Oliver Seeler's
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Electronic
Practice Chanters & Bagpipes

The Swedish
Fagerstrom Electronic Practice Chanter

Fagerstrom Elecrtonic Practice Chanter
The Swedish Fagerstrom Tecnochanter
Electronic Practice Chanter
(shown here in "clear" - also available in black)



Please Note:
This is the Fagerstrom Technochanter, an electronic practice chanter. There is now also a new (mid-2006) Fagerstrom Technopipe, which is a full-blown electronic bagpipe with drones and is described on its own page here.


Electronic Chanters & Pipes ~ Some Background

The development of electronic practice chanters & bagpipes began with individual experiments by a variety of individuals quite some time ago - in the 1960s or so - at the same time as many other electronic musical devices and systems were being invented and improved. Development accelerated with the advent of small, efficient components and circuits, including of course computer chips as well as touch-sensitive switches and sensors that could be used as "fingerholes" in place of bulky, slow mechanical switches. A number of makers marketed their e-pipes, with some models emulating just the conventional practice chanter and others also offering drones. Features such as tunability, built-in loudspeakers, emulation of other instruments and other "bells & whistles" popped up. Quite a few makers and models have come and gone, leaving behind a scattering of e-pipes ranging widely in quality and sophistication.

While the finger-spacing on most e-chanters is identical to the spacing on a regular Great Highland Bagpipe chanter, and while they are quite sensitive to fingering errors (including "crossing sounds"), they shouldn't be considered a replacement for a regular mouth-blown practice chanter. The handling characteristics and overall feel are different enough that the beginning piper, especially, should probably use an e-chanter only when a regular practice chanter would be inappropriately loud (and these instruments will do nothing towards developing strength and breath control).

The main reason, as far as we're concerned, to own one of these e-chanters is that it can dramatically increase available practice time for those who often find themselves in places where even the relatively quiet sounds of a regular practice chanter are unacceptable. For professionals, it may also find utility as a convenient rehearsal instrument, or to work out arrangements and so on, even when a regular pipe is used in actual performances. An e-chanter can also be connected to an amplifier for use with a band on stage. Finally, these things are just plain fun!

Currently there are five instruments available with which we are familar and which we either offer ourselves or can recommend:

  • The popular super-compact Swedish Fagerstrom Technochanter, a practice chanter, which we carry (details below). This is a good choice for pipers whose primary concern is maximizing practice time.

  • The brand-new (mid-2006) Fagerstrom Technopipe, a full-blown professional-grade electronic Great Highland Bagpipe and Scottish Smallpipe that's set a new standard for all the rest. See its own page here.

  • The revamped (in 2004) Canadian electronic bagpipe by Ross Technologies, which we also carry. The built-n speaker and the modest price make this a popular and fun e-pipe. See its own page here.

  • The hand-made MacPipe, which we don't offer here because its maker, William McGregor of Northern California builds these instruments pretty much one at a time for the end users. At $310.00 they're not cheap, but the quality is reflected in the price. This maker also repairs other brands of e-pipes, including obsolete models. He can be contacted through his web site at www.macpipes.com (and by the way, this is not a paid endorsement).

  • The German Deger Pipes, a professional-grade electronic bagpipe that suffers from two flaws: a high price and a maker who is apparently uninterested in communicating with dealers . We don't mind the former so much as the latter - we won't risk having to deal with possible warranty & supply issues without good communications, so for that reason we do not offer this electronic bagpipe. Update: The Deger is now eclipsed in all regards by the new Fagerstrom.

A Report From a Beginning Piper

I think I have been using the chanter long enough to give you a report.... Succinctly, it is a great tool. The headphones let me practice in circumstances that were impossible before. Another benefit is that it allows me to work on new fingering and movements repeatedly without gasping for breath. The fingering is very responsive with any cross over noises being easily detectable ... I was like a kid on Christmas day and had the chanter on most of the day. Obviously it won't replace a regular practice chanter because it is a little too forgiving on finger placement and you will never develop any wind on this machine, but it is definitely worth the money for anyone who wants to seriously increase their practice time. (Jim F., Kansas)

(Note: We include these comments in the descriptions of both of the e-chanters we offer - they apply equally to both, and to all other e-chanters as well.)

