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Old 08-08-07, 09:30 AM   #1
Piper Mac
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Default The 'Gael' Chanter

Was wondering what are the thoughts on Jim McGillivray's new chanter, The Gael? It was designed by Mr. McGillivray in conjunction with MacLellan Bagpipes and is targeted for lower grade bands. Pitched at around 470-475. It is a 'throwback' to the chanters of the 70's, according to the writeup. Thoughts behind this is that lower grade bands have trouble maintaining the 480 plus pitch of the top bands. Good idea for lower grade players, I myself am about grade triple ZZZ, to play a lower pitched chanter?

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Old 08-08-07, 02:57 PM   #2
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Bands will sound just as crappy, but at a lower pitch.

You can't compensate for bad blowing.
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Old 08-08-07, 04:49 PM   #3
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On Mr. McGillivray's website there's an article he wrote about the chanter, and he seems to say that bad blowing is actually worse at higher pitches. It sounds like he's saying that at lower pitches the little inconsistencies in blowing don't lead to audible problems, whereas at higher pitches they do.

Did I read that right, and do other's find it to be true too?
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Old 08-08-07, 05:40 PM   #4
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Blowing the living manure out of a reed at any pitch is going to sound awful.

I changed the chanters in this band 3 times with numerous combinations of reeds to try compensate for bad blowing.

The "ONLY" thing that helped was learning to blow a decent size reed with control.

I agree with Jim that most gr4 bands set their pitch way too sharp where the top hand has gone thru the roof.
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Old 09-08-07, 12:00 AM   #5
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Upstate, I took from his article that lower grade bands would have less troubles with the high hand with a lower pitched chanter.
Also that he tried to design this thicker wall chanter to be more receptive to an easier reed.

Is this a start of the movement to lower the high pitch of today, or at least stop it from going into the 490's?
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Old 09-08-07, 01:43 AM   #6
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NO, 480 is the standard pitch as it's bright and very clean sounding!

Jim's line of chanters with Kron has always been flatter than the rest and have not done well in terms of anyone significant playing the product and winning.

Anybody that wants to get into the prize list must conform to the better sound.
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Old 09-08-07, 05:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerBoozer007 View Post

The "ONLY" thing that helped was learning to blow a decent size reed with control.
Do you have any tips on how to learn to blow stronger reeds?

I've got a "stronger" reed for band (I suppose it would be called "medium" by most), and it sounds pretty good. Much better than the easy reed I have. The trouble I have is that I can't blow it for more than about 30 minutes. I play it as long as I can each day, but I don't seem to be developing any additional stamina.

I guess my question is: What's the best way to improve stamina for playing stronger reeds? Is there anything to do other than just playing as long as possible as often as possible?
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Old 09-08-07, 05:53 PM   #8
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FYI,

This is a trend being followed by a number of chanter makers. Gibson for one has also manufactured a chanter at a lower pitch specifically aimed at lower grade bands, and it is already available. Their official website is several years out of date and contains no information on it. They have been working ona replacement website but it is not complete or ready for use.

I agree with what Powerboozer is saying that bad blowing is by far a more serious concern for lower grade bands, and many of them set the pitch far too high on their existing chanters and reeds. Higher pitches are a bit more fragile with respect to unsteady blowing. A lower pitch seems less fragile, but unsteady blowing will show no matter what the pitch.
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Old 09-08-07, 05:56 PM   #9
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480 may well be the standard pitch. However, as more lower grade (which includes grade 3 in my book) bands continue to creep upwards from there, things can and will become... well, "shrill." (A word Jim has used on more than one score sheet.)

I believe Jim prefers the lower pitch for a variety of reasons. Personal preference is one. Reasonable ease of control is, I suspect another. A chanter that is targeted to tune around 474-475 or so... add a hot dry day with an inexperienced PM and inexperienced players and it pings out toward the top at, what, 480? 482? absolute top end?

I've heard far to many bands that set their chanters out of the box at 482 or 484... and let's watch them climb.

When it comes to Shrine or Legion bands or other outfits for whom the contest circle happens once or twice a year, why not use the flatter "throw-back" tone. Going out with a deeper tone with HTS 200s (a deeper tone than the 700's or counterparts from Pearl and Andante) could give a fairly balanced sound.

Do I see grade 1 and 2 bands using them? Nope. Not likely at all. If the PM from the Pith Helmet Highlanders figures out that using the same chanter as FMM or 78th or whatever Gr 1 contender will not give his 6 or 8 pipers the same sound (and volume) as 78th with their 30+ pipers, he MAY get decent sound using this chanter.
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Old 09-08-07, 07:03 PM   #10
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Lets clarify what shrill is, it's the state of the sound when the pitch has gone thru the roof in relevance to the balance of the scale.

Even at a lower pitch, the bottom hand starts off nice, but the top hand rises far beyond the regular scale it shoud be on. IN other words, the top hand is screaming.

Look at the average gr1 band chanter, it's carved and plastered with tape too. Each hole has to be adjusted to find it's true note. It's rare to find any chanter that doesn't have some modification to it.

The quality of reed also is a direct factor of the tone it produces.
Shitty weak reeds will never produce a decent sound.
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