..a lower-pitched chanter for lower-grade bands —
only from McGillivray Piping
LISTEN: This is a recording of my high-school boys band (St. Andrew's College) playing "Highland Cathedral" on Gael chanters at a recent Carol Service in Yorkminster Catheral, Toronto
"Jim: I just wanted to drop you a note and say how pleased I am with my 'Gael' chanter. It is very easy to play and pleasing to the ear with its lower pitch. My mentor is glad someone is bringing the pitch back down, and it's nice to know that someone still delivers what they say!"
-Michael MacDonald, Huntsville, Ontario
"Jim: Just a quick note to say thanks for picking out a right cracker of a chanter. It's so much fun to play, I'm having a hard time stopping during my practices!" Chris Knife, Batesville, Arkansas
"The Gael" low-pitched band chanter, exclusively from McGillivray Piping
"I piped with the Gael chanter at my Aunt's funeral yesterday and the sound was perfect. Everyone in attendance, all Scots/Irish, were more than pleased. I personally think that the lower pitch really lent itself to the high hand notes of oft in a stilly night and going home. Having now played it all week, I am impressed by the tone and would never think of playing solo without it. All the reeds were fine, exactly what I wanted. If anyone has the gall to complain about price they are nuts, I got exactly what I paid for: 9 great reeds, no duds, no complaints. Thanks again for getting the order out so quickly; it was a sad occasion, but I am so pleased I had the sound I wanted to pipe my Aunt home." Blair Brown, Ajax, Ontario
"The Gael" features a thicker top hand, reminiscent of chanters of the 1960s, and easier to finger.
For years, pipers have complained about the rising pitch of the pipe chanter, yet it continues to rise. This trend affects lower grade bands more than the top Grade 1 bands. The best bands have the players to support a full chanter pitch well above 480 Herz. Not so with lower grade bands and street bands, who are often stuck with a pitch that leaves them sounding shrill, squeaky and unpleasant to listen to – even when they're in tune!
No more. "The Gael" is designed to produce a full, vibrant sound at 470 Herz. Depending on reed selection, it will tune comfortably anywhere between 470 and 475. This allows lower grade bands to display a full sound with a 'thick' top-hand timbre even with the easy reeds less experienced players prefer.
The chanter is available in polypenco, and its ergonomic design harkens back to the great old chanters of the 1950s. It features a solid, thick neck that allows more accurate high-hand fingering and less of the hand fatigue to which thinner necked chanters are prone.
"The Gael" was designed by McGillivray Piping working in conjunction with Roddy MacLellan of MacLellan Bagpipes in Charleston, South Carolina. It is available only from McGillivray Piping.
Polypenco, plain, with reed Cdn $225 Available from shopping cart below
TRADE ENQUIRIES WELCOME
The McC² McCallum/McCallum Solo Chanter
This new chanter has been designed by one of the leading pipemakers on the planet to the tonal specifications of the leading solo competitor on the planet. Willie McCallum provided the input, and Stuart McCallum of McCallum Bagpipes designed the chanter.
In his first competitive outing with the new chanter, at the Lochaber Gathering on August 3, 2007, Willie won all four events on the day — a rare feat even with a familiar chanter!
Willie McCallum — the leading soloist in the world over the past 5 years and renowned for the tone and power of his instrument — teaching at the Ontario School of Piping at St. Andrew's College in 2003.
The McC² is designed at a slightly lower pitch than most chanters being made today, which many soloists will find a blessing. This chanter can be set comfortably between 474 and 478 depending on the reed. It is very vibrant — typical of the McCallum brand.
In another design innovation most soloists will appreciate, the chanter has been created with a view to eliminating flat notes that restrict the variety of reeds it can accept. While many pipers see a tape-free chanter as the ideal, Willie McCallum's philosophy (as well as that of many top soloists) is that a chanter should be designed to accept the maximum variety of reeds, and the performer will use tape as necessary to correct slight sharpness as needed.
