Published: November 01, 2020

Roddy MacLeod launches extensive new line of pipes

Roddy MacLeod [Photo Derek Maxwell]
Five-time winner of the Glenfiddich Championship and former Grade 1 band pipe-major Roddy MacLeod has launched an extensive new line of Highland pipes, comprising more than 30 different models.

The “Hebridean” range of instruments under MacLeod’s RJM brand are on offer, each made by David Naill & Co., with whom MacLeod had previously worked to create his RJM line of pipe chanters.

“The pipes have been several years in the planning, in fact our discussions started at the time when I was developing the chanters,” MacLeod said. “The new bagpipe is aesthetically pretty much the same as the 1907 Lawries I play. They have done a great job on the look of the pipes. The main difference is the design of the bass drone, which had to be different in order to accommodate a wide range of synthetic and cane reeds. The original Lawrie couldn’t do that but the new model does that very successfully.”

MacLeod’s announcement comes in concert with his strong showing at the 2020 Glenfiddich Championships, where he was third in the Piobaireachd, fourth in the MSR and second overall. He has won the Piobaireachd event at the contest 10 times in his nearly forty-year career.

The Hebridean series includes instruments named after various islands on the Scotland west coast, each having a heavy influence on Highland piping, including MacLeod’s own Hebridean heritage. Prices range from £875 for the Raasay model to more than £2,500 for the Lewis model, which features full silver hand-engraved mounts.

MacLeod has expanded his website to allow pipers to order from him directly, customizing their selection to include bagcovers, type of bag, cords length of blowstick and chanter.

The launch also comes at a time of global economic uncertainty because of the coronavirus pandemic. But with more people at home with more time to commit to their own piping and drumming, bagpipe makers have not been averse to coming out with new initiatives.

R.G. Hardie & Co. recently announced a line of instruments made in collaboration with the company’s new “champion,” Connor Sinclair, and McCallum Bagpipes have consistently worked to strike endorsements, including its line of MacRae pipes with Stuart Liddell and chanters with Bruce Gandy.

Another renowned piper, Jack Lee, has been hard at work for more than a decade creating instruments, reeds and pipe bags with his own company, Lee & Sons Bagpipes.

Roddy MacLeod’s piping career started in the 1970s. He’s won every major prize, some several times over, and was pipe-major of Grade 1 bands ScottishPower and Spirit of Scotland. He was the director of the National Piping Centre for almost 25 years, and co-creator and director of the Piping Live! Glasgow International Festival of Piping. He abruptly resigned from both positions in January 2020.

MacLeod was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 2003 for his services to piping. He was the subject of a full-length pipes|drums Interview in 2013.

 


Related

Stuart Liddell: 2020 Glenfiddich Champion


Roddy MacLeod resigns as head of National Piping Centre
January 10, 2020


Roddy MacLeod – the pipes|drums Interview – Part 1
March 31, 2013


Roddy MacLeod: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 2
April 7, 2013


Roddy MacLeod: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 3
May 5, 2013


Roddy MacLeod: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 4
June 6, 2013


Roddy MacLeod, P-M Michael Gray Receive MBEs
June 30, 2003

 

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