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Beer Tent The general discussion forum, and the place to start a new "beer-tent-like" Piping Related discussion...

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Old 10-15-2013, 05:06 PM   #1
Kyle C.H.
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Default Potential MacLellans

I have just discovered the beauty known as MacLellan bagpipes. Roddy's craftsmanship looks (and sounds) irresistible. I might have to put in an order this week. I have just began training with my pipe major and other newbies like me. Hopefully I'll make it into the band before the pipes have been finished in a year! Hopefully my previous experience playing as a self taught piper helps, and hopefully all the bad habits I picked up will lesson to some degree.

Anyway, I'm new to this forum and just wanted to put myself out there. Does anybody have any advice for the proper care of these pipes, reed recommendations, and suggestions for moisture control up here in North Dakota?

(If I'm out of line posting the link to Roddy's site, I apologize! But I suggest you check his pipes out if you have not already. http://highland-pipemaker.com/)

Last edited by Kyle C.H.; 10-15-2013 at 05:09 PM. Reason: link to website added
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:19 PM   #2
olypiper
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Default Re: Potential MacLellans

Hey Kyle,
Roddy MacLellan has a great page on care here:

http://highland-pipemaker.com/care_of_your_bagpipe.htm

Great choice, I happened upon a set of MacLellans, and I love them, too. I'm in the Pacific Northwest, and I oil my pipes 2 or 3 times a year with almond oil and a bit of vitamin E oil. I let it soak in for a while and wipe off the excess.
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:17 PM   #3
gatormac
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Default Re: Potential MacLellans

Good choice. I'm sure you will be very happy with them. They are easy to tune, stable, and sound great.

Of course, now you just have to learn how to play them competently!

Good luck. It's a fun journey, and I'm sure you will do fine.
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Old 10-16-2013, 02:18 PM   #4
William McKenzie
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Default Re: Potential MacLellans

MacLellans are a great stand, that's what I own and play. Like you noted about the year, do be prepared to wait once you've finalized your order with Roddy, maybe have a loaner set to work with while yours are in the queue.

The following reeds are my preference in terms of sound quality:

Well setup cane drone reeds will arguably produce the best drone envelope in the MacLellans.



However, barring full cane, what I think are the best compromise tones I have heard from my MacLellans are RedWood tenor reeds + cane bass (not using the RW bass reed at all).





If you want to completely stay away from cane, then what I use currently and enjoy a lot is Redwood tenors and an inverted Ezeedrone bass. The inverteds are very smooth and a full, and strike ins are great. I play a long inverted, although they come in long, normal, and short. I will note however, that the inverted seem to take a fair amount of air despite my occasional efforts to tweak them into efficiency. I've owned two of them and they are very similar in that regard.



Lastly, I would definitely recommend ordering a custom Rocket Reeds regardless of what else you decide to play with. Rockets are custom tailored to your pipes and perform flawlessly, and they are stupid efficient and dead stable under every condition I've had them in. Tonally they are very powerful, brassy, and dominating. They can be great if you're playing outdoors because they will create a huge envelope of sound, or perhaps in a band setting where all of these things are a great fit. They are also a fantastic set to have on hand if a reed goes awry because you know you can depend on them.



Like noted, I was going in order of my own sound quality preferences in terms of most cane like output in MacLellans. Warm, thick, fully refined and with a bit of crackle. Cane reeds, after all, being what all drones were designed around originally and what synthetics aspire to copy the sound of. But that by no means implies you'll like the cane sound or think the synthetics aren't good enough, there are some great synthetics out there. These are just my preferences as I'm an anal person when it comes to details.
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Old 10-16-2013, 03:03 PM   #5
LindyHoppingPiper
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Default Re: Potential MacLellans

I play a MacLellan set in ABW half-mounted with cocobolo button mounts and engraved bronze slides/ferrules/caps. They are outstanding and in my albeit amateur opinion MacLellans are the best bagpipes being made today, both visually and tonally.

