Hello Folks
   Peter Ashby mentioned this forum at last night's Caedmon Piping class
   and I thought I'd sign up.
   I believe there has been recent discussion re hole spacings on chanters
   with a request for pipers to submit the measurements of their own
   instruments in order find an average.
   This sounds to me like a rather pointless exercise as so much work has
   been put into this in the past. If the aim is to standardise hole
   spacings to play near concert F with a good bright reed then Mike
   Nelson has done this to near perfection. I have seen similar spacings
   used by Colin Ross. Both of these offer a range of good-toned pitch
   from concert F (A  = 440Hz) to F + 25 (A=446Hz) depending on reed
   dimensions. Philip Gruar also uses spacings very close to these with
   similar beautiful results. These spacings are readily availble from
   Colin or Mike.
   Then, of course, we have the chanter spacings which Robert Reid used
   and are used as a model by David Burleigh. These spacings look similar
   to those mentioned above at the top of the chanter but are 5mm shorter
   by the time we reach bottom D. Standard reeds moved in towards the
   chanter  to bring it in tune moves the pitch to a range from F + 25  (A
   =  446Hz) to F+ 50 (A = 453Hz). As David has made over 3,000 sets to
   this pattern I find that aiming for F = + 25 (A = 446Hz) is a good
   compromise for teaching groups and was the pitch I  asked pipers to aim
   for on "The Cool Breath  Tour" of New Zealand in January.
   I have heard that this strategy worked well even in my absence (for
   family reasons, Heather & I returned home prematurely) and resulted in
   a good sounding CD of massed pipes playing (21 sets). You can judge for
   yourselves when it is released shortly.
   I own beautiful chanters made by all of the above makers and know them
   intimately. They all sound tuneful and sweet. At the moment I use F
   chanters at 440, 446, 452 and 456 for individual teaching. (Squeezing
   harder / easing off to get a 6Hz shift will always compromise tone).
   Finally, it should be remembered that hole spacings themselves are not
   the end of the story. Hole size also makes a fair contribution to pitch
   as does the bore.
   I hope I've managed to add something useful to the discussion.
   Anthony Robb


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