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Patrick McLaurin's Product Reviews

  • MacPhee Chanter Reeds Great reed, October 30th, 2008
    I have used these in the past and they all lasted months if not years. When he moved to Scotland at first they were a little hard to get so I haven't used them in a while. Great for those of us who don't care for the Ridge cut reeds.
  • John Walsh Practice Chanter Reed Never quits, October 30th, 2008
    I have played this thing for the last I have no idea how many years. It just won't quit and it sounds great!
  • Ezeedrone Reeds All around best synthetic drone reed, October 30th, 2008
    One of the best sounding drone reeds with an incredibly easy set up. The standard to compare all other drone reeds to.
  • Moose Valve Works great, October 30th, 2008
    The Moose valve is awesome. It works like a charm. Easy to insert and remove without taking your blowpipe stock out of the bag. Works as both water trap (only if you want it to) and flapper valve. The case it comes in helps you practice inserting it so you know you are doing it right.
  • Hearing Protection Ear Plugs Used for years, October 30th, 2008
    These thing are great. They also come in a slightly smaller size called Baby Blue for those little people out there. Good for playing indoors as it not only saves your hearing but cuts out all the reverb so it sounds more like you are playing outside. Will make you a better piper because you hear all the little details as opposed to being bombarded by lots of sound.
  • Ross Bag Great bag, October 30th, 2008
    Great bag. Install is easy enough, zipper airtight. Used both zippered (small extended and medium) and non-zippered. At 150 lbs. 6' - the small was too small, medium is about right.
  • Bruce Gandy Books Great book., October 30th, 2008
    Great 6/8 Marches, Hornpipes, Reels. Good all around book, a must have.
  • Philharmonic Book Must have, October 30th, 2008
    If you remember the great tunes played by the most awesome pipe band ever, the Victoria Police, you need this book. Weird time signatures, great melodies. Expand your horizons into non-traditional bagpipe music.
  • Kilberry Book - Piobaireachd Huge, October 30th, 2008
    Hard to find a bigger collection of Piobaireachd in one book than this one. A must have for anyone remotely interested in playing Piobaireachd.
  • Piobaireachd Society Books You have to buy a bunch, October 30th, 2008
    There are about 10 or so tunes in each book. Big easy to read. Liner notes describe differences in settings. Another must have for any Piobaireachd player.
  • Scots Guards Old Standards, October 30th, 2008
    Best light music books available. Very few errors, huge number of tunes. Should be the first music books purchased after the tutor books.
  • College of Piping Tutor Part 1 The classic, October 30th, 2008
    Can't go wrong here, this is the "Green book" everyone talks about.
  • Victoria Police Pipe Band Masterblaster CD Must HAVE!, October 30th, 2008
    The greatest pipe band CD EVER. Period.
  • Doug Stronach Tutor & CD Very complete, October 30th, 2008
    Starts from the basics, includes video. Perfect for the beginner. Only problem is that the video isn't a universal format and so you may have trouble playing it on your computer. The file format is .avi.
  • Jim Kilpatrick Drum Sticks KP3, October 30th, 2008
    I am learning with the KP3. I bit big, but they work.
  • Cameron Practice Pad Get the hard, October 30th, 2008
    You'll being playing on a very tight head, so get the hard if you want the most realistic experience. The more inelastic the collision, the more like the modern scottish snare.
  • Gilmour Chanter Reeds Great Reeds, February 28th, 2012
    Will last forever. Also take an orthodontic band without trouble to sharpen the C and F, just pull the band down as they come up, take it off when broken in. Some reeds just collapse, which means by the time they are broken in they're done, not these!
  • Kinnaird Carbon Fibre Drone Reeds great reeds, February 28th, 2012
    trouble free, rock steady even if you aren\'t, good tone, what more could you ask?
  • Selbie Drone Reeds Great reeds, September 8th, 2013
    These are great reeds. The tenors are bold, bright, and smooth. The bass powerful and solid. If you've got quiet drones, these are the reeds for you. Great in Shepherds and Lawrie. Looking to match the volume on your band chanter, these are the reeds for you.
  • Gannaway Hide Pipe Bag with Zipper & Grommets Easy to tie in, easy to play., September 8th, 2013
    Great bag. Primer and seasoning do their jobs well. Great leather bag with a zip and grommets for super easy tie in. Expensive, but won't fail you.
  • Gannaway Hide Pipe Bag with Zipper Great bag., September 8th, 2013
    Keep the bulk down without the grommets for a more traditional tie in, but still have a solid leather bag with a zipper. I haven't tried similar brands, but there isn't a need to, these just keep going.
