New pipes • Uilleann Pipes • Re-stocked on Reeds • A Tune
The leaves have turned and are falling, and this week the snowflake showed up in the weather app as a possible outcome of weekend weather. So, summer is really over.
Most of you have either re-started regular band and lessons or will be soon, so it’s a great time to think about what might be needed to kick off the indoor season. I get questions about new gear this time of year. “Do you think X chanter would be a good solo chanter?” “Is chanter A better than chanter B for bands?” And those questions come about reeds, bags, bagpipes, and much more!
There are a lot of great products available for soloists and bands, and what we can do is help you to choose and setup something that will work for you. There are at least a half-dozen makes of band chanter that are all played with great results by excellent bands, and at least the same in solo chanters. If you’re thinking it’s time to freshen up your sound, then give us a call and we can help get you sorted. Further down in the newsletter, you’ll see some of the great products we have in stock and available.
Pipe bands are always considering what’s new this time of year, and whether a different chanter/reeds combination might help make them a little better. Keep in mind that much of the real craft of sound is in attending to the details of your setup, REGARDLESS of which chanters and reeds you play. In other words, don’t jump to the conclusion that you need new chanters because the sound is not ideal. If your band is looking for some ideas on how to get better sound, we’re always happy to setup a workshop to work with you on that, And, if you decide that a change of chanters/reeds would help, we can offer competitive quotes to get you sorted.
At Reelpipes.com, we have over 50 years experience, including Grade 1 bands across 5 decades, from the 1970s to 2018. We have products and services that can help you achieve the improvements you want over the winter ahead. Feel free to email or call to discuss your needs.
LOOKING FOR NEW PIPES?
I've had a few new sets of pipes, but nothing sticks with you maybe as much as your first set. My first set of pipes was a set of R.G. Lawrie plastic mounted pipes. They were terrible. And I loved them. As you do. The band instructor of the day had a beautiful early 20th century set of Lawries, and thought that would be the way to go. However, Lawrie was really mostly making lawn bowls by that time, and the pipes were not great.
The good news is that there really are no pipes like that any more from "big name" firms. They are all producing excellent products, backing them up with guarantees on the materials and work, and really working to make players happy and successful with their products. We have some great sets of pipes in stock, two large shipments coming, and many more available on both short notice and by special order.
Sets available include:
• Duncan MacRae SL2 • McCallum AB0 and AB1 • Peter Henderson PH00
We have Fred Morrison Scottish Smallpipes in stock most of the time, and we also carry the R.G. Hardie Twist-Trap Pipes, which are a fun and lower-priced alternative to the Blackwood Morrison pipes. The FM pipes we generally stock look exactly like the set pictured here: ABW with imitation mounts and Celtic engraving. There are lots of options available, so just ask if you have something else in mind!
Options include mopane wood mounts, with or without a drine switch, and there are several engraving patterns available for the metal, including "no engraving."
Fred Morrison has been working with McCallum Bagpipes on his own uilleann pipes for a few years, and sets are now being played in various parts of the world. Although launched at Piping Live! in 2016, the pipes have continued to undergo development so that Fred and McCallum Bagpipes are 100% percent confident in the product they are delivering. The pipes are concert D pitch, and are available as practice, half and full sets. The pipes are based on Fred's own Dave Williams set, and have all the characteristic design and sound characteristics of a great Williams set.
• Practice set - bag, bellows and reeded chanter, ready-to-play condition. The chanter is easy and sweet, easily pops between octaves, and is very comfortable on the hands. The bag is high-quality leather, with no treatment needed. Price: $2,100.00 plus applicable taxes and shippping.
• Half set - bag, bellows, chanter and three drones with all reeds, fully set up and tuned. The drone reeds are specially commissioned Ezeedrones, and the bagpipe is easy to play, with drones remaining stable on both octaves.
• Full set - the full set adds regulators to the half set, and these are fully set up and reeded by Fred. The full set is very air-efficient, and they are beautiful to look at as well as hear!
It's possible to start with a practice st and then upgrade as you learn. The drones are easily added to the practice set. If you want to add regulators after, then it requires sending your pipes back to the factory, because the main stock has to be altered to accept the bass regulator. WARNING:These pipes are hard to put down, and may interfere with other chores around the house.
Interested? Practice sets are available now, and more to follow. Get in touch!
Callum Beaumont has been having an excellent year in the solos, winning his 4th Clasp at the Northern Meeting, the P-M Alasdair Gillies Challenge, and many other prizes. He has been playing the new R.G. Hardie "Infinity" solo chanter, and it's been sounding great. 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. Alex was recently 2nd in both Gold Medal events and also in the Hornpipe/Jig at Inverness.
And there are more! We've also supplied the McCallum Ceól chanter, 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 - The majority of Grade 1 prizewinning 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.
• Melvin - 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.
• Troy and MacLellan - JWT Reedmakers and Colin MacLellan both make excellent reeds suitable for solo and band, and you'll find that many of the world's top soloists are playing one or the other. Need a great piobaireachd high G? Look no further.
• DRONE REEDS - Ezeedrone, Selbie, Henderson 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 have a large stock of bags in various sizes by James Begg (sheepskin, cowhide), Bannatyne (most sizes in stock) and Canmore, including the newer Canmore hybrid hide/synth which is a great bag, and the one used by Fred Morrison.
We now carry drumsticks by Steven McWhirter, Jim Kilpatrick (KP2),Stephen Creighton, Tyler Fry and Jordan Bailie.!
The legendary Alex Duthart's Collection (2 books) has not always been easy to get, but we're making it as easy as possible! These are books that every serious Highland snare drummer needs to own, study and play.
I wrote this tune in about 1980 for a good friend, Cathy Felstrom. She was a piping student, my wife's best friend, and a great character. She died in 1982 and recently it would've been her 59th birthday. What a great character she was. Hope you enjoy the tune. The tune is published in the "Along the Road Collection", which you can also buy on the website.
Reelpipes.com is proud to support both the Nicol-Brown Amateur Invitational (USA) and the George Sherriff Memorial Invitational (Hamilton, ON) with prizes for competitors. These are both excellent events that showcase some of the top amateur pipers in North America, giving them a very "professional" quality competitive experience. Locally, we are already working on the Highland games for 2020, the Mid-Winter Celtic Festival, and several band projects.
Do you have news you'd like to pass along? Want to ask about products or services? Just like talking about bands and bagpipes? : )