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Old 03-06-2006, 06:05 PM   #1
Paul Grimes
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Default Naill vs. McCallum Bagpipes

Greetings all. I'm new to the forum, pointed in this direction by my piping teacher.

The is the first of probably many questions and postings, please bear with the noobie for a bit.

I have narrowed down my search for my first set of pipes to the following: David Naill DN-4A or the McCallum AB4 Fully Engraved Nickel.

My teacher has a set of DN-4s, but is not as familiar with the McCallum line. I've read several postings already from other AB4 owners, but I'd like to get some commentary on the constrast of the two sets if poosible.

Can I get some feedback on the two types of pipes? I'm looking for comments on quality of construction, tone, color, durability.


A Champion Never Wonders What Just Happened, He Always Knows What Is Coming Next. ~ Freddie King, Master Director, Gold Medal Baritone of the 1970 International Champion Quartet, the Oriole Four.
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Old 03-06-2006, 06:52 PM   #2
Matt Kelley
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Default Re: Naill vs. McCallum Bagpipes

I don't think you can go wrong with either. They're two different beasts that have the potential to do the same thing - produce awesome sound.

They'll both produce solid results - it's a matter of what you put in them to get a good sound.
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Old 03-06-2006, 07:00 PM   #3
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Default Re: Naill vs. McCallum Bagpipes

Hey Paul,
I have a set of D. Nail DN-2A's. Great soundI have had them for five years (my first set)and had no problems until now. They have developed cracks in three of the stocks, at different times. I have been waiting since November for the replacement stocks. Dont know what may have caused the cracks.I'm thinking the cold. I'm sure this could happen with any brand of pipes. I'm thinking of getting a second set (maybe AB4's) for competing and keeping the Nail's for parades.
Good luck and I'm looking forward to see which set you selected.
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Old 03-06-2006, 07:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Naill vs. McCallum Bagpipes

If you can afford the DN-4A by all means go for it. I don't think engraved nickel can even compare to plain sterling silver! I find the engraved nickel to be a little bit, I don't know, let's just leave it at I don't like it.
I've got a set of DN-2's that I love. Great tone and great quality. It's beautiful instrument. I think the quality on the Naills is a little bit more pleasing to my eye. But I think the McCallum AB4 takes the prize for most popular first bagpipe or at least that's the way it seems to be here on the forum. My instructor plays McCallums and they have the potential, as do the Naills, to produce a beautiful tone. But IMHO Go with the Naills!

Also do a search of this forum, the beginners forum, and the archives of each and you'll find an abundance of information on each make of pipes.
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Old 03-06-2006, 09:47 PM   #5
Taylor M
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Default Re: Naill vs. McCallum Bagpipes

3 Months ago I was making the same descision as you are D. Naill DN-4A or McCallum AB4 horn pipes.

I just recieved my McCallum AB4 gold pipes a couple months ago and I absolutely love them. They both look and sound great. The guys at McCallum also provide top notch service, plus, the pipes come with a 2 uear warranty. It wasnt hard for me to make my descision.
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Old 03-07-2006, 06:25 AM   #6
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Default Re: Naill vs. McCallum Bagpipes

Hi Paul,
Welcome to the forums. I agree that you won't go wrong with either one. They are both reputable makers. My PM plays Naills and is very big on them. I play McCallums, and I like them just fine. I get nothing but positive comments on the sound - even from pipey. I also have the AB4. They look great. Go with your instincts.

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Old 03-07-2006, 08:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: Naill vs. McCallum Bagpipes

If you are concerned about construction, ask if the hardware is simply glued or properly screwed on. Hate to see the bits and pieces fall off. Happens all too often.

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Old 03-07-2006, 10:46 AM   #8
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Default Re: Naill vs. McCallum Bagpipes

I haven't played any Naills, but I had listened to a set.
I just got a set of McCallum ABN (fully engraved nickel silver) in December.
Got to say I am totally satisfied with them too!

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Old 03-08-2006, 06:11 AM   #9
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Default Re: Naill vs. McCallum Bagpipes

Not pointing fingers, but I really dislike the "can't go wrong" messages. Not because I disagree, but because it's not informative and doesn't help a person make a decision. I'm a newbie myself or I'd help out, but what I'd like to see answered in these types of threads are things like "Naill sounds more like X and Y pipes, with a deeper/quieter/whatever bass, it's easier/harder to reed and prefers Ross/McCann/whatever reeds. McCallum on the other hand has (whatever) sound qualities. It's more forgiving on the chanter reed but you might have X,y,z with it. It takes more/less air than Naills when properly adjusted, all else being equal." NOTE: all these facts made up on spot.

I have to agree that, from all reports, these are both excellent pipes. But unlike other major purchases like cars, you can't always test drive both sets of pipes side-by-side (and may not have the skills to tell the differences). Subjective opinions have to be taken with a grain of salt, but it's all we have to go on sometimes.
He's not asking which pipe is "better" but what the differences are. There *have* to be differences, right? Has anyone played these side by side and would care to comment?
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Old 03-08-2006, 08:07 AM   #10
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Default Re: Naill vs. McCallum Bagpipes

Even given the differences between the two he still can't go wrong with either one. They are both good pipes as in they both sound good, accept a wide array of drone reeds, etc. I'd find it very hard to compare the sound qualities of each set of pipes fairly because there are a lot of factors that go into it. Pipes can have a huge difference in sound just by just swapping out the drone reeds. For example, my MacLellans set up with Rapiers have an extremely mellow smooth sound, but with Ezees they have a little bit more edge to sound. So how does one go about this evaluation fairly? To get a good comparison the pipe would need to be played by the same person, set up by the same person and using the same drone reeds. But the brand of drone reeds that work in pipe A are not always going to be the best for pipe B.

Paul, I believe is just about to purchase his first set of pipes, no offense to Paul or any other new pipers, but they really can't be sure which is the sound they are after. Which is why new piper's pipes are often picked out with the aid of their instructor or other respected pipers. They just need a pipe that has the potential to sound good. It takes time to develop the ear to even be able to really truly discern the subtle nuances between two different makes of pipes. Which is why I still feel that he can't go wrong with either one. The Naills and the McCallums can both be set up to produce an award winning sound.
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