We counted and sourced names and addresses for 26 pipers in this elite category. Nineteen responded – a 73% rate.
The Naill blackwood chanter is the choice of the Premier-Grade players, with six (32%) using it, while the McCallum MC2 blackwood model is coming on strong with four players (21%) and McCallum blackwood played by three (16%). Of the 20 choices, only eight makes were selected, and none under “Other.”
Vintage drones like Henderson and Lawrie are still the preference of these players, but Naill drones are prominent, with three Premier players using them. One piper played vintage Lawries at Oban and then Naills at Inverness, which is reflected under “Other.” In all, 17 varieties of drones were offered at choices, not including “Other,” and nine makes were selected overall.
The number of chanter reed makers continues to increase and selections were more varied here. MacPhee reeds were the most popular choice, with three playing them. Others were played by two or one respondent. Under Other, two pipers said that they played a reed made by Duncan Watson and one by James Murray.
Drone Reed Setup
Here we wanted to investigate trends with pipers playing all cane, all synthetic or a mix of the two in various forms. The most popular approach is All Synthetic of Various Makers with eight (42%) listing this, while All Synthetic, One Maker was the choice of 32% (six). Cane Bass, Synthetic Tenors has a combined score of four (21%), with two saying this combination was of a single maker, and two of various makers. Interestingly, no one played an all-cane drone reed bagpipe last year.