The Royal Scots Cap Badge

Practice Chanter Advise Please

by Fuzzy

Mr. Robertson,

Thank you for your very informative website. I have really learned so much from your tutorials by the way you break the tunes down.

But I am having difficulty with my new long McCallum Polypenco practice chanter with a McCallum PC reed. It takes me several attempts to get it to play. I am not sure if I am blowing too hard or too soft and/or the reed is not broken in. Either way it still sounds like a Recorder rather than a bagpipe chanter. Should I buy another PC or PC reed? Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time,

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Jun 22, 2011
Practice chanter advice please
by: Bill Robertson

Hell0 Fuzzy,

Miolchu explains things well that should also help. I really feel that you should contact your supplier of the new PC and explain your problem that I think must be your poor PC reed. If at the moment your PC reed appears to take a lot of your wind when blowing through the reed on its own, you can meanwhile try weakening the reed to suit.

Apply a small twisted rubber band that should be tight enough and place it on the bottom open end of the reed, then work the band upwards onto the PC reed blades to a degree that makes the reed suitable to your normal blowing. You will find most likley the more you apply the rubber band upwards the weaker the reed will become.

Trusting this helps too,

Jun 21, 2011
Practice Chanter Advice
by: Miolchu

You mentioned that when you get your practice chanter to sound, it sounded like a recorder rathter than a bagpipe chanter.

That much is normal due to differences in construction between practice chanters and pipe chanters.

The the practice chanter has a parallel bore, that is, it maintains the same dimensions down the length of the bore. The parallel bore of the practice chanter will give it a quieter sound and take less air from the player's lungs. This is helpful to avoid irritating family members or neighbors while you are practicing.

The pipe chanter has a conical bore, that is, it changes dimension down the length of the bore. The conical bore of the chanter will give it greater volume and take more air which is why it is tied into the bag.

Mar 14, 2011
Practice chanter advice please
by: Bill Robertson

Hello Fuzzy,
In answer to your question I think that you might have a poor PC reed. If you have a friend near you with a practice chanter you could ask to try their reed in your practice chanter as a test. If the reed was new and supplied with your PC and first time up not working, please consider getting back to your suppier to explain and ask for a good sounding reed. Before that make sure you are blowing reasonably well into the PC to rpoduce a good clear constant sound as you should with a good reed.
Best wishes,

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