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Old 02-12-2019, 08:27 PM   #1
PRAIRIEPIPER
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Location: Alberta, Canada
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Default Too much tape

Our band usually plays around the 480 mark.
However, to tune to them I have to cover too much of my high hand notes with tape.
This makes my top hand notes very weak and thin.
I have tried adjusting the depth of the reed lower and higher in the chanter but always the same result.
How can I get a full sound from my set up and still be in tune with the band??
Will I need to enlarge the holes to get the nice full sound??
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:50 PM   #2
BaggyMcPipes
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Default Re: Too Much Tape

Personally, I never ever take a blade, Dremel, etc to a chanter. That's just me, a lot of people do it, but I feel strongly about it because a change of reed brand/strength, etc can usually fix it, and I trust the chanter maker.

But if you have to do that, my only advice is that you do it very slowly and carefully.

Remember that adjusting the reed up and down effects the top have more than it does the lower hand. For example, pushing it in a tad might take the pitch of F-a up 30 cents, but only take the pitch of low A-C up 4 cents.

I think it might be worth considering the age and condition of the reeds, too. If they're being routinely shaved-down, maybe trying to play the reeds as they come could help. Older reeds, in my experience, tend to lose strength/reliable, "ideal," tuning in the top hand first. So maybe just changing them out more often...

You might also try going-up one step in hardness, (easy to medium, or medium to hard,) or just try a different brand. Some brands of reed play better with certain chanters. I've had really good luck with Shepherd reeds in Gibson and Warnock chanters, for example. And Melvin reeds in McCallum chanters. Also Shepherds in McCallum chanters... I really like Shepherd reeds...

Finally, I might suggest looking into getting a personal chanter so they can do what they like with your band chanter, but you can still have your own chanter set up the way you like it.

And, I suppose, it might be worth trying to learn to love the quiet top hand. Sometimes a high A that disappears into the drones can sound nice...?

Best of luck, friend!
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:02 PM   #3
OHCalman
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Default Re: Too Much Tape

Are you using the same chanter and chanter reed as the rest of the band? If you’re sinking the reed into the seat and still using a lot of tape you may just be pushing the chanter beyond the limits of where it wants to go, so matching your setup to the rest of the band would be the best solution.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:37 PM   #4
Paul M Burke
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Default Re: Too Much Tape

How high is your chanter pitching? If you have to flatten the whole top hand to get down to 480.

Carving the hole is usually done to the top of the hole so won't help with the amount of tape. Carving the bottom of the hole is not generally regarded as being of any benefit.

Is the chanter a band chanter that matches the rest of the pipers? Is the Reed? This is a good way to make tuning easier.

Are other pipers having the same issue.

Could there be a misunderstanding of the tuner being used?

Paul
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:36 AM   #5
el gaitero
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Default Re: Too Much Tape

Quote:
Originally Posted by PRAIRIEPIPER View Post
Our band usually plays around the 480 mark.
However, to tune to them I have to cover too much of my high hand notes with tape

Do you know the makers ‘bench design spec’ of the chanter you are playing? No sense trying to set up a chanter to 480 designed for 475.

Last edited by Andrew Lenz; 02-13-2019 at 12:19 PM. Reason: Fixed broken quote syntax. el gaitero, watch your backets!
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:46 AM   #6
Pppiper
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Default Re: Too Much Tape

Yeah, "there's something amuck here."

Firstly, I'd talk to your pipe major and/or sound guy in the band, and ensure your setup is the same as the rest of the band. If you're using a different chanter and/or reed than the band, then that's the most likely answer to your situation. In my experience, most band either issue matching chanters and reeds, or will require that members purchase/use matching equipment. Failure to implement either will inevitably lead to issues such as what you're describing.

If you are using matching chanter & reed makes, well, then the mystery remains. If you need tape for your top hand once the bottom hand is at the proper pitch, I suggest:
  • try moving the reed slightly higher in the seat ... the higher hand will be much more changed than the lower hand, you could be sinking the reed just a bit too much.
  • see if you can ease off your blowing strength, slightly ... your top hand will be more affected than your lower hand
  • I prefer the above to trying a stiffer reed ... I understand the suggestion, but too many people play reeds that are waaay too hard. Within reason, it's probably best to try and stay in your comfort zone, because if your blowing control becomes poor, then tuning will be the least of your concerns.

Personally, I don't have the same reservations when it comes to carving a chanter that needs it ... within reason. Getting the Dremel out straight away, with one reed, is acting rashly. But if there's a consistent issue getting what you need with multiple reeds (esp. various makes), then I have no problem "fixing it" ... BUT ... that's with the explicit understanding that I'm likely committed to keeping that chanter for the rest of my days. Selling a hacked up chanter is difficult, and understandably so.

Different strokes, different folks. No matter what though, I bring this back to the start ... be sure you talk to your PM and/or sound guy before doing anything pertaining to your sound with the band.

Best of luck.

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:47 AM   #7
3D Piper
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Default Re: Too Much Tape

To sharpen, you need a shorter distance from the vibrating reed to the sound hole in the chanter. You can only sink the reed so much, or (like el gaitero says) it won't work well because it isn't designed to play at that pitch. One thing we have done is to cut the tips of the reed- carefully! a wee bit at a time! That will make the distance shorter and keep the chanter reed higher in the seat.


Shawn Husk discusses that here:


https://youtu.be/EihxaWALS-A


-Matthew
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Old 02-13-2019, 01:15 PM   #8
Randy McIntosh
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Default Re: Too much tape

Quote:
Originally Posted by PRAIRIEPIPER View Post
to tune to them I have to cover too much of my high hand notes with tape...snip

Will I need to enlarge the holes to get the nice full sound??

taping is the opposite of enlarging

Taping = flattening
Enlarging = sharpening
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Last edited by Randy McIntosh; 02-13-2019 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:13 PM   #9
PRAIRIEPIPER
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Default Re: Too much tape

Thanks to everyone for their tips and suggestions.
The band is using the G1 Chanters and the same reeds (I think they are G1 also).
The reed is really good except foe too sharp in the top hand and very thin for volume.
If I am going to use the Dremmel, would extending the hole lower increase the volume and bring the top notes back to tuning the same as the bands?
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:28 PM   #10
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Too much tape

Sounds like you’ve just got a really easy reed. Carving out the bottom of a matched chanter so you can tape it is not the solution. The solution is a new reed.
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