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Looking at getting a new pipe chanter

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  • Looking at getting a new pipe chanter

    I'm relatively new to piping (about a year) and am slowly customizing my pipe set up so that it works best for me. My present chanter (Wallace poly) has a couple of things that continue to bedevil me--namely that nothing I do to it gets it completely in tune even when blowing at consistent pressure, and the low-A is too big/low for me to get a crisp birl. (I've posted about this elsewhere and continue to struggle. The physiology of my hand is such that my pinky cannot move anywhere close to independently, and no birl method I've tried really works.)

    I watched Matt Willis' video on the Colin Ryo chanter, which seems like it might help address both problems. Do folks have other recommendations? Also a more general question--what is the benefit of a blackwood versus poly chanter?

  • #2
    I’d suggest either the Colin Kyo or the MacCallum Gandy chanter. The holes are a pretty similar spacing, but I can’t comment on hole size as my Gandy chanter is band issue and has the holes carved a bit to allow for ease of tuning.

    I have smallish hands and a pinky issue as well (though different from yours) and I can get good birls on both chanters (slightly better on the Colin Kyo than the Gandy).
    You don't have fun by winning. You win by having fun.


    • #3
      For reference, here are my CK and Gandy chanters side by side (CK on left, Gandy on right)
      Attached Files
      You don't have fun by winning. You win by having fun.


      • #4
        Nice feet, Jim...

        Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. • BDF Moderator - Reference for Bagpipers


        • #5

          Please--do not feel lonely--for you are not the first (and
          most certainly shan't be the last) --to run head-long into
          this particular--brick wall. :-)

          To my stone ears--at least--ABW chanters--simply have
          a warmer tone. (And not to mention--Cocus--better yet!!)

          Now--I've got several Delrin (or some such :-) chanters--
          and that I use in different settings--and they are Grand!!

          They all sound good!!--and you don't have to worry so
          much about them (Hell's Bells!! You can drive nails with
          them!! ;-) but for those particularly special engagements--
          I call on the ABW--and the Cocus--every time. :-)

          Now--some may say it's the reeds--and some may say it's
          the player--but the sound--and all of that--to me--begins
          with--the instrument. ("Some people's mileage may vary.")

          And all of the above--and of course--depending upon the
          understood competence--of whom ever is playing. :-)

          Take your Time--and find your own--best options--and all
          shall--Come 'Round Right!! :-)

          All the Best!!


          Last edited by Pip01; 07-30-2021, 08:35 AM.
          My friends all know,
          With what a brave carouse...


          • #6
            I'll agree that Kyo is the way to go. Fantastic chanter, likes a G1 Reed.


            • #7
              Kyo and MacLellan chanter spacing is somewhat similar if I recall correctly.


              • #8
                What about the Hardie infinity chanter? Does the Kyo have any advantage over that?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Davidck View Post
                  What about the Hardie infinity chanter? Does the Kyo have any advantage over that?
                  I've been wondering this as well, the Infinities are said to have tight finger spacing (I own Kyos and MK3 Shepherds). It's not just the finger spacing of the Kyo that makes it nice to play, it's also the resonance each note has as well as the pitch. The Infinities I believe start around 482Hz whereas the Kyo is more 478Hz plus. Some have good luck reeding Kyos without much tape but this has not been my experience, I find them not much different than my MK3.

                  I have though experienced a similar resonant sound from the P. Henderson chanter to the Kyo but the finger spacing on it is traditional (long spacing, especially B and LA). If Hardie captured their Henderson solo chanter sound into better packaging of the Infinity it could be a knock out save for pitch preferences.
                  Happy Piping


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Andrew Lenz View Post
                    Nice feet, Jim...

                    I do what I can.
                    You don't have fun by winning. You win by having fun.


                    • #11
                      Just ordered a MacLellan Elevation. I will give you a quick review when I put hands on it.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sjcavy View Post
                        Just ordered a MacLellan Elevation. I will give you a quick review when I put hands on it.
                        That'd be great! I'm curious about it.

                        His website still shows they aren't for sale to the public. How did you manage to order one, is the website not up to date?
                        Happy Piping


                        • #13
                          The band elevation is available for purchase, it would seem:

                          My Piping Blog (recordings, articles, reviews, etc.) - Homepage - Pekaar's Tune Encyclopedia - Convert BMW to ABC


                          • #14
                            Got the Elevation Chanter last night. A few quick tunes. Very pleased at this very early junction. I will spend more time with it today and take some notes.


                            • #15
                              William McKenzie

                              Got to spend some time with the Elevation chanter last night. Notes:

                              I put it next to my McC2, Naill, and RJM chanters. The finger spacing is quite compact, took a half tune to get used to it, but after that it was very comfortable to play. The holes are round (none really oval at all) with sharp clean edges. Finish on the chanter is smooth, almost matte, and I did not have a problem with my skin sticking to it for the almost hour I played. The reed seat is threaded, which I like in my chanters.

                              I played 2 Melvin reeds (solo and band), a McPhee, and 3 Husks of different strengths and "broken-in-ness". As of right now, my old trusty Husk is my favorite, but I know Melvin reeds worked in conjunction with these chanters so I will get a new one and let them know it's going in an elevation. In all fairness, my Melvin reeds are almost dead. The Melvins were both good, but I have not played them in a while so they are probably a little dry. Even then I saw definite potential. Like I said, I'll be buying a new couple reeds from him.

                              On to the Husk (hard to get at this point). With the Easy/Medium Husk I had SLIGHT tape on the High A, the F, and the D.... like the most miniscule amount of tape. Other than that, very happily in tune at 484.1 here in Central Texas. The harmonics off the F and the B were phenomenal. I played my blackwood MacLellan set (ez tenors, Henderson Harmonic bass) and this chanter. It was a ton of fun. I got a slight amount of crow on the high A, and I really enjoyed it.

                              Needless to say, I would buy this chanter again. Very happy with it.

                              Talked to Roddy when I ordered it, there are 2 models. Round holes and Oval holes. Oval gives you more leeway with tape. I went with round because that is what he had in stock at this time.

                              Like I said above, I would buy this chanter again.


                              As a postscript:

                              I am a lifelong fan of Roddy MacLellan and his work. He is an awesome guy to do business with. He has always gone over the top to make sure I was happy, and he does not seem to mind when I call and want to chat. I have owned 2 sets of his pipes, sold the cocobolo set only because I wanted to try other stuff. The bw set was a gift from my dad back in 08, I had Roddy give it a once over at the beginning of this year. It came back STUNNING. I will always be a customer of his, and (not really needed but who cares at this point) will be purchasing another set from him in the future.