It is used by beginning pipers to learn basic notes and movements before adding the complication of a bag and drones. It is not uncommon for a beginner to use only the practice chanter for a year or two before progressing onto pipes.
Even after a piper progresses to the pipes, they will continue to use the practice chanter to learn new tunes, polish their skills, and practice without the volume and complication of the full bagpipes.
There are main two options to choose from for a practice chanter, wood or plastic. It will come in 2 parts, the mouthpiece and the bottom section where your fingers rest. The practice chanter reeds are commonly made from plastic unlike the regular pipes made from cane.
The plastic chanter is usually less expensive from a wooden chanter (same manufacturer) and is perfect for your first chanter. The main benefit are that is less fragile compared to the wooden chanter. You can easily separate the chanter, remove the chanter reed and place inside the mouthpiece and secure with a rubber stopper and put your chanter in a case, a bag, or your back pocket without worrying about breaking it easily.
Wooden Chanters are great as well. You have to be more careful with them, and when you travel with it, store the chanter in a secure hard case (or a cardboard mailer tube) to prevent breakage. The wood chanters often sound a little sweeter and can be purchased with various mounts and designs usually not found in plastic chanters. If you see a new wooden chanter for a lot less money the brand name plastic chanters I would suggest to skip them, as they are usually cheap versions.
Another practice instrument, called a goose, has a bag, with the practice chanter or sometimes a regular pipe chanter, but lacks drones, and allows a student to practice “winding” the pipe with the proper mix of breath and bag pressure.
Practice chanters are often used by bands in order to work on technique or other issues where frequent stopping and starting is required, or where music is being used.
Practice Chanter Reeds
Modern practice chanters usually use plastic reeds, unlike the cane reeds of the GHB chanter.
Where to buy a chanter ?
There are many online retailers to choose from. Please visit our Bagpipe Shop Directory to locate a local business near you or one with an online shopping site. You can also view some bagpipe manufacturers products.