The Fagerstrom Electronic Practice Chanter

The Fagerstrom is extremely compact - it has no attached box like some others, and is about half the length and much thinner than a Deger. Nevertheless, finger spacing is identical to a regular chanter. It's completely housed in a tube only nine inches long and 5/8ths inch in diameter. The supplied (standard mini-plug ear-bud type) earphones plug into one end, while the batteries are in the other. The very small size allows the Fagerstrom to be carried anywhere, for example in an inside jacket pocket. Volume, sensitivity and pitch controls are touch-sensitive, so there are no moving parts or protruding switches at all (on/off is accomplished by plugging/unpluging the earphones). Sound quality is very crisp and reliability is top-notch (we've had zero warranty issues here).


Fagerstrom Electronic Practice Chanter
The Fagerstrom Electronic Chanter
Earphones Included
Optional Soft Carry Case
(One-Foot Ruler & U.S. Quarter for Scale)


The Fagerstrom doesn't have drones and won't switch keys - a regular practice chanter doesn't have such features (or distractions) either, of course - but it is tunable; the Low A can be set from 437 hz up to 481 hz in steps of 3 hz, thus allowing the chanter to be fine-tuned to another pipe, or to another instrument. It also has a sensitivity control that can be useful if your hands are particularly dry or moist.


Sound Sample
click here to hear the Fagerstrom Electronic Bagpipe
Click on the piper to hear the Fagerstrom Electronic Chanter
MP3 format, 20 seconds, 156 Kb


Overall, the Fagerstrom is the best choice for anyone moving around a lot and whose primary concern is practicing and/or privacy - it's so small and light that it can always be taken along. The fine-scale tunability is also nice, if you need it. The Fagerstrom is made in Sweden. It uses three button-style batteries (included), which will power it for about 50 hours. It's available in clear and black (though we suggest black - the novelty of the clear quickly wears off). Also available is a padded nylon carry case, which we recommend.

Price: Fagerstrom Electronic Practice Chanter: US $275.00
Soft Case, Padded Black Nylon: $12.00

Shipping Cost: $10.00 via Insured Priority Mail (Domestic U.S.)

Stock Status:
Unless otherwise mentioned here,
the Fagerstrom E-chanter is in stock, available for immediate shipment.


GENERAL ORDERING INFORMATION

Contact & Queries:

Please feel free to contact us by email at bagpipes@hotpipes.com or by telephone at (707) 937-1626 between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Pacific Coast time (GMT minus 7- 8 hours), seven days per week. We suggest you do so if you have any questions and especially if you have any doubt about the suitability for you of your intended purchase. We're anxious that you get what you need, and we're not interested in selling you something you don't need!

Payment:

We can accept payment in many different ways from just about anywhere in the world:


Credit Cards: We accept Visa, MasterCard, AmEx and Discover credit cards by three methods:
  • 1. By telephone: This is the least complicated method and provides you the immediate opportunity to review the details of your order with us;

  • 2. By email: We suggest splitting the information between two messages for security (not that we've ever had any problems). We will need:

    • the card number & expiration date;
    • the name and billing address associated with the card;
    • the shipping address if that's different than the above.

  • 3. On Line: We have a secure shopping-cart system on line through which you may use your credit card directly for purchases of most (but not all) items. Please pay attention to the instructions within this system regarding payment for shipping costs. Click on the credit card logos near the the bottom of this page to access this system.

    Note: This secure system is administered by PayPal. You do not need to have (or need to establish) a PayPal account to use it. While free for you, the fees at our end are rather high, so we prefer, if it's not inconvenient for you, either of the first two methods above (both of which also provide direct contact with us, which can be helpful in making sure you are getting what you want and need.) International customers, please contact us for special instructions regarding shipping costs before using this system.

