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Old 09-04-08, 05:57 PM   #1
Bobby
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Default solo and band chanter....

Pipers often have a solo chanter that differs from their band chanter. What in your opinion makes one chanter a "solo" chanter and the other a "band" chanter.

What examples, if any, do you have of chanters are one but not the other? Why so?
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Old 09-04-08, 07:05 PM   #2
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I don't have enough experience yet to have been able to find my "perfect" solo chanter. But I'm probably an example of the simplest scenario -- my band has decided to all use McCallum chanters, so (once I get one of those), I figure either my personal Dunbar or my Soutar chanter will be my "solo" chanter, at least to start with. Unless, of course, I decide the McCallum sounds better. In that case, though, I'd still use different reeds for solo and band playing.
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Old 09-04-08, 07:13 PM   #3
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My band chanter is a Shepard it has good volume and is easy to set up and play with a shepard reed.
My solo chanter is a Niall (pipes are Niall's) the sound is much more mellow and with good tuning I get fantastic harmonics. Because of this the tunning is easier.
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Old 10-04-08, 05:38 AM   #4
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Our band chanters are Poly Gibsons and tune to 476-480 depending on the day, we prefer the lower. They are consistant work horses and provide a strong sound for us.

My solo chanter is a Dunbar Elite Mark I blackwood that tunes abour 472-474 and has a great sound, easy to reed and has excellent harmonics with my drones. I prefer the lower warmer sound of this chanter and get many compliments on the sound at the various gigs I've done.
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Old 10-04-08, 03:35 PM   #5
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I played the Dunbar II that came with my pipes for the first year. I decided to invest in a Solo chanter when I signed up for my first competition. I bought a Kron Medalist. I love the feel of this chanter so now it is my main one for both band gigs and future solo work. I like the feel and sound of the ABW over the poly. No problems tuning with the band, I can match in with everyone else, and it tunes nicely at 475.

So to answer your question Bobby, I play just one chanter for both. I feel the tone blends in with the rest of the band, yet pleasing to me when I play alone.
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Old 10-04-08, 04:08 PM   #6
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The band I used to be in played poly Dunbar chanters (Elite II I believe). They pitched roughly around 474.

My pipes came with a blackwood Gibson chanter that pitches between 476 and 484 depending on the environment and reed selection. I use this one exclusively now that I'm between bands...so I guess it's my solo chanter.

I also have a blackwood Henderson (pre-1950's if I'm not mistaken) that I'm still working on reeding (but it's getting very very close with some tape and a VERY easy Ross reed). This will be my piobaireachd chanter if ever I can get it reeded properly...so again...a solo chanter.

The Dunbars had Williams reeds and sounded very good. My Gibson with white wrapped Williams reeds sounds awesome. The Henderson has a very strong presence and I'm still trying to dial it in.

I just picked up a Ross reed that I've had for 2 years but have never played. I warmed it up a bit and put it in my ABW Gibson--holy crap did it every make the chanter sing! It's significantly higher in pitch than the Williams, but my drones got some harmonics they never had before when playing the scale. With the change of each note on the chanter came a new harmonic from the drones. I was enamoured by it so I just played slow scales for about 10 minutes listening to the changes in harmonics. It was really neat. I then played a slow air, then went into the hornpipes, strathspeys, jigs and reels. The slow airs really rang out nicely and the other tunes had a bit more vibrancy to them. I might have found a perfect reed/chanter combo. I just wish it pitched a bit lower. I didn't have a tuner to test it, but I wouldn't be surprised if I was at or over 484. I guess the pitch doesn't really matter since it blended so perfectly with the drones.
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Old 18-04-08, 08:50 PM   #7
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ABW David Chesney chanter for band and solo gigs, if it ain't broke don't fix it....I find the pitch we get from this chanter also suits a solo performance, so no need fer two chanters from me.
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Old 18-04-08, 09:00 PM   #8
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Our band uses McCallum chanters -- fairly new ones, with oval holes. My pipes came with a Soutar chanter.

The Soutar chanter is perhaps "warmer." Or maybe the McCallum is "brighter." The McCallum seems a bit louder, too. Sometimes I switch reeds between them to compare directly.

I've noticed that either one might be sharper; I suppose it depends on the reed. That is, if I switch one chanter for the other I usually need to retune my drones. For a while my Soutar was sharper; A different reed made it flatter; today it was just about the same.

I've noticed that Soutar reeds seem to play in tune without much effort in the Soutar chanter.
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Old 04-12-08, 02:49 AM   #9
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Our band switched to Shepherd poly which matches my solo MacLellan ABW chanter at 474. Can't say about my other chanters, 468-476.
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Old 04-12-08, 02:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phyx View Post
The band I used to be in played poly Dunbar chanters (Elite II I believe). They pitched roughly around 474.

---
I also have a blackwood Henderson (pre-1950's if I'm not mistaken) that I'm still working on reeding (but it's getting very very close with some tape and a VERY easy Ross reed). This will be my piobaireachd chanter if ever I can get it reeded properly...so again...a solo chanter.

.. The Henderson has a very strong presence and I'm still trying to dial it in.
It was a Dunbar elite made to pitch at about 476. We were tuning at 474 in the band as some of the "elders" pipes seemed to be too low on the pin for good sound (and air) no matter what I did with them 474 was a fairly nice sound and I could get half decent tone out of everyone.

The elite "II" pitched at around 482 if I'm not mistaken.

I'd forgotten about the Henderson chanter. You may want to contact Harris reeds. He's putting out reeds for the flatter pitch chanters (there is a band called "Mother Grove" who is a celtic beer tent band with a cd or two out that is using his reeds and is pleased with them.
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