It looks as though it’s going to be a more active year for pipers, drummers, and bands in 2022, and events coming back to life is a welcome change after two years without any significant face-to-face events. Getting back into the swing of competing is going to take some effort. Many will have not put in the time or effort to stay “Games ready” over the past year especially, and it’s worth thinking about a plan for getting back at it.
One of the biggest factors for pipers and pipe sections will be getting the pipes into tip-top shape, especially if they have been sitting idle. Assess the wood and whether you need to oil before playing lots (see the September 2021 Newsletter for tips), and consider a refresh on hemping, a new blowpipe valve, and maybe even fresh drone reeds if yours have put in a couple of years. Pipe bags don't last forever, and if you're nursing a greasy old hide or sheepskin you are not doing your sound any favours—time for a fresh bag!
Pipe-majors might want to think about all the pipers/pipes in their section, and consider whether some fresh investment in bags, drone reeds and moisture protection will pay off. I rely heavily on The Tone Protector chanter caps and reed storage to keep things going and reduce tuning problems. The Piper’s Pal Alert is also an effective tool, and some pipers like being able to add their own moisture. I like the precision of the humidity readings on the Tone Protector, and I find this is easier to use in a band setting but what's really important is that the band has a unified approach to this.
As we get closer to actual contests, it’s wise to record yourself and listen for issues that you can resolve. Bands can use shared recordings to help everyone stay on track and for getting individual feedback for improving band performances. Recording yourself is hard! It's hard to get a good recording, hard to get it just right, and the good news is that all the trying just makes you better, even if it's never "perfect."
The Saskatchewan Highland Gathering and Celtic Festival is back for a one-day Games on May 21, and the SPBA Summer Camp SOUND ADVICE will be in-person July 10-15, 2022, so watch for updates! We'll have a table at the SHGCF in Regina, so be sure to drop by and see what's new.
Lee and Sons – Holly with metal slides and Boxwood with metal slides
We have two fantastic sets of Lee & Sons Bagpipes at Reelpipes.com. These bagpipes are hand made by Andrew Lee and are based on an old Thow set that belongs to Jack Lee. Jump the queue for a set of these fantastic pipes. We'll also offer a solo chanter of your choice at a significant discount to go with the pipes!
Jack plays a set of Lee & Sons bagpipes, and you can hear him play “Lament for the Earl of Antrim” on a set. https://vimeo.com/241165935
Peter Henderson – Heritage Celtic
This unique set of Heritage Bagpipes features laser-etched Celtic nickel with a Celtic runic design etched into the wood. Traditionally, the wood on bagpipes is combed and beaded, however this set’s intricate wood design will stand out from the rest. An instrument of the highest quality to play and pass onto the next generation.
Peter Henderson Heritage Bagpipes are made from African Blackwood, instrument-grade boxwood and nickel with a unique laser-etched design. The projecting mount profile is based on a 1910 set which are more refined in comparison to those of the 1920s. The boxwood we have carefully selected is rated first grade and polishes to a high natural lustre, providing a beautiful contrast to African Blackwood. Using state of the art software, we have created a unique Celtic design with a level of detail that can only be achieved with laser etching.
SOME NEW ITEMS
Kelt Black Cane Drone Reeds - https://www.reelpipes.com/home/new-additions/product/2769-kelt-black-cane
Colin MacLellan Practice Reeds - https://www.reelpipes.com/home/new-additions/product/2706-colin-maclellan-pc-reeds
McCallum Bagpipes Bore Oiul - https://www.reelpipes.com/home/maintenance-items/product/2763-mccallum-bagpipes-bore-oil
Hosbilt Drum Sling - https://www.reelpipes.com/home/new-additions/product/2768-hosbilt-drum-sling
R.G. Hardie Used Bagpipes - https://www.reelpipes.com/home/used-and-vintage/product/2770-r-g-hardie-bagpipes
R.G. Hardie Deluxe Backpack Case (Gray) - https://www.reelpipes.com/home/all-parts-and-accessories/product/1313-r-g-hardie-deluxe-piper-bacpack-case
A LOT of excellent MK Whistles were delivered to happy customers in 2021, and there is a wider availability of some great colours. Right now we have Low D MK Pro in purple and blue.
Callum Beaumont endorses the R.G. Hardie "Infinity" solo chanter which he helped develop. Connor Sinclair won the Northern Meeting Gold Medal, also playing one of the new chanters. We have these in stock and have played one, and they are just superb. Comfortable feel, lovely sound, rock-solid on all notes, and a piobaireachd High G that goes on for days. Available in wood or plastic.
The Gandy version of the McCallum chanter has also been excelllent. We've supplied quite a few of these to solo pipers, and they find them very comfortable, great spacing and solid sound. Of course both Bruce Gandy and Alex Gandy have been playing them with great success.
And there are more! We've also supplied the McCallum Ceól chanter in poly and blackwood, the G1 Blackwood chanter and the Peter Henderson Blackwood solo chanter to solo pipers in the region, and they are all reporting success.
• G1 Platinum - This reed is favoured by many bands in all grades for the quality and consistency they deliver, and they go well in a variety of chanters. Played by the SFU Pipe Band, among many others.
