The Chanter Head
The chanter head is the detachable section at the top of the chanter which connects the chanter to the bag. It houses the reed. O Riabhaigh pipes offer a choice of heads - a metal type and one of hardwood.
The metal type is generally made of stainless steel (unless otherwise requested) and comes with or without the stop key. It is strong and functional and, being of stainless steel, will not tarnish over the years. Because it is made of metal, it is more prone to the effects of heat from radiators, spot lights etc. and tends to change pitch more easily than it's wooden alternative. Metal heads tend to yield a slightly more raucous, thin sound - which, for some, is the ideal.
The hardwood version is generally made from the same wood as the chanter, regs etc. It is beautifully carved and finished to reflect the overall slim lines of the chanter. The wooden version features the stop key as standard, using the sleeved block found throughout the entire instrument. The hardwood head is less prone to heating up as the wood is much more insulative than metal and so protects the reed from external heat sources over a longer period. The wooden head produces a softer, more mellow tone, but which is bright nonetheless.