  • McCallum Poly Band Chanter Good Band Chanter, September 22nd, 2008
    This chanter tunes very well with many different reeds. It has a lot of volume which probably makes it a good band chanter. The oval holes are harder to cover and so it takes some getting used to. Better than 1990\'s Shepherd and 1990\'s Dunbar band chanters I have used in the past. About the same as some Maple Sinclair band chanters I used to play, probably a bit louder though. Highly recommended as a band chanter.
  • Naill Blackwood Solo Chanter Great chanter c.a.~old, September 22nd, 2008
    I have one that predates the early 1990's; by how much I do not know. It is a good, very easy chanter to play. Reedability is very good. However, the B and C, as my experience with a few other makes of chanters, can be a tad flat.
  • New Suede Ross Canister Bag with zipper Great bag, September 22nd, 2008
    I have used both an extended small and a medium. The 'guts' of the system take up a lot of room (minus the 1 star). Otherwise, airtight, comfortable, good pipe bag. Might need a bigger case if you don't want to disassemble your pipes to put them in the case due to the volume the 'guts' take up. The 'guts', however, do a GREAT job of controlling the moisture in the bag.
  • Piping Up CD Eclectic Mix, September 22nd, 2008
    This is a compilation of a bunch of tracks from other albums from the same label. Both highland and smallpipes if I remember correctly; solo and band. Good all around CD to put in if you want an eclectic mix.
  • Sound Supreme Chanter Reeds Good reed, October 30th, 2008
    Good reed, never any problems.
  • Little Mac Valve Works in a pinch, October 30th, 2008
    It works. It is easy to install. May be slightly air restricting, but, eh, probably not so much to tell. I always have a spare laying around.
  • Little Mac Valve Pin striping tape, used exclusively., October 30th, 2008
    If that is what I think it is, it is pin stripping tape for cars. I use this exclusively. The edges roll up after a while and you have to replace it. No residue like electrical or medical tape, and it is very thin.
  • Shepherd Tone Enhancers They work, October 30th, 2008
    I currently use one of these in my common stock smallpipes. It keeps the moisture off the reeds and restricts the air flow a bit for easier drone reed setup.
  • L&M Hide Bag Natural look, October 30th, 2008
    Great pipe bag, no cover needed. Old standard, no doubt.
  • Ross Canister System Guts Cumbersome, October 30th, 2008
    The mechanism works great! But they are kind of cumbersome on the inside. I had to take all my drone tops off to get the pipes in the case with the components still on the inside.
  • Airstream Blowpipe What I use, October 30th, 2008
    I use the airstream bottom (part that contains the valve) and a different mouth piece top (round). I found the molded plastic didn't wear too well with my big ol' biting teeth. Used for years now.
  • Airstream Mouthpiece Durability a concern, October 30th, 2008
    The ovalness fit will in the mouth, although the molded plastic can deform and break if you're a biter.
  • Korg CM100L Contact Microphone Probably works, October 30th, 2008
    I have one of these but the problem is my Korg tuner still picks up the sound input from the mic and the contact microphone. This is probably the idea behind the Saul tuner. It is a piezo electric transducer, I believe.
  • Archie Cairns Pipe Music Book 1 Good book, October 30th, 2008
    Has tunes you will and won't find anywhere else. Also some different settings of old standards. Couple of harmonies included.
  • Privy piping Fun!, October 30th, 2008
    What can you say, quite a few show tunes for not much dough. The Flintstone's, Jingle Bells, Streets of Laredo, Yankee Doodle, and much more.
  • Simon Fraser University - Down Under CD Good, October 30th, 2008
    Good recording, nice tunes. Don't listen to it very often.
  • Amazing what a private high school band can do. Incorporates some guitar and other instruments. Very entertaining.
  • Masters of Piobaireachd CD vol 1 Good, October 30th, 2008
    Serves its purpose well. Can be a bit dull if you forget the purpose of the CD. Piobaireachds not always played all the way through.
  • Dunbar P1 Bagpipes good pipes, February 28th, 2012
    Good pipes, big henderson tone, indestructable, good customer service from dunbar, solid instrument and good investment.
  • Kinnaird Evolution Drone Reeds Lots of great qualities but, September 8th, 2013
    These reeds meet all my criteria, however they have one drawback in my opinion, and that is they are rather buzzy. In speaking with Rob, he believes this is an effect of the pronounced overtones of having made the reeds brighter. No doubt there is more tenor presence and the bass is a bit deeper than the older model, but it comes at the price of the buzziness. Other than that, the reeds are excellent. Air efficient and generally work very well, plug and play as expected.