Most top-flight soloists see a small amount of tape on some top-hand notes as a much-desired fine-tuning mechanism: another of Willie's philosophies.
The result of this carefully thought out process is what may well be the best solo chanter on the market today.
Blackwood, plain, with reed Cdn $299 Available from shopping cart below
Polypenco, plain, with reed Cdn $179 Available from shopping cart below
The Naill Pipe Chanter
The Naill pipe chanter has for 25 years been the most prize-winning solo chanter on the planet by about a million miles. It has recently been re-designed to reflect current pitch and tuning practices, and the new model is enjoying the same success as the previous version developed in 1976. It’s a bright, rich sound that blends beautifully with the harmonics of the drones. Certainly the blackwood version has the premier sound, but the polypenco solo chanter offers much the same tonal qualities at a lower price and more resilience. In addition, the newly designed Naill band chanter attained a first-place finish in the 2006 World Pipe Band Championship In Grade 2. Every chanter comes with a reed set up to your specific blowing strength.
The Naill chanter has dominated major solo piping events at all levels around the world for more than 30 years.
Naill Blackwood, Solo Pipe Chanter, no sole, with reed Cdn $385 Available from shopping cart below.
Naill Polypenco Solo Pipe Chanter with reed Cdn $220 Available from shopping cart below.
Naill Blackwood Solo Pipe Chanter with Imitation Ivory Sole Cdn $445 Special order; please call or email.
Naill Blackwood Solo Pipe Chanter with Sterling Silver Band at base Cdn $455 (plain) Cdn $525 (engraved) Cdn $595 (engraved with Victorian) For silver patterns,click here. Special order; please call or email.
Nail Blackwood Solo Pipe Chanter with Plain Silver Sole Cdn $785 Special order; please call or email.
Nail Blackwood Solo Pipe Chanter with Hand Engraved Silver Sole For silver patterns,click here. Cdn $965 Special order; please call or email.
The MacLellan Bb Pipe Chanter
Back in the 1950s and '60s, the pitch of the pipe chanter was much flatter than it is today. The low A was pitched around 466 cycles per second, or basically at true or ‘concert’ Bb. Today the low A is pitched anywhere from 472-482. This can make it very difficult for Highland pipers to play with other instruments because we do not play at a pitch they can match ('concert pitch'). Roddy MacLellan’s superb concert Bb chanter makes it much easier for us to play with others without having to tune all the way down to concert A at 440.
Here's an example of how this might work. If you wanted to play "Amazing Grace" with an organist you could show the organist the pipe music. The organist would see that the last note in the piece is 'D' and would say, "So you are playing this piece in 'D'." You would say, "Yes, but this instrument is a half-step above concert pitch. You will need to play this piece in Eb." You should then be perfectly in tune, assuming you've used a tuning meter to make sure that the low A on your Bb chanter is in fact sounding at 466 cycles per second.
This chanter is rich, vibrant and well tuned, and works very well with a wide range of chanter reeds, though I set them up with Warnock broad blade reeds and include one at your blowing strength set up in my bagpipe.
Polypenco, no sole, with reed Cdn $295 Available from shopping cart below.
Blackwood, no sole, with reed Cdn $425 Available from shopping cart below.
Chanters are also available in A440.
You may purchase many of the above models using this shopping cart and secure payment system:
This new chanter has been designed by one of the leading pipemakers on the planet to the tonal specifications of the leading solo competitor on the planet. Willie McCallum provided the input, and Stuart McCallum of McCallum Bagpipes designed the chanter. It's slightly lower pitched than most chanters and goes with a huge variety of reeds. Cdn $299 with reed.
I have a limited supply of Sinclair blackwood pipe chanters, made in the 1990s and uncarved. They have been refinished and look as new. There are two styles, though they are from the same era. They pitch between 473 and 478 depending on the reed. CAD $475 with reed. State reed strength in the comments section when you order.