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Steve Bliven 05-28-2019 01:53 PM

Colin Ross RIP
Word is spreading that Colin Ross has passed. Sad to hear. Long noted for his Northumbrian pipes and as the "inventor" of the modern Scottish Smallpipes.

Be well.


Steve Bliven 05-28-2019 03:13 PM

Re: Colin Ross RIP
Sorry, meant to say "one of the 'inventors' of the Scottish Smallpipes" (but couldn't find how to edit my message).

Best wishes.


Jim McGillivray 05-28-2019 06:28 PM

Re: Colin Ross RIP
I enjoyed my few times with him. And he made me some great instruments and reeds.

Toxpert 05-28-2019 07:03 PM

Re: Colin Ross RIP
Itís been more than 30 years ago that Colin made a set of smallpipes for me. He was a fine craftsman and a gracious gentleman. He will certainly be missed.

With a glass you did well!

CalumII 05-29-2019 04:55 AM

Re: Colin Ross RIP
I only dealt with Colin once, in the late 90s. I was a bit unsure of myself with a new set of smallpipes and thought I'd try ringing him for advice (after phoning directory enquiries and asking for "smallpipe makers"...)

We talked for nearly two hours, almost all of it going over my head. A week later an unsolicited reed dropped through my letterbox with a note saying "give this a go". As I didn't give him my address, he must have done a bit of sleuthing to track me down!

Rob_Say 05-31-2019 01:35 AM

Re: Colin Ross RIP
Colin was one of the people who got me started on my piping journey almost 30 years ago. My first set was actually a loan of a simple set ...(which I didn't get on with!) and he then recommended a good amateur set which got me off the ground. Always generous with his time and his music, no trip to his workshop or a pipers' meeting was complete without:
  1. A discussion/lecture on any of; reeds, oil, leather, wood
  2. A couple of his handwritten tunes being passed out; and they could be anything from 'forgotten' piping classics, transcripts from old manuscripts, Glen Miller classics or a bit of Handel.

In addition to being a great maker, he was a fine player as well and delighted in playing with others. I was always torn on whether I wanted to hear him leading the tunes out or diving off into harmonies. Hearing him on the fiddle was always a privilege - he played with a raw style and great tone, his timing was excellent and his dance tunes always had a driving rhythm with just the right pulse. The majestic slow airs were something special for me; he packed a huge amount of energy & expression into them with what appeared to be minimal effort and it was from Colin that I learnt a lot about how to approach these 'grand' tunes. When I learnt of his passing it was that memory that was triggered and after a couple of hours reflecting on all of the above - this tune then came out almost fully formed: The Master of Monkseaton

For a man who did so much for Northumbrian Smallpipes & extended chanters in particular, it had to have both a top B and something outside the 7 key range (but that low C# can be an E if needed).


Ian Lawther 06-01-2019 08:33 PM

Re: Colin Ross RIP
I grew up listening to Colin playing with The High Level Ranters, and when I wanted to find out where I could get hold of a set of Northumbrian pipes in the early 1970s it was Colin's wife Ray, then secretary of the Northumbrian Pipers Society that I wrote to for information. I had a number of contacts with Colin by mail in subsequent years, and he was always helpful and informative. I started seeing him in person more in the late 1980s and 1990s and on reflection he always treated the likes of me as equals, though his knowledge of all aspects of piping and pipe making was far superior.

During the 1990s I purchased a double Scottish Smallpipe chanter from him, and still smile at the letter I received when I asked him about getting one. I knew he had made one for Hamish Moore so asked if he still made them, and how long would it take. Despite the notorious waiting lists of top smallpipe makers Colin replied that he hadn't made one for some years and my letter reminded him of the challenge and fun of making them. Consequently he was going to make one and it would be ready by the time of that year's Rothbury Festival (only a couple of months away). I could try it and if I liked it could pay him for it, if I didn't he would have enjoyed making it so it didn't matter. I still have it.......


johnsog 06-03-2019 07:33 PM

Re: Colin Ross RIP
What an absolutely lovely tribute to him, Rob!! That's one of the treasures of our music that it can be such an expressive outlet when mere words fail us. Thanks for sharing your tune.

Jim McGillivray 06-04-2019 07:28 AM

Re: Colin Ross RIP
pipesdrums Colin Ross obit

Ian Lawther 06-06-2019 08:57 PM

Re: Colin Ross RIP

Originally Posted by Jim McGillivray (Post 1337947)

I had the pleasure of trying the set of Scottish smallpipes Colin is holding in that photograph, Jim. They were turned from an antique elephant tusk, and mounted with silver (real ivory and silver pipes, not blackwood mounted in ivory and silver). They were so smooth that they felt slippery and left a feeling you were going to drop them. I think Colin made the because he was able to but had no plans to sell them, and I suspect that given current regulations it might have been difficult.

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