Pipehacker Pro Tip: Hotel Card Chanter Tape

The modern competitive bagpiper can become quite the connoisseur of hotel rooms and beds. International competition and even the local US circuit will have a piper and his or her gear on overnight stays all year long. It’s a safe bet that many pipers will have their favorite hotel that features regularly in their travel plans. You’ll end up with an impressive collection of rewards points for sure. Inevitably, you’ll also end up with an impressive collection of plastic hotel room key cards. One or two will always appear in your sporran at the end of a trip. I don’t have the nerve to toss them because I know I can find a repurposed use for them—sustainable living, you know. (Extra tip: they serve as excellent paint scrapers.) Because this is Pipehacker, there is indeed a repurposed use for these credit card-sized pieces of plastic that will serve your bagpiping needs. Here is a quick and simple tip/project that will provide you with a ready supply of tape for tuning the notes on your pipe chanter. All you need is a dead key card, a hobby knife, and a roll of tune tape.

A word about what is typically sold as “tune tape.” While this vinyl tape is a de rigueur part of a modern bagpiper’s supply kit, the large, 1/2-inch roll one gets at your favorite bagpipe supply shop is not suited for constant storage in one’s pipe box. Here is my roll after many hot US piping seasons bouncing around in my pipe case.


One roll is a lifetime supply, but not if that roll is a loose, gummy mess. The solution is to have a supply of tape at the ready while keeping the roll at home, safe from further abuse.

How to Do It

Pull off a strip of tune tape. Stick along the top of the key card.


Cut the tape on an angled cut with an Xacto knife or other blade near the edge of the card.


Stick that new end underneath the first strip, cut the end again and repeat down the length of the card. You should end up with 6 strips.



A reason to keep hotel keys! Flip the card over and repeat the same steps on the other side. Fill other cards if you have them.

The cards are a sturdy holder for ready-cut pieces of tape for use on your chanter. No fumbling or cutting needed. One card will hold twelve strips, enough for each hole on your chanter with extra. The tape should stay flat and undamaged wherever you keep it. The card fits perfectly in your sporran or the pocket of your waistcoat, but it could just as easily find a place in your pipe case. Keep the full roll of tape at home, safe and sound. Resupply the cards as needed as the strips are used.

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