August 31, 2007

McCallums put energy into new ‘McC-Squared’ pipe chanter

Willie McCallum tests the new McCallum solo chanter.For decades pipers around the world have wanted to sound just like Willie McCallum, and now they can get closer to that reality with the launch of the new “McC2” McCallum Solo Chanter designed and engineered collaboratively between Willie McCallum and Stuart McCallum of McCallum Bagpipes of Kilmarnock, Scotland.

The solo chanter, which comes in both blackwood and polypenco models, has been under development for two years.

“It is a completely new design and is radically different from the current McCallum chanter,” said Willie McCallum. “The aim was to bring to the market a chanter which has a strong presence with a clear projection which would be more suited to the solo scene.”

McCallum made true on the chanter’s promise when he debuted the chanter at the Lochaber Gathering last week, winning all of the events with the judges not knowing what he was playing.

“The chanter is designed to make it easier to maximize harmonic balance with the drones,” McCallum continued, “a characteristic that is the most important factor in setting up the instrument.”

Is the new chanter designed with a specific reed in mind? No, Willie McCallum contends that the chanter can handle a large number of the reeds on the market today.

“It is designed to suit a large number of the common reeds played by most pipers and to avoid carving for most players,” he added. “In fact, it is likely that some players may need to use tape on some notes.”

McCallum himself is known to use chanter-tape on almost his entire chanter so as better to fine-tune every note from high A to C. “I just like to know that there is room to adjust these notes up or down if necessary.”

There were two other important objectives with the McC2 chanter: the ability to achieve a clear piobaireachd high G, and to ensure clarity and projection with all embellishments.

McCallum says that the pitch of the chanter is aimed at the mark he currently strives for, around 475 Hz.

The new McC2 chanter is priced at £195 in blackwood and £95 in polypenco. Willie McCallum says that he will personally test every chanter before it is shipped.


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