there's pretty much no wiggle room to over/under blow a note into tune. That said I still often have to tweak a note or two (D tends to be a bit flat).

The funny part? If you put one of these relatively accurate practice chanters into the hands of an experienced player, they tend to blow it all over the place, as they've trained themselves to subconsciously alter their blowing on a practice chanter, as their own practice chanters are likely not in tune at one pressure...
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Old 04-22-2020, 08:44 AM   #16
el gaitero
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Default Re: What are the Practice Chanters with true scale, 2020?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Willis Bagpiper View Post


If you put one of these relatively accurate practice chanters into the hands of an experienced player, they tend to blow it all over the place, as they've trained themselves to subconsciously alter their blowing on a practice chanter, [[ with different make reeds]]. as their own practice chanters are likely not in tune at one pressure...
...the crux of this chasing windmills topic I think.
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Old 04-22-2020, 02:52 PM   #17
DapperDan
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Default Re: What are the Practice Chanters with true scale, 2020?

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Originally Posted by EquusRacer View Post
DapperDan, could you drill/Dremel the G hole at the bottom, bringing it down and giving you room to tape the top? I appreciate your ethics of not wanting to sell a wonky PC. And while opening the hold isn't ideal, it sounds like an otherwise nice PC.

I think the hole would be too far out of place if I did that. Also, other notes were way off as well. I suppose matching the hole spacing of a pipe chanter on the PC AND getting it to play a true scale is hard.
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