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I can't get the pipe chanter to work

by Richard
(UK)

Dear Bill


I have a set of pipes (probably Pakistani in origin) which I have just moved onto from the practice chanter. I can get the drones to play but the chanter won't sound, even with an easy reed. It does work when mouth blown, and as far as I can tell the bag isn't leaky. I hear the air passing through the chanter but no sound! Do you have any idea why, I'm presuming it's down to me.

Many thanks,
Richard

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Jun 12, 2014
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I can't get the pipe chanter to work NEW
by: Bill Robertson

Thank you Leady. You are too kind.
The McCallum pipes should be alright as the manufacturer is well known. The chanter I believe might be on the sharp side of pitch, so beare when slecting or asking for chanter reeds to mention the make model and year to have a reed/s suitable for the chanter as to avoid being too sharp and shrill perhaps in pitch. If ordering directly from the maker pleases ask for suitable reeds such as good reliable set of synthetic drone reeds with manufacturer's care etc., note; and to have a suitably pitched good chanter reed for your preferred blowing strength; weak, medium, strong or whatever. Depending on where you live, say remote from a supplier of good reeds, ask for a spare chanter reed or two. Ask your supplier (maker) to advise you when the goods have been sent to you and by which method.
I hope all goes well,

Bill

Jun 11, 2014
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Thank you NEW
by: Leady

Thank you very much for your time, Bill. I have looked up and I have sited a very nice set of polymer bagpipes made by the McCallum company, a set that I could easily afford and would not warp or crack from the harsh environment I live in.

I have been hovering around your bagpiping lessons and tips for quite some time now, and will continue to do so, while there are no instructors for many hundreds of miles around me, I will keep monintoring your lessons as well acquire study material.

Your a good man, Bill, thank you, I might add that your playing is extrodinary, I deeply hope that someday I can sound as good as you. ^_^

Take care, and have a nice day~

-Leady

Jun 11, 2014
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I can't get the pipe chanter to work NEW
by: Bill Robertson

Hello Leady,
My pipes are originally James Robertson famous makers in the mid 1950s when I bought mine - in African Blackwood with ivory and plain silver mounts etc. I had one tenor dron fixed by R G Hardie. The bore had a very slight nib in the tip of the pin of the bore. While at I had the bass drone lower pin re-made to the Hardie pattern (based in the old very good Henderson drones I believe). My present chanter is a modified Hardie that suits me well for the occassional time I have to play, and not too high pitched as some of today.
Because I seldom play my pipes I find the EEZY synthetic drone reeds are very good, although when playing in past years had good cane reeds with good attention to renewing firm bridles when required. Synthetic or the like reeds I recommend for beginners with their easier setting up and continued use without the need to renew bridles.
I suggest that you search the Web on bagpipe manufacturers, Scotland, to see the various makesrs and range of sets which include relatively cheaper ones. Most have illustrations.
There would generally not be much difference in the quality of sound in the range or sets. Good quality reeds are important too with good setting and care. I remind you about helpful informartion on commencing to play etc., as in my previous reply. All the best,

Bill

Jun 11, 2014
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Chanter not playing all 9 of the notes NEW
by: Leady

Bill,

I have thought thrice over what you have said on acquiring a better set of bagpipes, whilst I know that being able get a better set is far off in the future due to their high cost, I must ask, what make is your set and what brand reeds do you use?

Thank you very much,

Leady

Jun 07, 2014
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I can't get the pipe chanter to work NEW
by: Bill Robertson

Hello Richard,
Sorry to learn about your problem. We have had similar problems withj my answers yo acn find in this section ie. April q7, 2014; June 06, 2014; Dec. 21 2011 both. Thes should help.
Within reason, good quality is worth lower priced set of pipes is worth buiying from repuatble Scottish manufacturers. Other makes in Canada, and Aistralia also worthwhile - I think even USA too.
Try with all drones and chanter removed to look through a suitabe drone stock to the chatre stock if you can to sight any obstruction. Another is to put stopper/corks suiatble in all stocks exceot the blowfiece which will need to inflate the bag and see if the neck to the chanter stock is flattened or suchlike that might preven enogh air getting through.
Please study my earlier replies that might help as mention above.
If you are serious about good piping, think again about a suitable instrument and good qualiy reeds. There is a lot mor to playing the ipes well. Please see in our site left of main page Bagpipe articles, Tuning etc., commencing to play in three stages that helps those commencing to play first time or so up.
All the best,

Bill

Jun 06, 2014
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Chanter not playing all 9 of the notes
by: Leady

This is from a set of full-sized cocus wood bagpipes, its the Pakistan-type (too poor to afford a better set), the chanter does sound, but can only play from the Low-A up to C. When I try to play D, E, F, or the high-G, the notes are so similar that I cannot tell much difference between the notes. Is there some way that I could fix or alter the chanter so that it can play all 9 notes correctly?

Apr 17, 2012
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I can't get the pipe chanter to work
by: Bill Robertson

Hello Joseph,
If you can blow by your mouth through the chanter with the reed in it and produce a sound fairly easily that will at least show that the chanter can sound. If still unable to sound the chanter well when in the pipes, then I suspect that there might be an obstruction in the chanter stock, or the neck of the bag is in some way flattened, or stwisted in such a way as to constrict the air pressure required.
Regards,
Bill

Apr 17, 2012
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Pipe chanter will not sound
by: Joseph Schropshier

I too seem to have the same problem with my chanter. My wife purchased a set of "rosewood" pipes from ebay as a gift for me (uh oh)And upon arrival I noticed that they were of the Pakistan variety. After much work and retying off the stocks I have all leaks sealed and a good seasoned hide bag holding air really well and drones play rather nicely for this set but I can't seem to get my chanter to play at all..even with a Duncan Soutar easy strength reed..I have to squeeze the hide bag till I think it is going to burst before I am able to get a short and simple note before it stops again..can any one help me??

Dec 21, 2011
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Re:I can't get the pipe chanter to work
by: Richard

Dear Bill,

Thanks for your quick reply. I did as you suggested and although initially I couldn't find a leak, I poured a little water into the corked bag and inflated it- sure enough the seams were dodgy as was the material between the drone stocks.

Luckily I bought the pipes from a reputable (but not specifically bagpipe) instrument retailer, so I should be able to get a refund, unless there's anything else I can do.
By the way, your website & videos are excellent and really helpful, so thanks for that as well.

Merry Christmas,
Richard

Dec 21, 2011
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I can't get the pipe chanter to work
by: Bill Robertson

Hello Richard,
It was not usually good to buy Pakistani pipes.
I suggest that you go to our websiet ;eft main page and open Bag[pipe Articles. Scroll until you come to bagpipe Tuning Exercises that as you can see deal tih commencing to play the pipes for a beginner with a number of steps that you should take sequentially one at a time repeatedly until comfortable enough to move on to the next step and so on.

First of all, please test the bag for air tightness by putting stopper/corks frimly in all the stocks except the blowpiece. Infale the bag as tightly as you can to find if stays up tightly for about 20-30 seconds without markedly deflating. If deflating markedly check along seams, stock fitting s etc., to detect any signs of leakage depending on the type of bag. Give the stocks a a bit of a good twist to find out if too slack etc., that could indicate unwanted leakage.
Perhaps on the way you might find a spot that could help you with your problem.
Keep me informed please after trying that suggestded, if you wish.
Festive Greetngs,
Bill

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