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High A note hangs when going from High A to Low A on Pipe chanter

by Anselmo Arg├╝elles
(Oregon, USA)

Dear Bill,


Thank you first.

I am using an older Hardy chanter (1950s) as I appreciate the lower tone, but maybe because I am using modern reeds, the high A hangs when I go from High A to low A maintaining the same pressure on the bag.

It feels like I need to lower the pressure to play the low note. Does that sound reasonable or should I look for other explanations.

Sincerely,

Anselmo

Comments for High A note hangs when going from High A to Low A on Pipe chanter

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Jul 31, 2012
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High A note hamngs when going from High A to Low A on Pipe chanter
by: Bill Robertson

You could be right, Anselmo, in that the tape to flatten the high G should not be greater thatn half way over the top of the that note's hole because often when half way and greater over the hole squeals can easily occur even with clean fingering. I mention that in my tutorials on chanter reed setting etc., in the maintenance section.
I agree with you mainly in that some moderen chanters are rather too high pitched, causing a loss of richness of the sound - and being rather thin and too high pitched sounding. Some reeds can be made to counteract that tendancy. I like my old Hardie chanter that was manipulated for me to a slightly raised pitch some good years ago, by Charlie Cochrane a good friend of mine in Scotland. Today it still has nicely blanaced intervals with suitable reed by Greg Wilson, NZ.
I still have a feeling that unclean fingering from high to low A is a likely cause especially if a shrill piercing squealing sound. Check that the chanter does not have any fine cracks of repairs of any cracks too.
Contact me if you wish on my e mail to arrange a free Skype checkup on the problem. Regards, Bill
bagpiper1@slingshot.co.nz

Jul 30, 2012
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Still thinking about the issue
by: Anselmo Arguelles

Dear Bill,

7 months after the last comment I am still dealing with that issue. It is not a great deal because I am not a professional piper, but it has used too much of my time, and it can get frustrating when everything else is looking better.

I have experimented with my 4 chanters. The 90's plastic Shepherd is out of the question because it is objectively sharper and I can really feel it is too high for my taste. But the Unknown 80's, and the 60's Hardie both have issues with that squeal.

I tried different reeds and options, such as opening the bore up a bit, but it persists. I am going to try a specific reed for them and see. But I noticed yesterday that taping the high G hole to flatten that note in those chanters may contribute to that squeal on the high G gracenote on low A or G.

Just an update. Best wishes, and thank you for your help. I continue my little quest. :)

Dec 16, 2011
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High A note hangs when ---
by: Bill Robertson

Just thought, Anselmo - if you have some spare chanter reeds even some of old, but not very much older, try them in the chanter to check if a reed problem, that I doubt. Moisten the older reed very slightly (by mouth very slightly saliva - almost breath-like) before trying to free it up a bit, or blow through the reed by mouth a few times for the same reason.
You may contact me at times as suggested before about things piping that you might want to discuss.
Regards,
Bill

Dec 15, 2011
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About the "hanging"
by: Anselmo

Thanks again.

You are right and I understand.

Same best wishes to you!

AA

Dec 15, 2011
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Maybe, just maybe
by: Henrik Idoff Hornhaver

Still not an expert, but it seems to me, that if you have to lower the pressure - the reed is too soft..
Happy Holiday
Henrik

Dec 15, 2011
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High A note hangs when ---
by: Bill Robertson

Further to my earlier comment,Anselmo, You should not need to or attempt to lower your air pressure, especially when it is at the optimum for good sound/tone. Steadiness of air pressure is necessary as you most likely know. It would be impracticable to change air pressure for certain notes in quick time music an any case.
The pitch of the GHB some years back went up a bit from the B flat of the 50s-60s, then some year later strated to go down towards B flat again. The past few years are as now, so we might have a realisation the next few years that brings the pitch down a fraction to a more acceptable level and provide the richness of tone akin to the instrument.
Best wishes for the Festive Season,
Bill

Dec 15, 2011
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About the "hanging"
by: Anselmo

Thanks, Mr Robertson. The fingering might be to blame sometimes, but I repeated the movement several times paying attention to that and I still get that shrieking high A.
It is interesting because it may happen with the whistles as well, if you don't reduce the pressure, so it may be the physics of the reed and the chanter together.
I would love to talk to you, but not necessarily about this issue, but the Scottish "thing". It is my passion and academic speciality.

With affection and thanks.

AA

Dec 15, 2011
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Thanks, Henrik
by: Anonymous

Thanks, Henrik, for your answer.
I agree with you about the pitch quality being a matter of tuning, but there is something that I like about a lower pitch.
In my home region of Asturias we have traditional bagpipes in 3 pitches: D, C and B flat. Although most pipers are now going to B flat due to the influence of the GHB, the pitch is in fact going up as that's the trend for the GHB.
No bigger chanter for me; my fingers are not fleshy and it is already harder to cover holes nicely.

Thanks for your comment. All the best and Happy Holidays.

AA

Dec 15, 2011
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High A note hangs when ----
by: Bill Robertson

Hello Anselmo,
By "hanging" I do not understand but can only guess that you might have a squeal on low A when going from high A. If so, that would be a matter of not having clean fingering that can occur if the upper hand thumb is not placed on properly together with the other fingers for low A.
Perhaps the reed has some bearing if a rather thin sounding reed or shrill sounding reed, yet the fingering would still be to blame.
I play an on older Hardie chanter (slightly modified) with good modern moulded type reed that works well.
I can see your point about not wanting too high a pitch as some top pipers even tend to play and lack a certain richness of sound overall.
Henrik has some valid points.
I have Skype to consider contacting me with your problem by arrangement of a time and date by e mail at bagpiper1@slingshot.co.nz - no charge from me.
Festive Greetings,
Bill

Dec 15, 2011
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Old chanters
by: Henrik Idoff Hornhaver

Hi Anselmo
I am not an expert, but I have tried for years to get older pipes going on "new conditions". A pre 1900 Lawrie, a pre 1970 Hardie and finally a 1939 Henderson. I gave up the chanters a long time ago, as they - to my oppinion - are not compatible with modern reeds "out of the box". Too much trouble. Instead, you should consider getting a lower pitched B-Chanter. I did that for a while, because I fancy the lower pitch as well, but realised that the impression of the "pitch" on the set is 95% a matter of balancing and tuning.
In all 3 sets, I have success using Omega reeds and synthetic bags - Bannatyne hybrid. I do not use any kind of moisture control and because the new reeds are build to have some kind of resistance from the moisture system, I use Shepherd Tone enhancers.
Hope this helps

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