  • Canning Drone Reeds One of the best, September 8th, 2013
    If you're looking for a solid set of drone reeds for Henderson pipes, these are it. Solid, smooth, but still bright tenors with a deep resonant bass.
  • Ezeedrone Reeds Addendum - 2013, September 8th, 2013
    I've used these for a while and they have very good tone, but they are very sensitive to adjust. The bass is quite deep with a unique tone from most other reeds. Tenor reeds solid, but there's probably a better match out there for your pipes.
  • Crozier Glass Fibre Drone Reeds Solid reeds, September 8th, 2013
    These are powerful reeds with a good blend between bass and tenor. I'm hesitant to use the word rough, but they don't produce a smooth sound; which isn't a bad thing, just different. Buzzy isn't really indicative of what I mean either. Should the standard reeds I've picked for each pipe (individually optimized by brand for tone) should fail, I know I can grab these, stick them, they'll play and sound well.
  • L&M Hide Bag Standard bag., September 8th, 2013
    Classic bag with the right feel and construction. Holds in moisture like crazy so requires seasoning to acquire any stability.
  • MG Synthetic Drone Reeds Finicky but sound good, September 22nd, 2008
    These reeds sound very smooth once they are up and going, a very nice blending sound neither bass nor tenor dominant. They tend to howl however on the strike in until a higher pressure is reached, which bothers some people and is usually not desirable in a band setting. I think they use a little bit more air than I am used to but it is not very noticeable and may be my imagination. I have also bought the A 440 Hz extenders and they do indeed bring the drones down to 440 Hz, however you might find the reed longer than your drone stock!
  • Naill Poly Band Chanter Good chanter - 2006, September 22nd, 2008
    I have one of these from ~2006 which pre-dates the Lee redesign. It is a good chanter. I have noticed the B and C tend to be flat. Reedability is good, but not spectacular.
  • Ash Plugs Not a fan of drone plugs, October 30th, 2008
    I'm not a fan of drone plugs and when I did play them, I had harder times starting as you have to overcome the pressure needed to open the flap before air gets to your drone reeds. Same reason it helps with stops. The product is worth 4/5 for quality but it gets 2/5 cause not really helpful all around.
  • Ash Plugs Works, October 30th, 2008
    Works but not really needed. I spit more than this thing can absorb. You don't need it. Just let your chanter dry out by taking it apart when not playing.
  • Walsh Mouth Blown Small Pipes decent set, February 28th, 2012
    D pipes have a very bright tone. Chanter reeds don't last very long and become VERY pressure sensitive. But with a new reed every couple months you're set to go. Otherwise, trouble free.
  • Crozier Carbon Fibre Drone Reeds , September 8th, 2013
    The bass on my set is a bit weak volume wise. Tenors very smooth and powerful so would have to be paired with a different bass reed. Tenors are very bright. The nose cone plug, while airtight, is a pain to move in and out relative to the ease of those systems which have a screw.
  • RedWood Drone Reeds Tenors work., September 8th, 2013
    The tenors are pretty decent reeds with good tone. The bass growls like crazy and is hard to set. Strike ins unreliable as you never know what the bass is going to do. Unique tone you won't get from any other set of reeds though. Mellow, though not quiet, with a good blend once the bass comes in. Plenty harmonics.
  • Crozier Cane Tongue Drone Reeds Good tone, September 8th, 2013
    Good tone, but bass hard to set up. It's got a long tongue that needs springing, apparently, and I just never bothered to figure it out. Tenors smooth but not voluminous.
  • Shepherd Drone Reeds- SM90 They work, September 8th, 2013
    Nothing too exciting. They work, but tonally, regardless of pipe, there is a better suited set of reeds out there.
  • Bannatyne Hide Synthetic Pipe Bag with Zipper Poor ergonomics, September 8th, 2013
    The ergonomics of this bag leave much to be desired. It has two primary faults. #1 the natural position of the chanter is sticking out requiring you to have to hold the chanter in place. #2 the grommet for the blowpipe is of a style where it just sets in the groove of the stock allowing no repositioning. This would be find except it doesn't put the mouthpiece anywhere near your mouth. The prevalence of these bags is probably responsible for all the blowpipes coming out with ball and socket joints to get around the blowstick angle problem. Probably also why Willie McCallum collaborated with them to design his own style bag. $5 it doesn't have these two major problems.