Published: April 09, 2015

Liddell lends instrument to McCallum

An advance flyer for the new Duncan MacRae pipes modelled after Stuart Liddell’s vintage instrument.

After an abbreviated relationship launching a model of pipes with Wallace Bagpipes and G1 Reeds in 2013, world-famous solo piper and Grade 1 pipe-major Stuart Liddell has struck a new deal with McCallum Bagpipes of Kilmarnock, Scotland, on a line of instruments modelled after Liddell’s own vintage MacRae drones from the 1890s.

The project has been in the works for several months, and Liddell and the company hope to officially launch the “Duncan MacRae Bagpipes by Stuart Liddell” line in August at Piping Live!

Stuart McCallum of McCallum Bagpipes has been working closely with Liddell to createan exact replica of Liddell’s MacRae pipes, “right down to the closest details of the internal bores and bells, exterior profile shape, shape of mounts and silver engraving” according to McCallum co-owner Kenny MacLeod.

The pipes are duplicated so exactly that they reproduce the slightly different sizes of the top sections of the tenor drones, since they are a feature of Liddell’s instrument.

Stuart Liddell

Liddell test-drove the new pipes at a McCallum roadshow recital in Zurich earlier in April.

Stuart Liddell is recognized by many as the world’s greatest Highland piper, and one of the most successful in competition. He is also Pipe-Major and founding member of the Inveraray & District Pipe Band.

It is not known yet if Liddell will play one of the new instruments in solo competition, and pricing of the new line is to be determined.

MacRae operated from the late-1880s until ceasing operations in 1952. Long-defunct Grainger & Campbell Bagpipes took over MacRae’s premises, but didn’t adopt any of the designs in any significant way.

The MacRae reproduction pipes are the latest in a continuing trend of developing new instruments based on long-dormant vintage drones. Atherton Bagpipes was among the first, using a MacDougall pattern and a bespoke approach to manufacturing. More recently McGillivray Piping of Ontario developed vintage recreations based on Glen and MacDougall instruments and made by several bagpipe makers.

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