Quick Chanter Tuning by Chris Apps

We've all been in the situation where we are booked to play somewhere with another piper but have had no time get together and tune the chanters to each other. You arrive, tune up and find that you are horribly out of tune. You could start messing with the reed seating and the existing tape on your chanter but if your pipe is perfectly in tune for you and set at a pitch you're happy with you are probably very reluctant to change it all. What do you do in the limited time you have to get things in tune?

Here's a quick and easy fix that you can do without messing with the reed or your existing tape placement.

Play together and establish which chanter is lower pitched. This is the chanter you will tune to. When tuning the higher pitched chanter, you are not going to alter any of the already present tape on the chanter but place fresh tape over this in order to achieve the correct pitch of each note. Remember, we are talking about taping only the higher pitched chanter. Check the low A's and place enough tape over the hole as necessary to get the two low A's in tune. Once these are tuned, it will be necessary to tune all the other notes the same way. Tune your drones to the low A first and then start adding tape to tune the rest of the notes on the higher pitched chanter to the low A and drones. Start with the notes; C, E and high A then move the others to suit.

With practice, tuning two chanters together this way can be done in minutes without disturbing the reed height in the chanter or any of the existing tape. When finished, the new tape can be removed to bring the chanter back to its original pitch.

Back to articles