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

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Old 04-27-2020, 10:50 PM   #1
Drewz Dronez
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Default Humid Chanter Top vs Just Leaving Chanter in Pipes

You know how it is - the latest gadget comes out and we all have to go out and buy it only to find that a couple of months later, it gets put back on the shelf to collect dust and we go back to the old way of doing things.

My latest is the humidity controlling chanter caps. I bought one with the liquid crystal display on the top and inside you stuff 2 bags of some sort of gel. Can't remember what the brand is or who makes it. I had the two satchels inside and the humidity was always up around 80-90 percent. I live in Sydney, Australia, a dry-ish sort of climate and this was getting into summer. Don't really think it had much affect on the sound and tuning and I did have problems with my chanter reed getting furry, which hasn't happened for a long, long time.

Well, the battery went flat on the display and I just couldn't be bothered replacing it. The whole top is now floating around in by bag of bits and pieces. I am now putting my chanter back in the blank top.

I reckon it will be better to leave the chanter in the pipes (Gannaway hide, tie in bag, with no zip) and use the hide bag as the humidity control. The dressing will soak up any moisture and my reed won't get any fur. At present the chanter is currently in the pipes, ready to go!

Want to bet what method the late PM Angus MacDonald and Donald McPherson used?

cheers
Andrew
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Old 04-27-2020, 11:14 PM   #2
WBpiper
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Default Re: Humid Chanter Top vs Just Leaving Chanter in Pipes

This is what a I do myself. I’ve always noticed that I’d get mold on the reeds when using the cap. One day I’ll put the reed in the cap. The next day it’s green and fuzzy!

Leaving the chanter in I haven’t had this problem since, granted I have a zip bag, which I leave open all night, also I remove the chanter briefly to dry the stock with a brush or swab before reinserting it. Hmmm, I wonder if I could insert a humidor directly in the bag?

This is just my personal experience, and just what I found to work for me, I’m not saying go and do what I do lol, YMMV I guess.



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Last edited by WBpiper; 04-27-2020 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 04-28-2020, 07:40 AM   #3
CalumII
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Default Re: Humid Chanter Top vs Just Leaving Chanter in Pipes

I'll leave others to give exact figures, but 80-90% humidity is too much. It must be dry enough that mould is inhibited but not so dry the structure of the cane is affected. I'd guess around 30-40%. I'd suspect your bag is just as moist as the cap, if not more so.



My suspicion is that for your climate, where you have lots of AC and so forth, a sealed container in which you keep your entire chanter would be ideal.
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:42 AM   #4
EquusRacer
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Default Re: Humid Chanter Top vs Just Leaving Chanter in Pipes

I've used two different types of the humidity caps: Piper's Pal; then, more recently, Tone Protector. I've had nothing but great results with both; and I've never had mold, mildew or other problems. And 80-90% is where it should be.

Sorry, but I'm a huge proponent of these, and especially Tone Protector. It does everything it's advertised to do, including readying a chanter reed sooner, providing stability, and longer reed life. I'm not sure why some are having issues; but I can certainly understand why that would sour them on those products. Yet I'd submit that most who use these types of caps are satisfied.
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Old 04-28-2020, 03:13 PM   #5
Jim Fogelman
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Default Re: Humid Chanter Top vs Just Leaving Chanter in Pipes

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Originally Posted by EquusRacer View Post
I've used two different types of the humidity caps: Piper's Pal; then, more recently, Tone Protector. I've had nothing but great results with both; and I've never had mold, mildew or other problems. And 80-90% is where it should be.

Sorry, but I'm a huge proponent of these, and especially Tone Protector. It does everything it's advertised to do, including readying a chanter reed sooner, providing stability, and longer reed life. I'm not sure why some are having issues; but I can certainly understand why that would sour them on those products. Yet I'd submit that most who use these types of caps are satisfied.
Same.

I was unimpressed with my Piper’s Pal cap as I had to add water to the crystals every few weeks or so and kept losing the tip to the plug in the chanter throat. Switched to the Tone Protector and am happy with the results. Have had to replace the packs maybe three times (and due for another change soon), but they last much longer than the crystals for the Piper’s Pal.
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Old 04-29-2020, 05:42 AM   #6
Søren E. Larsen
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Default Re: Humid Chanter Top vs Just Leaving Chanter in Pipes

I have also experienced quite a lot of mold on my chanter reeds when using the Tone protector. I also had problems with F's double toning when using the Tone protector. Furthermore the chanter reed changed quite much in pitch during playing.

So now I'm using a closed blackwood chanter cap made by Ayrshire Bagpipe Co. and have no problems with mold or strange F's. Chanter reed is now very, very stable and drones only need a sligth tuning very seldom. I had a practise session yesterday - tuned the bass drone to the outer tenor drone and pipes stayed in tune for 45 mins.

So focus is now on playing instead of tuning.
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Old 04-29-2020, 06:43 AM   #7
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Default Re: Humid Chanter Top vs Just Leaving Chanter in Pipes

The ToneProtector works for me here in the relatively arid front range of Colorado. I only use the reading on the hygrometer to remind me to replace the moisture packet.

So far, mold hasn’t been a significant issue. One thing that helped with that was to stop licking the reed. So, now when I swap reeds for a dry reed or something, I moisten it with a little water not saliva.
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Old 04-29-2020, 07:27 AM   #8
el gaitero
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Default Re: Humid Chanter Top vs Just Leaving Chanter in Pipes

I reverted to plain ol’ reed protector tops...poly with an air hole. I’d been using an ‘original’ Pipers Pal ...meh ,only ‘works’, of course,.if keeping up the wetted crystals. Then got a new additional PP with the dial top...started growing fuzz on the reed.
With several standard and Bb chanters I only used 2 PP’s on the chanters I knew I’d be playing for an up coming event...nonetheless...keeping after or forgetting to maintain the crystals was a pita.
Playing whichever chanter initially for 15 minutes always brings them /the reed back while practicing whatever tunes longer as I’d have done anyway with or without a PP.
These gizmo’s no doubt are useful for those who claim to practice non-stop 16x7; after 40+years I’m not there yet....but in the words of the great YoYo Ma ..”I’m making progress”

Last edited by el gaitero; 04-29-2020 at 07:30 AM.
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Old 04-29-2020, 10:37 AM   #9
EquusRacer
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Default Re: Humid Chanter Top vs Just Leaving Chanter in Pipes

Some dictionaries define 'gadget' at 'device or contrivance.' I agree that those of us who have been piping long enough have seen, as stated, 'gadgets' promoted...some to remain; some to be jettisoned. We saw newer technology bags that were little better than balloons. And we certainly remember the howls when synthetic drone (and certainly chanter) reeds hit the market.

And there we promotions, sometimes by top players and/or bands, that drew in purchasers who were ultimately disappointed with the products. Others, however, turned out to constitute significant improvements. Yet, all said, there will always be products that are debatable.

In the end, it comes down to what works...and that's a very individual thing. As I stated, Tone Protector has proven to be a great product for me. Yet I do not doubt those who've indicated they've had issues with it. Certain drone reeds work in my pipes, and some don't. Yet I do not doubt those who rave about the drone reeds that do not work for me.

In the end, the 'gadgets' that remain are the ones, in the balance, that benefit more than less.
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Old 04-29-2020, 12:25 PM   #10
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Default Re: Humid Chanter Top vs Just Leaving Chanter in Pipes

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Originally Posted by EquusRacer View Post

In the end, the 'gadgets' that remain are the ones, in the balance, that benefit more than less
Some gizmos too...like a 'trap-dri' and the new canmore hybrid bag.
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