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G1 Plastic/Wooden Gold

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  • G1 Plastic/Wooden Gold

    Does anyone have experience of the G1 Gold solo chanter in both plastic and blackwood? Or have played either?

    Do the plastic and blackwood model sound broadly similar? Would the finger spacing be the same?

    I'd like to try the G1 chanter reed combo. I also have a set of pipes at home going spare and I thought I'd have a go at setting them up as a B-flat set. I could get a plastic standard chanter and plastic B-flat for near enough the same as one wooden one.

  • #2
    The internal dimensions and finger spacing will be the same, it's just the choice of material it is made out of. Between african blackwood and G1's plastic I would choose the plastic.

    I don't own a G1 but they make excellent products, I have looked at the newer Gold version as it's pitched down a little and perhaps is less bright which I enjoy. I own Colin Kyos and Shepherd Mk3s both in ABW and in plastic each, and there is no real audible difference in my recordings. The wood is dark enough on both that I can't tell them apart from the plastic versions unless holding them up, wood also being vulnerable to breaking if you aren't careful with them (the last chanter I sold was ABW and it went to a piper who's own ABW chanter had snapped in their case). Depending on the finish of the wood some tape will resist smearing more than the plastic I've found, lot of variables there though. Ultimately I think wood is a personal choice and not so much any audible reasoning.
    Happy Piping

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    • #3
      Speaking generally, I think most soloists would say that wood has a slight edge in tone, but it's important to add that every top prize now, I think, has been won with a plastic chanter.

      As for the G1 "Gold" model, I'd be very confident in it; the only thing I'd like to know if I was considering it would be how it gets on with different reeds.
      http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
      -- Formerly known as CalumII

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Calum View Post
        Speaking generally, I think most soloists would say that wood has a slight edge in tone, but it's important to add that every top prize now, I think, has been won with a plastic chanter...
        Wow - very interesting. I had no idea that plastic chanters were being used by soloists at that level. Good to know.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Calum View Post
          ...but it's important to add that every top prize now, I think, has been won with a plastic chanter.
          That does surprise me a bit. I'm not doubting you, I just haven't heard about many top guys using plastic. I'm just curious, what are some examples? I seem to recall that Gordon Walker liked using a plastic McCallum, but I can't say for certain.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by John Miner View Post

            That does surprise me a bit. I'm not doubting you, I just haven't heard about many top guys using plastic. I'm just curious, what are some examples? I seem to recall that Gordon Walker liked using a plastic McCallum, but I can't say for certain.
            Bruce Gandy I believe for years played a McCallum Mk3 chanter before making changes to it.
            Happy Piping

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            • #7
              Gordon Walker did play a plastic chanter. I asked another Gold Medal winner about whether, should he happen to be judging someone, would them playing a plastic chanter make them look at me differently. He said no, only cared about what it sounded like. He said Gordon Walker played plastic and stuck a fancy silver sole on it.

              Peter McCalister won the Northern Meeting Gold medal in 2018 playing a plastic Ayrfire chanter and an Allan Russell reed.

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              • #8
                I know of a professional piper winning af high calibre competition with a poly RG Hardie infinity chanter.
                www.selpiper.dk

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Big Tone View Post

                  Do the plastic and blackwood model sound broadly similar? Would the finger spacing be the same?
                  Only speaking for the wood v plastic debate, anymore you can get away with whatever you've got as long as it's set up well. Both wood and plastic will have the same internal dimensions, hole sizes + placements, and should pretty well sound identical.

                  With wood, you've got a slight variable with weather affecting the grain and changing dimensions not quite regularly. Wood is a better insulator, though, so it moves less. It just moves less, less predictably.

                  Plastic chanters have a more uniform cellular/molecular structure, so even though they move more with environmental changes, it's a far more regular change in shape.

                  I play a wooden chanter in solos mostly because I prefer the way wood feels in different weather conditions. However, if you were to hand me a plastic chanter by the same maker, I'd be more than grateful and play it too. It's mostly just a tactile choice for me.

                  Wood doesn't vibrate quite as uniformly, so it's got a slightly less vibrant (sometimes called smoother) sound. But you can more than make up for that, or swing the other way, with reeds. Chanter reeds have far more of an impact on your chanter tone than the material from which the chanter is made.

                  Jack

                  Serving Jello with a ladle since... forever

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                  • #10
                    Any suggestions specific to plastic chanters regarding carving holes? I would guess that the plastic just files at a different rate than wood. Maybe a bit softer? Thanks.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Doug Walton View Post
                      Any suggestions specific to plastic chanters regarding carving holes? I would guess that the plastic just files at a different rate than wood. Maybe a bit softer? Thanks.
                      Plastic is a joy to carve, which is an odd thing to say. But, with it's regular molecular structure, it just does what you want it to do. Be sure to use a good deburring tool, but you'll be grand.

                      Wood, on the other hand, is difficult to carve tidily. The striations of the grain are different densities, so it can be easy to move too much, or tear out. I would tend toward a very careful and gentle dremel with wood, but that's me.

                      Jack
                      Serving Jello with a ladle since... forever

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jackhawkpiper97 View Post

                        Plastic is a joy to carve, which is an odd thing to say. But, with it's regular molecular structure, it just does what you want it to do.
                        They didn't name it plastic for nothing
                        Happy Piping

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