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Old 10-29-2013, 10:51 AM   #1
Jethro
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Default higher quality / more expensive practice chanters

Anyone make the switch from a poly chanter to a $300.00 + blackwood chanter? Considering some options and wondered how the experience was. I've been playing a poly for 20 years and figured a step up might be a real treat. Thanks!
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:09 AM   #2
flares2
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Default Re: higher quality / more expensive practice chanters

I think it's about personal preference. My opinion is that the higher end ABW practice chanters don't sound all that much better than a poly chanter. Blackwood may sound a bit better, but I can't justify the cost for a practice chanter.

Also, in terms of aesthetics, I don't see the point in putting silver or other expensive materials on a practice chanter unless you're fishing for compliments around the band table. No one's ever gonna see you perform on a practice chanter and you'll spend the majority of the time practicing it alone at home, so why bother?
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:10 AM   #3
John Bolt
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Default Re: higher quality / more expensive practice chanters

I have a $450 PC from one of the best known makers that I tried really hard to like that I tried 4 or 5 different reeds in that I just don't like the sound of that sits in a drawer in favor of a lowly McCallum poly PC
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:37 AM   #4
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: higher quality / more expensive practice chanters

I won a silver engraved blackwood Naill practice chanter through a raffle. It's really nice. But, as with these things, you have to have the right reed for it to sound nice.

I'm using an old Walsh, though the easy strength Boyd sounds pretty good too. Better than in my poly Walsh, McCallum, and Booth (though the Booth is really nice sounding too).

I used to play another old blackwood Naill that was really nice.

I think it's probably 75% reed, 25% wood, if that.
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:49 AM   #5
ralph
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Default Re: higher quality / more expensive practice chanters

Hello,
Lindsey bagpipes make some pretty nice exotic work of art type chanters. They are around $100-$200. If I were going to buy a new chanter I'd probably go that route. (He even made on in all elk antler... pretty cool) Ralph Drew
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:15 PM   #6
bob864
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Default Re: higher quality / more expensive practice chanters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jethro View Post
Anyone make the switch from a poly chanter to a $300.00 + blackwood chanter? Considering some options and wondered how the experience was. I've been playing a poly for 20 years and figured a step up might be a real treat. Thanks!
A cane reed would probably make more difference

I have a blackwood PC. It feels a little different. If you really like the way wood feels that much more than go for it. To me there's not that much difference. But I don't really practice on PC anyway.
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:40 PM   #7
flares2
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Default Re: higher quality / more expensive practice chanters

Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph View Post
Hello,
Lindsey bagpipes make some pretty nice exotic work of art type chanters. They are around $100-$200. If I were going to buy a new chanter I'd probably go that route. (He even made on in all elk antler... pretty cool) Ralph Drew
The elk chanter is still available btw....

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Old 10-29-2013, 01:07 PM   #8
Craic Piper
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Default Re: higher quality / more expensive practice chanters

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob864 View Post
A cane reed would probably make more difference

I have a blackwood PC. It feels a little different. If you really like the way wood feels that much more than go for it. To me there's not that much difference. But I don't really practice on PC anyway.
second the cane reed.

I've got an 80s long scale Naill ABW chanter that I bought new when I was a teen. It never sounded as good as my crappy, scavenged from the bottom of the band barrel sheesham wood with the broken sole PC (that I promptly threw away the instant my shiny new Naill showed up).

It wasn't until much later that I realized the sound really was coming from the (also scavenged from the bottom of the PM's sock drawer) cane reed I had in it. Now I play a rainbow reed and couldn't be happier. They are expensive, yes, but worth it.
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Old 10-29-2013, 01:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: higher quality / more expensive practice chanters

I started out with ABW practice chanter. After playing it for some time, I decided to try out a plastic to have as a spare. The feeling is completely different. The plastic one felt dead, with annoyingly sharp holes. My wooden chanter is more vibrant, and the feeling of wood is fantastic.
I just dropped the idea of having a spare plastic chanter.

All these fancy ornaments does not give a better sound, but it's more fun to play an instrument that is really precious to you, other than one that just does the work.
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Old 10-29-2013, 01:11 PM   #10
CelticHiker
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Default Re: higher quality / more expensive practice chanters

I've been there and done that, but I honestly can't say why beyond I had the cash and wanted to do it?

It doesn't sound better than my poly PCs and while it does feel slightly different after 5 years of playing on it, its not enough to effect my playing if I grab one of the polys. It does look nice and it was what I wanted so I'm happy that I have it, but I wouldn't say it was worth the extra cost or that I like playing it more than any of my other PCs.

The one thing that I did decide was a necessity was a lined top. Due to the dry conditions here in Montana, all of the band's old blackwood PC tops have split and I didn't want that to happen to mine. I went with a Naill which had the option of a blackwood on the outside, plastic on the inside top, and I've been very happy with it and no cracking!

But after 20 years, why not try one, its not going to hurt!
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