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

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Old 02-13-2019, 09:49 AM   #1
Pppiper
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Default Chanter bias?

Hi folks,

I've been debating myself on whether or not to post on this subject ... dunno which part of me lost the debate, but here goes.

I'm wondering people's thoughts and experiences with what I feel to be bias when it comes to what people are playing, chanter makes in particular.

I'm purposely leaving all names out of this post, including the names of the chanters I use (or don't).

A recent example:
I was at a workshop and a sizable portion of it was focused on set up, etc. At one point, I was asked the make of my chanter (ABC chanter), and I answered. The response from the workshop runner was something along the lines of "Oh an ABC chanter—sorry, but that's more useful as a door stop. You should buy an XYZ chanter.
Now please note, my ABC chanter is designed and (as far as I'm aware) currently played by a world-class competitor (as many solo chanters seem to be). I know of plenty of highly ranked players who utilize it. And let it be stated that my ABC chanter was not heard beforehand, or during the workshop at all, for that matter.

I'm also rather picky with my choice of chanter. Lots of trial and research went into my choices, I certainly didn't say to myself "oh wow, ABC! LOVE HIM, gotta have it!!!" No.

So not only am I quite happy with the sound of my ABC chanter, I've gotten quite the stable of positive comments on my tone/sound, both in competition and otherwise. Lots of comments from judges such as "beautiful pipe" ... "best pipe in contest."

Yet somehow and remarkably, according to this gentleman, all these folks (including myself, of course) have somehow, collectively been hoodwinked into thinking this would-be "door stop" is something good? Judges all throughout last year somehow forgot to mention their distain for my chanter as they were offering superlatives regarding my sound?

Also of note, it would seem that XYZ name was being thrown around QUITE a bit, as in "well, should be buying an XYZ" ... the whole workshop.

Might I be forgiven then, that I take this isolated blather of negative perspectives toward "ABC" with a salt lick?

Thoughts? Experiences? Thank you to any and all.

Cheers,
~Nate

Last edited by Pppiper; 02-13-2019 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:00 AM   #2
thevoidboy
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Default Re: Chanter bias?

Nate -

Play what works for you.
I like certain chanters for specific reasons. I donít like other chanters, for specific reasons.

If you hear a chanter you like, go for it. If comments are positive, stick with it.

Iíve changed mine over the years. The more different kinds I play, the more I get to know what I like. Be open to trying others. And advice can help you decide what to try next.

But if you play well, sound good, and like how your chanter helps you as a musician, stick with it.

Fads come and go. Let them pass you by...


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Old 02-13-2019, 10:01 AM   #3
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Default Re: Chanter bias?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thevoidboy View Post
Nate -

Play what works for you.
I like certain chanters for specific reasons. I donít like other chanters, for specific reasons.

If you hear a chanter you like, go for it. If comments are positive, stick with it.

Iíve changed mine over the years. The more different kinds I play, the more I get to know what I like. Be open to trying others. And advice can help you decide what to try next.

But if you play well, sound good, and like how your chanter helps you as a musician, stick with it.

Fads come and go. Let them pass you by...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Well stated, thanks for weighing in my friend.

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:02 AM   #4
Texas Gael
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Default Re: Chanter bias?

Yes, take it with a very big grain of salt. I am now in my 37th year of playing the GHB and have heard it all from some of the biggest names in the business. Early on I determined to find out what works best for me and politely ignore the slagging. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I was in front of a judge who praised the tone of my bagpipe, mistaking it for a vintage set. When I mentioned what maker, he was not happy. When I told him my reed set up he went ballistic and told me I needed to learn how to properly set up a bagpipe. Obviously, he was ignorantly claiming brand trumps tone.

Cheers -

Wes
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:06 AM   #5
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Default Re: Chanter bias?

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Originally Posted by Texas Gael View Post
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I was in front of a judge who praised the tone of my bagpipe, mistaking it for a vintage set. When I mentioned what maker, he was not happy.
Thinking about keeping salt in my pipe case, alongside the baby powder.

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:32 AM   #6
DNorwood
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Default Re: Chanter bias?

You used your money to pay for a workshop just to be told that your un-heard chanter was better as a door stop?
Hmm, so I guess you will use your money to attend the workshop next year?
Point being that the commentary ( as being presented ) was less than useful.

Maybe your money would be better spent participating in Spartan Races. You will get abused, sore, cut, bruised, and totally humiliated by your lack of endurance. Yet if you live through it, the personal challenge and experience aligns with the expectation.
So much more satisfying. :-)
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:49 AM   #7
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Default Re: Chanter bias?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DNorwood View Post
You used your money to pay for a workshop just to be told that your un-heard chanter was better as a door stop?
Hmm, so I guess you will use your money to attend the workshop next year?
Point being that the commentary ( as being presented ) was less than useful.
Precisely why I chose to reach out, and see what others have to say on the subject. I don't consider myself to be purely a cynic, but I do habitually maintain a health level of skepticism as I encounter various points of view.

Though, granted, I don't think I did a very good job in divorcing any feelings of contempt from my query. Perhaps that was rather unfair of me.

So to be fairóno, the aforementioned scenario was certainly not the sole takeaway from the workshop overall. There were many subjects, aspects, what-have-you. Would I go again? I don't know.

The fellow mentioned here certainly knows his stuff. I'm a firm believer in "do what works for you," and I think it's fair to presume this fellow does (and in this case, speaks of) what works for him.

But again, with my knowing and hearing perspectives of many others beforehand, I certainly questioned the "door stop" point-of-view. And with my questioning, I thought I'd reach out and see if others might offer help to me in arriving at an informed, well-considered answer.

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:03 AM   #8
CelticHiker
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Default Re: Chanter bias?

Sounds like the instructor had a personal investment in selling the xyz chanter to me, and I would fully agree with everyone above that if your happy with your current abc chanter just stick with it.

I also just returned from a piping school, two weeks worth in fact, and although many of the instructors have their own chanters, if not full pipes, for sale through the normal channels, none made the suggestion that we should ditch what we had and switch to their "insert whatever piece, part, or instrument the were selling". If they were asked about it by one of the students, they did answer the question, but usually with a brief explanation and then a suggestion of meeting later to discuss it further.

But I've also been to those events where someone is on a mission to either sell or promote some new chanter, bag, moisture control setup, drones, or reeds, and it doesn't matter what you have, whatever it is that they are pushing is better. The approach might work on some, especially if the person is new to piping and isn't happy or confident with their current setup, but it always seems a bit like selling snake oil to me, and invariably, the same person will be at the next workshop selling the 123 chanter and telling everyone that has the xyz that its horrible and they need to upgrade.

The bottom line is that if you are happy with your instrument, you are getting positive comments from other knowledgable players on the sound, and you have no interest in changing, don't, and just stay playing what you have. I like gizmos, gadgets, and the latest and greatest as much as anyone, but I've found that spending my money on lessons from a highly qualified instructor and spending my time on practice has helped my piping more than any new thing I've purchased or the time spent researching it.
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:24 AM   #9
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Default Re: Chanter bias?

Nate, keep on doing what you're doing. (and kudos for not telling Mr. XYZ that his chanter might be better suited as a suppository).
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:25 AM   #10
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Default Re: Chanter bias?

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Originally Posted by Klondike Waldo View Post
Nate, keep on doing what you're doing. (and kudos for not telling Mr. XYZ that his chanter might be better suited as a suppository).

Ha!!! I am learning SOME self-restraint. Doesnít show very often, but itís there.

Cheers,
~Nate
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