My current setup is Rocket tenor reeds and a cane bass. In my opinion this is my absolute ideal tone. I played full cane for a short time, but interestingly enough I found the cane tenors had a bit more ring than I like, so I went back to the Rocket tenors as I do prefer them (blasphemy, I know). I do like the additional "oomph" that the cane bass provides and it integrates perfectly with the Rocket tenors. I've paired this setup with a Gael chanter (also made by Roddy) with a "beginner easy" Warnock reed and it's absolutely perfect.

As far as moisture control, that's very personal. I prefer just a tube trap as canister systems cause quite a substantial of drone volume, but I don't get near as long of blowing time with just this. I'm considering switching to a Lee goatskin bag over what I have right now (Bannatyne) as that'll probably give me much more blowing time than I currently get. I think sheep/goatskin bag with either a moose valve or a tube trap is probably the best moisture control system as it doesn't reduce the drone volume and you probably get almost as long as a canister setup, but this requires a fair bit more maintenance. That said, some people swear by the Ross or similar canister systems, so there's no one right way of going about things.

Good luck!
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Old 10-16-2013, 04:20 PM   #6
John McCain
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Default Re: Potential MacLellans

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle C.H. View Post
I might have to put in an order this week.
I suggest you consider cocobolo (at least speak to Roddy about it). I prefer the sound of it over ABW (and I own both).
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Old 10-16-2013, 04:37 PM   #7
Kyle C.H.
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Default Re: Potential MacLellans

I would definitely consider the cocobolo; however, my pipe major has determined that I would stick out too much from the sea of black Gibsons they use (and also have constantly splitting drones). Roddy suggested that I get ABW. I'm not sure why, but here's what his reply said:

"HI Kyle, I think you're best off with African Blackwood for the bagpipe. The mounts can be any of the other woods I use, the dark purple is called purple heart! Your climate is difficult, but of you maintain the pipe well it will be fine. There's information on my site as well as the web. Temperature changes are not as bad as moisture fluctuations."

Also, I believe it has to do with the dry, cold climates here in ND. It often reaches -40 degrees fahrenheit and climbs to 40 above within a day. That's a huge change in 24 hours!
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Old 10-16-2013, 04:43 PM   #8
John McCain
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Default Re: Potential MacLellans

That's interesting. He's the man to know!

My cocobolo set is virtually indistinguishable from ABW at anything but close range. It's darkened over the past 5 years.
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:02 PM   #9
gatormac
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Default Re: Potential MacLellans

I prefer cocobolo too, and I have had both. You won't go wrong either way. He can do cocobolo pipes in light (natural color) or dark (he darkens the wood). To eco John, the dark cocobolo is virtualy indistinguishable from blackwood at a distance of a couple of feet, and even the lighter stuff will darken.

As far as durability in harsh conditions, blackwood will always be king, so maybe that is why he recommended it. However, cocobolo has properties pretty similar to blackwood (dense with high oil content- stable), so I'm sure you would be ok with it. There are many 100+ year old ebony sets surviving after enduring all kinds of hardships around the world, and ebony is known for being suseptible to cracking.

His blackwood pipes are great though, so certainly a good option.

As far as reeds- I recommend Rocket or Kinaird (or cane) bass with Ezee tenors, or you can't go wrong with just Ezees all the way round. In fact- for a beginner with a new set of pipes, I would just order them with a set of Ezee Drone reeds. Cane in all drones is the best tonally, but for a beginner I don't recommend it. I'd also recommend a cow hyde bag with tube spit trap for a beginner- hide bags give a good feel under the arm, make strike-ins easier and it's a good starting point for a beginner. You can experiment with other things down the line.
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Old 10-17-2013, 05:28 AM   #10
Kyle C.H.
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Default Re: Potential MacLellans

One more question. Does Roddy only offer metal ferrules? Or can I get wooden ferrules for less cost? I am a starving college student after all.
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