Monthly Archives: October 2008

John Center 3/4 chanter finally going!

I have been playing my (wife’s) 3/4 (more like 7/8) John Center bagpipes with a modern poly chanter. Until last Saturday. They are now going with the original 3/4 sized chanter.

My tuner a few days ago told me it tuned to 462 Hz, Audacity tells me 460 Hz, today. I have found that the 2 straight cut reeds I tried are unbalanced having a very sharp top hand with the reed far out of the seat. 2 Duck billed / Ridge cut reeds I tried are very balanced but squeak on high G gracenotes on low A. A Caldwell reed plays quite nicely, however, with half E hole covered with tape, 1/3 of high G and D holes, and a little on low G (the tone holes). In order to tune the drones down to ~460 I use Ezeedrone tenors with the end screw removed and replaced with the MG drone reed A440 extenders pieces installed instead. The reason for this is that the drone bores are slightly smaller and do not accommodate most drone reeds (or I would have probably used the MG reeds with the extenders). I play an unmodified Selbie bass drone reed.

I think the C is a wee bit flat. I also noticed my B and C to E transitions are pretty sloppy! Yikes!

These were recorded in my bedroom with the Zoom H2 up on the bedroom mirror:

majormansonclachantrushal <-Major Manson’s Farewell to Clachantrushal

hectorherocalistarascalhiltonlatisha <-Hector the Hero, Calista Anne McLaurin*, Rascal’s Runabout*, Hilton McLaurin*, Latisha McLaurin*

blackbearsweetmaidofmull <-Black Bear, Sweet Maid of Mull

ironmansleepymaggie <-Iron Man, Sleepy Maggie x2

andyrenwickferret <-Andy Renwick’s Ferret (with all C nat.)

unknownhornpipe <- Kitty O’Shea’s from Fred Morrison’s album The Broken Chanter with the F nat. (not played very well, the tune, that is)

scale <-The scale with C & F natural added

The piobaireachd high G crowed a lot, I think because of the tape and I tend to not blow reeds out anyway, so no recording of that is provided.


*written by me, Patrick McLaurin – sheet music can be found here.