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

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Old 07-02-2019, 01:44 AM   #1
DelticRD
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Default Practice Chanter Recommendations

Hi All,
With the recent arrival of our baby girl, I find myself struggling to find time to play. Now at the 3 month mark and starting to feel normal again, I find myself being able to get back into practice again. However small problem.
1) My Blair Digital has been great and have been able to play it regularly and often without disturbing Mama or Baby. However in doing this my cheek strength and breathing has not had any work / practice.
2) I love my Gibson ABW practice chanter and find its one of the nicest sounding I have found so far. But it is very loud and certainly will wake baby if she is napping.
3) My first chanter was a McCallum Ploy long chanter but I honest hate the sound of the high notes on this and hate playing it (tried various practice reeds to no joy).
Any suggestions for either practice reed combo to one of the above or a quality sounding PC that is not as loud as a Gibson.
Thanks in Advance.
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Old 07-02-2019, 05:09 AM   #2
John McCain
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Default Re: Practice Chanter Recommendations

You can try putting a couple of dental rubber bands around the reed to diminish the volume. Try one or two. With two, try to vary the amount of space separating the rubber bands on the blade.

If that doesn't work, the quietist and reliable PC reed I've found is an Abedour. I don't know if it goes in a Gibson PC, but it goes well in several of my PCs. Really well in a Walsh.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:38 AM   #3
BaggyMcPipes
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Default Re: Practice Chanter Recommendations

It may not work for you, but in a similar situation I once established a habit of building a little, "booth," out of couch cushions on the kitchen table. Then I could lean-in to the, "booth," and play. It muffled the sound nicely.

Best of luck!
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:52 AM   #4
bob864
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Default Re: Practice Chanter Recommendations

You can take the reed out and the body of the PC will still make sounds. Then make a partial plug to create however much backpressure you want.
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:50 AM   #5
Triskele
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Default Re: Practice Chanter Recommendations

I hear you on the Gibson PC with Gibson reed being loud. No doubt. Nice PC but loud and a bit hard to blow compared to other reeds. Some people prefer this though.

I finally settled on a McCallum long poly and a McCallum long ABW. The ABW is my go-to, but I use the poly sometimes for travel or if I want to be slightly quieter. The poly seems to be ever so slightly quieter than the ABW regardless of reed.

I usually use Walsh reeds in them. Medium level of volume and blowing strength. If I want to be quieter I use a Frazer Warnock reed. The Walsh reeds in my McCallums sound good and are quite true to scale. The Warnock reeds suffer on the higher notes being not as true to scale and sounding a little weak. That being said, my quietest combination is poly McCallum with Warnock reed which I do use sometimes if I'm trying to be quiet.

Also, I find simply draping a blanket over my lap and end of the PC can significantly reduce the volume. Good luck!
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Old 07-02-2019, 12:45 PM   #6
brewingjt100
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Default Re: Practice Chanter Recommendations

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob864 View Post
You can take the reed out and the body of the PC will still make sounds. Then make a partial plug to create however much backpressure you want.
This. It works well.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:35 PM   #7
DelticRD
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Default Re: Practice Chanter Recommendations

Thank you all for the great advice. Will try all and order a few new PC reeds for both as see what works best for me sound wise.
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:44 PM   #8
Chris C.
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Default Re: Practice Chanter Recommendations

At piping college years ago, one guy showed us how he quieted his PC -- he used rubber bands of some type around the base of the blades on the reed -- sort of like the dental band suggestion above. The guy's PC was indeed very quiet.
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:12 PM   #9
Abbott
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Default Re: Practice Chanter Recommendations

I had the same problem. I wrapped some felt round the reed (not to tight )and fixed it with a rubber band at the base of the reedjust above the file . It reduced the sound considerably
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Old 07-03-2019, 04:48 PM   #10
acadianpiper
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Default Re: Practice Chanter Recommendations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris C. View Post
At piping college years ago, one guy showed us how he quieted his PC -- he used rubber bands of some type around the base of the blades on the reed -- sort of like the dental band suggestion above. The guy's PC was indeed very quiet.
Any small rubber band can be used for this; it doesn't need to be a dental band. I've been doing this for decades whenever I've needed to have a quiet PC. You can control the degree of quietness by moving the band up or down the reed blades. The higher it is positioned, the quieter the reed. Note that this will also raise the pitch.
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