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 Post subject: Quiet Practice Set?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:58 pm 
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I'm toying with the idea of learning the pipes but my finances would only run to a very modest practice set. Equally important though is the volume of them. My neighbours don't complain about my low whistle playing but, from what little I know, Uilleann Pipes are likely to be not only much louder but also a considerable annoyance while I'm learning. Is there such a thing as a narrow bore chanter and, if so, how loud would that be in comparison to my Goldie Low D, for example. Also would I be able to buy a practice set with a much quieter narrow bore chanter in the UK. I should point out that I don't intend to play in sessions, even assuming I can get to that level of proficiency. Nor do I intend to go beyond a practice set. I just want it for home and to be as quiet as possible. vPipes would be the ideal but they go way beyond my budget right now.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Practice Set?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 4:19 pm 
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There are indeed narrow bore chanters, but I would surprised if they are as quiet as your Low D whistle. Low whistles are often quiet, and my Chieftain would have a hard time even fighting against my B chanter, especially in the lower octave. A maker in Europe who makes narrow bore chanters and who didn't have a super long waiting list for a chanter the last time I check is Rogge. Keep in mind that Rogge chanters aren't cheap, though they also aren't the most expensive either. Another option is a David Daye apartment penny chanter. They are relatively cheap, but I have never read anything about his apartment chanters specifically. The typical answer for quieter piping is a flat chanter. Flat chanters are sometimes loud, but most are generally mellower than D chanters.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Practice Set?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:53 pm 
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Hi Mike

The finger spread required for the average low D is similar to what you would need for a Bb chanter.

I would second going for a flat chanter.

Try Kenny McNichol at KM Bagpipes to see what h has available.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Practice Set?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:11 am 
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Thanks very much. I checked out Rogge and I could probably just about afford the D practice set but they don't do a flat practice set. Nothing to see at KM Bagpipes but maybe that's the best bet in the long run. I might contact Kenny. I hadn't heard about the apartment penny chanter but it's D again and there are problems buying from the US not least the excessive shipping and import duties and lack of support over that distance. Finding a really quiet set might be difficult. I don't imagine anyone does one a narrow bore Bb chanter!!


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Practice Set?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:30 am 
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How ambitious are you? There's always this option, I suppose, to reduce costs and eliminate shipping and import fees.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Practice Set?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:46 am 
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Thanks for the idea but I'm totally unpractical - can't even put up a shelf - and in any case we don't have any room for a workshop of any kind. One of the problems of pipes is maintaining them and the reeds. I think for my needs, the vPipes are possibly the best answer. No problems with annoying the wife and neighbours. In that case I need to keep saving.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Practice Set?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:48 am 
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Mike, you have shown yourself fussy with whistles, often selling them after only a few minutes playing because their tone or their character doesn't suit you. In that light I would recommend you consider the tone you want from a chanter. I imagine you want a Spillane-type sound. Apart from being very heavily processed you have to realise that his sound comes from a strong, open reed and is by its nature not coming from a quiet chanter. A quiet chanter will have a completely different character and a flat chanter will have a character very different from a concert pitch chanter. I would recommend shopping around and really consider if the chanter/maker you find yourself looking at is able to give you the sound you're looking for. The pipes also demand considerable commitment, patience and perseverance (and they can be a strain at first on hands, arms and shoulders while you're finding your feet) . It will be a considerable time sounding even half decent. If you're not sure you're ready for such a commitment, at least try get a chanter that you will be able to re-sell without too great a loss. Other than that, good luck.

[edited for typos]

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Last edited by Mr.Gumby on Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Practice Set?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:20 am 
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Thanks for the advice, Mr Gumby, and your honesty! You speak a lot of truth. I might well not be happy with the sound of a quiet or flat chanter. And that might easily put me off persevering with it. Perhaps I'm better putting off investing in pipes until such time as I live where I can't bother anyone . . . if that ever happens. I've just checked the price of vPipes and ruled them out as a possibility in the near future too. Meantime, I can focus on improving on the low whistle which I still love playing every day I can.
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Mike, you have shown yourself fussy with whistles, often selling them after only a few minutes playing because their tone or their character doesn't suit you.

That's perfectly true but some people misinterpret that, perhaps yourself. I have played a Goldie Low D 99% of the time since I started playing, moving from a soft blower to a medium blower about five years ago as I improved. I have two Goldie Low Ds and I love them! But, like most people on the forum, I like trying other whistles. However, I can't afford the luxury of WHOAD so I buy and sell mainly used whistles to have an opportunity to play them, however briefly that may be. But I know what I like and what suits me and I've yet to find a Low D that comes close to my Goldies . . . for my own particular needs, which are more exacting (fussy if you like:)) than most people's!!
Thanks again.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Practice Set?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:37 am 
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I didn't mean to put you off. I do think pipes are not an instrument to be taken up lightly, they're finicky at the best of times especially the first year of playing can be struggle. On a good day though, they're a delight and few things beat playing them.

If you really want to, go for it but prepare yourself and get an instrument that is going well, plays easily and has a tone that suits you. Minimise discouragement and maximise incentive to play them. And realise there's no instant gratification in piping, you have to be in for the long haul.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Practice Set?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:00 am 
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No problem. You didn't put me off but rather highlighted the challenges I would face, that a very quiet chanter or flat chanter would not produce the kind of tone I would perhaps be looking for. You're right that Davy Spillane's music would be my prime inspiration as it is for the whistle and I think I might become easily disillusioned by not producing even an approximation of the kind of tones he produces. I'm not sure what you mean by a "strong open reed," but I'm probably better putting aside this aspiration at least for now, given the need to severely limit the volume of the pipes, in favour of having more time to focus on the low whistle where results will be quicker to come.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Practice Set?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:10 am 
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Quote:
I'm not sure what you mean by a "strong open reed,"


The short version is that's he doesn't play a reed/chanter combination that is quiet.

If you listen to the tonality of his chanter and in your mind strip away the processing he uses in the recordings you can hear the edge of a reed that is driving the chanter quite a bit, a reed opened for volume.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Practice Set?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:13 am 
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Okay. Understood. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Practice Set?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:22 am 
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Mikethebook wrote:
I don't imagine anyone does one a narrow bore Bb chanter!!


All Bb chanter's I've come across have been "narrow bore". Flat pitch pipes (anything flat of D) are pretty much always narrow bore. There may be one or two wide bore C chanters out there, but they are rare. But narrow bore is more about tone than volume. They tend to be less strident or piercing than wide-bore D but they can produce plenty of sound energy. My B chanter (narrow bore) is at least as loud as my D chanter.

Have you thought of setting up a practice room and putting stuff (foam, blankets, egg-crates, etc.) on the walls to buffer the sound? Not necessarily studio-level sound proofing, but 200 or 300 quid could get you enough sound dampening to avoid disturbing your neighbours.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Practice Set?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:15 am 
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Hi PJ,
That's interesting to know for future reference. I know so little about the pipes but Bb might well suit me given the right circumstances. Your idea for soundproofing a room is a great one but sadly we don't have a room to spare for such a purpose. My tiny room in the house is office/music room/library and gym!! Not an inch to spare. More to the point my wife would have a fit! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Practice Set?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:56 am 
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Location: Halden, Norway
You could try Martin Banba. http://banbadesign.co.uk/
I am sure he will make any chanter you would like and the prices are very reasonable. I have a practise set (waiting for my drones to be ready) and I am very happy With it so far. He makes lovely reeds and is easy to communicate with (on facebook) I believe he is a bit behind schedule because of a rough year, but normally he's very productive.


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