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ABW vs Poly Chanters Stability through Temperature Change

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  • ABW vs Poly Chanters Stability through Temperature Change

    I just wanted to get everyone's take or personal experience regarding which type of chanter (wood or poly) responds better and exhibits more stability through temperature changes. I have my own thoughts, but I've heard varying takes on which handles these changes better.

    I know there are many other factors involved, but all things equal, which would handle this better.

    For example, when waiting through a lengthy graveside service with no further chance to tune and the temperature is rising of falling, which would you trust more in this situation? Or at an outdoor games starting a lengthy piobaireachd in the sun as the temperature is rising, which would you trust to stay locked?

    John


  • #2
    You're correct, John, that there are many other factors involved. In some situations, I think the issue will be more the reed (in addition to, as you said, other factors, such as frequency of playing, reed strength and so many others) than the chanter. This is aside from what we prefer to play, sound, etc.; but as far as just one more variable, I think a generalized statement would be that a poly chanter would be less of one in most circumstances. All that said, I'll wager we get a spectrum of opinions.

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    • #3
      Years ago, at one of the Delco workshops, Jake Watson of the 78th Frasiers was giving a seminar.
      That topic was discussed.
      I remember him saying the band was looking into new chanters and did an experiment between blackwood and poly chanters by putting them into the snow.
      Bottom line was the blackwood went less out of tune than the poly.
      Hope that helps, fwiw.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by BillW View Post
        Years ago, at one of the Delco workshops, Jake Watson of the 78th Frasiers was giving a seminar.
        That topic was discussed.
        I remember him saying the band was looking into new chanters and did an experiment between blackwood and poly chanters by putting them into the snow.
        Bottom line was the blackwood went less out of tune than the poly.
        Hope that helps, fwiw.
        Thanks for relating that study. The question I have is as follows: Regardless of degree of change, did the polys and the ABW go out of tune to the same degree? I would guess that the degree of change in the ABW would be more variable than that of the polys, even though the polys' change was greater. But that's just supposition on my part.

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        • #5
          Greetings to All,

          My experiences--and stark desperation--in trying to find some
          small amount of "chanter insurance "--has always been more
          with funerals in cold weather--(and really cold)--in which I have
          had to play.

          Granted!! The reed--is of consummate importance!!--but equally
          so--is the chanter.

          Overall--I have found--the ABW chanters--to be--the best.

          Many of the synthies are good--but--the sound--is The Mark--plus--
          the synthies--are--seemingly--in the hand--much the colder.

          Trusting that everyone can find the best for themselves, and with

          Regards to All,

          Pip01


          My friends all know,
          With what a brave carouse...

          Comment


          • #6
            I live in PA, and have had to play some funerals on some VERY cold days, with wind chills approaching negative numbers.
            Just the thought of those make me cringe, thinking of standing in the bitter cold.
            It's tough, no matter what. One of the best tips I ever got was to use the easiest chanter reed you could, and play as little as reasonably possible.
            I tell people up front that once temperatures go into the 30's, the sound is less than ideal, so they understand it's possible the tuning can drift.
            Everyone has their opinions, but in the end, it's trial and error on your part based upon your individual setup.



            Comment


            • #7
              About the only thing I've found helpful when stuck outside during arctic gigs and waiting for the talking to stop is to keep my chanter tucked up inside my coat sleeve. It helps if you're wearing an inverness cape so it just looks like your arms are crossed.
              Before you start fixing problems with your reeds, check to see if the bag or stocks are leaking.
              http://www.youtube.com/user/Marcblur?feature=guide

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              • #8
                Originally posted by TwitchyFingers View Post
                About the only thing I've found helpful when stuck outside during arctic gigs and waiting for the talking to stop is to keep my chanter tucked up inside my coat sleeve.
                You beat me to it!

                At just about every funeral I'm asked to play for a bit at the beginning, wait for an hour, then play at the end. The chanter usually has gone flat.

                What I've experienced is that most of the chanter going flat is the chanter body getting cold (rather than something happening with the reed).

                What I do, at the end of my preservice music, is grip the chanter body and remember its temperature. Then during the hour wait I slip the chanter inside my jacket, or up a sleeve, to keep it from getting too cold. I take it out my jacket and put it back in as needed to maintain the same chanter temperature.

                I've found that if the chanter is the same temperature when I play at the end as it was at the beginning the pitch will be the same.

                The moral of the story is cold air doesn't equal a cold chanter!

                (Needless to say a sole-less chanter is best for this.)


                About the wood versus poly issue, what I've experienced with wood and metal flutes is that a wood flute takes much longer to get cold.

                A metal flute gets cold immediately when not being played, but you can warm it up just as quickly. A wood flute takes a while to cool down and an equally long time to warm back up.
                Last edited by pancelticpiper; 10-21-2021, 05:52 PM.
                proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

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                • #9
                  Many has been that--Long Time--standing about--at funerals--in
                  damned cold weather--when I have held the bulb of the chanter--
                  in both hands--attempting--to keep the chanter reed from failure.

                  On such days--I wear fingerless woolen gloves--with those small
                  chemical "hand warmers"--tucked in next to my palms. :-)
                  (This being after--many trials--and many troubles. :-)

                  Trusting that All--may find warmer--and more flexible--fingers. :-)
                  (And not to mention--a living--chanter reed. :-)
                  My friends all know,
                  With what a brave carouse...

                  Comment

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