• Chesney and Chesney Solos - Many Grade 1 prize-winning bands play Chesney reeds [Inveraray, Field Marshal, SLOT...] and they do so because they really are good. In our experience, they may be a little harder to manage in dry/high climates but deliver a broad rich sound when managed well. [Tone Protector chanter caps make a huge difference.] Chesney are now producing a solo reed to give you that great vibrant sound with an excellent piobaireachd High G.
• Melvin and Melvin Solo - Adrian Melvin turned his years of top Grade 1 experience into making chanter and drone reeds, and his reeds are being played by ScottishPower Pipe Band. We've supplied these reeds at lower strengths to bands in the prairie region, and they are stable and easy to manage. There is also a solo version that is superb in many chanters.
• MacLellan , Shepherd, MacPhee and Sound Supreme – All great reeds for soloists, and MacLellan and Shepherd are used by many bands.
• DRONE REEDS - Ezeedrone, Selbie, Chesney and Canning drone reeds ready to go! We have both models of Canning, the Blue and the Original, and you can ask for either the carbon bass or the inverted bass. Both are excellent. We also have CANE BASS REEDS by Chesney and G1.
I Piped, That She Might Dance has received amazing reviews and was voted pipes|drums Product of the Year! If you missed the online book launch event at Piping Live! You can still see it and hear the new tune here: https://vimeo.com/583881884
Fred Morrison Collection, Volume 2
Fred's latest collection is HERE! This features lots of the amazing music that Fred has showcased across the World in the last few years, plus newer tunes that haven't made the concert lists yet! If you've grooved at a show in the last few years, the soundtrack is in this book.
Sean Somers - The Out West Collection
Long-time friend and also Reelpipes.com customer Sean Somers has released a collection of music that features a number of composers and many of his own excellent tunes. Sean is well known for his creative and melodic compositions, and they have been played by top-grade bands around the world. We love this collection and we know it'll be a favourite for pipers and pipe majors.
Kyle Warren - Eat, Sleep, PIPE, Repeat.
Kyle is a well-known composer and performer with FMM and also the Red Hot Chili Pipers, and his tunes are played by a number of top bands. This great new collection features tunes and arrangements perfect for the band medley, the solo ceilidh set, or your next competition.
Bruce Gandy - Performance: Delivering Your Own Awesome,
An easy-to-read, non-statistical guide to "Delivering Your Own Awesome" in music, sport and other competitive aspects of life, this book provides an understanding of what performance actually is by outlining four key steps: practice, rehearsal, performance and, finally, moving forward.
FOR PIOBAIREACHD ENTHUSIASTS
• Donald MacLeod's Complete Collection of Piobarieachd  - launched at PipingLive! last summer, this book brings together all Donald MacLeod's known tunes for the first time, in a handy A4 format.• Capt. John A. MacLellan Collection - you will have heard some great recordings online of "The Edinburgh Piobaireachd" and other tunes from this 20th century master of piping. The collection comes with two CDs featuring top players performing the tunes on pipes.• Joseph MacDonald "A Complete Theory.." - first published in 1803, this recent re-publication by the Piobaireachd Society includes a lot of great historical and contextual material about the music and the players.• General Principles of Piobaireachd: A Guide to Interpretation - the book includes background and information about the understanding and performing of piobaireachd, including accents, phrasing, tune structures, pacing, embellishments, and much more. As well, Andrew Wright gives concrete examples of how these concepts apply to some of the best-known tunes.• The Piper's Meeting - this collection contains 45 piobaireachds from the famous Campbell Canntaireachd (1796), which has been a major source of tunes since it was compiled. Many of the tunes have been inaccessible to modern pipers because the manuscript has not been widely available, and pipers are not as conversant with canntaireachd as they are with staff notation.
DRUMSTICKS - PADS - TENOR STICKS - DRUMS
We always have stock of drumsticks from leading suppliers such as McWhirter, Kilpatrick and Creighton, and we have Cameron drum pads. We can supply everything in drums, from a single drum to a full set.
Jordan Bailie is one of the World's leading tenor drummers, with many band and solo championships to his credit, including th World Pipe Band Champions 2017, 2019 and Champion of Champions Drum Corps!
Top players are finding them, light, well-balanced, and easy to play, with a great sound on the drum. And here's some great news: these sticks are much better priced that others on the market. Great look, feel and sound with a cracking price—what's not to like?
Colours available: white, red, orange, pink, heather, azure blue
VINTAGE & COLLECTIBLES
We've always had an interest in vintage and collectible items related to piping and pipe bands. We have old LPs, books and other Scottish items that you'll find interesting for your basement pub, piping room, or as a gift for a friend or family member.
These are typically "one off" items that we find, and once they are gone...• Scottish and clan prints• postcards• vintage practice chanter, biscuit tins and tea towels• Scottish books and LPs https://www.reelpipes.com/home/collectible
Right now we're working hard on the Saskatchewan Highland Gathering and Celtic Festival and looking forward to seeing our friends back in the Queen City for tunes and fun! This summer we organized the 19th annual SOUND ADVICE summer school will be back in person at the Unoversity of Regina and featuring a talent-laden instructional staff including Callum Beaumont, Danielle Millar, J. Reid Maxwell and Steven McWhirter (more to come!).
Do you have news you'd like to pass along? Want to ask about products or services? Just like talking about bands and bagpipes? : )
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