We sent out 38 requests to A-Grade pipers and we received 29 responses, for a response rate of 76% – slightly higher than average.
With this group, the Naill blackwood chanter was the choice of 17 pipers, or 59% – by far the most popular. The next closest chanters were the McCallum MC2 blackwood or McCallum blackwood with three each (10%). With A-Grade pipers, Naill has a corner on this market.
Vintage Henderson drones are the number one choice of A-Grade pipers, with eight (28%) going with them. Modern Naill drones were second, with five (17%). But vintage drones overall are the most popular choice of A-Grade pipers. In the “Other” write-in category, Center (two), Robert Reid (one) and Starck (one) were listed, while Other modern makes were Ayrshire Bagpipes and MacPherson.
As with the Premier players, chanter reeds made by Donald MacPhee were most popular in this group, with eight (28%) going with them at the big gatherings. Troy (six, 21%) and Warnock (four, 14%) were next most popular. Listed in “Other” were Duncan Watson, Gilmour, and Grossart, each by one respondent.
Drone Reed Setup
Only one A-Grade piper played a bagpipe with all cane reeds, and 12 (41%) said that they played All Synthetic, Various Makers. Overall 21 respondents (72%) played a bagpipe with all-synthetic drone reeds, while 24% went with a cane bass and synthetic tenors – a higher rate than we saw with the Premier players.