View Full Version : Older model Soutar chanter woes.

Mike S
16-04-09, 07:45 AM
A number of years ago I picked up a couple of Poly chanters off of eBay that were identified as Duncan Soutar. I found them to be a real bear to reed, and they had the nasty habit of choking off in the upper hand from about F up to A regardless of reed make/model used.

I put the things away dismissing them as duds, and only recently found them again. Tried the whole process over again, and the same issues rose it's ugly head.

I remember reading that others found the same problems with some of his earlier chanter models, but can't seem to find anything on the subject. I also contacted Duncan when I first encountered the issues, and he said there were some counterfeit models being hocked on eBay (it is unmarked, and appears to be made of Hard Rubber rather than Polypenco. It has the distinct smell of instrument grade Hard Rubber (think Sax/Clarinet Mouthpieces).

Anyone have further info on these, any advice or personal experience.

Just curious.

16-04-09, 01:17 PM
Do you think you have the counterfeits?

We've several people in our band that play Soutar's and the only thing they've ever said is that they tune a bit flat. That meant that overall, they are lower in pitch...and they like that.

What reeds have you tried?

I've a couple of reeds that work in anything I've tried (so far).
One is Steve's new CelticReed and the other is the Apps G3.

Mike S
16-04-09, 02:51 PM
Hi Sdowns,

Apps, Elliot, Harris, MacPhee, Williams, actually the only one not tried (yet) is a Soutar reed. The Apps and Williams reeds usually work in just about every chanter, but the problem persists with this little beast.

As I mentioned, Duncan took a look at a photo I sent him of the chanters when I first got them, and said it looked like one of his early models, but he couldn't be sure if it was, or a counterfeit, until/unless I sent it to him. As I mentioned, it is NOT marked at all, but the individual I purchased it from is a well respected Uilleann pipe maker, so I have a hard time believing he was peddling junk.

The issues with his genuine, early chanters cutting off in the upper range arbitrarily is real, and as I mentioned, was discussed on a few other forums a LONG time ago. I just don't seem to be able to retrieve this info now that I need it again.

I'm hoping someone with similar experience might be able to shed further light on this. I'm a piper with 30+ years experience, and have really never encountered anything quite as severe as this.

Theses chanters were only purchased on a whim, and are in no way my primary instruments. However being of Scottish descent, I am more than a bit peeved that money was likely wasted.:wink:


16-04-09, 03:22 PM
Alrighty. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.

16-04-09, 03:45 PM
FWIW, I have two recent Soutar chanters, one delrin, that I got straight from Soutar with my pipes, and one ABW that I got 2nd hand. Neither is marked. My pipes aren't marked either.

16-04-09, 06:05 PM
And today's lesson is that one should not be decieved by false promise and proclaimed worth and should make good value of the equipment attached to the sides of their head!
Try brfore you buy!

19-04-09, 01:12 PM
When shopping for a pipe chanter recently, (specifically the Gael and McC2 chanters) I had written to several pipe vendors asking for this accomodation and I was willing to provide a credit card as collateral.

Not one would let me try before I buy.

However, Murray Huggins provided information on his new chanter and then sent it. I tried it for several weeks before I made my decision.

Point being, this "try before you buy" sound like a great idea - however, there are not many that will actually do this - citing health reasons on return items, blah blah.

My experience being stated, I bet if I was shopping for a whole band they'd find a way.

Try brfore you buy!

19-04-09, 01:58 PM
It's the problem with buying at distance. If you can't get to try it out, use the forum and ask someone nearer to pop in and try it. Also buying on word of mouth recommendations gives you some level of protection. Neither as good as going into the shop and trying for yourself.

19-04-09, 02:12 PM
I've purchased way too many 'things' on advice that didn't work out.
Unless I know someone that plays a setup like mine and who has about the same experience and ability - the advice provided is really No Good At All.

Vendors need to accomodate their customer...not the other way around.

Two things that actually did work out was 1) my Canning Reeds - I was able to try those because of the kindness of a forum member whom lent me her set. 2) Williams and then Celtic Reeds - thanks to Steve for letting me try.

I'll stick with trying to make it to the Games to buy stuff or just not buying anything unless I get to the point of justification with the realization that the money I'm spending is as good as thrown out the window.

.... use the forum and ask someone nearer to pop in and try it. Also buying on word of mouth recommendations gives you some level of protection.

19-04-09, 06:29 PM
Always best to do it yourself, but if you ask someone to do something like get an opinion on Soutar chanters or whatever then you have to put a value judgment on it. Multiple opinions will tend to reduce the error in judgment. If you get it wrong yourself then you might have learned something. Patience could be a saving virtue!