PayPal: We accept payments from the US and internationally directly through PayPal , which we have been using for years with zero problems. Our PayPal account is under bagpipes@hotpipes.com. Expect an email acknowledgement from us in addition to the automatic one from PayPal. If you prefer (or if you aren't so familiar with PayPal) we can send you a "request for payment" through the PayPal system.

Other Payment Methods: We cheerfully accept personal checks, money orders, wire transfers, bank drafts, cash and so on. Let us know your preferences (or problems) and we'll work with you.

Prices:


The prices on this site are in U.S. dollars and are current. We never issue surprises in this regard. There is no fine print about fluctuating currency exchange rates or such. You may find some lower posted prices elsewhere, but you will also find dealers who don't update their sites, and/or who add qualifiers to their stated prices, and/or who do not actually stock what they sell, and/or who provide little if any real customer service. Not here.
We can offer modest discounts on quantity purchases of some items - feel free to inquire.

Inventory:


We stock what we sell. Occasionally there are unpredictable runs on items, and/or short re-supply delays. If an item is going to be out of stock for more than a few days you will find a notice to that effect at the top of this box. Fine bagpipes and bagpipe accessories are made in small lots by meticulous craftspeople, not mass-produced & warehoused, and buying them should not be viewed like zipping down to the 7-Eleven for a six-pack. Feel free to ask us to reserve items for you, even if you're not quite ready to order - it will help us, and avoid a possible delay for you.

Shipping:


Domestic (US) Shipping: We usually ship the next business day after an order is received. We normally ship by U.S. Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation, except for small items such as reeds and CDs which are normally shipped First Class. Standard shipping costs are listed with each item's price. We do not attempt to profit on shipping and charge no "handling" fees or such. Our packages are insured by a private company (DSI Insurance) so no signature is required on delivery of most packages. (This also means packages can be left if no one is home - a good thing for most people, but if that might be a problem please let us know.) Priority Mail has been very reliable and fast, taking three days or less to cross the country. If faster shipping is required we can provide Express Mail (two days from here to most US locations) or Federal Express - but be aware that these services are pricey. If you are ordering more than one item, please contact us for shipping costs, which will be less than the total of the respective amounts. We guarantee delivery and in the very rare event of a lost or damaged shipment, we send a replacement first and worry about the insurance etc. later. We ship to APO and other military addresses at no extra charge.

International Shipping: If you're not in the US or at a US military address, please email us for shipping options and costs. We ship something overseas just about every day, so we can offer advice based on experience. We send most medium-size packages (practice chanter outfits, electronic pipes, Kitchen Pipes, etc.) by postal Global Priority Mail, which costs only very slightly more than ordinary airmail and is safe and fast.

Warranties:


We stand by everything we offer, as do the manufacturers and our suppliers. We sell only properly made, high-quality items in the first place, so problems are altogether rare. In the unlikely event of any difficulties, you will be dealing with us on an immediate and personal level. If necessary, we will deal with the maker or distributor of the item on your behalf - we are a major customer of most of them, and have a bit of clout. We (and the makers of the items we sell) are keenly interested in maintaining our hard-won reputations for quality and excellent service, and we do whatever it takes to keep our customers happy!

To Order by Telephone:

(707) 937-1626

From 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific Coast time (GMT minus 7 - 8 hours), seven days per week.

To Order by Email:

bagpipes@hotpipes.com

We try to answer all email within a few hours - rarely, a day at most. If you don't hear from us, something's wrong - try giving us a phone call.

To Order by Mail:

please send your payment to:

Oliver Seeler
Universe of Bagpipes
P.O. Box 447
Albion, California 95410

Please make your check or money order payable to Oliver Seeler.

To Order On Line by Credit Card:


Click on the above logo


To Order Using:


Go to your PayPal account and initiate payment to bagpipes@hotpipes.com


Always feel free to ask questions and thanks for your interest!

See the new Fagerstrom Technopipe Electronic Bagpipe

See the Ross E-Pipe

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Copyright 2002-2007, Oliver Seeler, Universe of Bagpipes