December 31, 2014

The 13th annual pipes|drums New Year’s Honours!

2014 Product of the Year

The Campbell Tunable Chanter

Campbell Tunable Chanter

There probably hasn’t been a true innovation for Highland pipes since Geoff Ross invented the canister moisture control system, and Kyle Campbell’s ingenious tunable chanter was certain ingenuity. A simple twist of an external knob allows for micro-adjustments, potentially speeding up the tuning process for bands considerably. A dozen years in the making, Campbell was also smart enough to know that the chanter itself had to be excellent, so partnering with McCallum Bagpipes and their existing chanter was smart business. Time will tell how well the Campbell chanter is accepted, but we can see lower-grade bands benefiting immeasurably from the instrument.

Also considered (alphabetical order):

  • X-Treme Drone Reeds Chris Armstrong has put his name to these sexy synthetic reeds, the premium edition using “hydrophobic” water-repellent material. In a crowded reed market, X-Treme reeds appear to have done the near-impossible: risen above the crowd with ubiquitous attention.
  • Caldwell DC2 Chanter Reed – we liked what we saw from Northern Ireland’s David Caldwell with his new DC2 “plug-and-play” reed. It comes in fancy packaging and a premium price, but appears to be living up to expectations.
  • The Gillies Collection new books of pipe music are becoming scarcer than booze in Baghdad, but this one compiled by Norrie Gillies, the son of the late Alasdair Gillies features compositions and arrangements during the great piper’s all-to-short time with us. A lovely homage.


  1. Always love this year end wrap and seeing the best recognised. Glad that it is not always all about prizes won but also about other accomplishments to piping and drumming. Well done all!!!



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