Modern Concert Pitch Chanters

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Modern Concert Pitch Chanters

Postby Silversmith » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:39 pm

Hi' everyone, With respect my interest lies with modern concert pitch chanters & particularly D & G. I have used Mike Nelsons fine plans & the revised drawings provided to me by Colin Ross & also more recently the revised dimensions provided to me by Julia Say all of which I am extremely grateful for. I remain with a dilemma, whatever I do the chanters always seem to want to play more naturally at least a semi tone flat. I have naturally found D more achievable but a true scale in G remains almost elusive. My instinct would suggest that I should open up both bores but I do not want to destroy these chanters. I would welcome experienced advice.
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Re: Modern Concert Pitch Chanters

Postby pipemakermike » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:36 am

G chanters are a compromise between making them short enough to play in tune and long enough to suit grown-up fingers. The secret to getting them to play at concert pitch is to use a reed that pushes the chanter sharp enough to be in tune. A standard pipe reed will usually play flat. In my experience, only about 25% of the reeds I make for G sets are good enough. You might be best to purchase a G reed from Richard evans and try that.
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Re: Modern Concert Pitch Chanters

Postby Silversmith » Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:28 am

Thank you Mike, I think I came to the same conclusions about having to force the reeds up to pitch. It almost seems a shame to force them to play outside of what seems to be their comfortable zone, it is not the same with Uilleann chanters. I am in two minds about asking Richard or any other come to that, not out of disrespect but simply that I don't like to be beaten. After some 30 years worth of attempts to get these chanter plans to work for me I feel I am so close now that I simply have to carry on. Although if I ever do I will then have to learn to play them again since I sold my playing set long ago to start to fund the whole exercise. I say playing set, they were a DB set but with issues.
Kind Regards
John Ross
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Re: Modern Concert Pitch Chanters

Postby pipemakermike » Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:51 am

Hi John

Have you had a look at the data I collected while I was making the Concert pitch School Pipes? If no go here:-
http://www.machineconcepts.co.uk/smallpipes/reed_setting.htm
I gathered a lot of data regarding reed sizes and made good use of a testing rig that enabled me to get repeatable results and actually learn something.
The reed data is here:-
http://www.machineconcepts.co.uk/smallpipes/chanter_reed_setting_data_110914.pdf
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Re: Modern Concert Pitch Chanters

Postby andymay » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:51 pm

Hi John,

The 'standard pattern' G chanters can certainly be a pain to reed up!!

I've had more success lately with a super-short staple (16mm maybe) so as to keep the cane part as close to a 'normal ' F reed as possible - total length being maybe 47mm. Width is a factor and i think narrower = sharper so i wouldn't stray over 11 mm, maybe 10.5. With these dimensions i feel i can scrape the reed to a happy place with a low octave in the crow on gentle inhalation, and yet still hit the target pitch in the chanter.

That said - i feel you must keep an eye/ear on the target pitch while scraping as it's easily lost.

Bore for those type of chanter should be 11/64 but have you checked the finger-hole sizes? Ideally i feel that if you open-finger a chanter then (you will be struck down by ghosts of pipers past but) the pitch of the notes should be pretty much the same. If they're a lot different - especially sharper - then maybe the holes are too small.

I agree often it feels like concert G is toward the top of the comfortable pitch window but i have been managing higher than 25% rates of success with the shorter staple/longer head dimensions, without having to give in and buy a reed from Richard Evans. (Very nice as i'm sure they are)

Good luck!!!
A
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Re: Modern Concert Pitch Chanters

Postby Francis Wood » Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:06 am

andymay wrote:I've had more success lately with a super-short staple (16mm maybe) so as to keep the cane part as close to a 'normal ' F reed as possible


That is interesting, Andy, and accords very much with Adrian has been saying about reeds in G chanters.

I have no experience in this area but in theory at least it seems to me that the use of a more conventional pattern of reed adapted for desired G pitch is a better way to go. A radical alteration of the reed shape often results in an instrument that plays at concert G, looks like a Northumbrian small-pipe but sounds like a completely different woodwind instrument.

Francis
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Re: Modern Concert Pitch Chanters

Postby Richard Evans » Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:25 pm

I agree with what Andy says about keeping the blades long. We tried shorter staples but found them awkward to assemble; will probably revisit at some stage.
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Re: Modern Concert Pitch Chanters

Postby andymay » Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:56 pm

Richard Evans wrote:I agree with what Andy says about keeping the blades long. We tried shorter staples but found them awkward to assemble; will probably revisit at some stage.


A cheat can be to assemble the reed on a longer staple and then shorten it afterward…..

A
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Re: Modern Concert Pitch Chanters

Postby Richard Evans » Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:09 pm

andymay wrote:
A cheat can be to assemble the reed on a longer staple and then shorten it afterward…..

A


Yes, done that from time to time, more often with UP reeds. I use the belt sander but you have to be careful not to overheat the reed.
In the end with G reeds you are up against the length of the tails/shape of the shoulder, as far as getting the longest possible blades in concerned.
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Re: Modern Concert Pitch Chanters

Postby Francis Wood » Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:55 pm

andymay wrote:
A cheat can be to assemble the reed on a longer staple and then shorten it afterward…..



Though the reed-making muse has temporarily deserted me, I've always found it works very well to assemble the reed on the whole tube and cut it later in the process to form an appropriate-length staple.

A tube beginning at a common length of 30cm makes a fairly useful handle!

Francis
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